Goddess Speak: We Let Ourselves Die

By Antara Banerjee in Fashion & Lifestyle 08/06/2017

Behind the suicide of an IIT scholar in Delhi, a struggle between new ambitions and old restraints

When I read this report, I felt a tremendous anger rack my body…why did she have to take her own life? That takes a lot of courage. Why didn’t she use it to teach her tormentors a lesson they wouldn’t forget? When will this self-inflicted sense of vulnerability and tendency of self-destruction leave women?


Manjula was more educated than any average man in India as was she successful. She was, what we would call ’empowered’. She knew of legal remedies, she knew how to get out of the messy situation in her life. Then why?!!


Just a couple of months back, I had framed a debate on the topic ‘Women LOVE to be Dominated’. The topic drew a lot of flak, especially from women. They were all in denial. They wouldn’t accept that women let themselves be overwhelmed by their circumstances, despite all their education, success, legal aids and avenues to get out of troubled or humiliating situations. This self-pity and self-destruction is hard to digest. I am disappointed with Manjula. I am!


Help Yourselves


Though Manjula’s case is tragic, annoyance overwhelms me. Why must women feel so vulnerable? What will help them to overcome this sense of helplessness if education, financial independence, exposure to liberal environments, personal success doesn’t? If tradition and conservatism become the deciding factors in the path of empowerment, the journey is going to become immensely unpredictable and difficult. Because help can only reach those who seek it.


Too smart vs too Obedient

And this is not one freak tragedy we can rue upon and set aside as an individual’s weakness. Majority of women, as my topic suggests, ‘Love to be dominated’. They even look down upon women who are independent and self-driven. Those who break free or seek remedy for injustice against themselves are considered as trouble makers and too smart for their own good.


Do not be that girl

In India, docile and self-effacing women are prized and looked upon as role models. A woman who gives up her life to save her family honour, one who gives up her own good for her family, one who gives up her career to raise her children or just to please her partner’s ego is applauded. As if a woman’s merit is only in renouncing and sacrificing. Even dying is glorified in this strange concept of feminine virtue.


Women are intrinsically giving, because of their motherly instincts. Nature made them that way.  But that must never come in the way of her growth or well-being. This is an education and orientation women need today.


Be Fearless. Be Inspiring


Unfortunately, I see most women depriving themselves voluntarily or undergoing torment even when there is a way out. They make it an absurd kind of virtue to remain in those unfair circumstances and present themselves as ever suffering and nonetheless forgiving souls. Is this a fear of taking charge or walking this tough path alone?  I don’t know if that’s an easy way out that they seek, or want to revel in the glory of self-sacrifice or just don’t feel up to it!


Antara Banerjee

Author of ‘The Goddess in Flesh’ and ‘To be a Woman’, Antara Banerjee is an ardent commentator on social issues. Masters from the prestigious Goldsmiths College of London and graduated from Presidency College, Kolkata, she is now the Creative Head at Fourth Dimension, Mumbai. She is also the Head, Women Empowerment Committee, Rakshak Foundation, Kolkata and the recipient of Udaan, Empowering Women Awards, 2016 for her outstanding contribution in women centric literature.


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