Three things happened in the last month.
First, was the movie PINK, a bold statement about respecting female choices. I wrote about that earlier. The movie was a frank resonance of all the educated girls in Indian subcontinent. The movie brought hope, my India is changing.
Second, was that Indian Supreme Court judgement which said a Hindu boy could divorce his wife, if she prevents him for staying with his aged parents. Though the decision was part ok that it upheld care of old parents, but the lack of a parallel thinking about wife’s parents and about the parents who did not have son, made the above judgement appear hollow. All the elders be it boy’s / girl’s parents need love, respect and care.
In Indian society, traditionally a girl moves to a boy’s house after marriage. In older days, this was more for economic reasons, as the sons were the earning members and girls were the homemakers. These days, at times both boys and girls move out, may be for better career prospects or lack of space in existing houses.
But coming from the honorable supreme court a statement to the effect “It is not a common practice or desirable culture for a Hindu son in India to get separated from his parents on getting married at the instance of the wife, especially when the son is the only earning member in the family. A son, brought up and given education by his parents, has a moral and legal obligation to take care and maintain the parents, when they become old and when they have either no income or have a meagre income.” So the basic ethos of this judgement left me depressed. A son is a son, has all the right to be with his family. What about girls? So should all women bring up divorce where in many families, they have to take a permission for even visiting their parents. These days, parents spend on education and upbringing of both, so what about the moral and legal obligation of girl child. HAS SHE RIGHT TO DIVORCE HER HUSBAND, IF HE REFUSES TO ALLOW HER TO CARE FOR HER PARENTS? It is the responsibility of both spouses to take care of either set of parents, that is what Indian culture is.
Last, was Chetan Bhagat’s One Indian girl. Considering it was the same author who gave us Five point someone , 2 states.. I held him in considerable awe. So I had high hopes with this one as well. But Alas, I’m greatly disappointed with his definition of feminism.
Feminism does not mean A women earning high salary, drinking alcohol, doing drugs or wearing short dresses.
The protagonist ” Radhika Mehta” works in a high ended bank, earns a big fat salary, but all the time she needs approval from the male counterparts for her looks, her clothes. The first part in New york city, she gets in Live in relationship with a bengali boy, Debu who works in advertising. The boy is insecure because she earns more than him. In the next part, when she moves to HongKong, she falls in for her boss, Neel who is 20 years elder, married and in this part it seems, sex is the only thing on her mind. Finally, when she goes for a groom search, she rejects boys just because they are earning less than her or are ugly to look at. So where is feminism now. All throughout the book, her stand for feminism is getting her legs waxed, drinking alcohol and falling in for guys to prove that she is not a nerd.
Feminism is equal rights and respect for either sexes. Both are incomplete without each other, Be it Shiv- Parvati, Radha-Krishna, our traditional Indian culture stresses the importance of both. Over the centuries, the females began to be treated as subordinates, and though we pray to female goddesses, yet in many homes, females are mistreated.
Infact, till now in many states, sex ratio is skewed, coz of female feticide. Male child is the preferred one. Obviously because he is going to be there till end while female will get married and go to other family. Again, females are subjected to sexual crimes, and whenever such a thing happens, girls are blamed. Feminism is this basic demand of right to live, live with dignity and not be judged for where it was not her fault.
They are judged each and every day over what they wear, how they talk, what they do? Whether she is married or not married,there will be moral codes for her. If she is housewife, she will be questioned, what she did whole day. If she is work woman, still she has to manage both fronts. Though scenarios are changing but still people who come out in support are miniscule. Feminism, means this equality for basic rights, right to live, right to education, right to make her own choices. This does not translate to alcohol binging, having sex on fantasy islands and so on projected by Mr Chetan Bhagat. If extra marital affair is wrong for one, it is for either. If drinking alcohol is bad for one, it is for either. Those who do not drink, are not backward, and they might be more feminist than Radhika Mehta.
Though you interviewed so many females, you have still got us wrong, Mr Chetan Bhagat.
Yes, we need to be loved..but we do not want appreciation just to complete ourselves.
Yes, we do love our financial independence, but that does not mean that a woman who by choice gets married at 21, is in anyways less than one who didn’t.
What we wear does not give us a label of feminist…yes what we think defines that.
One Indian Girl … By Chetan Bhagat… Not Recommended.