Monday, 19 August 2013

Raksha Bandhan.....A Bandhan Of Mutual Love And Respect, Not Expectations.

In my last post I spoke of the need for girls/women to change their female mindset. 

Am happy to note that it was received by many of you in the right spirit. And not very surprisingly, a large percentage of you are males who requested me to write something on the occasion of Rakshabandhan.

So here I am with more of my views about this 'guy thing' and that 'gal thing'.

But before that, let me clarify that it is not a competition between men and women, life is all about peaceful coexistence, and respecting one another as equals. Men and women actually complement each other and neither of them can survive alone. Here, I intend to write neither in favor nor against any of us, females and males. I am just trying to help everyone of us see things in an unbiased and objective manner, without any prejudices.

Over the years, men and women have gone beyond their traditional roles......a majority of women go out to work not only to support their families but also because they are also highly educated, they love their work and financial independence gives them the much delayed and much needed identity. It is also a means to empower them....socially as well as politically.

But despite the financial and constitutional freedom, have we women become really independent? Do our families allow us to assert ourselves as individuals with a mind and status of our own? Are we not continuing with the same traditional roles, defined for men and women since centuries? Men helping their wives in household work or in looking after the children, are still frowned upon by family elders. In contrast, a working woman is made to feel guilty of neglecting her family duties although her earnings are welcomed with a wide smile.

Hindu religion puts the onus of carrying forward Indian values, traditions and customs on females. A girl is supposed to tie a Rakhi on the wrist of her brother in order to be protected by him, be given away to another family at the time of marriage in the form of  Kanyadan, observe Karwa Chauth for the long life of her husband and then fast for the long life of her sons. In effect, accept her dependence on the men in her life. And these rituals are being followed without any objection by even the most highly educated men and women in the name of religion, tradition....our 'sanskaar'! 

You don't question anything dictated by religion or something 'jo hamare poorvajo ke samay se chala aa raha hai', do you? But does religion permit many of the other things that girls/women do for their families today? 

So guys and gals, its time to 'be the change' instead of expecting someone else or time to change things for you. Let's evolve some new symbols of love, caring and equality. 

This Raksha Bandhan, let not only the sisters but also the brothers tie a Rakhi to their sisters as a bandhan of mutual love and respect, not of 'expectations' and 'gifts'. Let not 'money' or 'gifts' be the definition of love for our brothers or sisters. Giving or receiving gifts should bring happiness, not be a source of anxiety or stress.

photo courtesy: www.bollywoodwallpapers.org

And let's stop accepting as well as giving away girls at the time of marriage.....let's stop the practice of Kanyadan, 'Kanya' is a after all a human being just like a male, not an object without feelings or a mind of her own, that can be donated to anyone! The word 'daan' or 'donation' has a sense of finality about it, and implies severing of all relations with the object or girl being given away as 'daan'. 

When the society is gradually changing the traditional outlook towards girls, then isn't it time we also stop pursuing these traditional symbols emphasizing the superiority of men and inferiority of women? It's time for us to make the older generation see things in a new perspective, not compel us to follow religion and culture blindly. 

In an era of perceived equality when the well defined lines between traditional roles of men and women are gradually fading, we, the comparatively emancipated people, should take the initiative and.......be the change!

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