Saturday, October 22, 2011

Justice to Saraswati Maa!

“It is not gender which is destroying our culture...it is our interpretations of culture which has destroyed gender equality.”

In this Modern India, men and women are given equal rights. Our constitution says women are as superior as men. Our culture has almost as much number of goddesses as gods. Here, ‘knowledge’ and ‘money’, the two most essential things for survival are worshipped in form of Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi respectively. We believe in the scientific fact that men and women are equally strong, just that men are physically strong while women possess a very powerful mind, an inherent survival instinct and a unique power to withstand what comes her way. Right from Maa Durga to Kiran Bedi our country has explicit examples of women who stand shoulder to shoulder with men. It was a long time ago since Jyotiba Phule and his wife started a ‘female literacy’ movement and since then times have changed; most girls are getting literate and no one has any good reason to oppose female literacy.

This is what most of us believe. But d ‘you know that this is just a superficial overview on ‘Gender Equality’ in India and that if you actually peep into the psyche of some of the men you will be shocked and abashed at the cheapness of their opinion about women and gender equality in general.

I came across this picture on Facebook posted by a young man from an educated family.

This picture was captioned as- ‘Side-effects of literacy’. The above line written in Marathi is a sarcastic statement which literally translates as, ‘Girls got educated and progressed...’

The fact that people can believe that ‘education’ is responsible for women indulging in to drinking really set my blood boiling.

To drink or not to drink is entirely a subjective issue, a personal choice and objecting to that would be like invading one's private space. It depends on your self-morals, your presence of mind, peer influence, the kind of upbringing you’ve had and the culture that you come from. It could also depend on your psychological state and the external environment you dwell in. This applies to everyone irrespective of their sexes.

By saying ‘Side effects of literacy’ do they want to suggest that due to education, girls got exposed to drinks, smoking, drugs?! In the past, their house was the only world the women saw and hence were oblivious to these addictive substances is what they’re saying? If that is so, then they’re being entirely WRONG. Don’t they know that hookah originated in India and be it the rich Ranis or the poor Dasis; they all took resort in taking hookah as a leisurely activity? These were illiterate women who hardly ventured out of the house.

During the British rule, the Britishers compelled farmers to grow Poppies and banned cultivation of any other crop, so that they can extract maximum amount of Opium from the Poppy seeds to export it around the world. Due to this, the farmers grew poorer and the men were forced to do labour work while the women worked in Poppy fields. The women were stressed and the overburdening poverty made them consume Opium by night along with their husbands to acquire elation. Have they never heard of this? Have they never seen women smoking beedis at a construction site? Oh why, they are the most uneducated out of all. Education must be the most alien thing they’ve ever known.

This simply shows how ill informed and narrow minded a person who puts up such photos on a social networking site is.

Consumption of addictive substances by women has always been an unexposed attribute of our society. The difference between then and now is that now it is done extremely openly, unlike then. Had female literacy prevailed since beginning perhaps they would have found other ways to fight the difficulties that made them fall prey to drugs, alcohol and smoking. I do not accuse our ancestors of anything, but I'm just stating a fact from history which precisely proves how education has nothing misleading to do with a girl's drinking habits. What education does is, it makes you aware of the ill effects of these things and leaves it up to you to decide if you want to indulge in it or no.

I do not support alcoholism but I’m totally against gender bias. What is acceptable for men has to be acceptable for women as well. When men drink it is considered macho and cool but when women are simply caught glancing at liquor, you question her character? How can anyone be a male chauvinist to an extent that he considers booze a way of man’s life but curses Goddess Saraswasti when a woman is witnessed doing something most of the men religiously do.

If you are against alcoholism and addiction, oppose it rationally and not by making ‘women literacy’ a base of your argument. Anyways, the possibility of the person who posts such photos, opposing alcoholism is far less that the possibility of him being an extreme male chauvinist. Due to a negligible number of educated women drinking, you do not get the right to qualify the entire female race as drunkards or blame them for spoiling the cultural norms of the society.

How long are men going to try and suppress women? How many cheap stunts are they going to adopt to prove women inferior or to blame them for being the cause of every single problem? Who knew people with such cheap and sadistic mentality still existed! This is the Modern India we live in? Where are we going? Are those extensive 'equality' related laws written in our Constitution ever going to wake up and manifest into reality?

“Never underestimate a man’s ability to underestimate/criticize a woman,” Kathleen Turner from the movie V.I. Warshawski.

P.S- Along with my fellow sisters, I know that there are some good men out there who oppose this mentality and callous treatment towards women and I would like them to come forward and support the cause in any small way possible. Thank You!

21 comments:

  1. one of your best...thought well expressed...some narrow minds must get broader with articles like this...

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  2. Excellent writeup ... Expected something like dis :D .. but don't think it makes any difference to narrow minded ppl ... hve u seen mentally ill ppl agreeing 2 wat they are asked to do :D ...

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  3. @Shouvik- Thank You. :) The whole idea behind this was to oppose the unjust.
    @Pritish Bhaiya- Thanks! :) Haha, I don't expect them to change immediately either but the fact that such people actually do exist in this age shocked me and I wanted to bring them in front of the world for I bet this is as shocking to many others as it was to me. Opposing such mentality would at least provoke a thought in the readers mind and these cheap people will know that their cheap mentality is NOT going to be tolerated by the world! And yes, that's called mob mentality! :/

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  4. utter crap & some loser who thought along those lines.
    as you correctly pointed out, equating education with substance abuse/other ills is stupidity. the construction workers smoking beedis is what then!

    and i for one havent drunk a drop till date even though i go pub-hopping all too often & all my friends drink. it is a personal choice. that's all. nothing more. nothing less.

    i had read your post on motherhood (bitter-sweet) yesterday & loved it & had posted a comment too

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  5. You are right! Same is the case with me, I know a dozen friends who are educated, who drink and equal number of literates who are strictly non-alcoholics! The fact that such losers do exist in today's modern world shook me and hence the above rebellion.
    And I had read your comment on my previous post just that I didn't know that a simple piece of my imagination would actually be someone's own story or could move someone so much! I'm glad and grateful that you liked it. :)

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  6. That letter was your "imagination" ?!!?!!?!!!shit man this is like an anticlimax now!!! you shouldn't have told me :((
    i really thought it was "real."

    well, anyways, that makes one thing clear: if you are so sensitive & tuned into yourself without actually being in that space of motherhood/marriage yet, you must make an awesome mother one day

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  7. Aww sorry to burst your bubble Sujatha! I was just attempting a piece of fiction. There's still time for 'that' phase to come in my life. I'm just 19. :)

    Thanks for yet another sweet last line! :)

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  8. juuusssssst NIIIINETEEN !!!! girl, you rock! totally! the maturity in your writings belies your age.

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  9. Nikita! Very well written article with facts..

    When i was reading the beginning statements, i was looking for facts like you mentioned..

    And as Sujatha mentioned, very matured approach..

    Keep it up..

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  10. Hey Nikita! Thanks for your comments on my blog post.. Replied to that as well.. You can find it here..

    http://harithemusafir.blogspot.com/2011/10/sravanabelagola-colossal-gomateswara.html

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  11. Thank You Hari! :) Yes, will check your reply too! Wish blogger had a notifications system!

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  12. actually very good through about the modern india...well express

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  13. Put it this way, they don't want women to progress because they know they'll be outsmarted one day. And you know, the ultimate fact remains , you have come out of a woman so why abuse, accuse her?
    This was a tremendously well-written article. Kudos!

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  14. Crystal- Exactly what my point was-you have come out of a woman so why abuse, accuse her?! :) Thank you!

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