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Even as we Indian women fight for our rights, can we also fight for our responsibilities as daughters?
The fight for women’s rights (in the Indian context) probably gained momentum some time around the 1970s and it has been around in various forms since then, with some of the key issues being property rights, freedom from harassment and violence, education and equal treatment at home and work. While that’s a good fight that needs to be fought, what about the fight for women’s responsibilities?
A friend recently told me a story about one of her friends, let’s call her Archana. Archana’s story is a not uncommon one today. She is a well-educated urban woman and the daughter of a single mother, who brought her up with great difficulty. 2 years ago, she chose to marry a man she fell in love with; someone she met through common friends.
Since the time she got married, it is clear that Archana’s mother can expect no support from her – not financially, and not in any other sense. For instance, if her mother is unwell, it is very clear to her that she can come down to help her only if circumstances at her new home permit. The needs of the in-laws must come first. The husband makes it clear that he would not be comfortable with their money being used to help her mother – although his parents can certainly depend on him. At the time of her wedding, she was working at a well-paid job, but a child followed rather quickly, and she has chosen to take a career break for a few years. Which means she has no income of her own at this point in time. Her mother feels insecure, but she is resigned to it – after all, once a girl is married, you can’t expect much, can you, she thinks.
What astonishes me is that this is not a typical old-style arranged marriage where the ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ just ‘saw’ each other and nodded assent. This is a case where two people have extensively interacted with each other before deciding to marry. Given how difficult her mother’s life was, and her even now precarious financial situation, how is that Archana did not discuss with her spouse-to-be the responsibilities of each partner towards their parents? And as I mentioned, this is certainly not the only such story I have heard of, where educated women, on getting married, completely shrug off their responsibilities to their parents. The excuses one hears are, ‘My husband will object’, ‘My husband is a sweet guy, but the in-laws are traditional’ or even – ‘After all, my brother is around to take care of them’.
Grrr, is all I can say. I’m sorry, but I have little sympathy when women with every advantage – who have been given the privilege of education, who have earned their own money, who have had the freedom to choose their man – cannot stand up to outdated norms like these. Worse, are some using them to conveniently abdicate responsibilities?
We want laws to protect our rights and make things work for us, we want society to change its outdated attitudes to girls, but what about the hard work of negotiating change at home? I’ve never been a fan of the Indian attitude towards caring for parents – not because I think the elderly should be abandoned, but because this caring is one-sided. It’s only men who get the privilege (and responsibility) of caring for their parents.
By all means, let’s fight for the rights and privileges that men can take for granted. But, let’s also fight for those responsibilities!
Founder & Chief Editor of Women's Web, Aparna believes in the power of ideas and conversations to create change. She has been writing since she was ten. In another life, she used to be read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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What I loved was how there is so much in the movie of the SRK we have known, and also a totally new star. The gestures, the smile, the wit and the charisma are all too familiar, but you also witness a rawness, an edginess.
When a movie that got the entire nation in a twist – for the right and wrong reasons – hits the theatres, there is bound to be noise. From ‘I am going to watch it – first day first show’ to ‘Boycott the movie and make it a flop’, social media has been a furore of posts.
Let me get one thing straight here – I did not watch Pathaan to make a statement or to simply rebel as people would put it. I went to watch it for the sheer pleasure of witnessing my favourite superstar in all his glory being what he is best at being – his magnificent self. Because when it comes to screen presence, he burns it, melts it and then resurrects it as well like no other. Because when it comes to style and passion, he owns it like a boss. Because SRK is, in a way, my last connecting point to the girl that I once was. Though I have evolved into so many more things over the years, I don’t think I am ready to let go of that girl fully yet.
There is no elephant in the room really here because it’s a fact that Bollywood has a lot of cleaning up to do. Calling out on all the problematic aspects of the industry is important and in doing that, maintaining objectivity is also equally imperative. I went for Pathaan for entertainment and got more than I had hoped for. It is a clever, slick, witty, brilliantly packaged action movie that delivers what it promises to. Logic definitely goes flying out of the window at times and some scenes will make you go ‘kuch bhi’ , but the screenplay clearly reminds you that you knew all along what you were in for. The action sequences are lavish and someone like me who is not exactly a fan of this genre was also mind blown.
When Jaya Bachchan speaks her mind in public she is often accused of being brusque and even abrasive. Can we think of her prodigious talent and all the bitter pills she has had to swallow over the years?
A couple of days ago, a short clip of a 1998 interview of Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan resurfaced on social media. In this episode of the Simi Grewal chat show, at about the 23-minute mark, Jaya lists her husband’s priorities: one, parents, two kids, then wife. Then she corrects herself: his profession – and perhaps someone else – ranks above her as a wife.
Amitabh looks visibly uncomfortable at this unstated but unambiguous reference to his rather well-publicised affair with co-star Rekha back in the day.
Watching the classic film Abhimaan some years ago, one scene really stayed with me. It was something Brajeshwarlal (David’s character) says in troubled tones during the song tere mere milan ki yeh raina. He says something to the effect that Uma (Jaya Bhaduri’s character) is more talented than Subir (Amitabh Bachchan’s character) and that this was a problem since society teaches us that men are superior to women.
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