Sunday, 8 June 2014

The village women are quite liberated ... as compared to city women even.

And the modern defenders of the poor talk of patriarchy as the a main reason for the condition of the village women. 

My village women work shoulder to shoulder with the men. They analyse and criticize the village concerns and their family concerns clearly and incisively.

They are not enslaved by cosmetics, nor by the need to culture a body that fits certian impossible dimensions. They do not worry about needing to date, finding a partner. Sometimes they decide whom to marry, sometimes they elope, otherwise the parents find a match. They have no strong reason to 'avoid arranged marriages' and look for 'love marriages'.

They maintain a distance from the temple during their monthly periods, but they do this out of their own belief, and there is no repression there. The girl children sprinkle water and put the kolams (rangolis). They enjoy it - and there is no 'gender bias'. They cook, but in many houses the men also help in cooking.

The girl children and the boy children are educated equally. The girl child is often desired more because 'even after marriage she will continue to have affection for the parents. The boy becomes his wife's follower'.

There is wife beating in the houses of drunks. But these are few - and drunkenness is another seperate problem that has to be addressed. And this is the account of an ordinary, normal, commonplace dalit village in Andhra Pradesh.

The large problem is the impoverishment of villages, the destruction of local livlihoods, the imposition of unattainable dreams through advertisments ... and it is consumerism and the structure of modernity and modern production that is the concern. To question that is to question our own lifestyles and livlihoods closely - and to need to change drastically. To make the villaian something else is easier.

This was the review of a movie on women , more urban ..

"The World Before Her

There are millions of Indias within our country and Nisha Pahuja’s documentary The World Before Her captivates us with this detail. Training her camera on a beauty factory, where contestants go in to be polished so one can become the next Miss India, and then on a Durga Vahini camp where girls are coached by Hindu extremists, Pahuja shows us a disturbing portrait of the modern Indian woman.

On the one hand, we see beauty contestants dreaming of fame, willing to suffer Botox injections, skin-whitening treatments, and being paraded around wearing sacks over their heads so their naked legs can be judged. This pales before the Durga Vahini camp where girls as young as 13 are taught to shoot rifles and wake up at 5 am to chant hate mantras against Muslims and Christians so they are ready to be martyrs in a war to reclaim India and make it fully Hindu....

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