Mountain of Tenacity!
The role of women in Indian society is too often viewed as a kind of liability. For families that are not well-off, this dangerous idea sometimes translates to women being subjected to neglect and poor treatment. Female injustice takes place in various forms such as – female infanticide, lack of education, child marriage, marrying a younger woman to an older man, re-marriage forcefully to inappropriate person, sexual assault, girls getting inadequate diet and various other forms. Even though women have a higher status in our scriptures and religion but in the practical world they are treated as an inferior creation. They are rejected of their basic rights of liberty and equality.
This is a true story about a woman named Urmilla who had the strength and courage to fight against all odds and create a respectable life for herself and her kids.
She is a living example of determination and grit and a source of inspiration for us all. Urmilla’s struggles started at an early age. She was deprived of education and did school only upto 3rd grade. She was asked to work in the fields, milk cows, do household activities and works in the neighboring houses. When she was 15 years she was married to a man double her age. In her married life she was treated poorly by her husband. Her husband took her to stay in a shanty in an extremely interior place far away from her mother’s house.
She used to eat gooseberry from trees to satisfy her hunger after boiling them in a furnace before eating. She had to work hard the whole day. Her husband used to engage in domestic violence. She was not given proper nutrition, nor given any money for personal use.
Insufficient diet, lack of sleep, domestic violence, hard labor, and the task of maintaining the household became unbearable and she decided to go back to her mother’s house. There she was mistreated by all the family members. Both her brothers started fighting because they did not want her presence and her mother always considered her sons first and started neglecting Urmilla. They asked her to plough the fields & milk the cows in the day. She worked during the day in other neighboring houses and often in her absence her mother used to take her money which she saved from working in the neighborhood and give it to her elder brother who never worked.
She then once again decided to go to her husbands house thinking that after a long break from each other, the relations may improve and they may live well together with each other. During this time she conceived her first child. Jyoti her first child was soon born. She then went back to her mother’s house as she had no better place to go and the same story of mistreatment began again. When Jyoti was 4 years, she thought to give her husband another chance, because she believed that on seeing his daughter, he may realize the value of a family and consider improving their relationship. Everything was well for a few months. She conceived her son Ajay during this time, but soon she had to leave her husband’s house again because of the mistreatments being repeated every day.
She had no other option but to go back to her mother’s house. As she now had the responsibility of her two kids, she started working hard outside at her neighbors to feed her family. Her inability to breast feed her son, the hard work took the toll and she started falling sick. Her brothers wanted her to remarry, but with the responsibility of her two kids, she feared entering into wedlock again. Her brothers blackmailed her to leave the house.
Her father was kind, but did not have enough say in the family. Her father insisted not to take the kids along because she had no proper dwelling, and let the kids stay with their grandparent’s. But in her absence, her kids were treated miserably and she refused to continue this further and took them with her.
She then came to Bhopal looking for a job and started living in a shanty. Since she was not educated she did not get a job where she could afford a decent quarter for herself and kids. She then started working in homes to earn money to educate her children and provide for their basic needs. No one came to support them. While growing, her kids slept on a hungry stomach many a times. She used to tell her kids that she has eaten outside so that the children may get sufficient diet to keep them healthy.
When Jyoti grew up a little, she started working hard. She never purchased new books in schools and used old books taken from other kids for her studies. She knew the importance of studies and to support that she started teaching younger students along with her studies.
After schooling she started working in a hospital as a receptionist and alongside she completed her MBA. Then she worked in a private company as an assistant accountant. Soon Urmila’s family started a decent living. Jyoti voluntarily took her family’s responsibility on her shoulders. People soon started criticizing Urmilla for living on her daughter’s income. Jyoti had decided that she won’t marry unless her brother completes his education & finds a job for himself. Jyoti earned & supported her brother’s education, and soon he also completed his MBA. They both were very hard working kids, never took any outside coaching, and never failed and simultaneously earned enough to fund themselves. People criticized Jyoti for various reasons as she went to work to support her family. Urmilla and family then avoided meeting people socially as everyone were treating them horribly.
Urmilla’s mother and her brother’s still don’t support her. They had an ancestral property which they sold for a few lakhs, but did not give Urmilla her share, in spite of seeing her struggling so long. Urmilla was innocent at heart and she signed the papers but received nothing in return.
Urmilla soon told her daughter, that she need not worry about family responsibilities as her brother had started earning and now consider the marriage proposal she was receiving. All Urmilla wanted for her daughter was to live her life happily – a piece of wisdom which many need to learn.
Urmilla and her son still live in a rented house but Jyoti is now married to a great boy in a lovely family. Her son is working in a Private Bank & he is also engaged to a lovely girl in Bhopal who is a fashion designer by profession.
As a single mother who had to provide for her family – education becomes a great pillar of strength. Urmilla never had a proper education for herself but her life experiences made her strong to provide education to her children. In India, education is not considered a priority in case of daughters. People fail to realize that education does not only help economically but also helps to process emotions in a positive way and healthy way. It helps her to be aware of her rights as an individual. Separation further illuminates the gender bias. After separation a woman has to take the responsibility of rearing her kids because of the fear that her kids will be mistreated just the way she had been.
The most important fact to keep in mind is that your daughter is an individual & has a mind, body & soul of her own. She is the ultimate caretaker of her life. To support her & see her happy does not mean to bind her to matrimony. Her getting married isn’t the end-all-be-all of her life, it’s just a step along the way that many young people hope to take, so it should ultimately be her decision whether she wants to get married or not & whom to get married.
True self confidence means she needs to be an advocate for her own story, where she is free to make her life choices without being judged especially for the wrong reasons. Education will help your daughter in her journey to freedom. What you really want for your darling daughter, the little girl who you cradled in your arms & watched grow up, is success in her life. Equip her with the self confidence she needs to be the best person and support her in reaching her highest potential with your powerful motherly love. She needs you now more than ever as her biggest cheerleader, especially if things are getting difficult on her journey towards marriage and life. Urmilla is the best example. She stood for Jyoti in all times inspite of her background story of struggles.
Though we have achieved success in various spheres of life, the dark areas of humanism do exist even in modern days as of now.