Ae meri zameen afsos nahi jo tere liye sau dard sahe,
Mahfooz rahe teri aan sadaa, chahe jaan meri ye rahe na rahe…
Teri mitti me mil jaawa, gul ban ke mai khil jaawa,
Itni si hai dil ki aarzoo…
On the occasion of the 71st Republic Day this year, I kept hearing this recent song everywhere. Yet, every time, it brought tears to my eyes.
I have not lost a loved one in the war, I do not have a currently serving military man in the family, but what I have is love for the country. Because I am an Indian first. I also have protective feelings towards my fellow country men and women. I want the people of the country to live in safety, harmony and freedom.
Yes, we women are capable of loving the country, not just our families. Women from time immemorial have loved the country and proved themselves to be highly patriotic.
I read an informative article about fifteen women who helped draft the Indian Constitution back in the ‘40s. We hear about various women and their contribution to the country from time to time. Right till today, when we saw Captain Tania Shergill on Republic Day 2020 as the first woman parade adjutant,.
What surprises me is that we women are still not completely accepted as capable of doing whatever we want. After 71 years of Independence of a country where women have played a fairly big role in our struggle for independence, wars and supposedly more mundane economic and scientific endeavours, we still make a big deal of a woman leading an all male contingent and celebrate her.
Without a doubt, she should be celebrated. But it speaks a lot about our acceptance of gender equality, if we are still celebrating firsts and making woman participation a big news.
I am an Indian and I want our men and women living in this country to be free and safe from not only external aggression, but also internal disturbances. Same way, I am a woman and I want the women of the country to be safe from internal and external aggression.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if the attack is from another country or within our own country. We need to put a stop to aggression. When we think of all the martyrs who fought for the country and pay respects to them, I also want to think of all the female martyrs who lost their limbs, lives and freedom to attacks by their fellow countrymen. I call these victims ‘martyrs’ because these women have helped us understand the situation women are in today and do something about it.
There is a beautiful line in the above song:
O maayi meri kya fikra tujhe, kyun aankh se dariya behta hai,
Tu kehti thi tera chand hoon main, aur chand humesha rehta hai…
which indicates the anguish that a mother faces at the suffering of her child. If we remember that even daughters are born of their mothers and these mothers were also daughters once, we might understand what goes through in the mother’s mind when her child is attacked. If we remember our own mother’s faces in time, we may even succeed in not asking mothers of dead daughters to forgive their torturers so easily.
All Eyra hopes for and promises to work on this Republic Day, is freedom for women in this country – freedom of choice. A freedom to call their lives their own.