Women, work and religion | Milaap

Women, work and religion

This is a dream, which people have made into reality. A place which has all the facilities like business park for emerging companies, huge temple for the young and old, a mall that is yet to open, bungalows for NRI who prefer lush green lawn, open spaces, landscaped garden and definitely there are apartments for the middle class. This is a dream that people have converted into reality, an apt space for everyone. I look at beautiful faces every day, these faces are not only beautiful but the thoughts and deeds are equally striking. What is the thought process behind the positivity?? It’s because the prayers and teachings are all about, "pure soul within you, respecting every living being and good karma". But I guess every good story has a villain and these villains are also part of the community pretending to follow all the principles of this teaching.While studying political science and it’s the surrounding topics it always felt exploitation in any form was not acceptable and being a girl I would never let the society take over my choices. But after observing this place I realised inequality had made space for itself within the formal sector. Also the weighing scale preferred bending more towards the male than the female (this is debatable though) but observing this space in Gujarat, I realised how difficult it is for women to meet their daily needs with an income that leaves you with nothing. Its not that these women lack skills, or are not qualified. They are well educated, but the exploiter is well aware that they do not prefer leaving this space as the religion and the community organise activity twice or thrice in a week leaving them with no option but to stay and earn within the space instead of venturing out.Complying with the principles and teachings, the workers have given an opportunity to this mediator that has made exploitation as something which has become a natural phenomenon. Yet men have privileges at work place. They can ask for a hike in their incomes, after all they are the “bread earner”, can be argumentative, wages differ too. Whereas, if a woman gets up to speak about her needs and demands she will be tagged as "outspoken".“It’s the month ending, but hey don’t expect “over time money!!”. You are religious, should not be demanding, not complain about petty issues. Money should not matter to you because religious people live a life in austerity. Despite of working honestly they end up working longer than they should be because their hose is located near to the working space, but not get paid for it.I want to say money matters a lot, it gets me food that gives me energy to work at your place, and it is a source of happiness to my family, not for me but for my family needs!! I don’t want a fancy life, I don’t dream of it but I want to be treated as equal, ‘treat like as like’. “I am human, and want to live a life of dignity, I shall never beg because I earn from my labour. But you, your deeds will be held by karma”.This experience was narrated to me while I was sitting at Trimandir (temple) and a girl approached mumbling something in Gujarati. To which I replied “I don’t understand Gujarati” Her curiosity to know where I worked and where I stayed, made her narrate this experience of living and working in Adalaj. I had asked her whether she looked for jobs outside this zone, to which she said the companies outside demand two year commitment of no marriage and no birth.Religion is one beautiful experience. The rich culture and heritage attached to it, takes you to a different world. It’s not important to follow, believe each and every bit of it but just enjoy its existence, beauty. But one needs to be careful since its purposes have earned some directly or indirectly. Karma will take its own time to see who has accumulated good files or bad files. There is no harm in being aware and asking for what is right."Be loyal to your religion if you want. But loyalty at work place, only when it deserves."[caption id="attachment_7521" align="alignright" width="1360"]I guess there is a need for "Gulabi gang" When women are oppressed, groups like "Gulabi gang" emerge to save the day! However in this case one has to be her own hero, because exploitation in any form is not acceptable!![/caption]