Why Do Girls In Kolkata Enjoy Greater Freedom Than Their Northern Indian Counterparts
India is a diverse country with a rich tapestry of cultures, languages, and traditions. Within this diversity, there are regional variations in the way people live their lives, particularly when it comes to gender dynamics.
One noticeable phenomenon is the relatively higher level of dignity enjoyed by Bengali girls in Kolkata in particular as compared to girls in other parts of the country.
While it is crucial to avoid generalizations, this article aims to shed light on some of the sociocultural factors that contribute to this perception.
Education and Literacy
One of the most significant factors contributing to the dignified life of Bengali girls is the emphasis placed on education and literacy. Bengal has a long history of valuing education, with renowned institutions like Jadavpur University and Presidency University. This focus on education has empowered Bengali girls, providing them with opportunities to pursue higher studies and, subsequently, meaningful careers.
Bengal has a deep cultural heritage that promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women. The legacy of reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, who advocated for the abolition of practices like Sati, and the literary contributions of figures like Rabindranath Tagore, who championed women’s rights, have left an indelible mark on the region’s cultural fabric. This cultural ethos promotes the dignity and respect of Bengali girls.
Women in Politics and Society
Bengal has a history of women taking active roles in politics and society. Powerful grassroots movements led by women have shattered the glass ceiling and inspired younger generations of Bengali girls to pursue their ambitions without limitations.
Bengali society is known for its close-knit families and communities. This often results in a strong support system for girls. Families in Bengal tend to be more accepting of a girl’s aspirations, whether it’s in education, career, or personal choices. This supportive environment can significantly contribute to a girl’s sense of dignity and self-worth.
Progressive Legal Framework
West Bengal, in particular, has implemented progressive policies and laws aimed at protecting and empowering women. There are several government-sponsored schemes that support the education and well-being of girls, and various women’s rights organizations, have contributed to the overall upliftment of Bengali girls in Kolkata and nearby areas.
Bengal’s festivals and cultural celebrations, such as Durga Puja & Kali Puja, underscore the role of women in society. The worship of goddesses like Durga, Maa Kaali, Maa Jagadatri, Mother Mary, and Maa Saraswati showcases the reverence for female deities and idols, by extension, the respect for women in everyday life.
It’s no surprising why Kolkata has emerged out as the safest city for girls and women as compared to rest of the cities across India. In addition, it’s essential to recognize that India is a diverse country with varying regional dynamics, Bengali girls, on average, do enjoy a relatively dignified life due to a combination of cultural, educational, and social factors.
However, it is crucial to acknowledge that challenges still exist and that the pursuit of gender equality remains an ongoing journey, even in Kolkata and West Bengal as a whole.
Empowering girls and women across India is a collective responsibility, and the progress made in Bengal can serve as an inspiring example for the entire nation.