The early Roman society treated them as chattel, in France they were labelled ‘half-soul creatures responsible for the destruction of society’, the Chinese are known to have called them the ‘devil’s soul’, and Arabs buried them live as they were thought to be a ‘form of disgrace’. I am talking of women. The first sordid fact that links societies and the past with the present is that the position of women hasn’t changed much. Words may have changed, but the mind-sets remain the same.

Specky was reading as I wrote the first paragraph and said, ‘But I have all the rights here. I enjoy being with you.’

‘That is because we don’t have a khap panchayat sitting in our drawing room,’ I answered, and then added, ‘nor do we bother about the lakshman rekhas that people like AsaRam, Bhagwat, and Vijayvargeeyas keep muttering about.’

We then wondered why our present was so full of people with a vision as distorted as to keep insisting on what women must not wear or what women must never eat and drink, or where they cannot enter or why they cannot enter certain professions or even go on and read certain books! Yes, why are there so many NOTS knotting up the lives of women the world over. I can say with a lot of assurance that even the western world with all its liberal thoughts and processes has areas of darkness where women are still groping around (pardon the pun, it is unintentional!). So this makes me write why so many men still insist on groping the wrong way?

According to the 2001 Census, the percentage of female literacy in the country is 54% up from 9% 1951. I’m sure this figure is much higher today – but the point is if this level of literacy is helping remove women-specific taboos or not. Literacy helps only if the literate not just begin to think independently but also empower others to do the same.

This brings me to the most important keyword that is freely being bandied about these days: Empowerment!

I asked Specky, ‘What do you think of this word empowerment?’

‘You don’t beg for it. You just work for it,’ she answered without pausing for even a second.

‘You know what, ‘I said, ‘to work for something is quite different from fighting for something or just snatching it.’

Specky smiled and answered, ‘When has fighting ever led to resolutions? If you wish, you can define this as a fight or a battle or even war, but it will always remain a strategic thought that needs to be inseminated into our society.’ She then went on to tell me how empowerment was made up of multiple, interrelated and interdependent dimensions that included the economic, social, cultural and political planes. Resources, perceptions, and relationships were tightly woven around any form of empowerment one could ever discuss.

After this small discussion on empowerment and women, I sent out a series of tweets on the subject, calling them the mantras of empowerment. These mantras are listed below… and because I tweeted them on the 26th of January, the Republic Day of India, I thought it would only be appropriate to have that many number of mantras. Of course, the list is unending but coherent thought always need boundaries to help them get together and churn out a reasonable conclusion before getting on to the next phase of the evolution of that thought-chain. These mantras are written as a guideline to men-folk to read, understand, and implement.

Mantra #1 – Spell W-O-M-A-N correctly.

Mantra #2 – Realise that MAN is a part of WOman and comes later!

Mantra #3 – Listen when a W-O-M-A-N speaks… she always makes sense.

Mantra #4 – Remember that change begins from ME… so reformat your attitude if needed.

Mantra #5 – Remember that change begins with ME… and also from ME… so be the source of change too!

Mantra #6 – ASSIST women to realise their potential and RESIST from pulling down their aspirations.

Mantra #7 – Rip apart old & redundant ideas about women that have silently watched them being ripped apart!

Mantra #8 – POWER isn’t a synonym for ‘senseless acts’… it is respect in disguise. Respect women.

Mantra #9 – ‘Opportunities’ isn’t a word meant for only men… women have all the right too!

Mantra #10 – Women have an army of new ideas to share & new ideas need an army of women to make them alive!

Mantra #11 – Women aren’t the edge of reason, they are the reason itself…

Mantra #12 – Women are the alphabet of life, the language of existence, & a full-stop if troubled!

Mantra #13 – What, when, why, where & woman… all begin with a W. Women were made to be decisive!

Mantra #14 – Empowerment always starts from within a person… women must begin to believe in themselves!

Mantra #15 – Change happens from within, so even men need to nurture an inherent respect for women.

Mantra #16 – The mother in a woman teaches man to stand straight… respect women for this.

Mantra #17 – The wife in a woman teaches men to remain straight… respect women for this.

Mantra #18 – Who says women are helpless? They can fight for you, with you… & even without you.

Mantra #19 – Women, like diamonds, are great to admire & hard enough to cut into any problem. Respect them!

Mantra #20 – Women have reached positions of decision-making & power through merit & grit, not sycophancy!

Mantra #21 – Empowerment isn’t something that can be gifted… it has to be realised. Women know this.

Mantra #22 – Women & empowerment are synonyms without seeming to be, just as mortals & Gods are the same.

Mantra #23 – Women know how to open doors closed doors & close doors that must not remain open.

Mantra #24 – Change in perception happens when both men & women say: ‘Yes, we can!’

Mantra #25 – Women don’t need ‘reservations’. They are looking for the right to be partners in evolution!

Mantra #26 – Gift your CONCEPTS some clothes & don’t allow them to run naked & make a fool of themselves!

All I was actually talking about can be summed up in these points:

  1. A woman’s own assessment of herself matters a lot
  2. Women need to understand what they want and just do it
  3. Realise that action that women initiate is going to create new mind-sets
  4. Women need to remove or resolve the conflicts that arise when contradictory thoughts or ideas are promoted by other women
  5. Talk and demand after removing any frivolous thoughts or those ideas that are oozing with emotional melodrama

This post is because I sent 26 tweets for this hashtag #RepublicOfChange addressed to @METabletFromHCL on the 26th of January 2013.

Empowerment for women

Empowerment for women


Arvind Passey
30 January 2013


Featured image: Original here