Status of Minority Women at Baladmari Char No. 2 of Goalpara District

Mala Ghosh

Women are said to be the backbone of the society. They are considered as the main potentiality for the all round development of society, nation, country in general and family in particular. So, all round development of women is most essential. A society can be said to be civilized if the status of women in that society is high. But we observe that in most of our community the scenario of the status of women is very poor. The present paper tries to present the status of minority women of Baladmari Char No. 2 of Goalpara District.

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Women are regarded as the symbol of love, beauty and politeness. We see that behind every successful man there is a woman. In ancient India women are worshipped as goddess. Possibly their status was high in the society. It is historical truth that women took part in every activity related to the state. They even participated in war. The women were a great force of freedom struggle. Without the active participation of women the independence of India would never have been possible. But with the passing of time the society faced many changes. Gradually the status of women is coming down in our society. Though the Constitution of India is not gender biased, in reality women are not given proper status. In most of the cases women are performing traditional gender roles as wife and mother. In the 21 century, we are speaking of women empowerment. No doubt in this new century status of women is upgrading in one hand and on the other hand harassment of women has reached its height. Specially woman of the minority communities are facing more problems. These women are still shackled to traditions, customs, age-old superstitions and belief, orthodoxy and dogmatism.

Aims and objectives
i) To study the status of woman in every sphere (social economic, political, educational) of Baladdmari Char No. 2
ii) To examine if the overall environment is suitable for the women’s status.
iii) To show the total population of this area.
iv) To make an attempt to give suggestions regarding women status that is prevailing in this area.

Descriptive and field study methods are used in this research. Primary data are collected from the office of Matia circle and through field study such as observation and interview. Secondary data are collected from book, journals, etc. Four trips were made to the area. After the collection of data analysis is done.

Baladmari Char No. 2 is situated on the south bank of the river Brahmaputra. It is under the Matia Block in the Goalpara District. This area is located at a place 3 km. away from the district head quarter of Goalpara. The total population of the area is 7767, according to the census report of 2011. The number of women is 3767. 99.6% of the total population belongs to the Muslim community. The remaining population is schedule tribe. All these people have to work hard for their livelihood.

Women status depends mainly on their rights, privileges and the roles assigned to them most often on the basis of gender. Status is determined to a great extent in terms of socio-economic indicators such as income, property, education and skills that open up opportunity of employment, better health and the ability to determine important events in life even when others are opposed to them. These indicators are also, vitally interlinked with the concept of power and position. It is widely acknowledged today that one can’t hope for gender equality unless women have a share in the decision making process in the family and in the public sphere. We have made a study on the minority Muslim women of a char area called Baladmari Char 2 of Goalpara District. The purpose of the study is to find out whether the status of women of this area is well or not. This enables them to access the rights and opportunities provided to them by state society and socio-cultural institutions. The survey was sample survey. 80 women were picked randomly as sample.

Educational Aspects
Education is the key input for the development of individual as well as the society. Equality of sexes has been treated as the basic tenet of modern democracy. Education is treated as an input for achieving such a status. But at the Baladmari Char No. 2 women are unaware of their rights. It is found that above 75% women are deprived of the right to education. Majority of the people are poor. The high cost of education causes the parents’ inability to send their girls to higher educational institutions. The boys are sent to school but the girls are not sent. They can’t afford their children. So they can’t think to send their girl children to school. During our survey, it is also found that they have to end their education for domestic problems. Some of them are kept as housemaid. Girls are thought to be only for household works and reproduction.

Social Aspects of women in this area
In our observation we find that most of the woman are still shackled to traditions, customs, age-old superstitions and beliefs, orthodoxy, dogmatism like conservatisms. purdah system, dowry system, early marriage, widowhood are still a strong problem of women in this char area. They remain suppressed by their respective husbands, in-laws, spend most of their time in house hold chores and remain economically dependent throughout life and they also are viewed inferior in the male dominated society. In the joint families, they have no freedom, no privacy and no good treatment from the in-laws. As they are illiterate, they are ignorant of Domestic Violence Act. As a result, they have to solve their problem in the village court. They have to marry before nearing adulthood. They are also unaware of the schemes for women adopted by the government. In most of the cases, the funds fixed for these schemes are misused by the agents and political leaders.

Health Aspects
Health is one of the factors that determine the status of woman in a society. Looking at the different health indicators of Baladmari Char No. 2 women status is in bad shape. During our survey we find that 90% of women are deprived of proper living condition including water, basic facilities of health and hygiene. Proper living condition means having a healthy environment with the other creatures. 85% women are suffering from aneamia. The causes are lack of nutritional food due to extreme poverty, illiteracy and lack of awareness, etc. There is no facility for health centres. They are also ignorant of family planning. In this period of globalization they are receiving traditional medical treatment from kabiraj.

Political Aspects
Though there is 50% reservation of women in the Panchayati Raj System, most of the women of Baladmari Char No. 2 don’t have contribution to the local politics. As a result, they are used as vote banks.

i) If, we want upliftment of women of this area the government should take step to remove the obstacles for political, economic and social development.

ii) The government and NGOs should arrange awarness camps among women to provide information about different scheme of government, the laws about marriage and domestic violence, dowry, right to property, criminal law, etc.

iii) Human rights are rightly and universally regarded as a fundamental value in life. Human rights are those fundamental rights without which no power can live with dignity and freedom. So, to ensure human right of this area’s women the government should adopt sufficient policies like implementation of respective law and policy, by providing proper reservations in politics and public life, ensuring the education and training, ensuring the equal opportunity of employment, etc.

Though women are said to be the backbone of the society, they are considered as the main potentiality for the all round development of the society, a nation, a country in general and a family in particular. But women status of Baladmari Char No. 2 area is very poor in all aspects.

Political Aspects
Though there is 50% reservation of women in the Panchayati Raj System, most of the women of Baladmari Char No. 2 don’t have contribution to the local politics. As a result, they are used as vote banks.

1 Biswal Tapan – Human Rights, Gender and Environment – Viva books private limited, New Delhi. 2008
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3 Gallitippock (Shadow Asom Lekhika Homaroh Di barkhik Goalpara Adhibekhan) 2000
4 Economic View (An Annual Departmental Journal. Volume- 3 December 2014) Department of economics. Bijni
College, Bijni.
5 Census report 2011

The writer is the Asstt. Professor, Mala Ghosh, Deptt. of History, Dalgoma Anchalik College, Dalgoma, Matia, Goalpara.

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