‘We are a patriarchal society. Everything is in terms of ‘he’ (man). It is so deeply ingrained in our psyche that in our common parlance we address even God using the word ’he’ and not ‘she’.
‘How are we going to empower women if the girl child is being killed in the mother’s womb itself? The situation is so terrifying that in our country we have to start women’s empowerment right from the mother’s womb! The issue with its social overtone is very challenging. So, having a profound Constitution or passing more legislations alone will not help much. Woman has to be treated as an equal partner in life. Provide her proper education and recognize her property rights. From childhood a change has to happen in her upbringing style’, says Swami Agnivesh.
Bandhua Mukti Morcha together with Arya Samaj organised an International Seminar against Bride Burning and the practice of Dowry.
SATI PREVENTION ACT 1987.
The recurring incidence of Sati immolation in Rajasthan would not have shown a receding trend, but for the promulgation of Sati Prevention Act in 1987 by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the long struggle Swami Agnivesh carried out against this dastardly crime against women prior to its enactment. Pressure was mounted on the government to act by Swami Agnivesh who organized a marathon march from Delhi to Deorala when a young widow of 17 years was forced to the funeral pyre of her husband in a village called Deorala in Rajasthan in 1987. Many religious fundamentalists who thrived on the practice of Sati had to land up in jail after the law came into force.
SELF HELP GROUPS
Banskhedi is a small village in the Shivpuri District of Madhya Pradesh inhabited by extremely poor Saharia tribes, whose conditions were worse than that of the bonded labourers. BMM has organized women folk in Saharia community into 5 Self Help Groups (SHGs). In all, there are 100 such SHGs working in the State of Haryana, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.