A Helping Hand

A picture is worth a thousand words. And sometimes, it’s worth a thousand stories.

Through hand gestures, I have tried to narrate the stories of countless women. Women have endured physical and mental abuse through the hands of society at every stage of their life, from being rejected even before they are born to being controlled all through their life.The olive green canvas symbolises a blurred newspaper and the hands depict the faceless victims and their known attackers. Each image narrates a story, which is not meant to be repeated or replicated, but to be rewritten. 

The first image is about the widely prevalent violence against the girl child. The inherent paradox in the way girls are treated in our society is disturbing – she is revered as a goddess, yet her freedom is restricted. She is fiercely protected as a prized possession, yet physically abused. She is a joy to behold, yet also considered a burden to bear. She is at risk – from the society, people around and sometimes, her own. 

The minute a girl is born into a family, her father starts saving money for her “future”. Here, “future” does not just imply having a career or starting a business, it is mostly about getting married. In our society, a women’s ultimate destiny and achievement is to be married to a suitable groom, from a family of similar wealth and social status. While a sufficient dowry may guarantee a “suitable” match, it does not necessarily guarantee any happiness. The second image tells the tale of how we emphasise marriage over education & independence. 

Patriarchy is so deeply ingrained in our society, that it has permeated through all aspects of our life – social, political, economical, financial and even cultural. This bias is so deep-rooted that even in a seemingly innocent game like chess, the queen, despite being the most powerful, has to sacrifice herself to save the king. The third image draws parallels between an innocuous game and the way women are controlled and manipulated in real life. 

But, there is hope. It is up to us to eradicate the wrongdoings from our society. It is up to us to be that helping hand, which cuts the puppet strings that control women. To be that helping hand that arrests the hands that kill instead of care. 

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