India celebrated 75 years of independence on August 15th 2022. And the eleven men convicted in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case walked free that day.
I write this post to make an appeal to all of you my readers, to pray for Bilkis Bano and her family. I ask all of you to keep them in your thoughts for a little while every day. Every moment you can give Bilkis Bano counts.
Should I be like you and tow the line,
follow rules that served a different time?
I won’t be a victim – I ‘ll take the controls. Dig my own ditches or explore a new road.
They want to know when we’re happy but not when we’re sad
when we’re laughing out loud but not when we’re mad.
Express our feelings and they close their minds
would no more conversations really make them feel fine?
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 23 – MM was horrified at the lack of a law on marital rape in India. Read this article by the Times of India – Why Marital Rape Exists In Homes, In Data, But Not In Law. MM had only ever experienced caring and kindness in this aspect of her marriage, but she knew women who hadn’t. Women for who the bedroom was a place to tolerate. To endure. To dread. And to fear.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 22 – MM loved her mother-in-law (referred to later as MM’s MIL) for many reasons I’ve mentioned before in ‘Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 3 – Equality at Home | A Wonderful Woman’. A separation of living spaces goes a long way in helping mother-in-law and daughter-in-law love each other. And there’s one more important factor we often under-value, namely, the role of the Indian man.
Real faith on the inside and no need for display, only visible in our ways and the games we won’t play.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 21 – Those of you who live in India will understand the term Building-Uncle even though it might be new to you. For those who don’t, in India, all elderly men are called Uncle wherever they go, and elderly women, Auntie. The Building-Uncle is my term for the uncle who lives within the same housing society or building.
Book Review – Shrayana Bhattacharya takes one on a journey, weaving the lives of real women into the socio-economic fabric of the India they live in.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 20 –
It used to be Baby ‘cos they saw I was young
the one they looked after when her parents weren’t around.
Then, it was Didi – the elder sister
a young adult woman without a ‘Mister’.
The role of the Indian woman is defined very differently from that of the Indian man. Her career, education or income level matter very little. What seems to be important to society is her personal choices. Or those that are made for her by her family. And by the God’s.