The inglorious caste system

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The tragic tale of Naresh and Swati that unfolded recently in Telangana is yet another example of demand and pressure of society (though unfounded, unwarranted and illogical) taking precedence over individual’s choice.

The case of inter-‘caste’ marriage that happened in Telangana is not an one-off incident and has been prevalent in India ever since the caste system itself came into being. Khap Panchayat and honor killing in north India along with caste issues including inter-caste marriages is a menace that comes into light every now and then and refuses to die.

Needless to say, society in general is responsible for direct/indirect suppression of individual’s choices and preferences. The notion that a particular clan gets polluted or gets diminished in size due to inter-caste marriage is a millennium old concept, which has no relevance today. But the mind-set continues to this day as the so-called upper caste finds ways to keep them relevant and somehow show their superiority over others.

There is no denying that there exist hundreds or even thousands of cultures and communities in India, each wanting to preserve its own traditions. Fair enough, each community has the right to do so. But at what cost? What if an individual does not want to be a part of that community?

It is interesting to note that the Hon’ble Supreme Court addressed this issue squarely and in unambiguous terms while dealing with the menace of inter-caste marriages. In Lata Singh versus State of UP [2006 (6) SCALE 583], while dealing with inter-caste marriage between two majors, the Supreme Court declared that “this is a free and democratic country, and once a person becomes a major he or she can marry whomsoever he/she likes”. But observation such as this is so cliched that it is almost no one takes note.

If the parents of the individual do not approve of an inter-caste marriage or inter- religious marriage, the maximum they can do is cut off social relations (though this also does not make sense to any sensible man). But no law permits the parents or to anyone for that matter, to harass, threaten, instigate or commit acts of violence against people who choose their partners with a rational mind and going beyond the “caste” filter.

It is also a very naive notion that anyone who gets married to a person from another community forgoes the good practices of his/her culture/community. He or she may perhaps be continuing the same practices of his own community but at the same time acknowledging the other traditions as well, though not forming a part of it. If such is the case, the question of diminishing of the size of a clan does not arise. Foregoing a wrong practice, whether or not it relates to any particular community, is not breaking-away or revolt, but is rather introspection leading to correct ways.

As far as the question of a clan getting ‘polluted’ or ‘impure’ is concerned, I find it unfathomable to even think that a person (merely based on his birth) can be deemed to pollute some other person. The pollution, in such cases, is not caused by the person discriminated against, but is instead caused by the person, who came up with such thought process. With greatest regret, I have seen and met such people, who are very much in existence and are also my close family members. I hang my head in shame for the ideology they believe in and ideology they are still passing on from generation to generation, without utmost shamelessness. I am also reminded of an event in Uttarakhand, where a school teacher killed a man for defiling a flour mill as he belonged to a “lower” caste. Such people should be purged from society.

Another point to understand is the fact that the water tight compartmentalization of castes that exists today, came into existence in or around 1000 BC when nomadic tribes started to settle down as a community. In a bid to effectively manage the society of that time, people were divided based on their innate qualities. These innate qualities may be broadly categoriszed as Satva (Knowledge), Rajas (Valor) and Tamas (Ignorance). As a result, the ones with good thinking and forecasting abilities formed the learned class or Brahmans. People with qualities of valor formed the Kshatriyas or warriors, who protected the community. Third division was the merchant class and agriculturists, who generated wealth to sustain the society and lastly the working class or labor class, that is, Shudras, who did manual labor. Considering the lack of a proper education system and industrialization, the system developed was well conceived considering the circumstances of that time.

That time has undergone a continuous change resulting in shifting of balance of power. While Brahmans holding monopoly in learning and education dominated the early era, that ruling class was eventually overthrown by next-in-line Kshatriyas, who developed kingdoms with Brahmans becoming mere advisors to the king. Intelligentsia (Brahman) of that period though had the power to spread Satva or knowledge, unfortunately did not do much to remove Tamas. Had Tamas been removed, Satva would have taken its place. Had that happened, downtrodden people would have known how to live their life and would not have been dependent on a particular class. Obviously, ‘Brahman’ class failed in their duties at that time by limited the power of knowledge to only a few. By developing the mischievous theory of lineage, which eventually dictated the rules of the society, the rule makers (in all likelihood becoming greedy and “forecasting” that others may also compete later), ensured that the structure of the society became permanent and irreversible.

In mythology, why was Eklavya made to chop off his thumb by Drona? Why was Karna discriminated all through his life? These two examples stand out in mythologies, which indicate the age-old caste over merit mindsets.

In short, time has changed, mindset has not.

The problem of caste exists today at two levels – one at societal level and the other- at family level.

With increase in number of occupations, the number of classes and communities also grew with each galvanizing into a separate caste or a class. However post independence, with rapid urbanization and with spread of education and industries, the compartments are now getting loose, albeit slowly. Backwardness still remains since vast population still remains illiterate. Unfortunately, much like the earlier times, a part of today’s ruling elite ( few political parties) have still kept that illiterate part of society as ignorant and unaware of their rights, though claiming to be championing their rights. Had such a group been serious about bringing their people up, they would have spent their efforts in educating them and not indulging in inciting violence by claiming threat to their community.

In the instant case, the supposed “backward” boy was not backward by any means since he was educated and capable enough to be in the same college as Divya, who was apparently “upper” caste. Merely because the boy belonged to a particular community cannot be a reason for him to be backward. Going by pure logic, both were at same level.

Going by the turn of events post their marriage, it is clear that it was that “upper caste” family that was backward in its approach. The family relentlessly hunted; girl was coerced to return back – which also led to her suicide under mysterious circumstances. To give the story the expected ending, the boy was kidnapped and found burnt in girl’s father’s field.

While the killers are no doubt responsible and should be served cold blooded justice, but it is the age old backward thinking, that needs to be wiped out. It is easier said than done. But it can be done starting with individuals. Unless individuals show some courage and persistence,it will stay.

Like in my case, quite a few people of “my” community get shocked when they hear such stories. Their immediate reaction is that such things wont work out in the long run, not realizing that marriage in same community also fail (which again, due to fear of humiliation, people refuse to admit about its failure).

At societal level, state machinery has a crucial role to play. If the administration gets swayed or gets buckled down by the voice of the powerful, then there is no point having state machinery. Law is meant to support the weak and keep a check on the strong – not the other way around.

Another area to work upon is education. Education, education and education alone can bring the backwards up and make them realize what is right and what is wrong. Unless people stop taking words of others and start rationally thinking themselves, the backward life style and backward thinking will not go. Such people have so many benefits granted under the law, but their ignorance and illiteracy is stopping them from taking such benefits and come out of their misery.

Again, that education is the only weapon to fight against the wrong practice is proved by Naresh and Swati’s case, who knew that they were right. Blurring of caste lines is what scared the family. It is the people like Swati’s father, who resort to violence to claim vengeance for such act and teach a lesson for if more and more people become aware of their rights, it will be difficult to convince them. And once that happens, it will be difficult to stay at top and control people.

Another problem existing at societal level is its inherent tendency to control the people forming part of it. A particular society may (invariably) require its members to follow the long existing rules, including marrying within that society. The rules seem perfectly ok since they do not interfere with rules of any other society. Its totally an internal regulation. Breaking of this internal regulation and the resultant fear of Societal backlash is ingrained in our minds. The fear is obvious and valid for a simple reason that everybody requires a society to live in and cannot live in isolation. But it is also this fear of isolation and rebuke that keeps the people from speaking up, even if they are right. This fear is perhaps the biggest hindrance for an individual to decide about his future without any preconditions.

It is one thing to preserve one’s own culture but it is another thing to make individual right subservient to society’s right, when such individual right will not cause harm to the society at large as was the case here. Every society has a right to preserve its culture and tradition in a manner it wants to but not at the expense of unwilling people. This inability of the society to let go of such unwilling people and making them lead an independent life is what is stopping the society from moving ahead.

This societal problem is to an extent mingled with the problem that the families also face. For the last decade or two, with the opening of the economies and world getting closer with more and more opportunities, there is a renewed hope and belief among the newer generation to take the world head on and lead an independent life. However, at family level, the families and parents are unable to let go of their children. Why? Is it too much love and care or is it fear of being alone in later part of life? It is indeed a tough question to ask and even tougher to answer.
Well, assuming it’s the case of only too much love and attachment, then the next question will definitely be – then why not let the children choose what they like? The normal reply from parents is “you don’t know what is right and what is wrong”. Well, going by their experiences, this might be true but this will also mean that children would never be able to make decisions on their own. Obviously, parents may be justified in stopping their children, if they are going wrong somewhere but stopping them simply because they don’t like it is not justified. The extent of control exercised can be gauged from the fact that children have difficulties in choosing what they want to pursue, what they want to buy, even with their own money. Even post marriage, children are controlled. It is true that everybody wants love and care but love and care at all times, eventually restricts the person to think freely for his own good.

The other question of being alone in later part of life, if children do take their own independent decisions, is based on assumptions. The first assumption being that independent decisions will always result in children living separately. Another assumption is that children will always choose a partner against the wishes of parents. Given the money mindedness, there is a good possibility of it happening. However, if parents are sure that they have raised their children well, this will not happen. The trust has to be there. Same holds good for second assumption as well. It can very well be the case where the choice is of individual but with prior and unconditional consent of parents.

Going by the facts of Naresh and Swati’s story, it cannot be said for sure whether he or she would have lived separately away from their parents. However, as far as the second issue is concerned, not taking the consent of parents before marriage was indeed the case, which could definitely be a factor for follow-up acts. However, if it were to be believed that girl’s family though reluctant in beginning, did not object later on and that it was the society and others that transpired against them, then it becomes clear that there was no problem at family level. Though approaching the family before marrying should have been the appropriate act, however even after getting married (though without taking parents into confidence), it was nobody’s case (apart from family) to question their decision.

Thus, society is at fault on two counts – meddling with personal lives of others and two, coercing directly and indirectly those who try to take independent decisions. Unwarranted meddling into the affairs of personal lives of people is not a standard that should be set. State should also get serious and instead of gaining mileage from divisive caste based politics, start towards ending the caste system altogether. This may seem to be a utopian concept, however, given the scheme adopted by Himachal Pradesh Government of providing cash incentives of Rs. 75000 to people opting for inter-caste marriages or even Maharashtra Government coming up with such schemes, political will is atleast emerging somewhere.

There is also a need to take a firm stand by Authorities as well as by judiciary against institutions like Khap Panchayat, who openly oppose inter-gotra marriages. If the country is to be considered as developed in true sense, then it is necessary that individuals are free to decide their about their life and coercive agents are removed. Till the time that happens, such news that shouldn’t be there, will continue to come up.

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The Great Noida Autorickshaw Problem

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Well, I finally have a reply from Noida city’s Regional Transport Office regarding our beloved notorious auto-rickshaw operators.

Reply are simple statement of facts, which none of us in this city are aware of but should be aware of.

 

  1. Is meter mandatory in auto-rickshaws in Noida?
    Reply: It is mandatory
  2.  Is it mandatory to ply according to meters in Noida?
    Reply: Yes, it is mandatory.There is an order to this effect for strict compliance by the authority granting fitness certificate to autos, else there will be strict action against them. However, seldom is this being followed.
  3. Approved meter rate is as follows:First 2 Kms – Rs. 25.
    Subsequent Kms – Rs. 8/km

    Night charges: 25% of normal fare

    Waiting charges: Rs. 30 per hour (minimum 15 minutes waiting time)

    Extra baggage: Rs. 7.50 extra

    Though there is a fixed fare, neither the public is aware nor has authority has taken efforts to make people aware. Auto drivers will, ofcourse, not tell anyone about this.

  4. How many violations have been booked in last three years?
    Year Challaned (Fined) Impounded
    2013-14            3,242        2,130
    2014-15            3,591        2,640
    2015-16            2,951        1,954

Long story short, the above information may not change the situation since no one will take on auto drivers and will give in to their demands but certainly, it is something worth knowing rather than remaining ignorant all your life that you are being ripped off.

But the good thing is, we will now know the extent to which we are being ripped off!!  

Pure

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IMG_0833Pure

At 16000 feet, when there is nothing between you and the nature, when you are far away from human settlement, the sight that you see, the air that you breathe, the whispering winds that you hear, all are nothing but pure!!

Women of China

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While on a business trip this time to China, I could not help marvel as to why China is so far ahead than us-Indians. I am not even going into economic and geo-political point of view but restricting myself to the attitude of Chinese society towards its women.

I do not wish to enter the murky waters of numerous human rights issues plaguing China at present, but I am only restricting myself purely  to my observations of past one week in China as to how the Chinese society, be it in big cities like Qingdao or in small industrial towns like Zibo, treated its people, especially, women. I could not help feel sad for women in India when compared to the situation of women in China.

As I observed, women did all the work, that men would do. Over the course of one week, there was not a single place, where women were not employed and in many cases, did not outnumber. Lets compare both the countries:

Chinese women guard the airports, something that is confined to only security checks as far as women personnel in India is concerned. Chinese airports, in fact, do not have a separate enclosure for women security check and nor do women personnel confine themselves to checking women alone unlike India where separate screened enclosures have been created for women. This fact alone suggests that Chinese do not divide humans into men and women – gender egalitarianism indeed!

Chinese women drive cabs. Woah!!! That’s almost a cultural shock for an Indian. Driving taxi has generally been seen as a male bastion but China does not think so. Indian women, on the other hand, are not safe in their own private vehicles, let alone taxis, whether driving them or in the backseat. Indian society  clearly has a lot of catching up to do.

Then as we went to catch a train, we witnessed women ticket checkers in train stations and people complying with checks without any fuss. Can we imagine a situation in India, where women can safely stand and ask people to show their tickets and can we expect the people to quietly abide by the instructions? I haven’t seen women ticket checkers so far in India for past 25 years and that really sums up the situation here as far as this profession is concerned.

There were women working in large factories. They were handling large machines and feeding raw material stock in production units. The proportion of men and women was almost equal. Indian society, sadly, still does not see  women as strong enough to engage in factories and considers them, at best, suited for simpler “non-fussy” jobs. Even today, only a small percentage of women are encouraged to step out and compete with the world.

Work apart, women are not forced, either due to fear of reproach, unwanted attention or due to moral obligation, to wear a dress of their choice. It is still a distant dream in India for women to freely move about in public places with their own choice of dress. Yes, dress. Something people in developed societies will find it amusing. As many call it here in India – wearing a short dress is immoral and attracts unwanted attention. So, whose fault is it again. The one who is wearing or the one who is watching. Is it the dress or is it the eyes, which ogles at women and scans through their dresses, which is immoral. As one well known law-maker once said of rapes, Men will be Men and they will be naughty!! With a democratically elected law maker saying this in a public event, it says a lot about the twisted patriarchal mindset of the elected and the electors – together forming the society we live in. With this atmosphere, the women can never expect themselves to be safe even in a burqa. In China, on the other hand, I did not witness even a single incident of men ogling at women or women feeling uncomfortable at public place. Women in China wore the dress they felt comfortable in and not a single guy was found to be staring at them or making lewd remarks. Ask any woman here in India and she will recount numerous stories.

In sum and substance, problem lies in the mindset of the society at large, where men and women are still seen as two distinct species rather than one single specie. Indian society is unable to come out of this mirage. We Indians are still reluctant in allowing women to take up jobs, which “we” “feel” is unsafe for them and want to “protect” them. Firstly, the problem is “we” not the women. It is “we”, who have created this unsafe climate for them. Secondly, this “feeling” of the society is its own giving, largely due to the fact that the patriarchal society is deep-rooted with its twisted understanding about the role of women in society. We are so much in love with our past and male chauvinism that we want to hold on to our chest, without even applying our mind whether the tradition that was followed millenniums ago are still relevant today or not. I am not against the traditions that we have, which are based on sound logic and reasoning but blindly following a practice with seal of approval of a particular religion is only creating a bigger mess. Patriarchal society was required during the era of barbaric invasions, when society was on the lookout for strong men to fight, kill and die, with women handling families. That era ended thousands of years ago. Brains should have developed by now to understand the present times. Sadly, it has not. And lastly, as regards the duty to protect, the question is, protect from whom? the society? How will the society save the women from itself? Indian society has time and again failed to “protect” women in India, when frankly speaking, there should not have been a situation to protect someone.

China, on the other hand, due to its largely atheist population, is atleast saved from illogical religious commandments. They seem to have a concept of one society, one people. Though we may stand here on this side of the border and ridicule the Chinese for their language and their eating habits, but be as it may, their society in so far as governing itself, if not the world, seems to be pretty much developed. India, on the other hand, is not progressing but only regressing downhill on this aspect.

To conclude, I have a firm opinion that China is way ahead than India as far its understanding of the concept of society is concerned and it will take atleast two to three generations to realize and few more generations to correct the mistake.

“what will People say”

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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

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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.