When a woman speaks...

Oho.. yeh kya kardiya behen.. What was the need? See how you’ve got the country busy. Toxic men and women falling all over each other to put you in your place. The simpletons are not used to this you know. Historically we love silent women. Strong, pious, resilient but silent women. Compliant women. They are our favourite kind.

Archives have recorded brave incredible leaders, rulers, men who fought for power, dignity, or their people. Men who we all admire. And men who made incredible mistakes but made it to history books because they were MEN who made incredible mistakes.

And while the men were busy conquering the world and making it a better place, where were the women?… nowhere to be found!

We are remembered for supreme sacrifice - like Rani Lakshmi Bai or Rani Padmavati. What’s the point in knowing their backstory? Tyaag and sacrifice, that’s all they care about.

Then we are remembered for being great partners to great men - like Kasturba Gandhi, Jodhabai… What’s the point in knowing about their aspirations? Loyalty and piety, that’s all they care about.

And what about those who didn't fit in the above two categories? For them there is the Mother Teresa status. Great caregivers - one dimensional stories. No need to know more.

Now don’t get distracted by the thought of millions of women who were strong, courageous and fought battles that will never make it to dinner table conversations let alone history books. Don’t think about how these brilliant women must’ve lived in shadows, knowing and maybe believing that what they spoke about will be forgotten.

Develop a little empathy. Don’t you know they fear women who assert? Those who refuse to toe the line? How inconvenient it is for the poor junta - Not knowing how to deal with the ones who don’t give a damn. What else can they do to pin you down? Compliance is important no? If you speak up unnecessarily, what other option there is apart from reminding the world you are unsanskari. Of bad character. Ashleel. What other option than defining you by the only thing that truly is unique to you. Your sexual identity.

Remember how Cleopatra is known for her incredible sex appeal that she used as a manipulative political weapon? Remember when we actually realised she was a brilliant ruler and strategist who is never referred to as that?

Remember when Sania Mirza rocked at tennis, how the sanskar-ke-thekedar were busy frothing over the length of her skirt?

Yes yes, I hear you. We had thought that it being 2021 and all the world will be an easier place for women with opinions. But ab nahin hain na… ? Calm down, now. Don’t be over-sensitive. Aren’t we always told that? Then listen to the kind well wishers and their good advice. Stop calling it misogyny now. Be a good girl.

Yes darling, I know you are demanding a valid conversation, a good, solid debate. But who will you debate with? They're nameless gargoyles on the other side. They aren’t listening & want no argument or second opinion, so there will be no debate.

There will be attacks though. So be ready for it.

BUT... if you won’t settle for this. If this grates your nerves. If you are feeling as angry as I am. If you’ve had enough - Then don’t stop speaking.

Don’t stop making your point, demanding to be heard and standing in solidarity with those who are not being respectfully heard. Refuse to join the choir that knows but one song. Let’s play our song with many voices, so many that it drowns the uproar of the gargoyles and the harmony of plentiful perspectives soothes the ear of sore monotones.

Let’s continue to speak. Let the world catch up. Let them adapt to the voice.

The voice that emerges, when a woman speaks.

naghma mulla

Owner of the loudest laugh in the room and a development sector professional by day, Naghma is a by-mistake CA, who writes what she feels and feels what she writes.