TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Exploiting the vulnerables
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 28th November, 2006



The ordeal narrated by a HIV positive woman and published in the November 27 issue of this paper is once again a grim reminder of how vulnerable are women in our society, especially young widows.

It is time we began to seriously question ourselves and try to rip away the mask of social hypocrisy.

We are a people who take great pride in setting aside a day known as Nupi Lan and we also take great pride in show casing the unique Meira Paibi movement to the outside world.

However all these amount to nothing but sheer hypocrisy if we take reality into consideration.

The November 27 story was about a woman abandoned by her in-laws and her natal home after the death of her husband but in many ways it also mirrors how society perceive young single women or widows.

Why has such a situation been created that young widows or single women are viewed with suspicion or with a leer, to put it crudely, is a question that should start doing the round.

Why has such a social system come into place that young widows or single women are seen as some vulnerable entities that a man can take advantage of their situation ?

Why does a woman feel vulnerable and not safe if she does not have a man around her ?

It is this social conditioning and the fixed mindset of society that we should tackle with the seriousness the matter deserves.

The Manipuri women enjoy a special status in the history of the land and today if AFSPA has caught the attention of the international community it is because of one woman - Irom Chanu Sharmila and not the macho, road side Romeo or the lecherous old man we see on the road side !

Perhaps there is nothing more despicable for a man to take advantage of a woman who is in serious need of help and the greatest tragedy is society seems to accept such behaviour.

For the Manipuri society to move forward, we need to be more sensitive.

We need to be sensitive to the plight of young widows or single women who have no one to support them.

By this we are not suggesting that such women need our sympathy, but the least we can do is to stop viewing them with a fixed mind set or through some perceived notions.

In fact the social reality is such that a young widow or a single woman with no one to call her own, is seen as some 'available material.'

This has to stop.

It is common knowledge that quite a large number of young women have been widowed by the spread AIDS.

Not only have these women been affected for no fault of theirs, but her immediate family members are also known to have practically ex-communicated such women within the family.

Next, the young widow has to face an insensitive society plus some men with questionable character, who will not hesitate to take advantage of her vulnerable position.

It is not only a question of physically and morally violating a woman, but is also about the general perception of society towards women who have been placed in a precarious position, for no fault of theirs.

We don't believe in delivering lectures on morality or how an individual should behave.

But yes we are definitely concerned about the way society as a whole view women, especially those placed in unenviable positions.




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