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Last Updated 19.02.2020 | 9:58 PM IST
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Shabana Azmi’s message on Women’s Day



"India lives in several centuries simultaneously. Her people encapsulate all the contradictions that arise from being a multi-cultural multi-religious multi-lingual society and are reflected in the position of Indian women. On one hand, women hold top positions in politics, corporate world banking sector, etc…, on the other hand, it's a sad reality that female foeticide is also practised. The patriarchal mind-set is so deeply entrenched that it is internalised by both men and women so that a boy is privileged over a girl from the time of his birth just for being a boy!



"India lives in several centuries simultaneously. Her people encapsulate all the contradictions that arise from being a multi-cultural multi-religious multi-lingual society and are reflected in the position of Indian women. On one hand, women hold top positions in politics, corporate world banking sector, etc…, on the other hand, it's a sad reality that female foeticide is also practised. The patriarchal mind-set is so deeply entrenched that it is internalised by both men and women so that a boy is privileged over a girl from the time of his birth just for being a boy!

However, I'm an optimist and see the glass as half full rather than half empty. Heroines in Hindi cinema have come a long way from the Main Chup Rahoongi model of virtue. Working women are more visible and there are myriad roles being offered to women of all age groups. Earlier a heroine's career was over at 30. Today, you have a Sonam Kapoor whose career has just taken wings at 30. The traditional divide between the Madonna/ whore has blurred. The vamp has all but disappeared. All this is reason to celebrate but I continue to be troubled by the 'item number'

Under the guise of celebrating her sensuality which is welcome the item number reduces the woman to becoming an object of the male gaze and commodifies her. Lyrics like "Main Tandoori Murg Hoon Mujhe Gatka Lo Alcohol Ke Saath" is being gyrated to by 6-year olds and leads to the sexualisation of children. In all humility I'd caution our talented female stars to pause and think and then make an informed choice.

Also, the film makers must see the difference between stalking and courtship. No means No, not yes or maybe! Eve-teasing is unacceptable. However, we have much to celebrate. Empowerment of women is no longer a buzz word it is central to the development paradigm.
All in all, let's celebrate and pay homage to all those wonderful women who struggled for equality and created the path for us to traverse on.

Happy Women's Day!"

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