Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sita Ya Draupadi?


Women’s day! Ring any bells? Yes…it is that time of the year again when the world wakes up from its year-long slumber to celebrate womanhood. In India, we have a unique way of celebrating. We take stock of all the successful women we have, from business to Bollywood, and then wave them as placards of a society which values and loves its women. And well…that is about all we do. At the stroke of the mid-night hour, these placards are once again stuffed into big bags, carefully preserved for use next year.
For the rest of the year, women faithfully take up their role as the oppressed, depressed and suppressed. 

From birth till death, their lives are claimed by males, then be it their father, husband or son. A typical female in the Indian society spends the first 25 years obeying the rules and regulations set by her father. For the next fifty years (average) she is expected to comply with all the whims and fancies of her husband. If she is still lucky enough to survive, she becomes a full-time, non-paid maid for her sons (Pardon me for my bluntness, but that is exactly how it is.).

So where is the time when she lives for herself? When she does things as she likes, on her own terms? When does she express her individuality? In a country like India, where the girls are not welcome right from the time they are conceived, it is tough being a woman. Each day is a war for survival. There are no allies, just enemies.

The Indian woman has always been expected to take up the role of the ideal homemaker (catch any daily soap to see what I mean). They should be able to resolve conflicts peacefully, stand by their husband’s side even if he is wrong. They should be the ultimate example of patience and perseverance. If she wields her power, it is only for her husband’s sake. She never uses it for her own because that would be selfish and Indian women are not selfish.

Maybe this attitude towards women has roots in our mythology. We have Sita, Sati and Draupadi. Sita, who didn’t say a word when her husband questioned her character. Instead of putting up a fight, she sank down into the Earth. She knew she was right but couldn’t bring herself to oppose her husband. Sati, who jumped into flames, when it came to choosing between husband and father. Who willingly gave up her life, rather than dishonor one of the men who controlled her life. And Savitri, who undertook a long and difficult journey to get her husband back.

Obviously , a married woman can’t raise her voice today because Sita wouldn’t have done that. We do not have choices because Sati didn’t have any. We cannot just dump our husbands, even if he turns out to be an authoritative fool, because Savitri wouldn’t have done that. All along the way, we forget Draupadi, who is often called the very reason for Mahabharat. She defied all the normal marital laws. The very people who want us to be like Sita, refrain from commenting about Draupadi. She, who had five husbands, who claimed back her body when they gambled her as their property, who unbound her hair and challenged her husbands to bathe them with the blood of those who dishonored her. She has always been the controversial one.

From her view-point, Sita chose to go back to mother Earth because she didn’t consider it worth living with a man who didn’t trust her. Sati took the leap because she was fed up of this male-dominated world. They seem to be the most misinterpreted women to me. Their bold actions have been toned down and wrapped in the soothing fabric of ‘womanly duties’. What they did for themselves, has been projected as acts of selflessness and devotion to their husbands by the male pundits and gurus. The result: Unrealistic expectations from the women today.

Women seem to have no voice of their own. All they have is their body and soul, which has also been claimed by the administrators of society. They are worshipped as creators of life, yet their own life is one of never-ending pain, sacrifices and prejudices.

But why go back to their era? You’ll get concrete proof of what I want to say soon enough. This year, Holi and women’s day coincide. See for yourself the incidents of eve-teasing and harassment that the young girls will be subjected to. Is that how we treat our women? Sadly, yes, it is.

12 comments:

  1. All I could sense was a lot of poison !!
    Anyways, my opinion (if u give a ****) -

    Wake up it is already the 21st century, people you have described might not be all dead, but men have come a long way since these epics !

    Moreover I sincerely never thought of u as a firm believer of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata !

    Still if u are --
    1.
    Shri Ram was a man of principle !
    he would not accept things on face value.
    He went to 14 years of exile just to keep his, then dead, father's words !

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rama#Agni_pariksha

    He never doubted Ma Sita for a second !

    2.
    Draupadi had to become the wife of 5 brothers not due to her own will but as her mother -in-law (unknowingly) asked Yudishtra to share whatever he has brought with him with all his brothers.
    Secondly It is Lord Krishna (again a man) who didn't let Draupdi to be dishonored.

    "Perhaps Draupadi’s most exceptional quality was that Shri Krishna considered her his sakhi (friend) and sister. One day when Krishna cut his finger, Draupadi immediately tore off a piece of her sari and bandaged his cut. Krishna said that with this loving act, she wrapped him in debt and he would repay each “thread” when the time comes. Indeed, when Draupadi needed Krishna’s protection and fervently prayed for his help, he came to the rescue and gave her unlimited cloth."

    the role of pandavas and kauravas were to potray quite a different thing,
    in the infamous game of dice
    pandavas -- "aapat kaale vipreet buddhi"
    not one brother was disloyal to the eldest !
    Kauravas -- the greed of duryodhan who constantly felt cheated combined with Karna's grudge and Shakuni Mama's gameplan showed us how low could men stoop when under influence of negative feelings !


    I do not wish to cut u across but the whole point I am making here is It is all just misinterpret-ion of legends that have been told to guide us are being used as a weapon to make a point. ( Not Good)

    Women dont have to choose b/w Sita or Draupdi
    at the deciding moments, life doesn't discriminate you on ur gender, it just comes down to whether u have the strength to carry forward or will you give in to society !

    Buddha aptly describes society(or company) as Sangha, and tells that the property of Sangha is to pull you down.

    In today's world the character of men and women are judged equally (atleast the upcoming generation would judge them equally).

    It is no longer about dominance it is about stepping up and taking charge and please have a bigger view
    "You can either ask us to do something Or tell us how you want it done. Not both."

    I never celebrated Women's day neither did I celebrate Men's day nor the continued will of the North Eastern States of India to remain a part of the Democratic and Republic of India.
    It is just there, either u celebrate everything or nothing
    I am just happy the way God, in his infinite wisdom, has wished for it to be and thats my celebration !

    I do not celebrate holi , I play it !
    why do some of u only remember the eve teasing cases on women's day, didnt the recent Kolkata rape cases enrage you ??
    Why do we just keep on ranting here rather than taking action. educating people creating awareness and empowering the weak !

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  2. 1) with due respect to the legends discussed here, why did Shri Ram have to prove it to the world that his wife was still untouched? did she have no right to at least be informed about his actions? you realize the humiliation she must have felt when her husband questioned her character? you cannot...you need to be a female for that. men have the emotional range of a teaspoon.

    2)Was draupadi also given a choice if she wanted to share her life with five men? if no, then why not? and if yes, then please enlighten me with another link as you did above.

    3)who gave her husbands the right to gamble her away? did they think of her as their property? same as the house they lived in? We're talking of a very derogatory light in which women are viewed.

    4) the modern, young, progressive generation you talk about is a very limited population. step out of the metropolitan cities and you'll know what i mean. you cannot be blamed...most guys your age would nod their heads in firm agreement with what you said. the only condition being that they should be educated like you, have access to various texts like you, live in a broad-minded society like you. i think we can both work out what percentage of Indians we are talking about.

    5) by pointing out the kolkata rape cases you just proved my point further. that even till day women are objectified. you can take the easy way out by chanting the old chant "all men aren't like that" "you shouldn't judge us by the deeds of one individual"...i am not likely to pay heed to them.

    6) last, you questioned me why we just keep ranting on the net about all this. this is my little way of contributing. if it could get you to react so strongly, it means there was definitely something in this article that pricked your consciousness. you won't react to farce in a similar way. At least i am doing something...tell me, what have you done?

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  3. Answers ! :D (God I love this discussion ; read as: argument)

    1. The whole point I made was Shri Ram never ever questioned his wife's character, it was the society who did question and for Sita Ma to be accepted as their queen the society thought it is justified for them to know !
    Secondly, Ya Shri Ram could have stepped down from the throne rather than proving his wife sanctity to the world hence saving her from humiliation and letting the people think what they would but you are not a man and u do not know anything about a man's ego ! :D :D

    2. I dunno
    did draupdi ask for a choice, why didn't she ?
    Who imposed it on her to have 5 husbands, her mother-in-law, by definition another female !
    Did Yudishtra man up against her mother's wishes, no
    would you like your son to flout ur wishes, for the wishes of her wife that too in a "Just Hitched" scenario, whatever the wishes may be and please remember that when u would ask him u would consider urself sane enough and so will not question ur own wishes ! Think b4 u reply to this !

    3. Never claimed this act to be justified. The whole Dice game was the lowest point in MahaBharath. Women aren't anyone's property, I seriously stand up against human trafficking.

    4. Maanya I think u do not encounter much of non-metropolitan public on a daily basis and I even do not think that this topic makes it to the main issues in rural/semi urban areas. The point being made is, you belong to the exact same class of people of whom one person wrote this reply ! so lets not waste our time over Iran becoming a nuclear power and are the actions of the US justified ... rather keep to the things which we have actually witnessed or are affected from.

    5. If u judge all men by the act of a single one, try judging us on the basis of Mahatama Gandhi, Lord Jesus, Lord Krishna, Buddha, H H S S Ravishankar, etc.
    and if u cant the next time we meet I would like to judge u on the basis of Rakhi Sawant's acts or even Poonam Pandey's !
    If we don't judge u on their acts considering u as separate entities from them apart from the bodily similarities you poses we men, the genuine kind, expect the same !
    the part about women being objectified -- I again stand strongly against that.
    at the same time I don't wish to be categorized together as "simply men", with all those people who performed terrible actions.

    6. Honestly speaking I am big time "vella" thus I wrote the comment, and I really didn't like the way ur article portrayed men. If women were objectified then all ur article did was "dog-ify men". I reacted on this rather on the plight of women which u tried to convey through ur article.
    all u have done is written an article which at max 100 other lethargic minds will read, nod or shake their heads and then move on ! which compared to what u could have done is nothing.

    I don't wish to brag but yes I contribute to society in other ways such as volunteering for the Art of Living Foundation which i do a lot, Actively supporting campaigns and movements which are in public interest.

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  4. seems like the 'discussion' is coming to a swift close :P

    1)A man's ego is his ultimate weapon. But finally a minor flaw does emerge in his own character for which Ma Sita paid heavily. But then, its a natural trait as you put it.

    2)Yudishtra could have done something. he wasn't exactly a baby that time...yes?
    Even he knew that his mother had said it unknowingly. No woman would do that to another woman knowingly.

    4) you are right when you say i do not have regular dealings with anyone but the urban population. But i have actually seen it happen, with these very eyes. As a policy, I write only about things I have experienced. the very point of a blog is sharing your experiences, which in this case, you have not gone through.

    5) I just said that I wouldn't take that as an excuse...nothing more.

    6) it is just your perception sir that you felt your gender to be dog-ified.

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  5. 1. What minor flaw are we talking about here?

    2. Yudishtra didn't mind. And As far as i think neither did Draupdi. :)
    Talking about women inflicting harm onto other women -- ever heard of some dowry case where the mother in law beats/burns/harasses/ etc the daughter in law. Ever heard about a mother,though under pressure, abandons her infant daughter in a park/hospital/railway stn./ etc or goes and sells her to someone. And even if she was under pressure why can't she stand up against it.

    4. Yes I did go through some of your articles/poems
    And one of the poem did intrigue me some how !
    It was titled "Someone Should Have Taught Him"
    And what I realized after reading it was that the incident was either imagined or happened to some other person. I am sure it didn't happen to you :). and if it happened to someone else also I don't think u actually witnessed that accident at the same time knowing such deep details of either of them.

    and have you really met all 4 women mentioned in your article ?? :)
    You seem to have, giving us the finer details of how their minds actually did think in those situations.

    5. That is not an excuse. read my comment again If you would. You sound like I'd am looking for excuses for immoral actions !

    6.
    "From birth till death, their lives are claimed by males, then be it their father, husband or son. A typical female in the Indian society spends the first 25 years obeying the rules and regulations set by her father. For the next fifty years (average) she is expected to comply with all the whims and fancies of her husband. If she is still lucky enough to survive, she becomes a full-time, non-paid maid for her sons (Pardon me for my bluntness, but that is exactly how it is.).

    So where is the time when she lives for herself? When she does things as she likes, on her own terms? When does she express her individuality? In a country like India, where the girls are not welcome right from the time they are conceived, it is tough being a woman. Each day is a war for survival. There are no allies, just enemies."

    "Obviously , a married woman can’t raise her voice today because Sita wouldn’t have done that. We do not have choices because Sati didn’t have any. We cannot just dump our husbands, even if he turns out to be an authoritative fool, because Savitri wouldn’t have done that. All along the way, we forget Draupadi, who is often called the very reason for Mahabharat. She defied all the normal marital laws. The very people who want us to be like Sita, refrain from commenting about Draupadi. She, who had five husbands, who claimed back her body when they gambled her as their property, who unbound her hair and challenged her husbands to bathe them with the blood of those who dishonored her. She has always been the controversial one."

    If it is still only my perception that men are being seen as causing suffering to the women kind, then it might be!

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  6. 1) ego.

    2)think over your point once again.

    4)read: it is my favourite poem. i never claimed that i have written it. please check out the post again. it has due credits.

    5)you're getting personal here.

    6)do recognize the subtle differences in the words we use. men cause suffering to women? yes. have i dog-ified the males? no.

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  7. think of some better topics maanya...hehe

    ReplyDelete
  8. 1. if a egoistic man is flawed so is women who feels too much !

    2. I thought over it again, found it a reply apt enough. Please point out why I should think over it again !!

    4.

    quoting you -- "As a policy, I write only about things I have experienced."

    saying this again -- "and have you really met all 4 women mentioned in your article ?? :)
    You seem to have, giving us the finer details of how their minds actually did think in those situations."

    5. Yes I am. Coz as far as I can interpret your comment it means that if a man (like me) justifies himself that he is not like other men who look down upon women and treat them as mere objects then It is merely an excuse for you and you still believe all men to be like that !
    ["you can take the easy way out by chanting the old chant "all men aren't like that"]

    6. A sugar coating that is all it is ! and by dogs i intended to mean "animalistic /priamte behaviour" !

    7 th point (yes an addition)
    i still can't understand why are you referring in the plural and not pointing out the specific men who do/did cause women to suffer.

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  9. 1) if sensitivity is a flaw, i'm glad that women aren't perfect.

    2a) check up stats to see how many crimes against women are committed by women and how many by men. You asked me not to judge men on the basis of particular incidents. If I am to agree to that demand, your point isn't worth anything then.

    b) by the way, who put that pressure on those females? a society primarily run by men.

    4) true I write about things i have experienced. But i suppose clear credits do mean that I am just sharing something i liked/disliked (by default experienced in some form).

    5) Getting personal in public discussions and debates is not appreciated sir.

    6)I repeat, I just said that men cause suffering to women. It was you who drew all these conclusions. I only stated facts.

    7)As I said, it is not about getting personal. Pointing out individuals is called accusing them. Help me out in the kind of investigative research you are asking me do (refer police records, media archives) and we'll hang out those people to try. But you'll always find that one more jerk, that one creep, who eluded you the first time. Feel up to it?

    ReplyDelete
  10. well I posted a comment a long while back but I don't think it got published(or was not published if i may say) !
    So here I am again after having quite a long time to think ~

    1) exactly what I was saying ... neither Sensitivity of a woman or the ego of a man is a flaw ! both are just natural ! and hence Shri Ram cannot be blamed !

    2)stats are again a report of group of particular incidents having something in common.

    Draupadi having to be the wife of 5 men, one incident !
    Women inflicting suffering upon other women - quite a large number of incidents
    Men inflicting suffering upon women - still larger no. of incidents !

    simply put, one should not JUDGE ! or rather put it this way one should not generalize that women do cause suffering to women or men do cause suffering to men or whatever ...!

    2 b) Is strength to stand up against bad also distributed by men ? No !
    it is equally distributed by God !

    4) How can you have possibly experienced in any form the actual state of mind of the above mentioned 4 women ! you could have merely visualized / extrapolated their mind set at those moments which has quite a large possibility of u doing it wrong !

    5 and 7) is you article stating facts about men ? stating opinions and views about men?
    so according to set theory in Mathematics if a human belongs to a set called Men due to the possession of some basic property ! any fact about the set applies to every individual element in it and hence applies to that man also !

    Now if you could narrow down your set criterion by specifying it as "those men who perpetrate such evil acts" then it would be perfectly fine and that was what i meant by pointing to those men ! because if one says "all men are like that" it does not fit logically according to set theory!

    one has no records to show that each man on this planet has sometime or the other done something bad to a woman ! and if u have no record you have no proof and then u cannot say "all men are like that" ! that's again a extrapolation for which the chances to be true are 1 in a umptillion other possibilities and rather it'd be better to say 0 !

    hope I was nothing close to personal this time !

    6) so what is ur conclusion ?

    but before that a little exercise -
    1.It is the year 2008.
    2.He is at the CST station, Mumbai.
    3.he has an AK47 in his hand
    4.Dead Bodies are strewn all around him
    5.A police officer jumped upon him to save his life for further interrogation while having to lose his own !

    Who is He ?

    So if u give such direct statements conclusions are easy !
    Even If I remove some clues lets say 1 and 4 wont u be able to draw the same conclusion? though a few other conclusions might be possible but which is the obvious one ?

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  11. Different People, Different Thoughts. One cannot know who their biological mother and/ father is until & unless told by her. My point is we cannot ignore or object our Puranas, unless and until we have any solid proofs/ points to defend our statements. Personal opinions/ assumptions would mostly be baseless and cannot be trusted up on or considered for further arguments.

    Nevertheless, if you got time, patience and willingness to know about 'Draupadi', you can visit my blog and comment.

    In fact, there are many shrines for Goddess Draupadi, spread in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. One of the shrines, where She is a Grama-Devatha and Kula-Devatha to many, is located in one of the small villages of Tamil Nadu.

    The village is named KONDAL, Mayiladuthurai Taluk, Nagapattinam District, Nidur P.O, Tamil Nadu.

    http://blog.thitherwards.com/draupadi/

    Draupadi Amman Thunai - May you all be BLESSED by HER grace!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Brikut A

      As you might have noticed, the post is over four years old. Over the years, my definition of feminism has been altered. These are just my interpretations of these women/ goddesses. It is not Draupadi that I am finding fault with. I truly appreciate her actions. It is the society at large that I had made a point against.

      Your comment piqued my interest, but a quick search only revealed a Wikipedia entry, quoting the information you have given here, verbatim. I shall get back to you shortly. In the mean time, I would love to go through your blog!

      Delete