It is about a week to go before we celebrate Women’s Day but Amitabh Bachchan — arguably India’s biggest star — has already made the most important statement for gender equality. The actor on Thursday tweeted an image which said, “When I die, the assets I shall leave behind, shall be shared equally between my daughter and my son #genderequality #WeAreEqual.” Big B has two children — actor Abhishek Bachchan and daughter Shweta Nanda. He captioned the picture as, “#WeAreEqual .. and #genderequality … the picture says it all !!”
The move has a lot of relevance in India where traditionally a father bequeaths his all to his sons. Despite courts coming to the aid of beleaguered daughters, the tradition continues as is. Taking to his blog, the actor seems to be talking about the image when he says, “The office of the public servants that promote various campaigns are keen for this .. and so I do it .. though talking about it and exhibiting its plea is hesitating for me ..”
The actor is considered a changemaker in the country and his action is expected to at least get a discussion started. Women’s Day will be celebrated on March 8.
— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 1, 2017
Amitabh is a big proponent of gender equality and has been in the news this year for his film Pink. The film is about how patriarchy-driven India looks at women and expects them to live by a regressive code. Amitabh played a lawyer in the courtroom drama.
Before the release of the film, the actor had written a letter to his granddaughters Aradhya Bachchan and Navya Naveli Nanda. Exhorting them to follow their hearts, the letter asked them not to bend their will to social conventions. Here is the text of Amitabh’s letter to his granddaughters…
My very dearest Navya & Aaradhya
You both carry a very valuable legacy on your tender shoulders – Aaradhya, the legacy of your pardadaji , Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan…and Navya, the legacy of your pardadaji , Shri H P Nanda….
Both your pardadaji ‘ s gave your present surnames celebrated fame, dignity and recognition !
Both of you may be a Nanda or a Bachchan, but you are also girls…women !
And because you are women people will force their thinking, their boundaries on you.
They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet and where you can go.
Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom.
Don’t let anyone make you believe that the length of your skirt is a measure of your character.
Don’t let anyone’s opinion of who you should be friends with, dictate who you will be friends with.
Don’t get married for any other reason other than you want to get married.
People will talk. They shall say some terrible things. But that doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone. Never ever worry about – log kya kahenge.
At the end of the day, you are the only one who will face the consequences of your actions, so don’t let other people make your decisions for you.
Navya – the privilege your name, your surname offers you, will not protect you from the difficulties you will face because you’re a woman.
Aaradhya – by the time you see and understand this, I may well not be around. But I think what I am saying today shall still be relevant.
This may be a difficult, difficult world to be a woman. But I believe that it is women like you that will change that.
It may not be easy, setting your own boundaries, making your own choices, rising above people ‘s
judgement. But YOU !…you can set an example for women everywhere.
Do this and you would have done more than I have ever done, and it will be my honor to be known not as Amitabh Bachchan, but as your grandfather !!
With all my love
Your ….Dadaji ….your Nana.
Amitabh often mentions daughter Shweta on his social handles. He had earlier said in a post, “The most beautiful daughter in the whole world, Shweta, walks the ramp for Khosla Jani International .. a very very proud Father..”
At another point, Big B had written, “Children have congregated from all corners of the world where they were celebrating the coming of 2017, and the prettiest sound that can inhabit a home is their laughter and chatter. The daughter, having come in a day before us has very thoughtfully designed and decorated the house, and prepared with her own hands the dinner delicacies for all.” He had added in the post last year, “Sitting out in the ambience of the open air ‘angan’ of the house, it is divine and so filled with emotion. Daughters are very special and mine, Shweta, must be the most beautiful in the world. Daughters are the best.”