The clogged channels of my mind were set into action by an innocent status of a friend recently.
-“I would’nt shoot the man who made the cage , but the bird that sings happily inside “!
The complexities that lay enmeshed within these simple words taking me by surprise ! A coin has two sides …the beauty being they never see each other …
From Somewhere deep within the inner depths a thought springs forth …why is there so much uproar and hue n cry regarding female foeticide and infanticide ? Is’nt a girl BORN with a coffin that she carries with her throughout her life -filling it with compromises ,grievances sacrifices … some said some unsaid.. till her last breath ? Is’nt this the deplorable plight of a girl child who happens to take birth on the indian sub continent . A complete paradox: a country where the female energy is worshipped in almost every household , be it as the holy virgin mary or fatima or lakshmi… but the living and alive female abused within these very four walls .. subjugated and repressed !
Maybe the girl-child murdered in the womb or buried alive in some field is actually the LUCKIEST … saved from the vicissitudes, of a life … from tears ,rejections ,failures ,abuse ,slavery…. the list is end less .Is she only of use as a machine churnning out male progeny or as an robot fulfilling the carnal needs of the insatiable domineering indian man ! Does she have no right to dream , to just be, to live ? Is she only born to be inhumanly slaughtered at the altar of the mighty husband or in -laws ? In this sub continent from north to south , east to west the plight of a woman does’nt change whether it be the lower sub strata ,the middle classes or the jet setting upper echelons of society .
A recent article read- a 27 yr old woman commits suicide in udaipur -reason: marital rape ! Her sister in an open letter says ‘there is a big flaw in society ‘s mind set that post marital adjustments have to be uni-directional and I am shocked that an educated family of doctors can behave in such a horrid manner ‘ .She questions ‘ How many women will have to give up their dreams or lives to maintain the ‘sanctity’ of a baseless marriage ?
Sakshi, married at the tender age of 19 ,educated enterprising expectionally talented , with dreams in her heart ….. succumbs to the unrelenting tyranny of the mother-in-law , Sakshi’s fault being ..her husband had fallen in love with his newly wedded wife thereby upsurping his mother’s supremacy ! Daily relentless doses of extreme mental pressure , untill oh la la la the son is back in the vicious fold of the despotic mother-in-law .At her instigation the hapless girl is physically mentally emotionally abused by the enigmatic bi-polar husband .26yrs of verbal rape have reduced Sakshi to being an unrecognisable shadow of her former effervessant self!
Why did’nt sakshi divorce and return to her parents ? The actual dillemma lies here.. -protecting the honour and dignity of her parents in society , shielding them from her own pain, was it worth the sacrifice ? Walking away today as she wishes to blackballs the future prospects of her now marriageable daughter .The silent pressure of the family to continue in an dead disintegrated relationship , the umbrella of a man’s name is needed ! Outrageously pre historic!
Heartrending story of a beautiful girl Neelima ….discovers on her wedding night that she is married to a drug addict.Tied to a fan ..burnt with cigarettes stubbs , physically abused assulted regularly…her dilemma – saving her 3 unmarried sisters from being stigmatised and her story being detrimental to the well being and health of her already frail parents keeps her from crossing the threshhold of her husbands house forever.The heavens smiled on her 10 years later ,but till date those few allowed to read her beautiful smile can see the remanents of that hurt that burns within.
A delicate mild and timid Deepa married to a man still tied to the apron stings of his authoritarian dictator mother ,a useless lothario a philanderer .The daily mental and physical unheaveal only mildly settled after the birth of a male progeny.Deepa wanders from one astrologer to the other searching for a miracle seated in her mercedes -abundant outside a pauper inside ! Sheilding her parents from guilt shame and remorse dies at a young age of 44 with cancer .
Monica a chartered accountant and a lawyer whose spineless husband leaves her in the middle of delhi’s crime infested streets in the middle of the night, penniless to walk back home every other night .Her mental torment reflects in her interactions in everyday life .
All these girls married into the crème-de-la crème of our society. Each parent capable of resettling their abused daughters but …… Are’nt these parents equally responsible as the in laws and the husbands for the merciless oppressive lives of their daughters! .Worse still is the fate of a muslim girl living in constant silent dread of the 3 unspoken words which can end her marriage anytime anywhere !
What makes these educated girls so subservient ? Their minds conditioned to believe in the sacredness of a defunct institution labelled marriage .The carcinogenisity of the regressive degenerating dysfunctional thought process of society gnawing at the self worth , self respect and intelligence of these women . What does one say to an illiterate woman when the very literate themselves choose to be oppressed and abused !
How good are the endless debates on women enpowerment,…70% of indian women face torture in some form as a daily routine !
Is this the legacy we leave for our daughters …have we sealed their destinies by conditioning them to remain silent , agonised …living a life under constant threat ,fear and humiliation ,
What comes to the mind is the story of Rani Padmini of Chittor committing the divine suicide “jauhar ” , maybe this is what lies in store for the future of women in india where rape and dowry deaths are now generalised immaterial normal everyday occurances !
Will the pall bearers carrying the coffins of these women, be able to walk straight and tall with these caskets filled with the dead weight of the grave injustices borne by them ! Maybe they will ‘after all they are ‘ Men ‘
A deeply saddened heart quotes hazrat amir khusro
Kahe ko byahi bides
Aare lakhiya baabul moorè
Mein toh baabul tore khoote ki gaiyaa
Jit haake hakķ jahiye
kahe ko byahi bides……..
‘ Why did you part me from yourself dear father…
We daughters are just like cows tied to your peg,
Will move on to where ever you drive us to dear father …..’
Shalini Newar is a designer and artist