Why I Protested When I Was Blessed In My Pregnancy: “Putra Vati Bhava!”

Our hankering for, and acceptance of sons as more desirable than daughters is one of the evils that is behind a society that thinks nothing of being violent to women. Time to change that?

I’m so disturbed since the past few days…All the news channels and social media pages are filled with every single detail of such barbaric crime happening all around.

No, I don’t want to go into the details of these crimes. I switch over to another channel if it’s being aired on the one I am watching, and it is not because I am insensitive to what is happening around me. It disturbs me to the core, and all I want to think is: why does all this happen? Like all of you I fail to understand: where is the world heading?

But I have a question. Why do we only react when something gruesome takes place? Everyone wants the death penatly for rape now; well, I too support it, but the question is why does this happen in the first place?

Putra Vati Bhava!

Actually we ourselves are to be blamed for what we are reaping today. Let me tell you my own experience. We were having our annual ritual puja in the family last year, and since I was expecting my second child then, the Pandit ji blessed me with a loud “Putra vati bhava!” (May you have a son!)

I revolted to this right there much to the dislike of many family members around and asked him, “Why Putra and why not Putri?”

The answer came, “Beti, shashtron mein aisa hi likha hai!” (This is how it has been said in our scriptures!)

Now my question is: why has this never been challenged? Why have we been sleeping all these years when subtle things like the above have made boys feel that they are the supreme things around? (I am not writing this to hurt anyone’s emotions, I know a lot of my friends who would be reading this have been raised the right way by some of the most sensible parents.)

The ‘entitled’ sons

Our previous generations have always stood by their sons in whatever they did, and have never left a chance to correct their daughters be it the way they dressed or played.

Have you ever seen the convict’s parents in any of these rape cases standing up against their own son? Now come on don’t tell me that a mother cannot judge what her child is capable of… so it’s the Indian approach of protecting our sons come what may, which have always said to these sons that whatever good or bad they do, their family will always support them.

Domestic violence

Be it domestic violence or marital rape, what does the poor wife get on her platter? Gyaan from her own parents and inlaws to keep her mouth shut and to pray that all will be good in future. She is told a thousand times to think about her own children, but wait a minute… do you think that children raised under such circumstances would grow up to be responsible people?

Let’s accept it, there has to be a lot of work that needs to be done to educate people in the literal sense. There is more to be done beyond formal education. Maybe we need to be the ‘moral police’ and poke our nose whenever and wherever we see anything that is not acceptable: be it an intervention when we see a child misbehaving with his mother, or a husband talking rudely to his wife.

I have heard so many women talking about how they want to have a male child to make their relationship more stable with their beasts (I would call these husbands so, and I am not sorry about it!) My question is will this help? Come on, with this the lady is all set to bring up another male in this world who might be all set to do a repeat telecast of what he has seen all through his childhood.

Be proactive, don’t just react

A rape in the village or a sexual assault in the corporate world, why do we just react instead of acting? Many times we just ignore things till it strikes us. Think of a typical situation where a woman has ignored an abusive boy living in the same neighbourhood till he chooses her daughter as his prey. The thing is, we are so contained in our own lives that we hardly care what is happening around us till it strikes us.

If one analyses the people behind these crimes, one will find they mostly they are the ones who live families where they see abuse all around them. They think it is pretty normal for a man to hit a woman or for a husband to impose himself upon his wife. They hardly know what respecting a woman means. We call ourself global citizens of the world, but how many of us have actually stepped out of our own comfortable world to read the mind of these people? To set their beliefs right, to show them a better direction, or to show them the larger picture of this world.

Let our minds open the mind of others for a better world….Amen!

A version of this was published here earlier.

Image source: a still from the movie Hamari Adhuri Kahani

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