Though I have grown up on a healthy dose of Yash Raj films where women in diaphanous sarees don't freeze to death in ice-capped Alps, it never occurred to me that insanity can be an epidemic in India. Until of course on the auspicious eve of Karva Chauth, as I sat looking at Kajol and Kareena dance up a storm, singing about about bangles and boys on an empty stomach in K3G, this link popped up on my Facebook feed.
This piece, by a certain Capt Ajit Vadakayil has been doing the rounds on the internet for a while now. His blogpost – Karva Chauth Synchronizing The Fertility Cycle With The Moon Phase caught my attention because it seemed like a spoof at first. But imagine my surprise that instead of being a spoof, the captain had instead delivered a lofty sermon to Indian women (and anybody else who cares to listen), on how they should play the perfect wife and how being a grateful wife brings one happiness. (Because women, are only get happy when they get to serve others, you see)
Lets get this straight right at the beginning - I am not a critic of the institution of marriage, nor have I bone to pick with women who observe Karva Chauth - to me both are instances of free will and independent choices made by individuals.
But the portrayal of women in Vadkayil's blog and the shameless attempt to whitewash practices like Sati deserves a response. So here goes,
Dear Mr Captain,
I, who am one of the zillion victims of 'foreign-funded' media in India, read your blog. And I was a little miffed by the fact that while you were accusing the same media of a million sins, it is amply clear that you have had no tryst with it in many, many years. Or else you couldn't possibly have said that media houses are tripping over each other to influence Hindu women. Seriously, captain? When I last checked, they were tripping over Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, onions and the Sensex. Hindu women and their right to fast - not really!
So now that I have put one of your primary anxieties to rest, I think I have made a strong enough case for you to listen to mine.
So firstly, what makes you want to propagate such a botched up idea of the 'Bharatiya Nari'?
You declare, very proudly, in your blog:
"I have been married for more than 3 decades. It never happened that my wife ate a meal before me or along with me-- for 3 decades... It never happened that I got up from sleep in the morning (or a nap in the afternoon ) and a cup of hot tea was NOT given to me by my wife , within 3 minutes , for the past 3 decades."
You call that her 'Dharma'. I call it your tyranny. You very proudly proclaim that you wife never ate before you the thirty years you have been married - that was a choice she made. Did you ever, like humanity demands, ask her to eat when she was hungry? I am assuming, no.
But then again, you have said a woman can only be happy when she has served her husband and children and by being grateful for having been allowed to serve a man and bear his children.
But, how then, are single women happy? For I have neither a husband, nor children and I am happy. Also I am grateful, not to my husband, but I am grateful for I have been educated, grateful to be living in a democracy that espouses equal rights, and grateful that I can earn my own money. I am grateful to my parents who believed in me and taught me to value education. Also, I am grateful that I don’t have to wait for other people to finish eating for me to eat. Strange in your world, but true.
Then, you say in your blog, “The white man goes HOO HAA about Sati , where the widow incinerated herself in her husbands’ funeral pyre. It has never been forced on her. When her husband was alive she knows deep in her heart, that he would sacrifice his life to protect her.” Really? You think small girls eight and ten years old, married off to men five times their ages, wanted to have their bodies charred to death, because they knew that had their 'husband' been alive, he would have protected her? And what kind of a protection does a dead person need, again? So the price that an Indian man deserves to have agreed to be the husband of a woman, is her life right? Your idea of 'Dharma', in another world is called 'murder'.
You think sati was never forced on women? Have you read history in its entirety? Do you understand why the Sati system was banned by law?
So you want women to sit at home, cook, clean, educate your children and sit at home some more? That screams slave driver. You also mention that any woman who dares to question that is 'moth eaten faced'.
But the cherry on the cake in your blog is your comment which says men who wash their wives’ dirty laundry are a synonym for a 'baby cat'. No they are not. They are chivalrous and helpful. I hate to break it to you, but times have changed.
To sum up, I would like to tell your post stands for everything that is wrong with Indian men and the reason why Indian women are one of the most abused, most exploited, most unsafe in their own homes. However, I am thankful that there are many Indian men, like us women (slaves according to you), who don't share your prejudices.
Dear Mr Captain, human rights are not the fiefdom of men. Do Indian men a favour and stop making them look so bad by bothering to pop up like this at public spaces.
Moth eaten face girl who wasn't funded by the West.
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Updated Date: Oct 25, 2013 11:47:14 IST