What’s Ailing Our Patriarchal Society???


Sad that it is, but reality bites and bites hard.  There is at least one news report of rape each day and each being more heinous than the other. While it is quite unfortunate, but even more unfortunate is the fact the varied comments and opinions that follows from all strata of society. The supremo of the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh, which was scene to the recent horror, retorts that ‘boys will be boys‘. His young-well educated-Chief Minister-assures a woman from media by asking back – “you’re safe here, arent you?”. A common-man from lower strata of the society after the Delhi rape aftermath, blames the higher class women for the kind of clothes they wear and their socializing, which gets them into trouble. People belonging to higher strata of society blame the ‘village boys’ and ‘village girls’ for not knowing how to behave in a society and that being illiterate gets them into trouble. And in between, the middle class reads the daily newspaper expresses its sadness for the woman in news, blames the administration, blames the police, blames everyone and then folds the paper back and forgets the story until one more breaks.


Pessimistic I may sound, but atrocities against women is here to stay in this Country. I am quite certain that if total published news about rape, molestation, eve teasing, bride torture are taken into account, it will not be even 10% of the actual occurrences of crime against women.


Most of the women, who are part of my family and friends circle, ranging from high class to middle class to rising class, have spoken of abuse in one form of another – from mild to sometimes disturbing. They form part of the remaining 90%, who chose silence over action. Well, while there may be a lot of reasons for that silence, but if broadly put, these may be clubbed as under:


i) Societal stigma of openly reporting abuse

ii) Fear of backlash from the perpetrator of crime

iii) Acceptance as part of woman’s life


Shocking it may seem, the first reason is prevalent not only outside the family but in many cases, inside the family as well. Instead of showing support, the first question that is likely to be put is ‘what were you doing with that boy?‘ ‘What Will People Say‘ is perhaps the biggest hindrance to effective reporting by women of the crime that takes place. Sadly, my understanding of our society/families of today is that it is more concerned more about their acceptance in the society rather than the individual interest of the family member. An abuse may ruin a life in family but still that abuse should not come out as it will tarnish the “family’s image and name”.


Second and third reasons are inter-linked to a large extent. Perhaps the most common reason for not reporting is the backlash by the man in question. While in most cases, women are blamed for falling in the trap in the first place, but the Man who puts the trap is seldom questioned. This is where Mulayam’s idiotic “boys will be boys” comes in. Trust me, this attitude is not restricted to that one man alone. It is not uncommon to find father’s going ga-ga over their son’s machoism and being proud of their son for having little mischief. While woman may indeed fall for a guy but there has to be a trap to fall on, which in most cases is laid down by men. This unfair treatment given to men by asking them to be carefree and expecting women to stay away from ‘trouble’ and imbibing this culture by families and society is what makes the most modern of women go many steps back and accept this as part of life.


This acceptance as part of life is as retrograde as sati system of 1700s and 1800s and child marriages of early 1900s. It is interesting to note that the sati system as well as child marriages were also looked down upon as integral part of our supposedly ‘rich’ culture until logic gave way to superstition. But these evil abuse ‘systems’ are distinct from ‘unorganized’ system of abuse of today since the entire society does not have to take part and observe but can be done by one freak from the society. Since society has given birth to so many freaks now, its hard to pass through the jungle and not be bitten by snakes.


So why not hold men responsible? Well, this brings me to few unsettling questions about our society and our family.


While we as society and family are upfront in blaming almost everyone – from administration to politics, when it comes to abuse, but have we ever introspected and checked if we have contributed to it. There is a billion plus population and hence blame can be easily be divided into billion and thus dilute it to an insignificant amount. How many of the families would have actually sat down with their son and gave them sex education? How many schools and teachers would have actually taken the pain of explaining the concept apart from a chapter in biology class and quickly turning to question and answers part in the last page? I am not expecting even a thousand hands here.


Sex is a part of life and everyone is bound to know about it at some point of time. Even animals are aware of it. But what really sets humans apart from animals is the ability to think. If the boy is not educated properly at right point of time and made aware about the process, then there is a very good possibility of boy growing up amongst massive sources of information, which in most cases leads to inaccurate and misleading knowledge about sex. This, coupled with bad company, is perhaps the most important reason for growing number of boys with incorrect information about themselves as well as women, which really starts the problem.


Teaching about our own rich culture and tradition is fine. Ya, makes me proud and all of our ancestry. But families do have to take the blame for perpetrating abuse of women by not teaching their sons about the basic facts of life. What amazes me is the fact that parents of today are so strict that they take decisions on what kind of food that they should eat, what dress they should wear and what TV serials they should watch. However, when it comes to telling them about birds and bees, they go silent and expect their young adolescent child to learn everything by himself.


Its ironical how saying the word ‘sex’ is looked on with disgust and with raging eyes, while it remains the fact of life. How hypocrite can it get? I am certain that unless there is a meaningful dialog between father and son, the son with all information around him will be lost in the amazon jungle and if he comes in touch with the animals in the jungle, it is certain that population of animals will grow and that of humans will decline.


Long story short, its the boys and their upbringing. Think over it and take the blame, Dads and Moms!!!


“what will People say”



If there is one phrase, which has unilaterally busted the dreams of millions and has made thousands of unruly horses, wanting to plunge into the debry, to instead meekly join the circus, it has to be

“Log kya kahenge” or “What will people say”

The loch ness monsters as they are, whom people have only heard of but never encountered; these mythological creatures are a stuff of legend, which have been passed off from generations to generations, percolating the fear of the unknown in the minds of coming generations.

Lets face it. Undoubtedly, every person while growing up has encountered this question every time he or she has even thought of deviated from ‘established norms’. The possessive, rather extra possessive character of the family, in turn, society which has evolved these ‘established norms’ do not allow a dreamer to dream or an artist to weave his or her creativity.

Millions of dreams have died a natural death in the process – unable to find wings. Though economic reality may be an important aspect, but even those belonging to an economically stable condition find it hard to find a way to go on their own.

Topping the list of ‘things to do”, where this line is most used is when it comes to marriage. I am aware that my dad will be reading this – So dad, just to clarify, its just a write-up…relax !!!

Marriage is undoubtedly a very important phase of life and over-protective parents of both groom and bride want to ensure that their children do not get a “bad deal”. Control of parents over their children is so strong that let alone choosing the spouse, the children can’t even choose their own career options or perhaps the dress they wear. Taking my own example, hypothetically, if my family were to today consider about my marriage, following objections may arise on a sequential basis (pun intended)–
– Inter-religion: “Get out of the house – Log kya kahenge??”
– Same religion but north-south divide: “have south Indian girls died that you have to go for North Indians..think what the society will say”
– Same religion – South Indian – but different state: “Why…can’t you find a girl, who speaks your language?? What will our community say?”
– Same religion – South Indian – Same state – different community: “Our community, which is the best amongst others do have girls – why favor other competing communities – find a girl in your community”
– Same religion – South Indian – Same state –same community – different Gotra: “beta, Gotras is a problem, hard luck!!”
– Same religion – South Indian – Same state –same community – same Gotra but stars don’t align

The ‘invisible people’ have so much say in your decisions in forcing you to leave your likings and go for what they think is best for you, though you may end up suffering all your life, but it hardly matters. If it works out – you get to hear-see we told you this will work; if it doesn’t, then you get to hear – “adjust kar lo….its all about adjusting”. Though both applies equally to an individual’s own choice of spouse- but fact remains that children are treated as children even when they are forty and are not supposed to be mature enough ever to take their own decisions.

Its not only about marriage decisions. While in school, every child that at some point of time must have been asked to quit wasting time on drawings, playing, singing and dancing and focus on getting Good Marks..else what will people say about below-standard performance!! There are a lot of dull boys and girls, only because of the concept of “all work, no play making Jack a dull boy”. Even Gurudev – Tagore recognized this in his Vocation – where he deals with ever changing dreams. How many children are allowed to decide their own careers – not many I guess. Can a child fathom to think about being a painter very early in his career instead of being an engineer or an accountant ? Answer again is ‘No’ as Sharmaji or Guptaji’s children became a successful engineer, doctor, blah blah and you should endeavor to become like him. And if a child still is adamant to be a painter – then more often than not – he gets a tight slap for not studying and solving the integer problem or understand process of photosynthesis. Societal expectations almost every time kill the budding dream of the child.

Little wonder, billion plus population has highest concentration of engineers, doctors and other professionals but next-to-nothing artists, sports personalities or world class singers and dancers or actors. And on top when a world event happens, we think to ourselves why India is not a part of it. We don’t let talent nurture and make are hell bent on making them “just another brick in the wall” but bemoan the administration for not getting more talent. Unlike China, administration is not going to pull out children out of the families and train them. Families have to loosen the grip on their children, which they cant do as children are seen more of “long term investments” who will increase the “goodwill” and “market reputation” of existing “brand-name” of the house-hold.

Now the vocation. Imagine a grown up boy or a girl going to college decides to start a music band of his own or venture into writing books or wishes to be a professional traveller or a photographer. Imagine him or her going to her parents and telling them about the idea. In all likelihood, first question will be how will he sustain his life, while his friends will make millions sitting in their cabins. Second would be again the haunting comparison with GuptaJi and SharmaJi’s children who have ‘established’ themselves and are now well settled.

Even kind of clothes or hair-dos are not spared. I face it all the time. I wonder how girls in India would be feeling. Their dressing sense is more watched than boys. Little more than 2 inches of hair on my head is sufficient for my parents to immediately send me to barber – “look at your ‘long hair’ – what will people think of jungle-boy type of hair!!” Girls, I’m sure would be in a worse situation – what is this dress – just knee length?, hair untied?, Going at night? With Boys??? Though parents ask these things, but to be safe, parents fire their guns from the shoulder of “other log”, who would be asking these questions!!!!

Watching sports on TV sometimes gives me a complex sometimes as I see people far younger than me becoming global icons with enough wealth, which I would not be able to make over my entire life under normal circumstances. Thank God, Sachin Tendulkar’s parents didn’t do Log Kya Kahenge sequence. Else poor lad would have struggled with Pythagoras theorems and linear equations at an age, when ruthless fast bowlers were struggling against him. He was exceptional, alright. But the point remains that he was not made to move according to the diktat of the society. Child had a talent and talent was nurtured.

But unluckily, not every child gets that change to understand and develop its talent. Though talent may be there, yet the society conspires to sap out that talent and make that child “another brick in the wall”. For millions of other child geniuses, the process of falling into the trap of corporate life starts from nursery itself – Though in childhood, the phrase is not used directly, but subtle variations like “look at Bunty, Chintu, Golu….how brisk they are, how stylish they are….dont you want to be like them??” are used, which convey more or less the same message. In the process of becoming like Bunty, Chintu and Golu, the poor kid forgets who he is. If this wasn’t enough, the barricade now moves on to studies – and this is perhaps the phase of life (since it lasts for good 16-18 years of a child’s life), that blasts the inherent talent of the child into bits and pieces, as the kid from Kinder garden itself it taught what to become after 18 years.

The immense joy of writing, painting, playing, singing, dancing, exploring new fascinating things get relegated to what is now technically referred to as “Extra-Curricular activities”. Why so? Because the society will not approve of a wannabe singer, painter, dancer, who will never get a good pay to sustain his own life. I am not saying talented people should not become engineers or doctors or lawyers but are they able to showcase their talent in being a engineer or a doctor or a lawyer. Making millions is not a talent. Even dumb-asses like me can make them. It’s the bringing forth the inherent talent and creativity, that adds value to life, which matters more. Sadly most of the parents are unable to recognize and nurture the talents that their children may have.

Being a society, comparison and living as per expectations of society is a norm. No one wants to be a pariah. But that term ‘pariah’ has been taken too seriously and used so widely in our society that it has been applied almost everywhere, on all occasions. Parents though want to protect their children from the hardships they faced, but in the process also cut the wings of their children to try things out on their own. It is this protective, rather over-protective society, where if a person wanting to try out something new, if deviates even by 0.0001% of normal standards of society, he will have to answer atleast a 100 questions to convince people of his decision. In most cases, he will give up after 10 grueling questions.

But when individuals do things on their own, despite the severe backlash and come out on top, it is these People,
who were saying No, come and hug you first. If you end up marrying someone you like, these Log are the ones in the starting of post marriage dinner reception queue.

Thus, what I personally feel is (though for variety of reasons, I may still fall prey to Log Kya Kahenge Syndrome), is to listen to Kishore Kumar, when he sang as thus in the movie Amar Prem and do your own thing:

Kuchh toh log kahenge, logo kaa kam hain kehna
Chhodo bekar kee bato me kahee bit naa jayey raina
(people will keep on saying, their job is to say; leave such loose talk, let not the night pass on these things)

Kuchh rit jagat kee aisi hai, har ek subah kee sham huyi
Too kaun hai, tera nam hain kya, sita bhi yaha badanam huyi
Fir kyo sansar kee bato se bhig gaye tere naina
(such are the rules of nature, that every morning has an evening; who are you, what’s your name; Sita too was humiliated; then why are you crying for what the world says)

Hamko jo tane dete hai, ham khoye hain in rang raliyo me
Hamne unko bhi chhup chhup ke aate dekha in galiyo me
Yeh sach hain jhuthe bat nahee tum bolo yeh sach hain naa
(people who nag us, saying we’re lost in our dreams; I have seen them coming secretly in the lanes that I am in; This is true, not false, you tell me, isn’t this true?)

Story of Indian Patriarchal system


Ramu was an illiterate but extremely hard working farmer, who struggled all his life to make a living. He tilled his small farm and what ever little he could produce, he kept a small part for himself and sold the rest to buy other things. Ramu spent a solo life as he left his home at quite a young age and wandered around before finally settling at Sitapur village. After toiling much hard, he could finally accumulate enough money to buy a beautiful young white cow-Lakshmi.


Lakshmi was a fresh change in his life. Lakshmi gave him company all day – a feeling that Ramu had not experienced for a long long time. Lakshmi – a well behaved domesticated cow that she was, assisted her master by abiding with her master’s demands. Lakshmi was always under the belief that Ramu was the only master she would serve and hence, just dedicated her entire life to the service of his master. 


But Ramu was unaware of all these feelings of dedication, affection, self-sacrifice towards the near ones, etc. He remained a solo farmer at heart and instead of looking at Lakshmi as her companion, saw her more of as a commodity, whom he used whenever needed. Ramu was not even present when Lakshmi gave births to two calves and was expecting some one close, that is, his master Ramu to be around. 


Though Ramu not being there at that critical juncture, Lakshmi still accepted as she thought perhaps Ramu has gone to find a better life, so that she and Ramu can lead a better life than they both were living at present. Further, a better shelter was required now that two calves were also there. From the very beginning, Ramu loved the calves. He would take care of them, give them bath, take them for a small walk. Lakshmi was happy that Ramu was changing for better.


Lakshmi now had dual responsibilities – to assist Ramu as usual and with same vigor and at the same time nurture the two calves. But somehow, Lakshmi was still ignored and did not get the same attention as her calves and was still expected to be a slave and do her duties, without expecting anything in return.  For Ramu, Lakshmi was expected to be a never aging cow, that will keep on doing work from morning to evening, without any complaints and at the same time take care of her siblings. Ramu failed to realize that like him, Lakshmi was also now growing old and could not be as fast and efficient as she used to be. 


As a result of old age and dual role that she had to do in addition to her own declining health, Lakshmi declined to do some work or did at her own pace. This irritated Ramu, who would then start brag about how he used to toil when he was of her age. Obviously, Ramu failed to understand the difference between the natural features as well as health problems of  a mother of two and of a man, who was meant to toil and work hard. Ramu also discounted the fact that Lakshmi was not a bull but a cow and being a female, few natural problems were bound to be there including the role of being a mother and associated problems. Ramu could not have done anything about the natural problems but had he understood the problems that Lakshmi faced on day to day basis, Lakshmi would have sacrificed herself even more for her master. At the least, a thought would not have surfaced in her mind that she was not a servant to his ‘master’.  


As a result of this, the gap between the two kept on increasing and so did the misunderstandings and quarrels. Lakshmi would not even budge from her shed to do the daily work. Lakshmi’s calves would even suggest to her mom that why should she stay in Ramu’s farm when he gives no respect. However, Lakshmi would instead rebuke them for making such immature statements. She would argue that it was Ramu, who got her here and took care of her during initial years and that he is still the person, who feeds our entire family. 


Though Lakshmi even today remains that all-sacrificing cow that most of the Indian women are, most of the Indian men remain like Ramu, who still belongs to those old-patriarchal society, where Man is at the center of the house. It’s not bad to be at the center of the house and being the head of the family. But when the wives suffer like Lakshmi, the Man loses his respect as the head of the family as he is unable to understand the problems of his members below, especially women of the house. 


Ramus of today should realize that Lakshmi, being a feminine already have lot of problems of their own and despite their problems, they take care of the daily chores and run the house-hold. Ramu can atleast try not to take advantage of their self-sacrificing attitude and not add more problems to their back by ignoring their problems as being petty problems. This may after all, one day break their back-bones.