An old lady, with hands trembling because of Parkinson’s, slowly walked to her son who was seated on the sofa in the drawing room of their freshly furnished new house. There was a certain excitement in her eyes. Her ‘bhajan mandali’ friends were waiting outside the house for her, and she had come in to take her son’s permission to go for the musical night which their society had conducted at the Ganpati Mandal. The son authoritatively looked at the watch – it showed 10:45 PM and he told her mother that it was too late for her to go there. She hardly even protested. Just waved a ‘No’ to her friends and quietly went inside.
This is nothing new for her. All her life, she has followed the orders of the male members of her family. Earlier it was her father, then briefly her brother, then almost all her life – her husband and after his demise, now her son. So even at seventy, she is not free to make her own choice.
If you tell this story to an ‘urban chick’, who has rebelled since her teenage, shaved half her head and tattooed half her body – she might boil up and pass a quick judgement that probably the woman is weak and how could she give so much power to others to control her life. She should learn to fight for herself.
But my question is – why is there the need to fight in the first place? Had it been her husband in her place, do you think he would have even bothered to ask his son? And in this patriarchal world, would the son ever object that decision of his father? So much we are talking about equality and women’s rights in this country and across the globe. But it is generations of wrong conditioning that has brought us to this point in time that rectification is taking much more time than it should. Some women are fighting for their rights but the sad part is that they have to fight them both – men and women. Men, who seem to not get this point of equality right; and women who themselves are failing at understanding what they are losing out on when propagating the wrong fundas in the name of traditions and family values. How is a ‘ghunghat’ a sign of respect, when down below you have a deep cleavage and mid-riff showing saree? Why are the men entitled to eat first before the ladies, even when the lady in the house is pregnant and carrying your heir who needs the most nutrition at this point?
For years, we have believed that these are age old traditions and education will be a one-stop solution to this problem. That when we will open the window of where the world is leading, will all these regressive practices come to an end. But sadly, education is certainly not the solution. You think the example I gave above was of an illiterate poor family? No, it was of a very well educated, professional – highly successful in his life but still carrying the torch of some really out dated and regressive ideas. Now what are you going to do about that? What’s the point of education, if it is only about some degrees in hand that can help you fetch a lot of moolah in life; but the real lessons of life it fails to teach you?
A very interesting video had gone viral a couple of days back with the message that teach your boy not that ‘boys don’t cry’, rather teach them ‘boys don’t make the girls cry’. It was such a powerful video I must admit. The message was bang on.
And hence, I say out loud to the Universe that give me a boy so that I can teach him the right things. I can teach him that he is no superior just because of a certain organ that he happened to be born with. Or because he is the one going to take the family name forward. Because we have no family name as such. He is just a child of me and my husband, with no particular legacy burdened on to his shoulders. And then I want to condition in him that equality is no favour he is doing on the world – it is how things are and should be. There is nothing he is doing exceptional by being nice to the women around him. Everyone needs to co-exist and everyone needs to be treated as equals – boy, girl, gay, bisexual, rich, poor, Hindu, Muslim, Brahman, lower caste – all these are discriminations we as a society have unnecessarily foddered. And it’s high time we breathe in a space that is free of all this nonsense.
One may ask how will my one son change the world. I will say to that – I am doing my bit in shaping the next generation right and if everyone else also did their little bit with their little one – the world could certainly be a more positive place to live in.
P.S. My Son’s name is ‘Yuddhweer’ and he has no ‘Surname’ – neither mine, nor my husband’s. He will build his identity on his own merit. We are doing our bit, I hope people also contribute (not necessarily following this pattern, but in their little way that they think is appropriate to create a better tomorrow!)