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.
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.
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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