Monday, May 24, 2010

Which Gotra? Whose Gotra

This blog comes after the recent 'same gotra marriage' crisis that has erupted in Haryana and after reading today's TOI report on Navin Jindal and the explanations he has given. Traditionally people belonging to one particular gotraor clan are said to have a common ancestor and India as such has numerous gotras. Those who do not know there gotra are assimilated into the KASHYAP gotra. As far as marriage was concerned, children were never married in the gotra of the father. My paternal grand father went far ahead to issue a diktat that he would marry his children neither into the gotra of father nor the mother. You might be surprised to read this. He was a doctor and as children share the genes of both the parents, he said, they should not be married into either of the gotras. The new entrant into the family should come from a different gotra so that the children would not inherit genetic defects.
This sounds a reasonable explanation. My father tried to follow the same principle and he was successful as far as my brother's marriage was concerned. By the time of my marriage, he had to bend this rule. And the rule was lost as I chose my life partner. Now you might wonder if I kept the whole idea of gotra in mind or not. Being a woman and supposedly the person to carry tradition on her shoulders, I knew my gotra but my husband did not know his. And when you are in love with someone, gotra is the last thing that comes to mind. I thank God that my husband comes from a different gotra, else a Khap like situation would have sprung at home!
Jindal is right when he says that in urban areas we do not care what kind of a marriage or relationship a person is in - something which may be a huge issue in rural areas and may lead to honour killings and excommunication of families. But it again does not seem plausible to declare illegal a practice accepted by the courts! Let people, to be specific the persons getting married decide.
At this juncture comes to my mind a story I read in the English reader 'Gulmohar' when I was in Grade four or five. It was about a girl whose marriage was about to be solemnized and suddenly it was found that her gotra and the groom's gotra was the same. To over come this situation, the girl's maternal uncle adopted her and finally the marriage took place. If gotra is something that can be changed with adoption, now wonder today's educated youngsters do not wish to follow it. Similarly it is said that a woman's gotra changes after her marriage. How can this happens? The blood and the genes that are in a person's body can not change automatically after marriage. It is high time the so-called leaders and heads of the Hindu religion gave a reasonable and plausible explanation for various practices in stead of just dumping those practices on the younger generation!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Women and chicken

Two men were heard in a conversation:

Speaker 1: Can you eat chicken, daily?

Speaker 2: No, I can not. I need a change.

Speaker 1: Then how can a person live with one wife throughout his life?

This is what our world is like. On the one hand, we celebrate women and womanhood on the 8th of March every year, 2010 being special due to the women's reservation bill. But the sad thing is that in a country like ours where women are compared to female gods and put on a pedestal during navratri, in everyday life they do not have any voice or say and are left compared to birds! That is indeed derogatory. 

A girl has no say in the choice of her partners, except a very small percentage of the female population. Once married, the husband's house is her home where she must survive or perish (in terms of her identity). Generally people make attempts at survival through compromise. Nothing bad in that. But what do you in case of neglect and rejection and complains of boredom?

This is where the thin line which separates man from animals disappears! and one is left wondering: What sin did we commit to be born as women?

Cast caste out!

Its time for the new census.. census 2011 which will yield a new data base regarding our population. But the government and its machinery has come in for criticism on account of including 'CASTE' as a category in the criteria. How long are we going to make caste the most important characteristic of our population. Our Constitution talks of the Right to Equality as a fundamental right and states that discrimination can not be made on the basis of caste, class, religion etc. among the citizens of India. The question is then why does one need to have caste as a criteria for census 2011. Is it just to further certain political interests? It does not seem that averages worked out in this manner would help the cause of the most deprived. The various commissions over the years, like the Mandal Commission engaged in this act to no end. The condition of the most deprived has remained the same while those in the creamy layer are enjoying better life. Again this criteria does not seem consistent with the India of the 21st century. For an India trying to claim a place in the Security Council, for an India which looks forward to being a developed county, for an India which sees it self as a world power in software, caste sounds like a limiting factor trying to pull it back to the condition the erstwhile colonial rulers had left us with!

Sadly, we are still so centred on this feature that even our sources of entertainment centralise this issue. So whether you are watching 'Pratigya' or 'Sajan Ghar Jaana Hai' you will always be confronted with caste..and really it has become a disturbing thing! The matrimonial section of the daily papers is another place where caste rules. Its more important than a person's qualitfication or other qualities.

It's high time that politicians stopped playing with this marker to further their own ends! And it's time that the citizens of the country raised their voice against such criteria which gives an inaccurate account of our socio-economic conditon.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why did the mouse bite the CM?

The papers reported that Bihar CM was bitten by a mouse while resting during his 'Vishwas yatra' at the Sitamarhi circuit house. An interesting question comes to my mind: Why did the mouse bite the CM? My colleague Benjamin showing his worldly wisdom says, "Mice are found in areas rich in agricultural produce." This would mean Sitamarhi is rich in agricultural produce and hence the presence of the mouse and the mouse does not like industries...so he bites the CM! Sounds reasonably good! Or is it that the mouse was attracted to the rich abundance of hair with which the CM is blessed - on his head as well as on his face!
Moving from the trivial to the significant: Probably the mouse represents all the Benjamins of Bihar who feel that this yatra is an unnecessary expenditure where thousands are without food, clothes and shelter. It is insignificant compared to the one of the major problems inflicting the state: Education. Institutes are talking of bringing quality education back to the place where it had dawned but sadly the policies of the government are destroying those institutes which have created some of the most successful professionals in various fields in India.
Or is the mouse an underfed one like most of our population? Is he trying to tell the CM that the people need food to exist and in such times of inflation, it might be difficult for a poor NREGA labourer to meet his needs?
Well at least for the CM the docs have run the miles...wish they would do it for the common men also...no hard feelings intended..after all the CM and his policies saw a high growth rate in Bihar when other countries and states were reeling under the effects of economic depression!

Technocrat Animals

Its been two years now that new technology farms came into existence courtesy Napoleon and his colleagues at Animal Farm. They sent Snowball from the technology farm in the Hills to manage the new technology farm in the Plains and Snowball undoubtedly did a great job. He worked hard recruited workers for the new farm and also worked at creating the windmill which would give them power and increase their efficiency. After setting up this farm Snowball was asked to go back to his own farm. A new manager, Squealer, was appointed for this farm. Squealer arrived one hot summer afternoon and was welcomed by Clover, Boxer, Benjamin and Raven. At the first barn meeting Squealer told the animals that they would be given good working conditions so that they can work to their maximum. He said that all would be treated equally and given the same privileges. The next step that Squealer took was to arrange his work place. While the other animals were given cubicles in small barns, Squealer kept a large barn for himself and had it furnished. One AC for 5 animals and 2 ACs for Squealer himself. The moment equality turned into inequality, the Raven and Benjamin with Boxer and Clover raised their voice.
As a result another barn meeting was called. In that meeting Squealer was asked questions by Benjamin and Boxer but before Squealer could reply, the Raven gave a hoarse cry and in came some beastly dogs. Though Benjamin and Boxer saved themselves, the other animals were left frightened. Then Raven addressed the gathering and said that since Squealer is working for the growth and prosperity of their technology farm, he needs to be given special treatment.
And so after some days, the animals saw some of the birds working at Squealers house and while the other animals walked on foot, Squealer bought a BMW!