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Solo travel can liberate women: Chess champ Anuradha Beniwal

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Former national Chess champion Anuradha Beniwal believes that traveling solo can help liberate women.

"Traveling solo can liberate in many ways. You decide for yourself - from very simple decisions like whether to take the bus or train or whether to stay in a hostel or a hotel. One decides for herself and the 'decision making process' can be extremely liberating."

Beniwal who recently penned a travelogue titled, "Azadi Mera Brand" (Rajkamal Publications) on experiences from her solo travel across Europe currently runs a Chess Academy in London.

According to her, women in the Indian society are dictated by the boundaries drawn by people around them.

"Women in our society are ashamed of stepping outside the threshold that is defined for them by the society. Although that boundary might change according to the circumstances, the 'laxman rekha' is always there," she says.

For, the around 30 year-old, the idea of freedom is the ability to be one's own self and live life on one's own terms without having to break any barriers.

"Freedom is to be yourself. And the barriers are so many that they do get broken as you live. It is like you are caged in a glass box and you want to step out into the garden, the glass gets broken. You don't want to break the glass, you only want to go out. The breaking just happens!" she says, while emphasising that society "should help achieve this.

However, Beniwal admits that achieving this freedom is

more challenging for women than it is for men.

"Women are not supposed to travel or just go out without a specific purpose. Men on the other hand can. A man can say, 'I will be back soon,' and he will not be bombarded with questions but women can't be heard saying this very often," she says.

The self-proclaimed advocate of women's freedom says that she likes to remain free and that she has earned the freedom to take her own decisions and to live the way she likes.

"We need to work harder, get a job, get a house, get a bike or car and start living on our own terms! We need to stop waiting for the prince charming and be our own princess charming!" she says.

Beniwal, who hails from Haryana, a state notorious for skewed sex ratio and female foetecide, batted for women's rights in property and their due respect.

"We don't respect women unless they are successful or economically powerful to be respected. Sports, thankfully is given a lot of importance by the state government and it gets you employment and fame both.

"Women should be given their due in property, they need to me be more economically independent and hopefully respect will follow," she says.

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First Published: Sun, May 22 2016. 10:32 IST