What does ‘rising’ mean for women?- 3 October 2012

The last edition of ‘Persona’ had asked a question: Does the average Indian woman try to know the story of three top women in banking sector — Shikha Sharma, CEO and MD of Axis Bank; Chanda Kochhar, CEO and MD of ICICI Bank; and Naina Lal Kidwai, India Country Head of HSBC? And the answer was: If the average Indian woman tries to know the story, she will begin rising.

Let us discuss the word ‘rising’. What does it mean? What connotation does it have for present-day Indian woman? 
The answer to this big question is complex and big, and dares almost every definition that is available. Therefore, this ‘rising’ requires a detailed and in-depth consideration, not by thinkers but by average Indian woman. For, it is in seeking for the answer will the average Indian woman find a way up — rising. 
Of course, this is not a new issue for women. For, many thinkers as well as others have contributed to the thought in quite a detailed manner. Yet, the word ‘rising’ needs a more serious consideration that it has got so far. The more serious does the average Indian woman become in seeking a clarification of the word, the better it will be for her. 
Does ‘rising’ mean making a lot of money?
Yes, and no. For, money is a very important factor in a woman’s rising, growth, and a meaningful assimilation in the larger world. We know for certain that the Indian woman has suffered mainly because she has remained hopelessly dependent upon the male of the species particularly in financial matters. So, there was a time when women’s liberation movement focussed on making the average woman economically independent. 
That was a very good move. For, in the decades to come, the Indian social scene underwent a massive sociological change that saw average Indian woman started becoming more and more financially liberated than ever before. 
Yet, despite all the good earning of money, the average woman did not get a sense of liberation. Why? That was so because mere making money did not mean much while discussing the issue of ‘rising’. On the contrary, many leaders of women’s liberation movement felt that mere money did not bring a sense of liberation to Indian women.
Then, what does ‘rising’ mean in a true sense? 
So, the next response was ‘education’. All the definitions of education, however, referred mainly to a narrow meaning of the word. Education was treated as a tool to liberation. In a way, that is true. Yet, the attempted definitions did not consider ‘education’ as a path towards spiritual liberation of the woman. On the contrary, some social thinkers even debunked education for education, for spiritual upliftment, for soul enhancement. 
Here we come to some sensible level of thought about ‘rising’! From this angle, ‘rising’ means an opportunity to rise above the mundane, a chance to refuse charity and accept challenges as personality-enhancers. 
But again, there were a few who misconstrued ‘opportunity’ as something offered to women by somebody else. Unfortunately, that negates the very fundamental idea of ‘rising’. For, the word ‘opportunity’ did not mean a facility given to women by somebody. For the average woman, ‘opportunity’ could not be given, but had to be snatched as part of her right to grow, rise. 
Many complex thoughts got joined in as the woman kept interpreting what ‘rising’ could mean. To simplify, we can make an attempt to redefine what ‘rising’ could actually mean for the average Indian woman.
‘Rising’ is rising above the mundane. ‘Rising’ is heaving oneself above the level fo mere subsistence, and coming to terms to a process called ‘living’. ‘Rising’ also means education for education per se, and not only as a tool to garnering whatever job. ‘Rising’ also means a freedom — taken and not given by somebody, of course — to decide whether one wanted to do a job for making two ends meet, or to use as an opportunity to snap the shackles of dependence. Another part of this freedom also meant an avenue to say ‘no’ to doing a job. 
But greatest part of ‘rising’ is an opportunity — self-created, of course — to be part of the larger world on one’s own terms, one’s own choices, one’s own freedom to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to something, planning one’s own life without getting dictated by someone else!!!
This is what ‘rising’ can be, and should be.

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