Earlier India was one of the most backward countries. No doubt it was rich in resources and rich metals like Gold and diamond and hence was known as 'Golden Sparrow'.
Since it was not so developed, the society and thinking of people was also backward. Most of the population lived in the remote areas and hence circumference of their development was restricted.
Whenever a society is in the phase of underdevelopment, the section which suffers the most is the women class.
Women in India till today, despite this much development, are suffering and considered as a burden by many.
In the ancient period when Marwari rulers were ruling in some parts of the country, and the Mughals arrived, the Sati system was prevalent in the society.
Under the Sati system if a husband dies while fighting a war, or even by natural death, a wife too has to die with her husband. She has no right to live life further. She would sacrifice herself by jumping into the bowl of fire or on his funeral pyre.
After man, woman cannot live, she has to end her life. How can one be brutal towards someone? Sometimes if any of the woman didn’t want to die she was forced by the society to commit suicide.
Women were forced to live in the house to serve the family under purdah. She wasn't allowed to eat first, or along with the family members.
Today women themselves have adopted this system as their culture. They won't eat food until their husband does. That time it may be done forcefully, but today they have adapted it.
Women in one or the other way have to suffer a lot, because society has put so many rules and regulations on the women, from which they cannot come out. The system of Indian society is so dominating today even on the literate women.
Earlier child marriage was so normal. Every second girl was married at the age of 10-15 years. It didn't matter how old the boy was, he may have been a 35 year old man.
Education was not a priority in earlier times. Girls were not sent to school to receive education and hence at the age of 10 they were taught to work at home and then get married.
A time came when the Sati system was abolished from the society, which was a relief for the women section, but still she was never relieved.
When a girl after child marriage or a woman becomes a widow, again she was given a life worse than jailer. She was imprisoned in a room with a beam of sunlight. She was offered food separately. She had to live alone. She was neither allowed to meet anyone nor allowed to attend any family function. She wasn't allowed to marry another man, if she wanted to. The remaining entire life she had to live like she had no existence in the society.
This was the system made by the people of the society and everyone forced each other to follow it. What if someone doesn't follow it who the hell they are to beat, or to implement rules and regulations on anyone? This is what every individual needs to think about.
This was the system of the ancient period and slowly the thinking towards widows improved. The system of child marriage was also abolished, but as the history is the evidence that, Indian society cannot leave it's roots no matter how much it develops and adopts western culture.
Now the society has brought a new culture to the market. People don't do child marriages of their girls. They do child engagement in which at the age of puberty she is booked for a man or a boy. This becomes a symbol that the girl is now eligible for marriage. She is stopped from going to school. She learns the household chores and isn't allowed to come out of the house until she gets married.
After a few years as soon as she is near the legal age of getting married, they get married. Did anything change? No. Despite laws in the Constitution nothing changed. The only difference is they follow the criteria of legal age. The basic rights are still not given. The system continues to be the same.
The above mentioned case is in one section of society which I have seen first hand. There can be many other sections which are unknown where girls might be facing worse conditions than this.
Whenever a girl is born in the family, the first thought that comes in the mind of the members specially parents is how we will get her married. In India people worship goddesses, but when they come to know the gender of the baby in the womb and if it's a girl they decides for abortion. The level of hypocrisy is too high.
No matter how educated a family is, how much society says that women are equal to men, no matter how many laws and privileges given to a woman, except few parents , all say that we have to get our girl married. They consider their girl as a burden, not everybody but the majority. Parents work, earn and save because they have to get their two girls married. It doesn't matter how capable the girl is, at the end they just have to get her married. Is marriage the sole purpose of life? I wonder.
We are saying that the standard of women has improved. As compared to earlier times, it has improved a lot. But the true development is only when every woman and every section of society enjoys equal rights to that of man, not only in the field of education and basic rights but the equality at ground level, in behavior, in consideration and in preferences.
The ancient roots of evil society are very strong in India. We have adapted that evil system as our culture and don't want to rise above it. We are proud of our culture rather than questioning it. If we don't follow our culture and do something different, it is said that we are being influenced by the western culture.
The roots are too deep and strong. It would need centuries to uproot them. The struggle is so long and hard that not everyone wants to fight.