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Is it enough that our 'boys' in blue wore their mothers' names on their backs, to strike at the roots of patriarchy? Is this #NayiSoch going to change society?
Is it enough that our ‘boys’ in blue wore their mothers’ names on their backs, to strike at the roots of patriarchy? Is this #NayiSoch going to change society?
The final One-Day International (ODI) against New Zealand in a recently concluded series was much talked about for a reason other than cricket – all the Indian cricketers wore jerseys bearing their mother’s names respectively instead of their own.
This was preceded by the advertisements of three renowned Indian cricketers for a campaign titled ‘Nayi Soch’ (New Thought). This unique initiative is part of a social awareness campaign started by Star India in collaboration with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to bring into focus the importance of mothers in the lives of everyone, especially in the lives of accomplished people. It is definitely a refreshing change, and has the shock value to make every viewer introspect, as to why mothers remain anonymous in the lives of their accomplished kids (read sons).
A matronymic is a personal name that is based on the given name of one’s mother, or a female ancestor. In societies across the world matronymic surnames are less common than patronymic surnames. Traditionally, matronymic last names were often given to children of unwed mothers. Patriarchy further supports this system by insisting that children/progeny belong to the men’s family, especially male heirs. Daughters are expected to renounce their father’s names and take up their husband’s name at marriage.
In India the only public figure to use his mother’s name formally is the acclaimed film director, Sanjay ‘Leela’ Bhansali, who uses his mother’s name as his middle name as a dedication to her struggles in bringing him up almost as a single parent.
So clearly it’s not a norm to use mother’s names in India. Girls use their father’s last name before marriage and husband’s after marriage, whereas boys always use only their father’s names. It could be one of the reasons why boys are the preferred gender in progeny in India still because they supposedly carry forward your family name.
Any trend supported publicly by a national team of a sport that has such a wide following in the country is bound to catch eyeballs and become a point of discussions, but will it lead to long term change? This needs to be debated and seen.
It is very charming to see skipper Dhoni say he must use his mother’s name ‘Devki’ with as much ease as he uses his father’s last name ‘Dhoni’, but the real question is – would he be comfortable if Mrs. MS Dhoni refuses to use the family’s last name or his daughter wants to use her mother’s name instead of his? This is just an example; the question is to all of us.
Families and society in India is still not comfortable with women using hyphenated or double-barrelled surnames as they are derogatorily sometimes called. So is it even realistic to expect boys to formally take up their mother’s names, and even more for women to take up a last name from the mother’s side or none at all?
Another stereotype that these kind of campaigns may underline is the glorified motherhood of boys traditionally so evident in Indian mythology. So mothers must seek sons to carry forward their names and not daughters.
We only revere and remember women as mothers and that too only as mothers of sons. Even the traditional blessing given to newlywed women is “Putravati bhav” (may you give birth to a son). Does anyone remember Sita’s or Draupadi’s mothers, whereas we all know hundreds of stories about Rama and Krishna’s mothers respectively?
While some may say these are just empty gestures and what is there in a name, and some others may argue that it is a small but good beginning towards gender parity especially as parents for men and women, but the fact of the matter still remains that the agency of ‘granting’ validity to a woman’s rights remains with the men folk.
As long as women do not exercise their own choices whether it is regarding last names or how gender sensitive they bring up their kids to be as parents, their dependence on patriarchy to ‘validate’ and ‘allow’ shall remain.
I always believe all change begins in homes and in a family, naming the problem is often the first step. This advertisement has shed light on the anonymity of women in our culture but it might also send in wrong signals as far as patriarchal cliches are concerned.
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Pooja Priyamvada is an author, columnist, translator, online content & Social Media consultant, and poet. An awarded bi-lingual blogger she is a trained psychological/mental health first aider, mindfulness & grief facilitator, emotional wellness trainer, reflective read more...
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Before expecting the daughter in law to love, respect and accept the new family, it is only fair that the family demonstrates all of these first.
If you are a married Indian woman, one of the first words you hear from your in laws is that you are now a daughter of the house. How true is that statement though? Are daughters in law really treated as daughters or is this only lip service?
A friend recently confided how hurt she felt when she wanted to visit her in-laws along with her husband but was told not to, because the in-laws wanted time alone with their son. Naturally, she was taken aback since she had always been fed this trope – that she was the daughter, not the daughter in law. Why then this sudden keeping at arm’s distance? Would a son in law ever be told not to accompany his wife on her visit to her parents because they wanted quality time with their daughter? That is unimaginable in a patriarchal society.
It is ok to want time alone with the married offspring but how does that meld into the Indian family system, where independent choices are less important than the whole family coming together?
Chhorii starring Nushrratt Bharuccha is another horror movie challenging the patriarchal standards that persist in society!
Adding to the list of horror movies that use the genre to challenge patriarchal standards, Chhorii is a scathing look at the so-called moral standards using which women are judged and turned into ‘witches’.
When does a chhorii (girl) become a chudail (witch)? Like the brilliant Bulbul from last year, Chhorii asks this question poignantly, making us search deep within ourselves for the answer. Bulbul becomes a witch in order to protect the women and girls of her village when she dies after suffering patriarchal torture at the hands of her husband and brother-in-law. Why is the witch in Chhorii a witch?
An amazing Nushrratt Bharuccha stars as Sakshi, a pregnant woman who comes to a remote village with her husband to escape loan sharks. But all is not right there, and Sakshi can sense it. The real horror is the patriarchal nature of their hosts, rather than the supernatural beings. Will Sakshi be able to escape with her and her unborn child’s lives? Watch Chhorii (now streaming on Amazon Prime Video) to find out.
The heights that the Indian women's cricket team has achieved make us wonder - why are women cricketers not involved in the IPL which is the biggest celebration of cricket in India? Or even, why isn't there a women’s IPL tournament too?
The heights that the Indian women’s cricket team has achieved make us wonder – why are women cricketers not involved in the IPL which is the biggest celebration of cricket in India? Or even, why isn’t there a women’s IPL tournament too?
Women have proved their calibre in every field. Whether it is the corporate world, fashion industry, service sector, or the sports field, we have always proved that we are worth everything. In sports the one game that runs in the veins of our country is cricket. Women have shown their calibre in this ‘gentlemen’s game’ too. But women’s cricket doesn’t receive the due attention it deserves.
Since its inception the women’s cricket team has evolved a lot in terms of the game-play, tournaments and talent. Recently, they reached the finals of the world cup in 2017, the finals of the Asia Cup T20 in 2018, and the semi-final of the Women’s World T20 also in 2018, but still the recognition from the audience has always been slow.
"Women have each other to draw inspiration from, to hold one another’s hands when the going gets tough," says Change.org Country Director Nida Hasan, "and to celebrate our victories together."
“Women have each other to draw inspiration from, to hold one another’s hands when the going gets tough,” says Change.org Country Director Nida Hasan, “and to celebrate our victories together.”
As a child, I was a tom-boy! I wore shorts and basketball jerseys, played cricket in the scorching June sun, without a care for how much I tanned, went to the market to buy groceries, cycled around the neighbourhood, fell, scraped my knees, got scars on my legs that would last a lifetime. I wore the ‘tom-boy’ tag with pride, my entire childhood.
By the time I entered college, I was the only girl in my Journalism class who drove a car (albeit a rickety Maruti 800, nicknamed ‘Tuttad’). But it was in college, when I first realised how this label of ‘tom-boy’ from my family and friends that I proudly sported, was one of the biggest pieces of baggage I had to carry.