Last week millions of Hindu women proudly celebrated a festival whose fundamental tenet is misogynistic. This is the festival of Karva Chauth. Women deprive themselves of food and water all day, and after sunset break their fast after they’ve viewed the moon through a kitchen sieve. They’ve been told that if they do this, the gods will ensure long lives for their husbands. In a country where every year, more than a 100,000 married women are murdered for dowry — burnt, hung, stabbed, poisoned, drowned, or driven to suicide — by their husbands and in-laws, and not a day goes by without media reports of such deaths, this womanly fixation on ensuring a long life for the husband seems sort of bizarre. But there is a cultural explanation for Indian women’s fixation on their husbands’ long lives….
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE http://www.huffingtonpost.in/rita-banerji-/karva-chauth-a-womanly-ce_b_8429386.html
Posted by Rita Banerji on November 3, 2015
I think what is bothersome is how most female politicians in India take this kind of sexual molestation by men in public venues into their stride. It comes with the job attitude! If the women in the position of power and politics don’t kick up a huge storm over this, is it any surprise they are not out there speaking for the common women’s rights? A slap? That’s enough? Is it any surprise that as people’s representatives these women often function like they know that this is a country for men, by men, and of men, and they are here only to serve men?
NEWS REPORTS FROM THE 50 MILLION MISSING CAMPAIGN
March 30, 2014
Politics and government are often touted as venues for the empowerment of women in India. But the fact is that female politicians are subject to the same kind of harassment and sexual molestations in public spaces, like women in India are on a daily basis, even as they campaign for the upcoming elections in April 2014.
Politician Nagma, despite a strong ring of bodyguards, has been groped on numerous occasions, sometimes by male politicians and sometimes by men in public gatherings. Last week Nagma responded by publicly slapping one man who grabbed at her. Some female politicians don’t get out of their cars because they fear being molested. Others clear wide spaces and speak only from a raised platform.
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Posted by Rita Banerji on April 1, 2014
Sometime ago, a friend who has two daughters, one of who dreams of becoming an astronaut, was telling me about how she wants this and that for her daughters, like she would for her sons, and then shuddering, like she was shaking off some insects that had crawled on her, she said, “But I am not a feminist!”
And I replied, “That you certainly aren’t! You fall in the category of a ‘shameless feminist user’.”
If you don’t know yet, there are 4 ways to relate to Feminism. And here they are: (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on August 16, 2012
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay is one of my grandmother’s favorite novelists, and she says so with an air of superiority. To like Sarat Chandra is to be acknowledged as a true connoisseur of literature in India.
So it is at the risk of being rebuffed that I say this: Sarat Chandra’s novels, particularly at the storyline level really get up my nose. I have tried reading them through all kinds of lenses—rose tinted, myopic, historic etc. etc. but they seem to always end up in the same place.
The female protagonist is always bovine and sweet-tempered. She has all but trashed her sense of self and individuality, and happily submits to the whims of her male counterpart, her family, and society, serving them all diligently, and allowing them to do with her life whatever they please. The male protagonist is almost a mirror opposite – self-seeking, irresponsible, thick-skinned and narcissistic. He believes that the world – including his family and the female protagonist are there to serve him and submit to his will. This in a nutshell is Sarat Chandra’s idea of an ideal male-female relationship.
Parineeta, continues to be one of Sarat Chandra’s most popular works among Indians as indicated by the huge popularity of its recent movie adaptation. It is the story of a 13-year-old orphan girl, Lalita, who is raised in her uncle’s house and is infatuated with the neighbor’s son, Shekhar. In her relationship with Shekhar she willingly renders herself choice-less. All her decisions and activities are dictated to by his wants and moods. If her going out for a movie with her friends displeases him, then she sulks and sobs but eventually obeys his whim. On one occasion, she garlands Shekhar on a certain day deemed auspicious, when by virtue of that prank she is considered betrothed to him. There upon she begins to regard Shekhar as her husband. Shekhar who seems bored and aloof, however knows that his father would never accept his marriage to an orphan girl with no dowry to her name. Yet, he is smug in the knowledge of the hold he has on her.
Sighing deeply, Shekhar said aloud in a stifled voice, ‘What is to be done?’ He knew Lalita only too well, having all but brought her up himself; (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on November 12, 2010