Dear Amitabh Bachchan ji,
On 4th September, 2016, on Gauri Ganesh Vrat day, you penned an extremely touching, inspiring letter to your dear grand-daughters. By the time I read it and saw your video, it had already been shared by almost all the ladies I knew. And why not?! It is every girl”™s dream to have for a grandfather, a person who not just accepts her for what she is, but also encourages her to forge her own path. In India, when men in their 20s and 30s still want to restrict women from doing what they want to do, you have made your granddaughters (and millions of other women) feel that they can cut through the cobwebs of judgmental minds and live a full life. Your one sentence “˜Never ever worry about ““ log kya kahenge”™, is like a boon to the young girls of this modern age who are still shackled by chains of narrow-minded customs. I applaud you for your letter.
But Sir, please may I request you to write a letter to the men of tomorrow, boys who are of your grandson”™s age. My request is because it is the need of the hour “¦ we need boys to be aware that they too need to step out of the moulds of the same narrow-minded customs and conditioned thinking, that are today affecting our girls.
Please sensitize them to the fact that when a classmate asks for help in doing her Maths homework, it is not because she is dumb; maybe she just excels in all other subjects than Maths.
Do tell them gently that today a woman can start a family on her own, without a husband, but she still chooses to marry because she believes in love, in tradition and above all, in her man.
Please tell them that just because a girl chooses to become a homemaker, she is in no way inferior to the girl who decided to choose a career for herself.
I have a sweet teenaged son, who loves watching sports, especially football and cricket. But I have noticed that when the matches get over, what is forwarded most are scenes from the after-parties, where the Star of the Match invariably has scantily clad girls going gaga over him. Please do tell the young boys of today that it is Discipline and Training that builds up the personality and it is Excellence in the sport (or any area) which stays with the person, not arm-candies.
Do exhort the young males of our country to realize that there is nothing more heinous than forcing oneself on any female. Also make them realize that when a rape is committed, it is the man who should be abhorred and vilified, not the woman. In a rape a woman should not lose her moral standing in society “¦ it should be the man who should be labeled as immoral.
Like your granddaughters who shoulder a very valuable legacy, there are many young boys who shoulder the respected legacy of their family. Help them realize that it is not a leeway to forcing their way around justice, that they should not misuse their lineage to get undue favours, that in no book does legacy outweigh individual talent, effort and hard work.
Also encourage the young men of today that when they start their own enterprises, they treat women as an equal, not just when it comes to work, but also when it comes to salaries. Remind them to be sensitive in times when the lady has to put her family before her job. If a woman is made to feel guilty for it, it would be the society”™s loss, because unhappy, guilt-ridden mothers make unhappy families and ultimately a unhappy society.
In this age of change, women are standing up for their rights, but it would be a difficult world if women have to fight for it. Women should have equal respect and standing in society, not because they are demanding for it, but because they Deserve it; it is their Right and not a dole. Young male minds have to be molded to this thinking, because most of our past and present generation of males (obviously not all), believe the reverse to be true.
You are an idol, an ideal for not just the present generation of grandparents and parents, but also for the future generation of parents. By writing to your granddaughters, you have set a path on which they can walk with pride. Do write to your grandson too, so that he and many others his age, blaze a trail where men and women walk with equal respect and pride, where they are true partners in success and happiness. Our Nation will thank you for it, not just now, but also in the future. Jai Hind.
Rati Hegde (a simple mother)