Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy Women's Day?

This was supposed to be posted on March 8th, but some person flagged and blocked my blog, and it was down for 24 hours.

As the world celebrates Women's Day, I too wholeheartedly admire and cherish all the women in my life - past, present and hopefully there will be women in the future too.

I also take this chance to continue, though I so dislike to keep up with it, with my negative onslaught on the situation in Kerala. I witnessed two incidents while in Kerala recently, which really got me upset and charged enough to blog this.

Incident 1 - 5th March 2006: One of the most brilliant employees in an institution was required to over-stay due to an emergency situation at work. We are talking about a relatively big institution with more than 75% of the 100 odd employees being women. She informs her husband of the emergency and that she will have to continue working until around 7pm, for which she was greeted with abuse and threats apparently. The husband even calls back and informs random people at the workplace that his wife need not come back and she can just go where she wants. Around 7pm the husband comes to the gates of the workplace and as she got onto the vehicle, shouts at her openly and abuses her. Next day she is back at work, with a smile.

Incident 2 - 2nd March 2006: Similar scenario, only this time the incident took place at 6pm as another one of the most hardworking and dedicated employees were leaving the premises. Her husband had arrived at the scene, apparently irked over the fact that she was not reachable over telephone or something as trivial. He shouted at her and as she was climbing onto his bike, he angrily moves it forward. She falls down, weeps and climbs back onto the bike, apologising (dunno for what), with minor bruises on the exterior but wounded on the inside for sure. Next day she is the spritely woman that we know, working hard.

It is very interesting to note the social backgrounds in both these cases. Both employees are from middle class families, and the crucial point - one had a husband who was a jobless guy turned politician, and the other employed, but a chronic drunkard. Both of them survived on their wives money, as did their children, and the women were the main providers of the family's needs. Despite this, or is it because of this I am not sure, they were abused and persecuted by their husbands.

From what I could gather, this is quite a common instance in almost every regular household in the low income to mid income SEC. And this kind of justifies the earlier statistics brought out by various organisations exposing the flaws in the social development index of the state that included a high rate of suicide among women, physical and mental abuse, eve-teasing etc. We might stand way ahead compared to most states in India but that is not an excuse for crude and unruly behaviour we display in our daily life, and it just shows still in many aspects like these we are really backward.

I think there is a lot that needs to be done for a change, because this change can come only if the mentality of the people change. For which we probably have to start right in our homes and schools, so that values, culture and ethics are driven into minds of our people. Whatever development and statistics we can project, if such core aspects do not shine as a society, we do not stand anywhere in life.


arjun sagar said...

The blog was thought provocating as the whole world celebrated women's day just yesterday. The change must start from the individual, then the family, and it is the most important phase, where women itself are responsible for the change. A mother can do lot than a daughter, wife or sister as it is her vision and way that reflects in her children and their character. Mothers must be empowered and enlightened first.

silverine said...

The incidents you have mentioned here is so infuriating. Why do these women put up with this abuse especially since they are the bread winners? I have a techie girl in my office who cannot even go to office parties as her hubby and in laws disapprove. She had to give up working when her daughter was born and has rejoined back a year back. However we see a change in her that financial independence brings. Last week she told off her MIL off after months of getting up at 5:30 everyday to cook for the family and then coming to work. Guess there is hope for us yet.

p.s.Why would someone Flag your blog? mind curry you are ruffling feathers lol. Good for you!!!!Next there will be morchas and dharnas against your blog ha ha...

Anonymous said...


Total crazy...A provcating thought which injects the real truth that exists out there..There is light at end of the tunnel..

aria said...

Well we keep saying that education would solve everything .. don't we? but the state with the highest literacy rate suffers from the same mind-set. So there again literacy and education are two different things ..
Everytime we put the onus on women .. mothers shud to this mothers shud do tht . .wht abt fathers .. ?? If children witness their mothers being thrashed everyday by their fathers . .wht would they learn ?? the solution isnt all tht simple. Its deep rooted in our society and one can't expect an overnight change in the attitude of the people in general. When we see some women enduring this kind of treatment - we wonder . .why can't they simply walk out and lead their own life coz they are self-sufficient but come to think of it - theres so much emotional and societal pressure .. all said and done life isn't all tht simple for single women in most places in India. A man can leave one woman n marry again even fetch a second or third dowry but how many female divorcees and widows we see getting remarried arnd us? In my city ppl arent even willing to rent them a place. Yeah it can be said tht women are better off alone in tht case - but thts not wht we want as a healthy society. I think more than anybody else .. the men of this country need education and much more.

Gawd I could have said so much more .. purely my views ..
sorry for a blog size comment.

Mind Curry said...

@ arjun - welcome to the gang arjun. you are absolutely correct about the change having to begin from within each of us.

@ silverine - i know, i was also so upset seeing those idiots treat them like that. its such a shameful attitude these men have. about cooking, i know women who do the same thing out of love and affection and i find that so sweet. but forcing these things, that too by an in-law, is terrible. am glad your friend finally had the courage to stand up to things.

i dunno man..i can see people thronging at my gates and throwing stones already.. wheres my gun!! :)

@ anonymous - yes, theres always light..just hoping the tunnel isnt too long though.

@ aria - you are absolutely right..literacy and education are two different things for sure. infact we did a post on that earlier.

about mothers being key to the change, i guess it doesnt mean that they have the onus. it just means as a mother you wield so much more influence in the family, and most importantly on your children - and thus can impact the society more. as for fathers, guys like the ones i described on my post are a lost case.

feel free to post your thoughts, lengthy or short. if you are interested you can join us and post directly as well.

quills said...

I am saddened to hear about such instances of spousal (emotional and physical) abuse against these hardworking women. However progressive we women claim to be, there are many of us who would still rather put up with it for the sake of our children, our families and fear of ridicule from the society. Especially in Kerala I can see all the ammayis and appachans joining together to criticize the woman who dared to fight against this kind of injustice. The societal influence makes the victim usually think its her own fault and her own behaviour that brought about this kind of irrational behavior from her spouse. And this is what should change. Every woman should be enlightened of her own self worth. If she continues to take this kind of treatment, her own children growing up watching this would grow up to be either a victim or a bully. But ironically, this kind of abuse is not restricted to Kerala. Recently Yanni was in the news for being charged with domestic violence against his girlfriend. But atleast in the West, women have the moral courage and society's support to step up and bring about justice.

Maya Cassis said...

abuse is something that most men relate to with women.i know relatives who have been kicked in the gut by their husbands in public their parents stand and cheer them's disgusting.

Babin said...

It is especially sad that even the financially independent women cannot stand up against their abusive husbands.. That means it is overwhelmingly a cultural problemo... as aria said there is practically no other options available in front of these ladies other than to put up with the abuse.

One of the root cause of this problem is that the attitude of men,thinking (for whatever reasons), only way to earn respect from their wives is through coercive tactics.... which is unfortunately a very basic animal instinct.

Videsi Gori said...

Glad to see there are alot of Indians out there speaking out about these issues.

Since these women who were abused for staying late at work are known to you, did you speak with them or their husbands and offer help?

I agree that to change the society is primarily women's responsibility. Why? Remember at one time blacks were slaves in America? Now they are not. Why? Coz blacks FOUGHT BACK. Do you think the whites would've made them free on their own? Nope. First it took agitations from the oppressed in order for the oppressors to wake up.

Similarly with women. They are oppressed in India now. Unless and until they take a firm stand and fight back, the rest of society will not automatically stop oppressing them.

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