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A Deep Dive Into The Great Indian Hypocrisy That Makes Everything Clear

Posted: February 4, 2021

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The Great Indian Kitchen provided us the opportunity to look at ourselves and brought up the important question: why do we continue to enslave women, mentally and physically? 

After reading numerous reviews that said that The Great Indian Kitchen resonated with women deeply, I was tempted enough to watch it at 1am (and subscribed to Neestream only for this).

The movie seemed to be a mirage of raw shots brought together, and every reel depicted the reality of patriarchy to the fullest. It was simply amazing. It provides a glimpse into the seldom talked about daily life of a woman. I was enraged at the fate of all the women who silently live with misogyny, and couldn’t stop the adrenaline rush that I felt in the final scene.

A relatable portrayal of lives of women across generations…

The movie has shown the great Indian family, the great Indian culture, the great Indian women, the great Indian men, the great Indian sacrifice, along with the great Indian food. I am convinced that no one can watch it without guilt. I felt guilt immediately for the life of my mother, and the generations of women before her.

Everyone’s been through just such a family life, trapped in the kitchen, cooped in with the steam and dirt, with numbed senses, glorified menial routine, and the list goes on. It basically shows a ‘perfectly normal Indian home.’ For a brief period, I had a similar life. Irrespective of the reasons that led to the end of my marriage, such a life never quite felt normal.

Moreover, the film also showcases the kind of gaslighting that women suffer from at the hands of men, privileged or not. The essence of women, their life within, is killed in making men comfortable. It was a whole new awareness for me when I saw the characters gaslight women just for being women.

It was brilliantly put across in minimal words, further highlighting the kind of life women live, a silent one. I couldn’t help but eventually call my mother.

Glorification of motherhood at what Cost?

We always glorify mothers for their ‘superpowers’. I do not like the use of such a term.

When it comes to food or practically anything else, mothers step up to sacrifice their share, and we see it as ‘normal’. They put the men’s needs, be it the husband or son, before their own.

In the course of a traditional Indian marriage, a woman’s needs are obliviated entirely. She is a simple, homely, family woman, well brought up in a ‘good’ family, and ends up sacrificing everything. In my view, this is a slow transformation of a woman into a live corpse. She becomes a means for men to admonish other women.

The question is, why do we glorify her sacrifices made on the social altar? Why do we feel the need to put up an image of a mother with several hands on mother’s day? When will we step up and give her a hand? Or just listen to her? When will we stop correcting her speech or clothing or ways just because we are embarrassed? And why do we get embarrassed? Why can’t we accept her? Who are we to clip her wings?

Mothers are the most traumatized citizens in Indian society. We don’t take even a moment to understand what goes on in her mind when we say, ‘you do not know how to talk so please refrain from talking to others!’ I have heard similar comments on several occasions from many people directed towards their mother or wife.

While reading about the partition of India, I discovered that the women who were murdered to protect honor of the family are now called martyrs. Those who survived were not mentioned. It’s the same attitude. The father-in-law tells the protagonist in the film,  ‘you are doing the most wonderful job which no bureaucrat can do’. This manipulation conditions women’s minds to adhere to the servitude mode of patriarchy.

Financial independence, freedom, and women’s agency

The clipped wings flap with financial autonomy. But how many women get this in real sense?

Many women have to surrender their phones, jewels, bank accounts, atm cards and even their sarees to their husbands thereby making the families proud of their subservience. If anything goes wrong in any direction, it is always easy to attack a woman, be it a mother or a wife or a daughter. It is easy because there is no visible impact. It is easy because of the absence of visible response from women. Nothing will happen if a woman is attacked or abused. She is a silent sufferer of manipulation, condescension, gaslighting, and Stockholm syndrome. Yet she continues to serve.

I am grateful that The Great Indian Kitchen provided us the opportunity to look at ourselves. It brought up the important question: Why do we continue to enslave women, mentally and physically? It made us think before take the first bite if food, to mend our ways to build a feminist society, to call ourselves ‘cultured’ without any hidden guilt.

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working in govt sector, love to read and write; love to travel and cook

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