Update: *This post has won BlogAdda’s “Blue Print for Change” contest *
The Baby Girl
14/06/1986 9:45 AM- Kallar, Tamil Nadu
It was her tryst with the world, and she was scared.
She was moving out of her protective waters; that blissful place where she had spent a couple of months, only to emerge in a stranger world.
She cried louder.
The brightness of her surroundings hurt her unaccustomed eyes.
“It’s a girl”, she heard sounds around her.
“I am a girl”, she told herself.
Her mother; She held her close and her tears fell on her cheeks.
The mother probably knew the fate that awaited her baby.
She was at home, maybe.
She felt rough hands holding her.
It was her father.
She smiled and kicked her legs to express her joy of meeting him, but, he did not smile back.
She heard his voice. It was loud and harsh.
“We need to get rid of her”, he said.
“We cannot afford another girl child, now”, his voice grew harsher.
She looked around helplessly. She could not understand.
Why were they unhappy?
Was She not beautiful?
What was her fault?
Was being born a girl considered a “sin” in this world?
She did not know.
She could hear her mother’s cries. But, her mother did not speak.
Her father carried her to the green fields.
He crushed something to make a paste of it and forced it into her mouth.
She cried and kicked her feet. She did not like the taste, but, did she have a choice?
He washed the paste into her throat with water.
Her mother was standing beside him, weeping.
Mother likes me more than father does, She thought.
She could feel the pain.
She twitched and cringed in agony.
She cried, probably for the last time in the new world.
Thoughts to ponder over:
Female Infanticide has long plagued this country.
The patriarchal system, clubbed with poverty, lack of education and unemployment has contributed to this.
Does a child, born a girl deserve to die?
What is her fault besides being born in a family incapable of providing her with the basic amenities?
The government can play a part in overcoming this “grassroots stigma” by bringing about some measures.
This was the same government which enforced family planning, irrespective of whether people liked it or not;
It was this government which signed the nuclear deal, made steps to bring the FDI etc.
Why not pursue this issue with the same fervor?
Why not start a drive to educate people on the effects of a skewed male female issue?
Isn’t the imbalance a reason in its own way for rapes?
Why not enforce stricter laws to punish those who disobey the rules?
Why not ban the Khap panchayats which pass erroneous judgments on these issues and look down upon women?
Think about it..
The building will tumble when the foundation weakens.
The IITian and his Dowry
“I have to get into the IITs”, he said.
His parents had envisaged that for him.
They had spent a lot of money over his education and had maintained accounts of his expenses.
They wanted to get that money refunded through his wedlock.
Any degree from the renowned IITs would make him so much in demand in the “Marriage market”.
Which parent would not want an IIT-ian for a son-in-law?
His family could easily capitalize on his degree.
Was he keen on engineering?
He did not know.
He just knew that he had to get into the IIT.
Probably, in future, he could even make money by helping other parents beget children using his educational clout.
Yes, In India, people revere IIT-ians and wanted kids who could achieve that feat.
Well, he liked playing cricket too. Sachin was His GOD, but, cricket was not for him.
That’s what His mom had said.
“Study and you can settle down comfortably in life” is what she advised, often.
She had experience and she was probably right, he thought to himself.
Thoughts to ponder over:
Only a handful of Indians excel at the Olympics compared to the scores of Chinese and Americans.
Somebody sarcastically attributed this to the fact that the Indian kids have the time only to attend the IIT classes which have, of late started even for the class 4 students!!!
The problem with India is that the parents force their dreams upon their children.
There is this pressure to succeed and more often than less, we pursue things which we really don’t wish for, in life.
The bliss of being a child is missed out by many kids who find themselves attending classes alpha, beta and gamma.
The change has to come from the parent’s end.
They should let their children grow up, enjoying all that they did when they were young.
IIT is an achievement, no doubt, but, the parents should understand and accept the fact that all kids are not meant to be so and that each child has its niche to excel in…
Meanwhile, somewhere else, parents posted an ad asking for a donor from IIT !!!
Why all this frenzy?
The other day, a professor who coached students for these exams, narrated an experience.
He said, while talking to one of his students, he had casually asked him the reason for his having attempted the JEE “four” times before he got into it, the fifth time. His student had replied: “Sir, I will get a better dowry if I’m from the IITs”!!!
He did not quote Passion as the reason.
Which brings us to another evil.
This system of dowry, is thankfully disappearing in many parts of the city, but, in rural areas this so-called tradition is still prevalent. The girl who leaves her home to share the life of her husband is the best “Dowry” that he can get.
The understanding of the concept has to change.
I was shocked to hear that in some families, the parents maintained accounts of their children’s expenses, to collect that amount back as dowry from the girl’s family!!
To me, this practice destroyed the very beauty of a parent-child relationship.
Are children mere responsibilities, to be gotten rid of by marriage?
I think the word “Dowry” needs to be abolished from the system and should be replaced with a nicer word such as: “Good will gesture” ? Gifts for the bride and groom?
India is changing, no doubt, and with the right education, it will change completely and we will have men who will say a “No” to dowry and embrace self sustenance with a smile.
Women, on their part, can say a “No” to all guys who sell themselves at a price…
The Wingless Artist
“The movie should be banned”, the group shouted in unison.
“The scenes belittle our beliefs”, they quipped.
“How can you portray the evil ones as belonging to our caste?” they demanded, eyes burning with hatred for him.
He was an artist, merely showcasing art through movies.
Inter-fusing creativity with facts, was all that he had done…
The incidents portrayed in the movie were happening for real.
The movie, was but, a portrayal of the reality.
Those protesters did not protest against them.
He was merely a feeble target in a country which called itself secular.
He felt anger rise within him ; that which could be felt only by an artist who worshiped his art…
Thoughts to ponder over:
Very recent developments on “artistic expression” (context: Vishwaroopam movie) made me think.
How secular a nation are we?
Are we a nation of people whose beliefs could be offended by a mere portrayal of some incidents in movies?
This movie, which triggered controversies was merely portraying the practices of certain terrorist outfits, elsewhere in the world.
Why did we protest against those who depicted and not against those who practiced?
Where is our tolerance? We can not have artists if artistic freedom is crippled by flimsy beliefs.
Is law an answer to tackle this?
Maybe not, especially when this law is in the grip of politicians and other elements of the state.
We, as a nation should stand up to art and encourage artists to bring out the best in them; not stifle their creative juices from flowing freely.
We need to develop tolerance and inculcate the habit of ignoring things which do not please us.
We need to make ourselves busy enough to ignore trifling things such as the scene in the 36th second which merely portrays harsh realities…
The world has enough hatred in itself.
We do not need more!!!
On a different note:
There is a song in the movie Vishwaroopam: Anu_Vidhaiththa_Boomiyile
Little would Kamal have thought that he would have to utter those lines himself, one day:
“There’s a place faaaar away.. I want go there some day”
“There’s a place faaaar away.. I want to be there some day”
The Girl who fell in Love
I am identified by my religion.
I am divided by my religion.
I am forbidden by my religion.
What is my religion?
I think it has a name.
She met a guy- not from her religion.
He was charming and she fell in love with him.
He fell in love with her too, but, things weren’t easy for them.
What would the society speak of a girl eloping with a guy of another religion?
It was an unforgivable crime!!
For her parents, it was the society’s outlook that took precedence over her happiness.
They forbade her from meeting him and locked her up in a room for several days…
They stopped talking to her and communicated only through the food they served her on time, every day.
“Was it a crime to love?”, she asked herself.
“Will that society which takes the liberty to decide my future come to my aid at times of need?”, she questioned herself
The answer was straight and clear.
No. Those people; they would NOT.
Clarity struck her mind and she decided to break free from their clutches.
She ran away.
She married him.
She is happy today.
Her parents never tried to contact her, nor did they respond to her phone calls.
They had disowned her in every sense.
She yearns for their love.
She needs it more than anything else, now that she is about to become a mother, herself.
“Surely, they love me the way they always had?”.
Was falling in love, crime enough to be hated?”
She kept asking herself these questions.
She did not have the answers…
Thoughts to Ponder over:
I met an aging couple. Their daughter had eloped with a guy from a different religion and had hurt their sentiments.
They were justified in their anger.
She had destroyed their trust in her by eloping with a guy of her choice.
But, to this, they (the parents) had gone to the extent of performing the last rites for their daughter- symbolic of considering her “dead” in their lives!!!
This act shocked me.
Every parent has the right to get angry over their children.
But to what extent?
This question seemed to be needing clarity.
While this particular case of “inter-religion love marriage”, escaped physical violence, India has been witnessing a spate of incidents revolving around the killing of the couple on grounds of Love marriage; (the Rizwanur Rahman case being one such)
What corrective measures can we take?
Dissolve Khap panchayats which pass nonsensical judgments?
Teach the “Sanskar” in the right way and clear the clouds of misinterpretation?
Enforce Law against unjustified killing?
All of them?
Our scriptures do not propagate the idea of marriage between members of same caste as mandatory. It has been mandated by people with selfish propaganda.
Even if the scriptures did, they would have the clause of “willingness of the couple” to marry, written somewhere. I’m sure.
The idea of same caste marriage is merely promoted by various sects to save their genealogy through generations.
“An inter-caste marriage leaves the child without an identity of its own”, is a justification given by many in favor of the arranged marriage.
While their justification might seem justified to some, it is unforgivable to commit murder to save something.
No religion would preach that.
Falling in love should not be treated as a crime enough to be punished by death.
We need to get our basics on values right and it can be done only through awareness or law.
On a different note, again:
Sometimes, I think this quote best demarcates the religion from its misguided followers ,who follow some practices in the name of GOD and religion:
You and Me
“Be the Change you wish to see in this world”-M.K.Gandhi
Thoughts to Ponder Over:
It’s the story of you and me, and our buddy called Responsibility.
Does our task end by pointing fingers at the various social stigmas and typing solutions for the same?
How many times have we paid a bribe to the police officers to get away without a xyz ticket?
How many times have we zoomed across the roads when the traffic signal glows red?
How many times have we ignored strangers in times of their need?
How many times have we not offered our seats to old folks/ pregnant women in buses?
How many times have we thrown that banana peel on the roads and not in the dustbins placed right across the road?
How many times have we peed and spit on the roads ?
How many times have we………
Like all things. change begins at home.
We change, the world will follow.
We all are capable of that little bit of love which will make a whole lot of a difference!!
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The images have been sourced from Google search and some have been edited for the post.