Rolling

Rolling
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India
Birthday
December 03
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Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom...

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JULY 19, 2009 2:01PM

Indian Woman's Problem: Indian Women

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An Indian woman's problem is not about money or access or even men. an Indian woman's problem is other Indian women. Their resistence to and fear of being complete women.

I think this is true for most repressive societies.

Their ignorance, misguided notions about what is right and what is wrong, about womanhood  is the root cause of misery in other women's lives.

Women that have never tasted sucess, women that never got to do any of the things she wanted to, women that have always been repressed, women brought up to fear and keep quiet and give in and be tortured and insulted and beaten.

women that are never allowed to go out and play. or go outside and eat as much as they want, or love who they want.

women that can never buy books or study as much as she wants.

women that prcatically are never loved: not as children, not as women, not as daughters or even as mothers

women that are never loved by their fathers - but thought of as a burden to the family, additional expense, that would bring no returns as she would be married off and move away to some other family. she is populraly called 'paraya dhan' (sic) or 'somebody else's wealth'.

she is not a person. she is resource, flesh, a womb, a set of useful hands that is meant to wash, clothe, feed, clean, serve, tend (to) other people's bodies, lives.

people use them, depend on them,  the way you depend upon your washing mcahine or get used to it? 

when someone from a 'good' middle class family says, "my daughter is well brought up", it means the daughter was brought up to be an A class, high quality, excellent SERVANT fit for a king. a servant,  nevertheless.

unlike in the West,  it does not mean she is capable of independent thought, of defending her rights, protecting others that needs or seeks her help.

she is never allowed to nurture  the  ability to appreciate the quality of life brought about by self actualization. she has no clue about what responsibilities and duties and support system this kind of life requires,  to sustain itself or to flourish. since she does not know it herself, most of the time, she fails to give it to her own children.

all their lives, their mother teaches them to do what other people expect them to do, to "cater to", as that, she figures, is the shortest route to "success".  "Give the world what it wants" is what she tecahes him. Rarely ever, "Follow your heart,  be different, lead the change".

you, the women in the West are blessed in this respect... your society is full of women that can not only read and write but are used to being themselves. your culture nurtures your 'individuality', allows you to be the adult woman you chose to be. 

Irony

Indian myths dreamed of a powerful,  nurturing, strong, intelligent woman that could be summoned to destroy 'asuras' or the power of evil when required.

however, while creating that myth, some intelligent, impotent  man (the thin  egoitistical man of power)  had at some point realized, that if this woman was allowed to rise, he would be in serious trouble.

so they created practices to repress, curb the growth of women from that time. what happens when practices continue for a score and twenty years? it becomes a 'tradition'. and then suddenly, soon as a generation passes, it rises to the status of 'unquestionable' laws. norms.

this is how the thousand year old 'tradition' of women repression in India began.

this is significant in context, because Indian civilization has epics, vedic literature that would show you  a society where women BEGAN by being free.

a woman enjoyed freedom of choice, regarding her mate, her sex life, her vocation, pleasure, sports, pursuits in life. she could renounce domestic life to go study, live in forests or perform severe meditation routines to achieve her personal goals. 

they studied maths, astronomy - in fact,  one of our satellites is named after such a woman mathematician called Rohini.

eventually, she became a commodity to be exchanged like cows. this culture emanated from the part of the country I reside in now. Lord Krishna (who is the principle character in our epic Mahabharata, the principle voice in the Bhagvad Gita, that is a discourse on war, right and wrong and power and prayer and karma) was born and raised here,  in Saurashtra.

he belonged to a family of milkmen, cowherds, rich, landed, powerful families that inter-married and grew powerful. 

so then, women learned that to be beautiful is to be silent, to look good, to have nice breasts, to have to pretend to be ignorant, to be quiet no bloody matter what.

most importantly,  assist men in repressing other women consistently, continuously in exchange for a life of easy meals, never having to step down there in the muck and toil with them in the field.

in return for comfort and sure sex (even if it be bad sex), and the tiny sphere of power within the family  she married into (once she gives birth to a son), she sold her soul. and never ever tried to reclaim it.

so, when she finds her sisters trying to, it frightens her. she tries her best to suppress the uprising.  for, if it continued, she would have to move her inert,  great big Hindu ass and do something. and she has never done any thinking for hundreds of thousands of years. it is so tiresome! thinking, doing, standing up for your rights.

to be handmaidens is easier.

to be queeen requires a 24/7 on the toes vigilant lifestyle and strength and sacrifices and muscles. 

it bores her, tires her just to think of it. so she becomes vicious when she sees signs of uprising to break status quo.

when a woman of dreams, comes along within their ambit, they smile sweetly and say, "why do you do this?" "be like me" "you are going against the norm, so you must suffer" "you deserve to suffer because you broke the rules" "you should smile and guile and say things that please, never,, what you think", "that is bad PR", carelessly  hand  you some phone numbers and walk away leaving you to fend for yourself in the dark streets.

the woman with a dream is  good, honest and sincere, with enough of  imagination and integrity to make life feel good,  contributing to the community in her own little insignificant ways. 

she needs to live with dignity, with her self respect intact.  on her own terms. 

this woman deserves a roof over her head without having to beg for it. she pays  for it, doesn't she? she deserves safety and security, to go live in whichever city within her country she wishes to, without having to justify her decision at every table or being persecuted cleverly but openly everytime she crosses State borders.

*                                   *                           *                           *                          *                      *

Romadi, there is a lot of hostility under the veneer of politeness here  towards outsiders, that are thought of  'others'.  

any attempt at helping  yourself would be crushed with "you do not know how to speak" which translates as, "you must pretend to not know anything, you must not resaon, you must accept bullying, expect to pander to people that matter".

the rules are:

  • you cannot tell anyone you were mistreated
  • that you came home at the PG dig and found your cupboard has been broken into
  • you cannot complain or call anyone you know, when you discover your debit card, PAN, youth hostel membership cards etc are missing, they would not pick up anyway
  • you cannot ask for address proof (so no ph connection) of people you pay rent to
  • you pay rent, do not expect receipt or proof
  • you pay deposit money - do not expect receipt
  • accept verbal agreements
  • do not expect that to be honoured
  • you cannot ask for Agreement or your land lord's phone number 
  • do not expect the money back if you decide to vacate
  • you have to supply all your details including where you are from
  • you cannot tell anyone that your kitchen sink is overflowing and the water is about to sweep in, in the only 'bed'room you got
  • expect no support from organization you work for, your safety, housing etc is your concern,  not the organization's, they did not, you invited yourself
  • do not expect society to stand by you, if something goes wrong or if you are in danger, you decided to leave your comfort zone and venture out
  • accept that you brought it all upon yourself the moment you decided to choose to follow your dreams
  • when you chase dreams, you are on your own - no community
  • be prepared to be cheated, swindled in your own country
  • don't expect help for people that are perceived to be different

women that are not owned by a man, women that are not servile, women that are not chaperoned, women that do not cower,  women that know what they want, women that want a good life - should be prepared to make it on their own.

no organization, no government, nobody would help. you chose to be who you are. unless you decide to be what "we want you to be".

"what does it matter if you bend a little to get work done?" but that "little" is becoming a pattern, a constant expectation! one little, two little... adds up to big littles!!! and then, one day you cannot look yourself in the eye any more I guess....your back will have bent so much....it may not be possible to straighten it again ever.

 

*                                   *                           *                           *                          *                      *

this morning somewhere, the director of a hugely successful social service organization 'talked' about 'giving' , 'following your dream' . a woman quietly sat in the background wondering, is this the very man that had refused to give ten minutes of his precious time to answer the query of a woman that was being cheated out of 11%  of her non taxable income. to think he designed the blue print of fin and accounting for the org she works for !

*                                   *                           *                           *                          *                      *

what the Indian blogmate or the others do not see is where it hurts: to go begging from door to door for what should come easily, as a matter of right. they do not see what is happening, why I refuse to play this game anymore. am growing old, and this would never stop unless I put my foot down at some point. 

we really have no choice but to fall in or fall out or quit. but I tried.  but, it is imposssible to do it alone. it is impossible to wage a war, the point of which is lost on enlightened members of my community*

I wish I could have refused help from people that pretend to 'understand', or sympathize making you feel weak, every word they utter, every gesture they undertake pointedly designed to say, "you are inept, you attracted this to yourself, this would never happen to us - we are better than you are". Hurting, degrading, trampling upon your self-respect.

but I didn't have the courage to say "no". it would have meant more storm, opening another front in this battle between stupidity and insanity. 

if there were equals that could stand up for women like me , out of respect for us,  and empower us do something for ourselves, that would help all of us, I would not be ashamed of taking help then. 

*none of the women where I am,  even think of asking me where I would be at the end of the day or if I need them to come with me to look at houses or if I need help packing or simply,  if I am scared! they believe it is a simple case of money or misunderstanding: they choose not to see the undercurrent of collective hostility directed towards single women. they believe , if you keep quiet,   you would be fine. I am inside a nightmare? what kind of quirky reqlity is this? a flagship whatever too...

the pastor that was supposed to be the saviour , turns out to be the most shocking experience. Mrs  Pastor turned publicly violent and unleashed horror when she heard protests that they had no right to harrass a woman that pays to use a piece of property that was rented out to her on mutual consent and with  the promise of a duly filled lease document that never arrived because they  had kept with them, while women and innocent children looked helplessly on...how does one file that kind of memory?

there is no simple over the counter solution to what is happening to me as I move from State to State. true. the problem is not out there, it is within our culture, our value system, our minds.  true. besides, we cannot be bothered with the trials and tribulations of a maverick teacher that chose to embrace a life out of her comfort zone,  when we have other more pressing problems to deal with like hunger, illness, debts....true.

but, I really refuse to understand and I refuse to smile and be silent

 

"Speech which promotes acceptance and equality is a form of action, especially when spoken in the presence of folks benighted by hate and ignorance, and who act out the role of oppressor."

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As you say, "truly there are more pressing problems to deal with..." but you are opening our eyes to the worst type of repression - the silent 'understood' type. The blatant use of your personal information to profile you and then harass you and steal your money (by not honoring an agreement and not providing a receipt) is unreal.

You have the support of your virtual friends. Even if that support is simply taking the time to hear your heart as it speaks to your dreams and relates the stories of pain and frustration, and thereby is lighter for it.

peece,
dj
it is not that 'one' 'act' that is disturbing, it is the collective cowering, fearful silence, and the attempt at trying to brush something imminently significant aside as 'common' - why should it remain 'common' if we know it is common??? I feel like screaming, yet I can't

I hated the moment when this lady next door gesticulated at me, half hidden behind her curtain, she frantically used her hands and fingers to indicate I write down my phone number on a piece of paper so she can call and tell me what to do! so I wrote down my phone number in large letters on a sheet of paper and she indicated I stay close to the door away from the balcony whence people outside could see me. then we met - she took me with her to some places where she warned them in Gujarati that they must not mention she helped me! am I in a POW camp? or in Mexico?

this is my country!
Oh goodness...what a POWERFUL post. I am sharing it with my friends and rated of course.

We women in the US have come far yes, but even still those of us who are not "attached" to a man or children are somehow seen as less than other women. When I was a pastor most often I was voted against because I was a woman and the people who were hardest? the women and I think it's for the same reasons you mention above.

GREAT writing for women around the world!
I can't believe, am unable to live with this...it is biting me day and night.

conversation I had with the haircutter:
me: why are you so scared?
HC: I don't use a board, when the tax assessors come they put in a word for me you know? you should have pid them instead of to the broker.
Me: and how was I to know who is the 'dada' around here till the time I 'entered'? why don't you come along and let's go talk to them?
HC: O my God! (fearful nervous chuckle, head bowed) don't even tell them I told you. just go, offer to pay, submit yourself

Me: what? whyyyy??
HC: don't know, they have been here for ages, they are Patels, Leuva Patels, they own everything
I can't believe, am unable to live with this...it is biting me day and night.

conversation I had with the haircutter:
me: why are you so scared?
HC: I don't use a board, when the tax assessors come they put in a word for me you know? you should have pid them instead of to the broker.
Me: and how was I to know who is the 'dada' around here till the time I 'entered'? why don't you come along and let's go talk to them?
HC: O my God! (fearful nervous chuckle, head bowed) don't even tell them I told you. just go, offer to pay, submit yourself

Me: what? whyyyy??
HC: don't know, they have been here for ages, they are Patels, Leuva Patels, they own everything

Me: but what about those guys upstairs, did they have to face this too? were they made to 'submit' too?
HC: what about them? they can take care of themselves. you are a woman. that too alone. you have to be careful.

Me: O yeah?
HC: ok I will go now. don't speak too much. be gentle. don't get angry please.
WOW, Rolling. Wow. This is chilling. You have done an extraordinary job of articulating the accumulation of both the infinitesimal and grotesque ways in which your society has practiced systematic oppression of women for centuries. I have never understood the brutal psychological abuse of sexism so deeply than after reading this piece. It’s beautifully written, but so powerful in its punch, I am still trying to find my breath. I will circulate this to as many of my friends outside OS as possible to see if they can offer some suggestions as well. Courage, Nabina. Let our waves of hope and love buoy you up amidst the almost (but not quite!) back-breaking repression.

—Melissa
reddit - please add to it if you can by clicking on the reddit icon at the top of the page.

peece,
dj
A person's being...his be-ing...
is his potential energy directed towards or away from God....

it is by this potential energy that he shall be judged...
as good or evil...

"covetousness, envy, pride, and wrathe are the four elements
of self, or nature, or...hell....

whenever the natural life is deprived of
or fallen from God,
it can be nothing but an extremity of WANT,
CONTINUALLY DESIRING....the whole life is nothing
but a torment of covetousness, envy, pride & wrath...."
(william law)

"Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is"
(bhagavad gita)

Greed and resentment are the enemies we fight,
not "systems" or political hierarchies
or social pyramids...it is always the same sad old story...
all through history....

"property" makes them devils....

it's hard to pity or forgive them, yet that is what we are called
upon to do, in our deepest soul...
luckily, NOT BEFORE THEY ARE SEVERELY JUDGED...
AND THEY ARE, EVERY DAY, WITH the endless
tribulations of the path they are on...

We must make a retreat, up the Spiral Staircases,
past the Tree of Smoke...
past the Angel With Four FAces...

begging god for mercy...
weeping in unholy places...

trusting in our invisible guides and spirits,
always opening ourselves to the endless

graces: human, and divine...

IF WE REALLY TO GIVE THE WORLD WHAT IT WANTS...
IT WOULD BE A MERCIFUL DEATH,
A EUTHENASIA....
THE EGO YEARNS TO DIE
that is the Way, always has been,
always will be....

death...
and Rebirth...
and the friends we meet
in the Heaven we make...together...we few...

James



.
this post reeks of rancour, lacks balance, organization and perspective - neither does it reflect true state of mind somehow. most dishonest post I have ever written. I hate it. what I cannot write is what needs to get written about. yet I could not, as it won't get processed, the mass of images, thoughts, ideas, memories of feelings just sit there on the periphery of the mind: it neither comes in to be assimilated nor does it go away to be forgotten or trashed.

they just stare me in the face and say, do something but not what you always do
Rolling, don't be so hard on yourself, this is what came out and it does reflect a very important aspect of the greater truth, your experience was very real, and the scars will be there for some to come. You will gain perspective in time but giving voice to your pain is all important now. One should have great pitty for those women who cannot even dream of freedom, that they can consider themselves a full human being, and so your striving is something they cannot even remotely relate to, it is insane. So most naturally they will attempt to break your spirit, but the longer you prevail your shining light will serve as a beacon even unto them, that a woman can run the affairs of her life and even thrive in a world as unfair as theirs. Within time you will put these fragments together, the bitter and the sweat, and the masterpiece of your life will reveal itself, that much faith you must have, even in your darkest of hours.
Michael: As I was reading your last comment, Nabina—after the initial shock of seeing that someone could be as self-critical as I am—I recognized “the mass of images, thoughts, ideas, memories of feelings” will probably just take time to set in. Something this monumental can’t simply fit into a human mind all at once. But after reading Newton’s response, I realized that he expressed so well what should be said here that I had nothing to add. You go, Newton!

Melissa: Yes, we just wanted to echo Newton’s eloquent affirmation, Rolling. The negative description of your work is so inaccurate, but we understand that probably comes from how impossible it feels to represent the horrors you are witnessing and enduring every day. Words, no matter how beautiful, will always feel like they’ve failed you. But again, I have to say, I have never seen the experience of sexism captured so authentically. So please don’t be hard on yourself, like Newton says. This is important, very important work.

Michael: Maybe what you’re here for.

Melissa: Yes, and I think you realize that, which is a gift most people don’t often find in their lifetimes. You’ve found your purpose, and it is significant. And coming back to your post, I remembered something I totally forgot to say earlier, and that is, coming to a greater understanding of what life for women is like in India made me all the more awestruck by the person you have courageously become. To stand up, to recognize the inequity, and not only that, to live a life so counter to a judgmental society with all of the attendant risks—that makes you even MORE amazing than we already knew you to be.

Michael: A true rebel. Maybe one day, little Indian girls and boys will be reading your name in the history books.

Melissa: And they know they’ll have you to thank for standing up to centuries of habitualization to oppression.

Michael: I guess maybe we’ll be giving her the Nobel Peace Prize next . . . sure, why not?!

Melissa: It’s entirely possible.
Michael: For not having anything to add to what Newton said, we sure wrote a lot!

Melissa: Hahaha.
"I really refuse to understand and I refuse to smile and be silent"
What a powerful and eye-opening post, and what courage and integrity you have. I cannot imagine any suggestions of help or reassuring words to utter; all would sound like dust. But I can say this: I am awed by your independent boldness, and I fervently hope you can find some place where you can live it.
James I have printed this comment out to keep it with me at all times

Jim you do more than listen. That amazing card - printed it out so it can be my lamp of hope

Pilgrim, when you come here or where the group is, and leave your footprint or speak up, you act in solidarity and your kindness becomes our passage to a more humane world

Michael, thanks for packing in the laughter with the imp pointers. yeah, if Nobel committee decides to give a prize to Rolling, they would have to make it a Piece Prize, for Rolling really stands for an idea that more than one person nurture and are bearers of.
Newton, thanks for putting it in perspective the way you have, "One should have great pitty", yes, giving voice to it that makes you tremble - yes. wd hve to try to keep the light in the tether in sight...discipline helps
Rolling, I'm sitting her impotent, with no way of helping you, are the other women of your culture. It's frustrating to not be able to help someone you know is in trouble.I can only pray that you find a way. A way out of your present corcumstances, and into a somewhat satisfying life. Please keep on posting, to let us know how you are doing. The people on OS are like a family, and you are also in that family!
James I have printed this comment out to keep it with me at all times

Jim you do more than listen. That amazing card - printed it out so it can be my lamp of hope

Pilgrim, when you come here or where the group is, and leave your footprint or speak up, you act in solidarity and your kindness becomes our passage to a more humane world

Michael, thanks for packing in the laughter with the imp pointers. yeah, if Nobel committee decides to give a prize to Rolling, for doing what must be done, they would have to make it a Piece Prize, for Rolling really stands for an idea that more than one person here nurture and are bearers of.

Newton, thanks for putting it in perspective the way you have, "One should have great pitty", yes, giving voice to it that makes you tremble - yes. wd hve to try to keep the light in the tether in sight...discipline helps

Scanner, a family often helps just by being around, in the space, in visible mode, and you do more when you voice your concern, thank you for making me a part of the family you mention. what happened to the eye? is it raining in this picture in your avtar? this is nice too.
Great writing...Going directly to the heart of the matter...really, a kind of prose--poetry, or what they call now "creative nonfiction"

It is very hard to speak true, when you live in a place that has a strong history of repression and inequality...I could tell you about my small town...Patrick
James I have printed this comment out to keep it with me at all times

Jim you do more than listen. That amazing card - printed it out so it can be my lamp of hope

Pilgrim, when you come here or where the group is, and leave your footprint or speak up, you act in solidarity and your kindness becomes our passage to a more humane world

Michael, thanks for packing in the laughter with the imp pointers. yeah, if Nobel committee decides to give a prize to Rolling, for doing what must be done, they would have to make it a Piece Prize, for Rolling really stands for an idea that more than one person here nurture and are bearers & keepers of.

Newton, thanks for putting it in perspective the way you have, "One should have great pitty", yes, giving voice to it that makes you tremble - yes. wd hve to try to keep the light in the tether in sight...discipline helps

Scanner, a family often helps just by being around, in the space, in visible mode, and you do more when you voice your concern, thank you for making me a part of the family you mention. what happened to the eye? is it raining in this picture in your avtar? this is nice too.
Hi, Patrick I wd love to hear abt your town, thanks for those inspiring lines
Wow, powerfully gripping and so very heartbreaking. I can imagine your overwhelm from that constant struggle and can only wish you strength and peace and my willingness to support you here anyway I can. Thanks for sharing your life with us so vividly.
Butchy Babbles, thank you, you are welcome to do what you think you could do or would like to do or think should be done. connect us to like minded people. direct us to Websites that might be useful to know about, literature, case studies of such groups, anything
Rolling, your voice will carry this powerful story. Thank you for posting and teaching us with your words.
Those of us who don't have to live, breathe, and die in a society such as yours have no idea how fortunate we are. I pray that somehow, some way, you are able to overcome such horrific oppression to find a way to a life of freedom and choices. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
thank you. I need it. what shocks is, that we grew up thinking in India you are safe, if you scream, someone will come running to your aid. seems we grew up under illusions.