This post finds its voice in an anecdote that Atul (of the RDB/ChandniBar/Devrai fame) shared in a casual discussion to promote his latest film 'Natarang'. When asked about the metamorphosis he went through while portraying an effeminate Nachya, he talked about general public's narrow-minded outlook towards such characters. He had come across an opposition party leader who suggested that the incumbent government wear bangles (chudiyan pehen lo) owing to its seemingly abominable performance. The mere fact that even in today's modern Indian society, the use of such phrases disparaging a women or relegating her an inferior position, is a matter of pure disgrace.
I couldn't agree more. There are countless times when men are constantly reminded by their spouses or elders to wear bangles for being passive in a situation demanding an aggressive approach. "Bangdya bhar" or "Chudiyan pehen lo" being the precursors of the various women centric abuses, highlight the idea that women, in essence, are inferior to men. A man having effeminate traits is ridiculed more passionately than a woman being "tom-boyish". In fact, she even might be praised for an act of courage (considered a manly trait) but a sensitive man is mostly relegated the title of a 'baailya' (womanish). The seemingly innocuous remarks show a deep rooted sentiment within a person of women being hapless, cowardly or passive.
In a society where 'bitch' rules as a foul word as against 'dog' OR where women expect men to be chivalrous by opening doors for them, offering them their 'rightful' seat in a crowded bus OR where a woman having multiple affairs is a 'slut' (negative connotation) as against a similar man being a 'casanova' (positive connotation) ; it is not surprising that such a sentiment exists. But acknowledging that such a divide is shameful and working towards reducing such instances, is a task that needs to see the light of the day. This isn't just a tribute towards the strong women who molded me as a person I am today, who washed my dirty dishes and clothes while I ran amok with friends or who offered me a larger share of any foodstuff I liked. It is a humble acceptance of the fact that for men and women to be termed as equal, such prejudices need to be done away with... forever.
When US beckoned me by Siddharth Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.