In life, we believed there is always a second chance. And I believed everyone deserve that second chance especially for the very deserving without any conditions. I recently read a very well written article “The Widows of Manipur” by Shaswat Malik posted on Roads & Kingdoms.com website, an independent journal of food, politics, travel and culture. The article breaks my heart after knowing the present social circumstances of the widows of Manipur who have lost their husbands to the regions insurgency related conflicts, and per se the ultimate victims of the draconian Armed Forced (Special Powers) Act. It is very sad to know that the widows have not only lost their husbands but the worst is the society lack of empathy and respect to the widows going by the article.
In our society where we have always held high regards and respect for women; and who have always taken an active role in shaping the history of Manipur but how unfortunate is for the widows who deserve to start anew notwithstanding their lost which could have been prevented otherwise! It is very presumptuous of us to question a widow character when ours can be more or less questionable. Alright, I’m a bit harsh with my statement but why not? It is because we can accept a widower coming home at night after work whereas it is questionable for a widow. And here we are finding ourselves at the aisle of gender discrimination once again.
Rather than accepting the core principle under the ground of humanity and equality about a person who's working on her fair share of very deserving second chance to start anew but instead we let our egoistic and sadistic minds to feed on the victims just because they are widows. Tell me, is this not gender discrimination? If the general consensus is, a Sati would be more honorable for the widows; look into the eyes of your grandmother or your mother or aunt or sister or wife or daughter or niece and make your stand, once and for all. Otherwise we are no saintlier than the sexual offenders languishing in jail. However, don’t forget the fact that we come from a society where our women contribution to our society is larger than life.
Remember the Nupi-lan, when our Manipuri women folk waged two historic wars in 1904 and 1939 against mass exploitation and artificial famine triggered by the British imperialists. Remember the 12 women who stripped their clothes at Kangla fort screaming their outrage at the rape and alleged custodial murder of Thangjam Manorama, a 32-year-old, by Assam Rifles, and thereby to safeguard the chastity of our state from sex predators in future. Remember our Iron Lady in Irom Sharmila, who is still fighting for us so we can have better future free from the draconian law ‘Armed Forced (Special Powers) Act, 1958’. Remember our Meira Paibi, our torch bearers. Mary Kom, the face of Manipur who have brought nothing but triumphs and laurels for our country! Please note that these people have something in common, i.e., they are all WOMEN!
The widows of Manipur deserve nothing but our love, respect and support. Same goes for all the widows around the world.
Food for Thought: “A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.” Coco Chanel.