We have been brought up in a democratic society where we speak of equality more often than not, capitalism is detested by majority of nation for creating gaps instead of bridging them and a quest to cement grounds of equal footing for everyone seems to be the driving idea among masses.
But does equality really exist or for that matter does it even have a practical implementation as a meaningful term or is just a term of convenience? Have we not been told since our childhood if we don’t study well, we would rather be begging on streets or working as a daily wager, isn’t education a mean to ensure disparity instead of equality?
Rather equality has a conditional connotation, we usually implement it where a behavioral response is needed as empathy. Apart from that we don’t really care of it or are least bothered to take a step ahead to ensure it. In most cases, we don’t even want equality, we need an edge or control over things as compared to others. “Sapiens” – a book about evolution of humans also suggests on similar lines - humans have continually evolved seeking greater and greater control over all species, including its own and united on the basis of ideologies, a common cause, but never on equality. behavioral response is needed as empathy. Apart from that we don’t really care of it or are least bothered to take a step ahead to ensure it. In most cases, we don’t even want equality, we need an edge or control over things as compared to others. “Sapiens” – a book about evolution of humans also suggests on similar lines - humans have continually evolved seeking greater and greater control over all species, including its own and united on the basis of ideologies, a common cause, but never on equality.
While there is a second school of thought which claims that we, Humans have evolved as a species over millions of years into a more cultured, civilized society which values these ideals. There is a quest for the rights towards equality, right to education for all and devised laws to ensure no one is oppressed and all are punished equally for the similar mistakes.
Speaking of law, law came into being to ensure just treatment, discipline and implement a uniform code of conduct. An avenue for an aggrieved to approach the authorities to seek redressal, when the terms of treatment/ working are faltered against a defined and agreed set of rules. Sounds reasonable and fair, but are we really sure that laws have been articulated to treat everyone equally or for that matter, are the law enforcers perceive the law in a similar fashion?
A pertinent example would be of marital disputes, are the men treated the same as women in the eyes of the law, why is there a soft corner, prejudice for women? If emotions or historical data is the foundation stone, does it really remain law or is it a belief or a hypothesis? Still confused, or ready to challenge the same, let me help you with an example. Assume one of your friends approaches you seeking help in a scenario where your friend has been abused at verbally as well as physically. In which scenario would you be comfortable and confident that the law would ensure justice, or act immediately or may even put the other person (accused) behind the bars on prima facie evidence, if your friend is a male or a female. If your answer is that the law would treat both the situations equally and expedite the case at the same speed irrespective of gender the plaintiff, then law justifies its actual meaning and is fair to all, While, if your response is different for different gender then it isn’t a law but a hypothesis trying to address a majority of population may be but not all equally. Isn’t it similar to dictatorship then?
If capitalism is extending the gaps of equality so is a law with prejudice, and if not injustice, it would definitely lead to oppression of one section of society and its misuse at the hands of the other. Most pertinent examples would always be gender related, esp marital disputes, we have seen the angle of historical data and a preconditioned belief playing a great part if not in the outcome but definitely in the proceedings of the matter where men are declared culprits at the outset and are made to run from pillar to post to safeguard their families and themselves. While I spoke of misuse of law, here is a perfect example, to put additional pressure, his family and relatives are brought into the line of fire of legalities to make him weak in his knees and give into the demands of the other side. We speak of women empowerment, but not in such cases, where equality is taken for a toss just because law is bent on the basis of historical data and prejudice, most definitely convenience.
You might feel the law ought to be bent towards one side since women have been oppressed for far too long and too much. It may also sound fair to ensure justice is served to majority, if not all, esp. in such a large population like ours. For a moment, it sounds fair to me as well. While I am slightly confused and unsure if serving majority is a solution esp when I speak of my next example.
I was running through some data and let me present the same to you as well, out of the entire working population in India, there are about 30% women and rest are men, and further, there are about 11% households where women are the main earning members while for the rest 89% households it’s the men. Now, if we go by the belief of serving majority rather than serving all equally, it should rather be an acceptable phenomenon that all women may be asked to leave their jobs first in case of an economic slowdown or any extreme situation demanding employers to curtail their expenses. Since, lesser households shall be impacted and justice shall be served to the majority. Easy and quick. Historical data of workforce split across genders would also justify the hypothesis. If we agree with the first and disagree with the second example when it comes to serving majority, we aren’t even accepting hypothesis equally.
Let us come back to law, Law detests dowry and I completely agree it ought to be abolished, since it is no obligation on woman to pay a certain amount to formalize a relationship, as it is a mutual decision of two consenting adults to spend their lives together. On the other hand, alimony is very well accepted even in the eyes of the law to help settle disputes. Let me summarize, it is illegal and punishable by law to seek money to start a relationship while it is perfectly acceptable to seek money to end the same relationship. There are Court Mediation centers, Mahila Thanas and there is this society we are a part of, facilitating the same.
I leave the thinking and imagination part to you as a reader, esp., in the case of relationship/ marriage disputes. We as humans have distinct desires and expectations in our lives with our selves, our careers and our partners. Do we not have to accept certain failure in any of those domains and take a corrective course of action to improve on the quality of life and quotient of happiness. Are we not touted to make mistakes and should we not be given fair chances of correcting irrespective of which gender are we from rather than staying with the wrong decisions or left to fight them for no good at multiple fronts?
A bond of relationship is a bond of trust and compatibility and it also has chances of failure, like everything else in life, hence there shall be avenues to mend it or end it for the purpose of life is to live, not pay back. Let the laws be fair, don’t make them turn draconian to serve one gender and turn humans into devils.
This article has been published with permission from the author Akhilesh Yadav, who recently volunteered for the cause of true gender equality.