I am #NotSoSanskari

I come from a small town, which is the hub of cultural amalgamation apart from being an economic hub. Being raised by a single parent and brought up in the community with the patriarchal mindset, I have observed and also gone through the hardships faced by women in the domestic and professional life. And realized the sheer amount of struggle for women is comparatively greater than their male counterparts.

I realized one specific thing while growing up. Though we live in the 21st Century, we and the society we live in are still engulfed by traditional mindset. Our society still believes that our females look beautiful and homely within four walls of the house. The 10 by 10 sized home should be their World. And the interesting part is, a big percentage of our society, along with most are males, justifies this ILLOGICALLY in the name of rituals, cultures and traditions. After-all, all these benefit from them.

Have you heard the saying, “Males mature slower in comparison to females”? If this is true, let’s give the whole responsibility to females. We have adequate examples proving females can be pretty good at both.

I still remember my visits to my relatives. Females were found in the Kitchen and males “enjoying” or having “FUN”. And the depressing thing is this is still evident. Moreover, females are still not allowed to make decisions. They do get the authority but that is limited to deciding the menu of meals. Even today, in most families, males decide on their behalf and just inform that they must oblige.

And when we talk about Ethics or Values (Sanskar), how is it different for males and females? Males come home at 10 at night, eve-tease females, we justify saying “Boys are gonna be Boys.” But be it a female and come late from work, there will be such a big fuss at home and in society.

At the same time, what kind of Sanskar are we talking about? We got our daughter “SITA” married to “RAM” after Swayamvar (Swayamvar was an ancient practice in Hindu culture in which father organizes a ceremony to marry a girl with groom of her choice out of the set of suitable candidates) and sent her to Ayodhya, India. And our “MARYADA PURUSHOTTAM”, Dignified Man, Ram, who is supposedly called Seventh Avatar of Lord Vishnu, took a Purity test of his own better half and still abandoned her for the sake of pleasing society.

Photo Source: youngisthan.in

And the brother of Ram, Lakshman, he was no less than an egoistic man. He was portrayed as the Protagonist and the PROTECTOR of Sita. He chopped off the nose of Supranekha who was expressing her sexual desires for Ram. It wasn’t the thing like she was Raping Ram as like many youths do today.

At the same time, when we talk about Mahabharat, the whole war was fought because we failed to respect females. Draupadi, wife of five men, Pandavas, was humiliated in a public setting when she was used for gamble by her own husbands. The question is where is that spirit of Mahabharat today! The Nirmala Case has not received her share of justice yet.

Photo Source: Google

There is a temple (Shakti Peeth) named Kamakhya in Guwahati, Assam, India. As per belief, it is said that there is Womb and Vagina of Sati, first wife of Lord Shiva. And the interesting yet amusing myth is that every year in the month of June — July, Blood in the form of red water can be seen coming from the Shakti Peeth. What’s surprising is people in our society worships that water as the symbol of ultimate purity. But in those bleeding days of females, they are not even treated as human beings.

https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrT4R_Ycdde02kA.G2WnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBtdXBkbHJyBHNlYwNmcC1hdHRyaWIEc2xrA3J1cmw-/RV=2/RE=159120
Photo Source: Yahoo

And every year, we witness and hear so many death news due to such beliefs and stereotypes.

The males of society claim there are evils out of home and thus restricts us from many things. And maybe that’s why, being inspired by Lakshman, they have drawn an invisible boundary for the females. Sadly, females are not safe within their own home. The monsters reside within our home too. The news like, grandfather raping his 5 year old granddaughter and many more is often flashed.

I am not sure since when these Sanskar came into action and till when they will follow. Even in our blessings, females are blessed to be “सदा सुहागन रहो!” (Always be a married woman) which roughly means die before your husband.

Let me tell you a small incident from my life. My elder brother studied CA from Delhi, India and is settled there and none of my relatives or people from society has any issue with that. At the same time, when I was offered scholarships from different institutions from Nepal and India, I don’t know how all these my “well wishers” appeared, who will apparently just say may your soul Rest in Peace after my death, and brought all these discussion of honor, ethics, values, Sanskar and what not. They believed I will be all out of control drinking, doing drugs, roaming late nights. They brainwashed my family so much that I was not allowed out of my hometown!

But tell me one thing, if I have to do these things, I can do that in Birgunj too. And none will ever know even per se. But the question here is why my brother’s shift for his further studies and career was good and bad for me!

I believe incidents like these have been a great challenge for me. Thus, I made a promise to myself. I won’t stay a slave of someone feeding them and staying in 10 by 10 home. I am not going to restrain myself in these Sanskar. With whatever freedom with lots of restrictions I enjoy, I will always make most out of it and work together with my fellows for the community.

And that was when I committed myself for the cause. This obviously has some backlash from the misogynistic people. The problem is not in doing home chores. The problem is our society thinks we are capable of doing just those chores.

The core issue of our society is not that we are not far sighted. The issue is we have still not been able to come out of those deep instilled stigmas. We worship females in those nine days of Dashain/Navratri and don’t even treat them as humane after that. We still worship sons-in-law and value them more than our own daughters.

So the thing is we need to leave these stereotypes behind and females need to work from themselves because this society is incapable of doing so.

It’s just been a few years that I have been involved in community building and few “well-wishers” have already started passing negative and unconstructive remarks. One of the remarks is, “What is the end result of all this activism, eventually you will be doing home chores only?”

I have never responded to them directly yet. And it’s about time to give them an answer. So, here you go, “Yes, I am a daughter. Yes, I will get married one day! But I won’t die doing just the Kitchen and home chores. My World won’t be limited within four walls of the house. I have come to this very place as a female and I will do everything in my reach to support and help others fight these stereotypes.”

At the end I will just say one thing,

Thank You!

Hail Women! Hail Women Power!

This is the transcribed article of my talk as a Bites Speaker in WOWMadhesh 2019 organized by The British Council! There has been few changes in the article and the talk!

WOWMadhesh Talk 2019

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Shailee Chaudhary

Shailee Chaudhary

Queer, Learner, Admirer, Activist, Aspiring Writer/Author/Poet, TEDx Organizer