Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Weaker Sex

The Weaker Sex (Earlier ‘Varanasi Revisited March 2008’)

“… They called their marriage ceremony off and returned groom back home without marriage because they were asking more dowry than they initially asked for. …”

Refer Indian Express 18th May special edition news about 3 girls who returned grooms back home.
(Author’s Note: I always think what happened to them. This story reminded me three other stories that I have came across. In this post, I raise a question, not putting my point of view)

I had been wondering all through my education why there were always a section called “woman’s condition” whenever they describe a society in any age or under any ruling? Perhaps the reason is that if woman, the weaker sex, had better condition, then the people at the bottom of the pyramid are treated humanely. When history would read early 21st century, it would say women were treated equally to men. The sad thing about history is it doesn’t reads below the layer and perhaps for good. See no evil, do no evil.

I find it very visible that female is still suppressed half of society specially after seeing these three real stories.

Story 1 [Bangalore]: An educated, born in respected family, software engineer who lives in a posh area of Bangalore and is a – so called – typical of gentlemen. A guru, supposed to have practical solutions to all real life problems from ‘how to clean carburetor’ to ‘how to find your real love.’ Let us call him Mr. Guru. This story, I found three months before leaving Chennai for Varanasi.

Mr. Guru cites this example of having happiest family life that “he” built. The example has big part as his initial marriage life which is full of frequent beating of his wife to straighten her out to make her follow his way. And when father-in-law interfered, he said that she was either a daughter or a wife, if father thought that she was his daughter take her to her paternal home, else – let him to handle her. One time in the story, Guru makes a comment that is rather explicit to mention here, where he says she liked beatings at some other times. And asks the audience why the father shied away when he mentioned this fact (Likely, this might be a fake to spice the story up)? At this moment, pupils (listener) make a laugh and agree. Supposedly, few months of beating made his wife a good woman. And they lived happily ever after.

Story 2 [Chhattisgarh]: This guy is a heavy drinker, almost lost his job due to alcoholism, once, but being in a government office no one expelled him. He was married eight years ago when he was presented as a responsible, educated and real shy guy from a very reputed family background. We will call this guy, the Drunkard.

The next month after wedding the wife of Drunkard reported his habit of drinking and occasional slapping and beating which were ignored by wife’s family as initial unsettlement. Then later Drunkard got notice of being expelled from office because of absenteeism (as the wife reported, it was due to husband’s alcohol love). Although that didn’t take his job away and he had started drinking heavily. The wife found out he had been a big drunkard and lazy even before the marriage. Beating was a daily routine now and more brutal.

Wife’s family, afraid of her life, took her back home; kept her happily for seven years. Now, she had become a social shame and financial burden to her parent. Moreover, second marriages are more a loose character issue than a symbol of ability to take strong steps in India. So no one would marry her. She went back to Mr. Drunkard.

I met her on the way to Varanasi. On asking how Mr. Drunkard behaves now, she replied this is a part of life all she hoped that he would stop daily beating, someday and she didn’t care whether he kept on drinking.

Story 3[Varanasi]: The guy is a philanderer, married at 32, a typical of UP guy, full of ego on nothing – a government employee. The relationship went smoothly with wife for almost six months until the girl wasn’t pregnant. Afterwards, the guy’s skirt chasing became visible to blind eyes. Call this guy, Womanizer.

Womanizer used to squander all of his money on women, took debts from friends and finally wife paid. This cycle went on until a big fight between the couple, the guy left home leaving his wife alone in last months of pregnancy. The girl didn’t call anyone until the condition became critical on the day of baby’s birth.

Girl brought back to paternal home for couple of months, the guy never showed up for next few months. After few months, the initial decision to leave the guy and live independently seemed to be against social security as well as social reputation. Remarriage was impossibility in UP and remarriage with a girl carrying a baby is next to impossible.

Now (when I was in Varanasi), my friend was describing that the girl’s parent and the girl were agree to send the girl back to Mr. Womanizer on his terms. The guy was tightening all the bolts to make sure that his side of business kept running.

The question is whether the glass is half filled or half empty? Are we correct when we say marriage is an institution - A custom that for a long time has been an important feature of some group or society? Aren’t we forcing to see half full glass? Is it possible that glass is actually half empty? Is it true, by our animal behavior, that female is, in fact, the weaker sex?


Anirban Naskar said...

nice one. expecting more on this topic...

Nishant Neeraj said...


More cases like these ones are there... but people hide.

Talking home-violence is tabooed in India. We have our reasons - we are socially insecure, mean minded and conservative. So, for us, all the girls who left their husbands are 'bitches' and all the boys who decide not to marriage are 'loose character'.


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