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Malaika Arora publicly acknowledging her wishes to adopt a daughter with her son, as a single mother, is an empowering move that needs to be noted.
Malaika Arora, actor and fitness enthusiast, is back into the spotlight. And this time not because sexist trolls have made it their life’s mission to bog this independent woman down!
Malaika has shared with the world her hopes of adopting a girl as an addition to her family. She has discussed this with her son Arhaan Khan, whom she loves ‘to the moon and back’ and has confided in him how she wished she had a daughter.
Malaika’s personal relationships too seem to have influenced her wonderful decision.
She has shared that she has a sister with whom she has a very beautiful and supportive relationship, and hailing from a family full of girls, wanting a girl child has been a ‘running sentiment in her heart’. A lot of her friends have also had joyful and uplifting experiences after adopting girl children and giving them love, support, and a comfortable, happy life.
Malaika Arora publicly acknowledging her wishes to extend her love and also privileges to a young girl as a single mother is an empowering move that needs to be noted.
Since her divorce with Arbaaz Khan in 2017 after nineteen years of marriage, Malaika has been subjected to vicious trolling from sexist people who’ve had a problem with everything she does. From what she wears to gym, to who she is dating as she made her relationship with actor Arjun Kapoor public, intrusive elements feel that the woman is answerable to the patriarchal society.
For someone who has seen the worst of the internet, she remains unperturbed to what intrusive comments the internet might have to make about her life choices. She is prioritising her wants, looking to adopt a daughter to grow her family. Because what is more important than making your own happiness?
While there has been a positive evolution of the adoption laws in 2015 and 2017 in favour of single parents, particularly single mothers, the actual adoption process hasn’t become much easier in reality.
The Central Adoption Resource Authority, under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, has stipulated that any single woman who is physically, emotionally and financially stable, with no life threatening medical condition, can adopt a child of any gender. Yet the experience of prospective adoptive single mothers is not as smooth sailing as the laws promise. Adoption centres and the Home Study Report are seen to discriminate against single parents, favouring traditional two parent set-ups. Many prospective adoptive single mothers face intrusive questions about their marital status and experience negative biases while moving through the system.
According to a UN Women report, only 38% of today’s families comprise a traditional two parents with children composition. About 8% of families are single parent households, of which as many as 84% are households with single mothers. According to the same report, there are as many as 450 lakh women living as single parents in India, as the structures of family are undergoing a redefinition. This is around 4.5% of all households.
Further, there has been an increase in single mothers coming forward to adopt kids. 412 single women had registered with CARA in 2015, of which 75 had completed the process and adopted a child. Statistics show that the numbers have doubled in the succeeding years, with 817 single women registering by the end of 2017. This is partly due to the change in adoption laws making it more inclusive and transparent, but also due to some positive change in societal mindset.
Malaika Arora’s decision to adopt a girl child to extend the boundaries of her family, as a single mother, points to the gradual transformation that sections of the society are going through. It is becoming more inclusive and it recognises the needs and wishes of single women. Even if this did not happen overnight. And Arora is not the first Bollywood celebrity, either!
In Bollywood, female celebrities have trudged through the complicated adoption process in the past, too. And these are some very popular personalities we adore! From Raveena Tandon to Preity Zinta to Sushmita Sen, they have publicly set examples of how single adoptive motherhood is an fulfilling and empowering experience. To be able to define one’s family outside of the traditional definition of two opposite sex parents with children. Or how the absence of a husband or a father does not redefine familial relations.
Further, the adoption of a girl child, in particular, too, is important. While we as a nation might be well into the twenty-first century with its promises of advanced science and technology, basic human rights like equality and right to life continue to evade baby girls and women across the country, as well as, world over. From the threat by the Taliban to girls and women in Afghanistan, to the draconian abortion rights (or the lack thereof) in certain parts of the United States, and to the continued dismal sex ratios at birth in India, the girl child continues to be at a more precarious position vis-a-vis their male counterparts.
In an environment like this, when Bollywood celebrities who hold a considerable sway in the shaping of the worldly and political views of their fans, come forward to adopt and cherish daughters, it brings forth the important message that the girl child deserves being wanted and loved. And when given the right opportunities and platforms, these young girls would grow up to be strong individuals with positive contributions towards society.
Malaika Arora, when she does adopt a daughter, would find love, support and affection from another person in her life, and she gets to exercise her agency to redefine the boundaries of her family the way she deems fit.
A postgraduate student of Political Science at Presidency University, Kolkata. Describes herself as an intersectional feminist and an avid reader when she's not busy telling people about her cats. Adores walking around and exploring read more...
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
It’s All In Your Head, M famed author Manjiri Indurkar’s debut poetry collection, Origami Aai, is independent and yet an extension of her memoir in which she speaks with utmost grace about all forms of abuses that she has survived. In this book of intriguing and evocative poems, the poet weaves words to form images of the everyday life of her middle-class family, love found and lost, trauma, and healing.
The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit.
So we talk of each one who died of drowning,
and I listen to her stories with the patience
of a chronicler.
– Funereal Stories
Homemakers or as we often call them, 'housewives' are IMO the most underestimated and disrespected of women. Time this changed.
I am so glad to write about this as homemakers were and till are the most undervalued and underestimated.
Having grown up in Indian society, I have witnessed people disrespecting homemakers by delivering various comments like, “saara din ghar par to hoti ho karti kya ho” (being at home what do you do full day), “housewives ke pass to bahut time hota hai” (housewives have a lot of time), “subah kaam hota hai fir to free hi free saara din” (you have work in the morning and then you are free the whole day).
I am a working woman and I confess that I can go to work because earlier my mother and now my mother-in-law share responsibilities with me. People feel the work of a homemaker is easy but honestly, it’s not. I see my mother-in-law waking up at 6 am and working non-stop till night. In fact, I would say the life of some working individuals are much more sorted and simple than that of a homemaker.
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