I used to frequently read about ‘Sati’ — a woman, irrespective of her age, sacrificing her life on her husband’s death. Today, in this century of progressive India, we are witnessing a ‘new era Sati’. Here, she does not die with her man, but succumbs to his family’s decision of not letting her live beyond a few months. The number of girl child deaths in our country are no more just statistical data to be analysed and concluded with a reports. The mission to save the girl child now needs to be our daily agenda, completely focused towards bringing a positive change.
A day’s revolt, dharnas and slogans can be effective, might even bring about media attention as well. But for how long? Its effect may last for a month or so and then what? What medicine do we need then which will have a long term effect? The prescription is ‘empowerment’.
We can define empowerment as a process of awareness, effective decision-making power and control leading to transformative action. Most importantly it involves at the psychological level women’s ability to assert themselves. Every women needs to be empowered and feel empowered. From a very young age, a girl needs to be instilled with a belief that she is capable of achieving anything and overcome challenges in her own capacity. Every mother needs to understand the importance of sowing the seed of awareness, confidence and self-belief in her daughter. It basically starts and ends with a woman playing the lead role to eliminating this deadly disease.
Education and work opportunities have shown us the way a woman is going forward but these are form the later part of the main story. We have witnessed several educated women who have succumbed to their family decisions and allow such atrocities to happen to them. So, the change needs to start from the beginning, in our minds. The new age Sati will need no prohibition act to stop the practice, it will just need a step from woman herself, to empower herself and make the change.