Pride & Shame

It has been eight years since I left India for higher studies and work. It does feel a long time when I hear stories of how much India has changed in those last eight years.

incredible opinions - pride and shame

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Back in my university days in Punjab, I’d return home late commuting in the bus and never felt unsafe. I’d spend more time in university so that I could use all the study resources at university which we couldn’t afford at home. Ultimately, I was the first girl in my conservative clan to have won “Gold Medal” in academics and got an opportunity to study abroad. My father, without giving a second thought, helped me in preparing for Canada despite continuous repulsion from relatives and friends on why is he sending “a girl” alone to a foreign land.
I have been always proud of my Indian culture, traditions, values, the ‘unity in diversity’ essence and the compassion every Indian adorns. The most important pride I carried with me is the freedom - the freedom of choice and voice - courtesy of my liberal father !
In the last few years, I noticed a different picture of India. It is hard to believe that She is the same country where I am brought up keeping my head high of her being the largest democracy in the world. My heart bleeds to know about the rapes happening in the country and finding that not even little girls are spared from this brutal crime. We read articles, we protest on the streets, we debate on news channels, we debate in parliament, we pass few “strict” laws to ensure girls’ safety. Do they make a slight difference?
Of course not ! Delhi wouldn’t be stigmatized with the rapes of minors in the last 2 weeks.  I am ashamed even sitting 50,000 miles away from India, the country who has given me my legacy and prepared me to prove my worth on a foreign land and to make her proud. No matter how fair I fare, only a single mention of unsecured women in India is enough to bow down my head in shame amongst my friends in Toronto !
Today, Canada’s federal elections were held. My riding has all the 4 candidates as women. I am so proud once again for something which I’ve always dreamed about happening in India. Women in power is a long way to go. First, we have to ensure that they feel safe in India even in daylight. When will my birth country achieve this? Long way to go my friends !!!
Charity begins at home so let’s just start making a difference from our own lives. Let your daughter feel that you are lucky to have her in your life and let your son know the same. Educating men about women rights is equally important so that they don’t treat women as piece of trash. 
I wish every girl child is blessed with a father like mine who would give equal respect to her so that she could also be proud of the country and the family she is born in !