There was a very interesting dialogue in Rang De Basanti that has stayed with me and now in retrospect it does make sense.
A politician’s side kick says in the movie- “logo ki yadasht badi kamzor hoti hain sir.”- “people’s memory is usually short lived.”
I am not too sure if it’s short lived memory or the everyday survival but what once seems like a revolution usually fizzles out in months or sometimes even days. Hence the poor old man Anna Hazare almost famished to death yet failed to turn a leaf in law books and what seemed like a revolution for the Delhi girl who was brutally raped and murdered in December turned out to be quite a phuss.
The truth of the matter is, in an everyday run to earn money and survive, these issues that we strongly feel for, stand for, take the back seat, if not forgotten.
Delhi rape case had shaken me inside out for its sheer barbarism. When the world debated and argued and suggested some rather radical solutions, I stayed mum; not because I didn’t have much to say, but because reaching the root cause of so many rape cases in our country seemed more important. I wanted to listen to every argument, soak in every thought, every word, mull it over and finally share what I feel. Before I come to solutions of the problem, let me discuss what really causes the problem. Shocking as it may sound; it is MONEY or our mindsets that we associate power and superiority with money. Isn’t money really the reason that we serve our rich guests with cashew nuts and almonds in silverwares and a glass of water to the not so wealthy ones?
Now before I elaborate on this, I have a question. How would you react if I told my mother/wife/sister-
“Aapki jagah kitchen mein hain, tum wahi achi lagti ho.”- “Your place is in the kitchen, that’s where you belong!”
One would be quick to judge me as a male chauvinist pig, who looks down upon women and doesn’t respect them.
Wonder how many of you would have the same reaction if I told my father/brother-
“Aap kamate huye hi ache lagte ho, ghar pe naa baitha karo.”- “You look better when you are out, earning. Don’t stay at home.” It will be never be perceived as a sexist comment instead one receives it with pride and honor.
It is sadly the power that comes with money that makes going out and earning far cooler than staying at home and cooking. The person who goes out, earns money is always considered far superior than the one who stays at home. Hence we have conveniently overlooked the importance of women who build a home, run a home and most importantly shape their kids’ lives, make (or could break) the country’s future.
Right after the Delhi rape case, there were news channels that reported rather quote unquote progressive news of how a woman in Chennai is riding a bike and showing all men that women are no less. How on earth has riding a bike become a symbol of ‘progression’ and ‘equality’? Why does a woman have to ride and bike and show she is equal. Why can’t she be in the kitchen and cook daal chawal and yet be equal?
There were also reports of a bunch of young men in Bangalore who slipped into skirts to show their solidarity to the Delhi rape girl. Are you serious? It is this triviality of the issue that makes my blood boil and how stupidly we belittle the problem at hand.
Over a period of time, men have been the bread earner and women looked after the home. And since we associate so much of importance to money, equate it with power, men by default became the higher species in the relationship. So women dress like men, ride a bike, take up a job, start earning, talk about gadgets and (excuse me saying this)- do things that are usually considered men like, to show they are equals and are not lagging behind in any way. On the contrary shouldn’t we thank the women in our lives for bringing us up, for feeding us day in and out (including weekends), for running household errands, from bills to laundry to cleanliness, to kids’ homework, to every little thing that helps us go out and earn a livelihood?
I stay with my mom and not even once I think I am doing her a favor or any better than her because I earn. Just like how I think she is not doing me any favor by ironing my clothes or preparing me breakfast, lunch or dinner. These are jobs divided between two individuals to run our lives smoothly. A sense of respect for what the other person does is all we need to strike a balance. Alas the reality is a far different story. Women have to go out, earn and struggle to be EQUALS and men who prefer to stay at home and look after kids are downright pansy/unmanly/gays/losers.
It’s this fuddy-duddy mindset, this conservative thinking that has coined such sexist phrases, such gender biased stereotypes-
- “Arey tumne kya haath mein chudiya pehan rakhi hain.”
- “Tu kya ladki ke tarah Sharma raha hain.”
- “Haathon mein mehndi lagi hain kya?”
And because we EARN, bring home bundles of CASH, we become far higher than women who “stay at home and do nothing”. And since we are higher, we can treat these lesser mortals any which way we like. We can stop them in a bus, catch them by the road side, attack a young girl, assault her in the most heinous way, and shove an iron rod up her vagina and leave her by the roadside to die.
Still shaken and seething!!!