Bring Ba Back

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Have been very wedding-y these hols primarily because of the non-stop supply of TV serials where someone or the other is getting married or has just got married or doesn't want to get married or is actually not getting married because she's already (secretly) married but everyone else wants her to get married. Of late, there has been a transition (rather exchange, in terms of character) in the roles of the eldermost woman in the family and the youngest adult generation of women (bahus). During the Kyunki era, Ba was the quintessential warm and caring woman who showered her motherly affection on every child, grandchild, great grandchild....and so on. Her desecndents confided in her and she tried to help them out. She was the understanding go-to person in the family. That's when the Ba's of the world were in vogue. Gujju families were in. A couple of bahus out some 10 were the rotten apples, and these were the vamps.

Now, however, evil Rajasthani Ammajis seem to be popular. The prototype Ammaji is this strong and mean character who is the all-powerful decision maker of the family/village community. The setting has moved from Urban Bombay Rich Gujju joint family to rural/semi-rural (mostly) rich Rajasthani joint family. Today, the bahus and daughters are the embodiment of "values" and "Indian Culture", but these Ammajis torment them, forcing their own sense of morality which is (mostly) an even more patriarchal and orthodox version of the bahu's sense of morality.

Talking about "indian cultulre", here's a piece by Pratap Bhanu Mehta on the recent Delhi High Court judgment which decriminalised consensual, adult and private homosexual acts.

Absolutely daft criticsms of the judgment can be found here.
Their quotes show just how ignorant they are of what the judgment really says and what it does not and the implications thereof.
Banjrang Dal's response is hilarious, really. They (along with the Maulana) clearly don't know how judgments are delivered. It's a function of the judiciary and not the "centre", which is the executive. Further, the Maulana has completely ignored the fact that the judgment only decriminalises adult and consensual homosexual acts. This means sex-related crimes against minors are STILL crimes.

And really now, is homosexuality a thing of the "West" as Baba Ramdev (for whom I have obviously lost most of the respect I once had) states? Not, is the answer. A brief response consisting the very basic arguments can be found here-
This book by Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai also sounds very interesting- (Same-Sex Love in India: Readings from Literature and History).
I don't have much of an opinion on the matter except that people should stop forcing their own sense of morality on others (and therefore, obviously in favour of gay rights because they're as much human as you and me and as much citizens of this country as you and me and pay as much taxes that a heterosexual person in their position would pay). Unfortunately TV Serials like the ones which are on all the time just continue to enforce this paternalistic attitude of fundamentalists and this needs to stop.

The response of Ammajis to their bahus' allegedly immoral behaviour is shockingly similar to that of these religious groups to progressive laws. The castigation, the bold statement of what is "indian culture" and "indian tradition", how one is expected to behave, the unequivocal subjugation of an entire segment's rights for the benefit of others is common with Ammajis and the Bajrang Dals of the world. What I find blood-boiling-ly annoying is the certainty and authority with which these groups decide what others must do.

At most, these can only be "self-appointed custodians of tradition" (as Pratap Bhanu Mehta puts it and several others have as well) and we all know how much real weight lies in the opinion of any person/group which is completely "self appointed" (read: zero).


raghu said...

nice post.

Roy said...

now i have seen all soap operas!

Shreya said...

I have the book. -_- It's pretty decent... Have read half of it.

Sneha said...

shreya, is it on campus? please can i borrow at some point?