March 18, 2011

Women- Better or the Bitter Half!

Life begins from a Lady's womb. The sole Privilege and Power to create- Srijan- is what makes her the lord of this world in the true sense. She is the force behind every man in one form or the other- Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and so on. But all these sound mere rhetoric and speechifying when the majority suppresses and downgrades its Better half, making them no more than a Bitter Half.

And, I'm dejected to say that the world comprises more of rhetoric and less of substance. Some on the part of Men who profess and preach of liberty and equality of the fairer sex but never practice it, and to some extent, on the part of Women whose cynicism and frustration towards men fill them with vengeance and negativity leading them nowhere ahead.

While on facebook, I had recently quoted a UN source that said, “Women do 66% of the world's work and produce 50% of the food but earn10% of the income & own 1% of the properties!" There was a female who pounced upon me like a Kali, and later even declared to me that I better beware of Kali! She was deeply revengeful of Men and her comments filled with negativity all around. She talked of Women empowerment but was herself so frustrated & prejudiced that her rhetoric didn't match her intentions. She may have found my facebook update a mockery of Women, whereas, in fact, it was meant to shed some light on the sorry state of our Battered half. The world can not move ahead with gender confrontations. Rather, women and men are made to and have to compliment each other for humanity to progress.

Feminism today has predominantly become male-bashing and measuring up women on the parameters that define men and masculinity. Women are the prime-movers of society and Feminism should strive to replenish, rejuvenate and strengthen this prime-mover. A woman should be able to look into the eyes of a man and disagree or disapprove of him. This is, what I believe, is true empowerment, and gladly, there are women around us who perform this role with panache and aplomb.

Thus, fighting for women rights, dignity and respect comes at a later stage or rather superficial level. Society's prime concern should be to make Ladies out of females. Women, at an individual level, should strive to be ladies par excellence, so should Men. One female role model in a locality can achieve much more than what feminism movements or women rights activism can do. These movements, after all, will always run parallel to our society as tools of socialism without any substantial percolation to the grass-root level.

Now, talking of men, I agree that we are the biggest deterrent in women empowerment. We love, admire, respect and care for ladies- our mother, wife, sisters, daughters. We acknowledge their role in our upbringing, our support system, our inspiration, but only until all these women in our lives revolve unobtrusively around our success and persona with a nondescript presence. A lady plays her part with utmost missionary zeal. At times, far greater than a man ever does. But she is endorsed by the society only when the benefits of her mission is reaped by the male. The moment you see a Woman dwarfing your persona, you are hit by a Tsunami. You can never be a woman's support system if her dynamism and charisma overpowers or rises above you. Here, my mind strikes of a movie "Abhimaan" which beautifully showcased a couple's relationship being marred by this unjustified sub-conscious tendency of men to dominate. You could be the most subdued personality in the world, but you can't manage to see your wife dictating terms to you. Yes, its discomforting but true to the core!

Indian society has always been a collage of myriad cultures, each having a distinctive level of domination on the part of husbands and their better halves. Bengali culture would always have the wife as face of the family, while women were largely subdued in the South or Deccan sort of establishment. Gujarati culture has had loads of respect for women but the vibrant business community couldn't let them dictate terms. Marathas & Punjabis have traditionally been male dominated societies with Haryana, Rajasthan as the most conservative ones. I've elucidated this to put forth how big a role-differentiator does culture play.

As times have changed, inter-culture marriages are on a rise and so are cases of divorce and domestic violence. Being a girl, you've had always observed the position your mother holds in the family. The woman is so used to the do's and don'ts of a culture that she invariably expects and acts in the same manner. Problem arises when her husband does not come to terms with this. Intra-culture marriages have had less percentage of divorce cases. May be because the females underwent a home shift with the same rules, regulations, wits, humour, whims and fancies. What I infer from this is that a prime factor for the unjust treatment of women is misgivings and disrespect for a culture that is not yours.

I've observed from my very own experience that a family which understands the calibre of a lady being a better manager and gives due recognition reaps remarkable dividends. For example, in my Bihari Mithilanchal culture where women are more or less restricted to the confines of courtyard but wield the highest power. Be it my Mother, Maasi, Aunts, Bhabhis- they are the policymakers and dominant force. I've never heard of any confrontational animosity or separation even in my far off relatives. One must strive to strike this balance acceptable to both the genders.

No women empowerment debate is complete without talking about the satanic breed of males who are violent, abusive, torturing & sadist; or in better words - Males who are not Men. No social movement or rhetoric can enlighten their hearts but the hands of law. Its a crime and can be brought to justice similarly as murderers, thieves or other offenders are. Any amount of counseling and feminist movements would be nothing more than water on a duck's back for these criminals. We, as a society and women in particular need to follow Zero tolerance towards people who are violent, abusive or mentally harassing. Constitutional laws are the best answer to those whose better halves are leading a life of battered halves. Men who expect a Woman to be Sita, Savitri or Susheel should first themselves qualify the parameters of Ramchandra, Maryada Purushottam and Satyavaan.

The underlining fact of my complete write-up is that we must abstain from lining up women on the masculine factors. Men & Women are not the same and can never be. Women are a special set quite different from Men. She must be proud of her uniqueness, strengths, attributes and above all her gender.

March 8 was the centenary year celebrations of Women's day and I would like here to share a piece by Philip Mathew on the auspicious occasion.

Challenges stalk Women at every corner. They seek a thousand splendid suns to shine on them. To touch their hours with hope, their lives with love, their work with wonders and their children with the promise of tomorrow. They seek and strive, and achieve, with a resolve no man can match. It is this spirit of the Indian women we salute on women’s day.
True, a woman does not really need a day to make her feel the special person she is. But the remaining half do; Men must pause and Marvel at their immensely gifted Better half.

...dedicating this Blog to my Maa, my Unflinching Inspiration.


  1. An eye-opener for all indian males.
    Very well written Anupam! very impressive.

  2. Very nicely written. I must appreciate this.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I guess that female {on facebook} had some problem with only one line of yours, ''women are special in their own right''.

  5. Beautifully written and very aptly dedicated to a Lady.

    In fact I agree as well as disagree with you on a few things.
    somehow your article is pretty harsh on Husbands. there is no better or bitter half but the concept of 'ArdhNarishwar'is something that we need to recall here. But yes, I fully agree Savitri is deserved only by Satyavaan (Somehow Sita And Ram example doesn't seem very apt here).

    Even when you talk about culture, Indian mythology followed the chivalry principle full-on, Sita-Ram, Radhey-Shyam for couples and Gauriputra, Jankinandan too for that matter.
    Another thing that I would like to say here is that women are not a breed who is special in its own right (i'm not saying that they aren't special) but lets see it in this light, we all are humans and everyone is special and for that reason alone everyone is deserving of all love, care and respect. Here being a male or female should not make a difference. In fact that should be the final dream that we all should strive for. Be it any situation, the 'Better Thought' shall prevail......In fact, guys should take a heart, There is International Men's day too, i guess its on 19th November (check it on net)

    Till then only one message for all my dear sisters.... lets do unto ourselves that we do to others, lets fill our own lamps before anyone else's..........Take care....

  6. Congrats,
    One of the best articles i have ever read on the state of women.
    i particularly liked the line,"Males who are not Men."

    i read the column thrice and every time i start reading it i can't stop without completely going through it.
    Yoou rock!

  7. Thats awesome....

    Now, the line "only women can understand women" is proved wrong...

    men can do that piece of work better....

  8. well nice thought of yours man.well understanding the both flips of coin is wat really matter's

  9. Nice one Anupam. The best point you have put across is that women should compete with themselves. They should not compare themselves on the parameters which define men.

    This is what Germaine Greer has always fought for- women's liberation, not their equality.

    i completely agree to your views and expect if you can carry over this thought throughout your life.

    keep writing.
    we recently met at Delhi, if you do not remember.

  10. Very interesting and thoughtful....
    congratulations !

  11. We clearly need to step into the shoes of The Other Side...Understanding is what we need.Compassionate should the mighty one be..I think of the term .."bi-cycle"..What if both the tyres decide to go seperate ways..or if one of the tyre is less filled wid air?? <:)>

  12. Arrey kisi ne note kiya..ladki aur ladka dono mein "Lad" shabd aata hai...yaani in dono ke beech ki ladayi kabhi khatm nahi hogi...waise mujhe Balance shabd ka significance bhi yaad aata hai...A Balance needs to be striked off between both sides to keep it in perspective..CHEERS!!

    p.s. Sorry..this comment is so dumb :)

  13. Very well written Sir. Penning down something like an article on women issue by understanding the balance so beautifully is a great task. and you have done it brilliantly.

    Anupam Sir, you are very right while describing the condition of fairer gender in our society and especially the example from Bihari culture.
    i am also from Mithilanchal and found your views very justifiable. In terms of giving respect to women and their position in household Mithilanchala is way better than many other indian sub-cultures.

    You have also elucidated how a marriage moves in a direction of divorce. i am sorry to disagree and have a bit of conflicting view as you hold. Diverse cultures are not the only factor behind breaking of marital knots, it is just one among many.

    But frankly speaking, you are a writer of class. i read all your articles and cant point out the best one. Keep writing Sir, way to go..

    & in case you find some time, do take notice of some of my fictional short stories. i have sent you the details and a review of my newly launched short-story collection on your mail.

    Thanks & Regards

  14. "...dedicating this Blog to my Maa, my Unflinching Inspiration": i like it the best. this alone reflects everything that is...

  15. This was boring to read. I don't degrade your opinions- but this is very exhausting to read.


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