When old is gold…

We had a get together last Saturday. A fun and delicious dinner with friends, made spicier with an interesting discussion.

Some of us ended up discussing Feminism, and as is usual, there were a lot of views. Predictably most of the men felt that it was ‘unnecessary’. I have to say rather proudly, that I have a feminist of a husband – he was only man who openly supported us girls :)

While a lot of things got discussed, one which I wanted to analyse here was ‘History’.

Just because historically patriarchy seems to be the norm, people seem fine with accepting it as the best thing. I was told a lot of times that we, women need to understand the ‘history’ behind it. And if it works, why are we trying to break the balance. The question for me is, does it actually work? What was difficult to get most of them to understand was that it works only for some sections of society. If it were working, we wouldn’t need to change it.

Also, the fact that the Western world followed patriarchy is always thrown in for added measure. It always makes me laugh that most people who would deride ‘Western Values’, have no problems with using the example of patriarchy in Western Society as an excuse or a justification.

So going back to the issue, I was surprised to see how vehement the men were in opposing any change to the current situation. Most of them were ready with examples of women torturing men, with women abusing dowry laws, citing these, as reasons why men have more to fear than women. Nuclear families, of course, were the worst example of low-life, the moral corruption that women getting powerful, is leading us to. What makes it all the more ridiculous is that the people spouting all this are all NRIs who are most certainly not staying with their parents.

And of course, most of them saw nothing wrong with women being considered ‘paraya dhan’. It was natural, was the claim. Girls leave the house, and the boys bring their wives into the house. Perfect, according to them.. What if there are only girls in the family.. Well, that is of course, unfortunate… but what can be done. ‘Sex selection, perhaps?’, I had to ask!

I wouldn’t have worried if these were views expressed by our parents’ generation, but when my generation is so vehement about it, it makes me wonder if education, makes any difference at all.. It made me want to send the IHM’s blog to open their eyes to what women(and men) go through in our society. I wish I could explain to them how patriarchy shackles both men and women. But sometimes, people don’t want to listen, they don’t want change because it works for them at the moment.

You know what was the saddest part? At the end of the night, I was taken aside and told that all this talk of women empowerment is of no use. You can’t change anything.There is a reason society evolved like this, and we should know better than try to upset the apple cart. If at all things have to change – they will change by themselves!

You know what, I was sad, but not for us, women. I was sad for people who thought like this. Who refuse to accept reality, who think that by closing their eyes to it, they can pretend that everything is fine. What a sad existence, don’t you think?

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19 thoughts on “When old is gold…

  1. I totally agree with you Smitha.
    The saddest part being I too have been a part of such conversations and meetings during my stay overseas. The point that surprises me big time ever since I returned back to India is people here (in India) seem to think more practically on these issues than Indians living overseas.


    I think some people overseas carry the burden of ‘maintaining their culture’ the way they perceive it. They live in the fear that they will be ‘less Indian’ if they deviate from the tried and trusted ways..

    These people forget changes don’t happen their own, it’s the people who need to make conscious efforts to make them happen.

    Absolutely! Changes don’t happen by themselves – and funnily they refuse to believe it!

  2. BUt them Smitha dont you think that is what majority of people do , the so called people who are trying to get these changes brought in , they are the worst what they do behind closed doors is sometimes astonishing.

    There will be some people with bad intentions everywhere- but does that mean people should stop believing in the cause?

    Agreead that changes are slow and will take time but the problems we have in our country is no thought process, If one person says XYZ is bad , everyone starts harping that they dont think and discuss it , all the pros and cons.. suddenly it becomes a law and the aftermaths are not thought of ..

    I wish it were as simple as that. Even in our country, laws are not made at the drop of the hat. Infact it is the other way around. Archaic laws remain untouched, when they should have been gotten rid off ages ago. I really don’t think laws are changed whimsically in India.

    Problem is not many people work in all honesty to bring about a change, everyone has a hidden agenda thats what the problem is otherwise , IF the govt wants to bring a change then HOW CAN SOMeONE STOP IT…

    So does that mean, lets not change -because some small percentage of people might have a hidden agenda?

    If things are to be imporved how can it be stopped and not happen, the problem is how will our Netas get the votes off women if they dont promise them equality etc etc and al the rest of the pallava…

    Women being promised equality – is not a problem, in my opinion. That is our right, as citizens of the country.

    Men know for a fact that they can get away with a lot of things thats whay they do it, I mean lets take a example men who live in uk, even if they are from a very very strict sect or anything, can he do the same here in uk what his father might had done with his mother.. BUt if the same man goes back and settles in India he will od the same that his father has done..

    That is why we need a change of mindset -which is why we need to talk about these issues, which is why change is so essential.

    The mentality needs changing the whole GENE needs to change :)

    It won’t change unless we try. It will not change by itself. But I am positive that if we try, a change will come about, if not today, lets try for a better tomorrow.

  3. How can I possibly comment on something that I can write a thesis on? :-)

    Humans make a society. Society does not make humans. If we refuse to identify our flaws and work upon them, we are unwilling to embrace newer lifestyles just because breaking a habit is difficult, we as a race are failing ourselves. Dinosaurs did not go extinct one fine morning. So what is the meaning of waiting for things to change? What is going to happen – the scales on the surface of the Earth will align themselves to give everybody’s brain a neuro-electric signal to flip overnight? If we don’t bring about an essential lifestyle change, what will? 

    Sadly what we think is an essential change is viewed as a weapon of cultural destruction by many. Again, humans gave birth to culture. Culture can never make humans.

    • ‘Sadly what we think is an essential change is viewed as a weapon of cultural destruction by many.’ – So true! The culture that they try so hard to preserve, funnily is changing faster than they realize. And any culture that does not evolve,change with times, can never be a good thing, can it?

  4. Hi Smitha,

    My first time here and your post quite left me gaping for some time. No, not because the topic is new but because there are people and women who derive solace by choosing this point of view and even when in a group. It amazes me how the outlook and perceptions refuse to change. Why should there even be a war, I say. Isn’t it so obvious that both are equally important?
    “Culture” is beyond such narrow thoughts. The day they come out of their cucoons, they will be able to embrace “culture” in the real sense.

    One of the those issues that is so obvious and yet causes the biggest confusion.

    I enjoyed reading you :)

    • Welcome here kismitoffeebar ;) I like your name :)

      Yes, it is amazing to see how people strongly believe in it. Some debate for the sake of debating, others because they believe in it – those are the people that amaze me. People who resist change because they believe that old is always better..

  5. “If at all things have to change – they will change by themselves!” And how do they expect that to happen? Society is made out of people and not the other way round, right..so if the mindset of the people in the society doesnt change how does the society change?? Really, as you said I feel bad for such people who think like this. No amount of education, awareness seems to help them broaden their outlook :(

  6. Err..and how do they expect change if they are not going to do anything about it :( Things change only if you actually do something about it right?

    Basically, they don’t want change.. Is all I can think…

    This post made me sad :( Its sad that these are people who are abroad, supposed to be super educated and look at the world with wide views :(

    World views, I have come to understand do little to broaden one’s mind.

    Yay to your husband..super eh :)
    I am rather proud of him :)

  7. I read your blog regularly and enjoy the book reviews as well as the baked goodies pictures. I don’t even consider myself a feminist, I just believe that a husband and wife are equal partners and so each one contributes in their way towards running the house. Unfortunately, people try to put me down as lazy (husband cooks), arrogant and argumentative (since I don’t agree that pati is parmeshwar) and pity my husband (coz he’s so hen-pecked). This comes from a set of people who are doctors/engineers and are working themselves. There are also some who are amazed that I have trained the husband well (like we are circus animals!) and this comes from people who are from UK. Whatever the education (maybe call it literacy) or place most people are still the same. We have to just continue plodding on and turning the tide and hope at some point reality will strike (I fervently hope so).

    • Thank you, Gayatri, and welcome here :) Hope you visit more often now on :)

      I have met such people too. People find it hard to understand that a marriage can be about partners – equal partners, and one does not necessarily have to be subservient to the other. One of the men, kept harping about the fact that in any relationship, one partner is always dominating. It cannot be otherwise – which, to be honest, I find difficult to digest..

      ‘We have to just continue plodding on and turning the tide and hope at some point reality will strike (I fervently hope so).’ I agree totally, and I hope so too..

    • I think they are afraid of change.. And because the system works for them, refuse to see that it does not work for a lot of others, rather 50% of the population, at the very least..

  8. its true.. It has shocked me to see people of our generation talking and thinking like this! And that too they all live abroad, not with their parents and they talk about how nuclear families are corrupting the “Indian” way of life! Hypocrisy much!!

    I know! Total hypocrisy.. Plus the added need to prove that they are more Indians that most, you know.

    Sad, but true and most folks are unwilling to tilt the balance or make the necessary changes!
    True. They rather let things be the way they are, than try and make any changes..

  9. Loved this You know what, I was sad, but not for us, women. I was sad for people who thought like this. Who refuse to accept reality, who think that by closing their eyes to it, they can pretend that everything is fine. What a sad existence, don’t you think?

    and this is exactly what I felt while reading about the discussion…there are so many things that time and again sprout up and take my goat but that’s that..I’ve stopped feeling upset..instead I feel sorry for such people who have closed brains [or no brains?] Ironically these types still exist and exist in huge numbers to corrupt other young minds :(

  10. arggh….I have seen the exact set of people here and I think some NRI’s have really screwed up ideas of how to be a true Indian!! They think it’s fashionable to talk about how we should live life the 18th century Indian way …sheesh I have a neighbor who lives life exactly that way with all the now almost extinct customs and rituals. I feel so suffocated talking to her. it’s sad to note that almost everyone stays away from her family because even her husband is like someone who is from the time of the vedas :cry:

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