‘Shackles of Society’ – Hashmita Khalsa


All my life I have believed that “God made men and CREATED women.”

It is indeed a boon to be one. We frequently talk about gender equality and other such burning issues of the society. I believe, men and women complement each other. They are the YIN & YANG in the continuum of life. But I have also realized that not all of us are able to cherish this boon of who we are. It seems to be a gigantic task to uproot the age old mentality of the perceived bias in the gender space in our society. This definitely calls for a reality check.

We women, I believe, are the stronger gender. We have a compassionate heart that knows how to love. We do cry often and are courageous enough to accept our weakness. We are capable do anything that our mind can think of .Yes we can live all alone by ourselves. However we do not shy away from accepting the fact that we are incomplete without you. We do complement the other gender, don’t we?

I sincerely believe that both men and women complement and complete each other, with their strengths and weaknesses.

Women’s liberation and rights have been much talked about across the globe. However the situation is pretty much skewed still. While there are deliberations over women’s liberation and pledge for parity in one part of the world, a scared and lifeless Nirbhaya is breathing her last breath unable to comprehend the trauma that she just went through. While there are associations of women entrepreneurs and professionals advocating policies and solutions for equality at work-place, there are millions of women who are suffering from domestic violence and mental trauma. When a nation is celebrating the success of top women entrepreneurs, a small village in the hinterlands is celebrating the child marriage of 9 year old girl with 25 year old man.

Such is the dichotomy in the country.

What could be the possible reasons for such a high contrast in gender treatment?

The lack of education or the courage to stand up for oneself?
The stifling patriarchal system or the gender role conditioning?

Let me share a small story of Ira and Ravi, a modern day couple.

Ira was a charming & attractive girl who had weaved a few dreams of her own but had very little expectations from her family and society at large. She was lucky to have been born in a family that supported her dreams and let her fly high. All that she wanted for herself was good education so that she could support herself financially and be independent, always. Her confidence grew once her parents encouraged her to choose a non-conventional career over the stereotypical ones.

As the story unfolds, Ira gets married at the right marriageable age to Ravi.

She had barely met him twice and yet agreed to marry him. Maybe she felt he was right, maybe their families were known. She knew this would be a different phase of her life, away from the comfort of the known. Yet one never knows the degree of change that one might face after this phase of life.

It was barely one year of their marriage and misunderstandings started cropping up between the couple. Ira , the jubilant and cheerful one, was now battling depression owing to the discord between her and Ravi. In the course of years, Ravi’s business fell apart adding further responsibility of the family on Ira. Though their relationship was dead and lifeless, they brought in kids. Ira took upon her to provide for the family as the better half and contributed financially through her work. They were like room-mates, behaving as couple to please the family and society. While Ravi was a caring father, he was hardly bothered about the financials. Maybe lack of money didn’t bother him, but it bothered Ira that he wasn’t worried about future.

Day after day, she went through the same routine. Not because she was in love but only because she did not have the courage to walk out of this dead relation. Societal pressure of maintaining a marriage and the fear of public shaming stopped her from taking this step.
Who exactly was at fault here? No one in particular but just the situation and different mind sets.

I leave you with a question here.

Even in 2016, educated and enlightened women are still finding it difficult to live a life on their own terms for the fear of societal ridicule. They still stay in the institution of marriage, not because they want to, but because they have to. They are capable of providing for the family, they are accepting the role reversals too. However are men able to adjust with the role reversals in the modern society? 

Can the society , made of us all- men and women, give this very basic freedom to choose a healthy life of their own choice regardless of gender ?

( The Featured Image is an artwork by Wendy Carter)


Hashmita Khalsa is an Image Consultant, Coach and Motivator at Pearl Images in Ahmedabad. Having studied Educational Psychology & Business Management, Hashmita loves to bring transition in people’s lives through her Image Consulting & training sessions. She loves reading, writing, styling and designing as well.


3 thoughts on “‘Shackles of Society’ – Hashmita Khalsa

  1. I’m a married woman. Happily-married, so perhaps among a rare percentage of society. And perhaps not the right person to answer this. I would still like to share my thoughts. I don’t think it’s easy to give a definitive answer to whether it’s right time to move out of a marriage. Every relationship is a complex equation where a lot of things are involved – family, kids, love, finances, personal fears, society etc. To say that a person is in the relationship just because of society would be demeaning. Every relationship requires sacrifice and adjustments. Marriage into another household is a big change. No two families are same, no matter belonging to same caste or different. Should a woman start questioning her marriage at every problem she faces? Should she have a limit number on how many times she adjusted while how many times the other(s) adjusted? When does she say that this is not acceptable to me?
    These are very complex questions and the answer is very very individual. I think domestic violence or accepting derogatory statements should be a strict no-no. But, even when that happens, my first step would be to fix it once and for all. Means, give it one more chance. If it persists, then I evaluate.
    My thinking is a family/home is a constant work in progress and not easy to make/keep. One should try at it as long as one can. But, there always needs to be “respect” in that.

  2. Since I have gone through a divorce after 5 years of marriage, I understand to some extend what a woman goes through and why she stays in a bad marriage. There are many fears which you have to face before taking such a decision. Fears of being alone and if you are a mother fear of being selfish where your child carries the brunt of your decision.
    The main problem is the tolerance level. I mean, everyone has a threshold in their mind on what they will bear and what will make them walk out. Sometimes it take years to reach that threshold and sometimes you never reach it because as years pass your self worth drops. The problems is passive aggressiveness where the husbands/families will b horrible but as soon as they sense u are getting distant, they become sweet again. Confusing you, make you wonder whether you are being fussy, whether all marriages are like this itself. There is the fear of being alone isolated by society and family. It is a very difficult situation and there are lot of mental barriers one has to break to take this step. The worst are the cases where the husbands ‘arent so bad’. They take care of the finances and are considerate but you don’t love them. You are just living with the person because you have no other choice and you don’t feel justified in leaving. I compare it to eating a biryani which has no salt. A biryani is royal dish and has cashews n all exotic stuff but it is quite useless without salt. It has no core.

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