Taming the Shrew…

De-fanging the Goddess,

Its woman’s day and the day begins with a whole hoard of simpering celebrate womanhood message, which is not only annoying it is demeaning and a colossal lie.

Starting from Sita, Valmiki’s Sita is not very aggressive, but she is assertive, but by the time it came to Tulasidas, who has displaced the non-judgemental story we have a Sita who suffers with her husband, conveniently the Urmila who  is abandoned for 14yrs of her life is totally forgotten, some stray mention of her here and there in some feminist conference. We are so busy inflating Draupadi, who to me actually represents the psyche of a woman, through her aging we do not talk about it.

Sita was a Kshatriya woman, if the women of Brahman cal households grew up scholars, daughters, and wives of teachers, women of Kshatriya houses grew up as warriors, warfare was part of their learning, caring of horses, political and statecraft was something that they grew up with. So defending herself from Ravenna should have come spontaneously in her… and why draw a Lakshman Rekha (this incidentally appears from Tulasidas onwards)  why not empower her to protect herself? Of course the doyens of patriarchy and Neo-Hinduism will talk about destiny, and her role in the larger event of things, but honestly there is something that we are not acknowledging here.

The visible proof of kshatriya women being trained in warfare comes with Kaikayi being Dasharatha’s charioteer, and then nursing him back from a war wound. Kausalya’s knowledge of statecraft is amazing.

Savitri’s powerful feminine energy is put down to the “sati-savitri” syndrome without understanding that she was a woman, who choose to marry a man who was doomed to die in a year, she brings him back from death, not because he is her husband and it was her wifely duty but because she choose to exercise her choice and manifest her power. We fail to acknowledge that and glorify that fact that she was a wife.

Somewhere I think these stories were re-rendered to fit into the pattern of patriarchy and neo-Hinduism.

Majorly because the textual stories which are considered authentic are written by men, many of them bachelors or definitely estranged marital status, so women and their role goes unacknowledged. The folk renderings are more natural where the woman takes her place.

Shakespeare could much lauded, and everyone might say that it was in the lighter vein but “taming of the shrew” is one of the most insulting plays to women.

When it comes to post colonial India, there is a strong change of concepts that are constantly being bombarded through the media that is the woman is weak, she has to be protected, she should not earn more than her husband, she should not be more educated than her husband oh! We assume that more educated means more knowledgeable… even if she is she should not voice that is patriarchy is being drummed in systematically.

Let’s not go very far, look at the 2014 election clippings of Priyanaka Gandhi we have a fiery woman, who takes on Narendra Modi, lashing out… look at this article by Thampu he has reinvented her into for the current election, the fiery woman has been clothed in a more demure garment of being low profile, choosing a modest college, dedicating herself to noble causes and coming into the political arena reluctantly to bail her brother out, thus defanging another powerful goddess, between you and me, I no great Priyanka or any Gandhi-Nehru fan, I definitely will not vote her to represent me, but none the less, I think her fiery nature should be acknowledged, if she wants to be a political power why not?

Just look at the rubbish that gets telecasted as television shows, demure girls with their heads covered, I wish the world would realize that being a biologic girl does not automatically put a girl into the cook, and clean slot. If she can go out and earn the man can jolly well cook and clean. He is not doing his wife a favour.

When I read Anandamath I realize the all potent mother goddess, who wild and energizing is restrained and constrained to become the domesticated Gauri, even when she reclaims her power she can only become a jagjanani and not a jagadhatri.

 

Human Trafficking.

indichangeLast evening  at the university circle there were about 6 two wheelers all of them rented with young boys and girls, the girls bordering obese, wearing shorts and singlets and an alliteration with the cop was going on, they were harassing the cop. With them were two Goan boys  they were sex workers hired by the girls. If the police are to be believed these girls rent the boys along with renting bikes, the cost varying whether you want rent a european or Goan.

The cops say that this is a routine happening over long weekends, tourists come down rent bikes, but what was more scary is rent boys. So week-end at Goa is all about booze and sex.  ARZ  a nodal NGO , against human trafficking and goa police had this to share with us.

Human trafficking is the 3rd largest revenue generating business in the world after drug and arms trafficking.

It is the only business which requires no investment or very less investment and the profits are picked from day one. despite human trafficking being the grossest form of human right violation worldwide.

The victims of trafficking are the most victimized,exploited, stigmatized and un supported group. On an average more than 4000 individuals become victims of trafficking each day in different corners of the world. The average age of the girls has dropped from 15 to 13.

The national human rights commission report, 2003 page 353 states that Goa is among the states that has high levels of human trafficking.

There are some myths that go with prostitution

Prostitution happens when individual women desire to sell their bodies—fact– prostitution is the result of trafficking, the third largest organized crime in the world. It involves systematic procurement, sale, transfer, solicitation and prostitution of women and girls both with or without their consent.

Women and girls sell their bodies because they want easy money and are addicted to sexfact—women and girls are made to sell their bodies because they become victims of trafficking perpetrated by procured, agents, brothel keepers, pimps, and even their own family. The perpetrators make most of the money, not the women. The women remain enslaved and cannot exit because no other alternates are provided to them.

Prostitution is a necessary evil, without prostitution good women would be raped.fact – there is no linkage between the phenomena of rape and prostitution.

Prostitution is the oldest profession and cannot be stopped.—fact – prostitution is the exploitation of human rights and a result of trafficking. If there is a collective will to do so, trafficking can both be controlled and stopped.

Women in prostitution are criminalsfact – women in prostitution are victims of crime of trafficking and traffickers are offenders under the law.

Trafficking women/girls with their consent is not an offence. – fact – section 5 of the immoral traffic prevention act specifically states that the trafficking of women with or without their consent is punishable with imprisonment for up to fourteen years. In the case of a minor the punishment could be for life.

stop human traffickingThe trade of prostitution in Goa is carried on by non-Goans and it is not a goan problem.—fact—Goans are involved as customers, male keeps, procurers, lodge/massage/discotheque owner.

These were inputs shared by the Goa police and the ARZ NGO which deals with anti trafficking.

“unless we fight for the victims and champion their dignity, we will not be able to embrace fully our own dignity as human beings.”

Contacts if you come across anything that suspiciously looks like trafficking.

09422438109      email: arzindia@gmail.com          web: www.arzindia.org.

 

 

Band Baaja –Bakwas

band baaja brideWomen’s day again.

Last month I was in an auto travelling from Majestic Circle to Yediyur Lake, as we drove along we crossed a wedding hall where the floral decoration of the previous wedding was being taken out, and thrown on the roadside, this was being picked by rag pickers. Simultaneously decoration for the next event was being put.

“50,000/Rs. for the decoration amma, 50,000/Rs. on flowers which is thrown in 8hrs. It seems so criminal, when 50,000/Rs is the annual income of many families.” Commented the auto driver. How right.

Being a wedding planner has become a career option, with planning destination wedding, hiring actors to play relatives of the bride and groom, I have met people in Kurushetra who have this “season mein shaadi mein kaam karte hain” careers where affluent Delhiwallah’s, or NRI’s actually hire people to fill in various roles. Kalpana a friend of mine who drifted into wedding planning says,”HumTum tarah maduve beku” that the wedding has to be like the one in HumTum.

Gauri someone or the other was presenting her point of view about how TV serials are reflections of life. Well then the world is a dangerous morbid place that we live in.

Constant bombardment of certain issues does create a cult and newer attitudes.

When we were young a orthodontist was consulted only if the occlusion was very bad or aesthetics was really bad. A  prosthodontist when you fractured or lost your tooth. Dentistry has advanced far ahead. But it is not dentistry I am talking about here; I am talking about the loud lifestyle that we seem to be adopting.

The Hindi movies, and serials, show dowry deaths, humiliation of the girl’s parents because wedding was not arranged well enough, or unreasonable demands from the groom’s family to the girls. This could be reality. But it is also creating a lifestyle trend.

The TV show Band Baja Bharaat, chooses small town girls, of upper middle class families this creates a subtle want initially, then becomes a trend until it becomes mandatory. Gauri whosoever was very clear the purpose of the serial was to make the viewer go and buy the product, expensive jewellery, clothing and travel, are the sponsors. The show ends with the hosts talking about honeymoon plan.

election2014The marriage begins after this… probably next move would therapy vouchers for NDTV sponsored relationship counsellors, some out of work actor would always be there who did Psychology in standard 12 and a few weeks course on spiritual buzzwords.

I won’t even talk about things like the costumes that are designed. The very sanctity of the wedding is lost, a whole lot of money blown on nothing. Maybe it is time we took a good look at what we really want as a society before letting US returned MBA’s create content for us.

what are women’s issues?

forgotten

An activist I am told emerges when a person’s butt is on fire. Mine is kind of getting warm.

Do excuse me, for another day; I shall complain about intelligentsia and women’s day before tackling the issues.

I remember a friend in travel and tours telling me that some destination, the survey was people travelled more to the south as compared to the north. So southern region of that destination was more popular. Now the crux of the matter was, the hotels were in the south, so people travelled south. The hotels were in the south because the airport and the train terminus were in the south!! Maybe if there were more hotels in the north, people would consider staying up north.

The same goes for women’s issue, the only thing people spoke about was

  • Sati
  • Nirbhaya.
  • Child marriage.

Excuse me but has your candle light vigilance reduced the rape incidence? Has it made the victims life less traumatic?

As for Sati it is an extensive occurrence in the north. But that is the majority, population’s problem.

My immediate retort was how—

“UP and rest of Hindi belt has the highest population.”  Think again

If you were to consider India in its totality from the north to the south, the non Hindi speaking, non cow belt areas are larger. The women there face different issues.

Khasi women inherit the clan and clan headship which results in thwarted male persona. If you are not comfortable reading social anthropology I would recommend the book “the shadow men” where you will find how the Khasi society works. http://kitabikida.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/169/

Everybody is busy trumpeting widow remarriage, as if they were the messiah’s of a revolution, yet the shetty community has had a sanctioned relationship between a man and woman who are bereaved of their spouse. The first one would be a marriage after that the relationship is called “kai-pattampina” which translates to forging a bond. This has been nullified by the great Nehruvian integrated India.

Nair women had the freedom to throw their spouses out, whether they exercised it or not was a different issue the society allows it.

The women of Gujarat told the urban social workers “don’t to improve our lives on the criteria of yours, if you really want to do something then help us with what we need.”

We had a Fulbright scholar who was  thought all other women came over for free lunch and to listen to her gloating over the ekta-kapoor serials.  She somehow did not seem to realize that “be thin—be fair skinned—be without pimples—be without body hair ” then you are successful is being drummed into every viewer mercilessly. Particularly when she concedes that the purpose of a serial, is such that the viewer is called to action to go buy that product.

No wonder life coach’s. Success guru’s and personality developers are the busiest guys today. We are constantly told to be bigger.. i’m sorry thinner.. faster..better in a linear fashion.

Hopefully at least by next 8th of March we will figure out what are the woman’s issue relevant to our area. When we are stable and at peace only then can we extend a helping hand to another.

Power of the ordinary woman

kannamma aunty as mother superior in a play

Years of clinical practise I have come across s many women many of them in their wrong side of 35yrs. I have come across women who are on a quest to find meaning in their life; they say there is a vacuum that they are not able to handle. They have done their rounds to various spiritual Gurus’ to fill that vacuum.
Maybe I should introduce them to Kannamma, many Manipalities may remember the wife of the Anatomy Professor Dr.Krishnaswamy. she was very dynamic and maybe slightly bossy too. She had spearheaded the Manipal Mahila samaj through its many activities.
Early in their married life without much ado she adopted her orphan niece.
Now at 89, she lives with her older sister Kuppamma. When both of them were mobile they went everyday to the hospital to help out people who needed simple help like someone to write a letter or someone to relieve their caregiver till she had a bath and lunch, the nurses would keep some of the work aside for them. Since neither sister could drive they had hired an auto.
Now Kuppamma is bed ridden and Kannamma is weaker than before so she goes once a week. She says it makes her humble to see the privileged life that she has lived. And it also gives her immense joy that people look forward to her coming.