Rakhi Sting-Part 2

INDIA IS DEFINITELY A PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY NO DENYING (FOR ATHEIST AND FEMNIST): Why do we have to see that as women being powerless and men powerful? Women have been the boss of their arena, (the house,) for ages, and men do the outside job. Now, the modern Indian women are also the boss outside the house. I consider patriarchal society as division of labor. A business runs smoothly when every employee does his part. In the same way, a house runs smoothly when every member of the family does their part. This is true even in the Animal kingdom. For example, during the breeding time, females lay eggs and takes care of the newborns, and males go out in search of food, (most animals anyway). It is just a way of nature and no one is exempt from that. (It’s called biology.)

Now, someone may point out that why cannot our roles be reversed? I have an answer for you too. Women are blessed with two gifts. One, we can carry a life inside us for nine months. This life growing inside us is heavy and sucks the life out of us. We are willing to make any personal sacrifices for this unseen and unborn baby. And that, my friend, is the meaning of mother’s love.  Also, there are certain times in a woman’s life that she needs rest, like pregnancy and child birth. If a woman is the sole bread winner of the family, these periods mean tough times for the family. Two, we are blessed with the gift of being able to take care of the people around us. Men, not so much. They do not have the skills to do our job as effortlessly as we do. I agree that not all husbands appreciate what their wife does. They are jerks everywhere. It is not fair to analyze the actions of a whole gender based on few jerks behavior. Does that mean we should feel inferior about what we do? Absolutely not.

Being a daughter, sister, wife and mother is something we should be proud about. We raise a child who might one day be a mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln, Margaret Thatcher, or Sir Isaac Newton. We sacrifice our life for everyone around us. Always remember every family’s patriarch is a son of a mother first. Even God, (Lord Krishna,) had to come down as human to experience the sweetness of mother’s love, (Mother Yashodha is Lord Krishna’s mother). Therefore, I think what we do is the most important job of all and not a menial one. If we want men to respect us, we should first learn to respect ourselves.

If after reading this, you want to say, “I think that women are baby making machines,” I will say “you are wrong. I am simply trying to explain why some traditions came into existence.” I, as a woman, do not consider myself to be a baby making machine or that my life revolves around “D”. I love and care for him because I love to do that and not because I have to. Our grandmothers lived at a time where they had no choice, but we are lucky that we live in a world with a choice. If we want to be pregnant, and work a job at the same time, we can choose to do that. That does not make the age old tradition wrong, it only means we have a choice. The traditions are put in place for a practical reason.

INDIA IS DEFINITELY PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY NO DENYING (FOR NON-ATHESIT AND NON-FEMNIST):

Every civilization/culture is based on one religion or the other whether we accept it or not. Just like Indian culture is based on Hinduism, western culture is based on Christianity or Judaism.  Therefore, I am going to quote some verses from the Bible to help you understand what I want to say.  The verses are from Ephesians 5:22-33 (teachings of Apostle Paul):

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but he feeds and care for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

I hope with this you can agree that the roots of woman obeying man are there in every culture. (The Bible made my job easy). Then why blame India for having a patriarchal society? I think the only difference is in India we are still sticking with our traditions and western society is not. It is funny how westerners choose to follow the Bible selectively. India is a nation of 1.24 billion people, second most populous country in the world, 17.5% of world’s population. At least 48-50% of that population is women and most of us are happy with our culture. Every person born has problems and we do too.

USA got Independence on July 4th of 1776, and women got the right to vote with the signing of the 19th amendment in the year 1920. That is almost 144 years after they got independence. In UK, women over 30, with minimum property qualification, got their right to vote through People Act 1918 and Eligibility of Women Act 1918. Later, through People Act 1928, voting eligibility was extended to women over 21. Do not forget UK was not under any country’s rule

Now, let’s  see the history of  women’s voting rights in India. In 1931, Congress party, (one of the major political parties in India today,) promised universal voting rights provided it comes to power. In 1935, British Raj established separate electorate and seats for women. This was met with opposition from most of the women leaders. (Yes, we had some great women leaders too). In 1947, when India got its Independence, Congress party enforced equal voting rights as promised. I think this speaks for itself.

I never understood the concept where you do not believe in the core principle but just do it for fun. I am vocal in my criticism of celebrating Mother’s day, (or Father’s day, or Valentine’s Day for that matter).  The reason is I believe that mother deserves to be loved and thanked every day. I do not believe in giving her a card on one day a year telling her how special she is. I believe she should be celebrated every day. Therefore, I never celebrate any of those days no matter what the societal pressures are. I tell the same to my mom and “D”.

I respect those foreigners who are trying to understand Indian culture. It is a challenge to understand a foreign culture. At the same time, it is hurtful to make culturally insensitive statements with just superficial knowledge. I hope westerners can understand the real meaning better before making statements like this. I hope that this post helps them see the deeper meaning of Rakhi. I hope I was able to convey my message clearly, and my readers can get a deeper understanding about India and its people.

I love my brother so much and cannot just listen to someone insulting Rakhi.  The irony of this post is a sister defending her brother and not the other way around.

Rakhi = sister’s love and brother’s promise.

If you did not read Rakhi Sting-Part 1, you can find it here.

If you are patient enough to make this far. Thank you so much, and please comment down below to share your thoughts.

You might also be interested in:

Every coin has a flip side- Part 1 find it here

Every coin has a flip side- Part 2 find it here

Every coin has a flip side- Part 3 find it here

Athidhi Devobhava find it here

67 years of Independence find it here

-R.

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8 Comments

  1. I think any society is patriarchal in the sense that women are treated as sex objects, and in turn they are dehumanized. There is a documentary that is called “Miss Representation”, it’s excellent.
    My own mother worked full-time and was not emotionally present, and I really missed her growing up. That is why I am now a stay-at-home mother to my daughter, because I love it, but also it is my second chance at having a mother/daughter relationship. Of course my mother thinks I’m going back into the 1950’s, but I really enjoy being a parent and I think it is the most important job. In a sense, you do have to sacrifice your own selfish desires, but both parents do when you become a parent. I think being a parent and raising a confident child is the most important job in the world.

    Reply
    • Raina

       /  August 24, 2013

      I agree with you totally. Career is important, but the kids are more important. After all they are the future.Early years of a child’s life are really important, because that is when most of the neural development takes place. They might not remember the time they spent with us, but proper attention given at this stage pays dividends. I always worry about how I will manage everything in future? My mom is already on my tail, because she senses this attitude from me. I consider the greatest gift we can give a child would be teaching them live in this world independently and confidently. I mean what would we do with all the money, if our kids turn out to be dumb.

      Reply
      • I agree with you on many things, but patriarchy does not always work in a woman’s favor. I really believe that men/women should be equal. and also a man can take care of the child, just as well as a woman can – just like a woman can work just as well as a man can. The only thing is that a man has to be encouraged to develop his nurturing side. But I truly believe that men make excellent stay-at-home fathers. At least one parent has to focus on raising the child, it doesn’t matter if it is the mother or father.
        We are fortunate in our immediate families, however, many (Indian) women are not. Some of my sisters have to CHOOSE between getting married and their dreams of going abroad to study. And they have chosen to get married as young as 23 because they believe they are less, a burden. It depends on the family, as Rakhi depends on the family, as patriarchy depends on the family.

        Reply
        • Raina

           /  August 27, 2013

          First, if you see one thumbs down on your comment do not worry I accidentally clicked it and don’t know how to undo it.
          I agree with you patriarchy does not work in woman’s favor always. I don’t know if I gave you the wrong impression but that is what I believe too. I was trying to explain my interpretation of why the tradition might have come into existence. When it comes to who does what I consider it should be the choice of the couple. In addition, the women need to have a choice and for that, we have to stand up for ourselves. I also agree with what you said about patriarchy and role of women depends on the family.
          My personal choice is I would like to take the responsibility of house and kids (future kids). That is because I enjoy it, and not that “D” is incapable. I know in the future there will be times when I will be busy with work, and for those times, I am lucky I have found a man who is as responsible as I am.

          Reply
  1. What do I stand for? | Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (VK)
  2. “Let the 21st century be a century of tolerance and dialogue” | Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
  3. 67 years of Independence | Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
  4. Rakhi Sting-Part 1 | Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

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