Mrinmoyee Neog

India is a land of diverse cultures, customs, religions, and rituals. The country’s population is a massive 1,380,004,385, which is 17.7 per cent of the total world population. The sex ratio of males is 108.176 per 100 females.

Article 19 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees Protection of Life and Personal Liberty. Here, the word ‘life’ does not mean only physical existence. It means the right to live life with dignity. India celebrated its 74th Independence Day last year, but, are we actually independent? I am not referring to only physical independence, but rather, the independence of the mind.

We live in a patriarchal society where men tend to have control over everything. Women are often subjected to secondary treatment. The unfortunate reality is that, in several parts of the country, women are often made to feel unsafe, guilty, and worthless. If any untoward incident happens in the family, the women of the house are blamed for it, directly or indirectly.

But, in most families, it is not only the women who are subjected to such treatments. Often, the “black sheep” of the family is treated in a way that makes him/her feel ‘not good enough’. It is not in our hands to choose the family we are born into. But it often takes a toll on one’s mental health when a barrage of criticism and blame games are directed towards one individual. And, when the person starts defending themselves, they are often criticised for talking back and being aggressive towards the family members.

Comparison with children of other families is also a major issue in our society, leading to unbelievable expectations from the child. Comparing the child with taunts and insults dangerously affects their mental health, which in turn, may lead to dire consequences like anxiety, substance abuse, self-harm, or even suicide.

Hence, it is important to be kind, to stop the hypocrisy of dominating others, and leading a life of peace and harmony. Before becoming a Muslim, a Sikh, a Hindu, or a Christian, let’s learn to become a responsible human being first.