What Matriarchy Left Me With

Posted: July 4, 2013

I am an Indian woman, one of those who had the privilege of being brought up in a matriarchal family. I was single handedly raised by my Maa. Basically my growing up has been around some strong women. When you grow up with a matriarch, you pick up some lessons, some consciously others not. Here are a few lessons it taught me.

1)  Do your own things: We were four siblings; three daughters and a son, my brother being the youngest. Whenever I needed something which I could run an errand for, I was trained to ride my bicycle and get it for myself. In gist, I was always trained to get my own things. So, when I grew up, I learnt to build my own paradise.  I never waited for someone else to create one for me.

2)  Talk it out: I was brought up in a small sleepy town. However, troubles did not keep afar. But whenever there would be one; it was talked out. There would be long talks, sometimes tempers did fly; but under no circumstance was violence used as a resort. Thus I learnt to talk out whenever I confronted any trouble, one of the best lessons, I ever learnt and later in life it paid me huge dividends.

Maa, Naani and Me

Maa, Naani and Me

3)   It is Okay for a man to cry: When men cried, for whatever reason, no hue and cry was raised. I learnt that men can be weak and flawed and it is okay. The softer emotions were taught to be respected. So, over the years, I remained great buddies with guys because they could spill their softer emotions in front of me.

4)  Treat men as equals: The best lesson of survival, I learnt was to stand up for myself. No matter what, I learnt is to treat the other person as equal; especially men. And that changed the equations. It has worked wonders in my life. Nothing beats the grace of a woman who talks with her head high with respect and it begets respect.

These are the life nourishing lessons the matriarchs of my life left with me. I am proud that I come from matriarchy!

Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.

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  1. Lovely piece! Truly good lessons.

  2. Brilliant read! Proud to say I have some inspiring women around me.

  3. I don’t know if matriarchy or patriarchy has much to do with it. I was raised in a family where my father earned the household income and my mother was primarily a house-wife(and did some volunteer work). I had all the benefits you mentioned.
    I do not call my family patriarchal since although my Dad earned all the money, the least amount got spent on him. Most of the economic decisions were made by my mother since Dad was mostly at work. I am proud of belonging to such a family and I don’t care how it is classified.

    • Dear Raj,

      Thank you for your comment. I am glad to know that these are the same lessons you learnt. And I wish the same for every family. If so be the case, India would not come in news for rapes, female foeticide, dowry deaths, acid attacks and molestation.

      Please convey my personal regards to your parents.


    • Adding to that, India would also not come in news for violence against our male citizens either, which, sorry to say, is rather casually accepted in our society. This is coming from someone who has many male members in the military and the police.
      Please convey my personal regards to your mother as well.

  4. So well written. But I do wonder why crying, man or woman would be considered weak. I was raised to believe that being able to express oneself, regardless of gender is skill that all need to nuture and respect.

    And also, whether marti or patri, where there is equality, there will be a successful family.

    Being raised by strong women is actually a privilage. Research shows that women leaders bring a new dimention to the table and often problems are resolved by discussion and not by laying down the law.

    I enjoyed this short piece very much.

  5. I am glad that I am not the only one. Someone is there to share a story with. Wonderful piece. 🙂

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