By Sai Prasanna Lakshmi Guluru
India gained its independence in 1947 but women are still not independent in India. Women and men are still not equal in this country. There are many in our society who believe that we, women, cannot live alone, that there are certain works that we cannot do, who prefer to have a son so as to not pay dowry in the future, and that, above all, believe that we need someone to protect us. Therefore, every woman has to get married. The stigma and judgment that those who want to live alone face still remains, especially in rural areas.
Through this piece I would like to share some parts of my personal story. For example, my parents wanted to have a son at all costs. My mother had four daughters until she finally gave birth to a male. Until then they did not relent, although we were and are a very humble family.
A woman I know got married when she was 25. During the first years of marriage everything went well. They had three sons and the husband respected her. However, the relationship between them started to worsen. She wanted a divorce; to leave him, but where could she go? She dropped out of her studies; she had no job, no income of her own or property. Nothing. While I am writing this, I know that she is still staying with him. She did not finish her studies and today she cannot be self-reliant.
When I get to know things like these, I cannot but feel lucky for having the chance to study. But at the same time I feel sad for all those women whose opportunity towards an independent future was stolen.
If she would have had education, if she would have had her own income, she could move forward from her unhappy marriage, start a new life with her children. She would have been free. That is the burden that she will have to carry all her life. That is why education is a right of every human being, and we, women, should claim it.
Society will always try to manipulate women but education will give us the strength to face it and I have hope in my generation. The literacy rate is increasing; more women are paving their way to the top, joining new fields of study and making their voices heard. Doing things that one day, someone said, that is not for you, for us, for any woman. But we are here to prove them wrong and to claim our rights and our freedom.
About the author:
Sai Prasanna Lakshmi Guluru (Anantapur, 1995), graduated in Civil Engineering and joined RDT Professional School of Foreign Languages in 2017-2018 to study German. She is currently working as a German teacher in a private school in Andhra Pradesh.