Our Declaration of INTERdependence
Eighteen years before India won its independence, the Indian National Congress issued the Purna Swaraj, aka the Indian Declaration of Independence. The document described the various ways in which British colonialism was exploiting India—and concluded with a pledge to gain full freedom through nonviolent means.
Below is an excerpt from the first paragraph of Purna Swaraj:
We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth….The British Government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually.
Now, let’s re-read the same passage below, but substitute the words “Indian people” with “Indian women” and the words “British Government” with “patriarchy.”
We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian women, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth….Patriarchy in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually.
Pretty accurate description of our modern day perils, isn’t it?
Although India achieved independence 67 years ago, the fruits of liberation do not apply to all its citizens equally. Our country has one of the lowest sex ratios in the world, with approximately 35 million women “missing.” Violence against women is on the rise, manifesting as domestic violence, dowry deaths, acid attacks, honor killings, rape, abduction, and cruelty by husbands and in-laws. India is ranked 124th out of 136 countries in female participation in the workforce, and 120th in female education opportunities. Women compose just 3% of legislative, management, and senior official positions, and earn 62% of men’s salary for equal work.
→ For the full story behind these stats, check out the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report.
Therefore, as we celebrate Independence Day today, we realize that patriarchy has truly limited our ability to fulfill the dreams of a liberated nation. No country can prosper to its full potential when half of its people are thwarted by violence and oppression. This is why gender equality is so important to every citizen’s shared goals of prosperity, stability, and peace.
This is why today, Badal Ja! is issuing a new declaration—a Declaration for INTERdependence within India.
Interdependence recognizes that every citizen of India, both man and woman, are emotionally, economically, ecologically and morally reliant on and responsible to one another. It recognizes that this nation will never get ahead if we leave our women behind. And it recognizes that every one of us must work together in order to achieve gender equality, and thus build a more flourishing and liberated nation.
So, this Independence Day, join our (r)evolution, and pledge your support to an Interdependent India. Post the image below on Facebook, or Twitter, or wherever you like to share your passion—and be the change this nation now needs.