“Educate the girl child.” We see this slogan ever so often in our motherland which is the devotional hub of all ‘Maatas’.The stress is more on the weaker sex and education is supposed to be making them strong. Ok! Let’s just take a reality check on this statement.
Let’s say a family which has contributed just one girl child to this over populous country and has done their bit of being patriotic at least in this one way they thought best. The girl was offered a life of comforts, lots of love, a good schooling, she had her take on all the decisions, which was valued by the family and upheld. The girl fares fairly well , turns out an above average student, finally completes post grad with flying colors sees a promising future for herself in her desired profession. Education had done its bit for her – economical independence, filled in sense of equality of sex, taught compassion, general know how, boldness and finally common sense.
Marriage happened as was supposed to and then the conflict began – the spouse was ‘well – educated’ too had a good enough job and totally an above average economic disposition. The girl was married into the family as is our culture, the mother – in – law was no way in comparison as she was of the older stereotype generation when girls were married off anytime mid – school. The exam commenced when the girl in topic was ordered to cook – well!! Ok this was a tragic flaw as she had spent all her time studying or doing something else which was more productive at that point of time, her blank look drew out a derisive smile on her mil’s face. The girl was smart she learnt this life skill ‘pronto’. Slowly as time fades and relationships no longer centre around lovey – dovey talks and making the other person comfortable, her mind starts taking the tiny changes that trickle in with the observation around her.
The father in law is crisp and curt and magnanimous at his profane litany at his wife even at the slightest of all things like lack of salt in the particular dish, she is shocked to see her mil wipe a tear in seclusion, this outburst of comments by the fil is carried on to a greater height by the sons as if that were the torch of glory of their inherent tradition, the girl knows better than to keep quiet – immediately rushes to the mi’s aid and says something in defense, the hubby abuses to show that he takes the calls on the matter ,but the final shocker falls when the mil asserts herself as to how “good and docile she is!! In contrast to this so called educated girl” who has no patience or perseverance to put up with little things as that in silence.
Education had taught her to stand up against injustice not to grin and bear it, as is in our so called culture. So it did not teach her to deal with a situation like that. Years roll on as the girl is caught up in this maze of education and liberty and culture and oppression. The hubby has now assumed the role of a ring – master; she is expected to take “PERMISSION” from him to go meet her friends’ and relatives ‘houses or to even invite them to her house, and otherwise it would simply be reprimanded as lack of respect. Her education had taught her to respect liberty not tyranny, her education had taught her sophistication in language to not use abuses but did not teach what to do when she was a victim of one.
The in girl in discussion is smart to drive a car, makes a great impression at her work place, teaches the kids, and cooks. Keeps the house beautiful – all this is marathon or an Odysseus task for one of the likes of her uneducated mil. But an uneducated person has mastered one greatest skill – satisfy the male ego, no matter what the stakes are. The problem was that the girl could not do that as the girl has an ego too which tells her she is great in so many things, which has been proved by her educational accolades. She has ego enough- not to be submissive but the paradox is- she is too ‘polished’ to use downright derogatory means to get what she wants. Education had taught her to ‘reason’ not to ‘revolt’ but did not teach her that all this did not work in our country; she is illusioned by it not ‘disillusioned’. What our country really needs is to “educate the boy and his family.”
This is the saga of 90%of the intellectual women in our country whose story never makes any headlines; they are caught in a very different web of males and their families who have a different education from a different school of thought.
- They fancy an educated girl on paper. Who can speak of liberty not exercise it.
- They fancy a girl who knows how to earn but should not know how to spend.
- They fancy a girl who stands against atrocity but dowry is insisted upon at least in kind.
- They fancy a girl who knows how to judge but never calls the final verdict.
If she displays any of the traits of education she is discarded as uncultured. So, to reiterate, it is a holistic and wholesome education of men that is required in our motherland and …Hats off to all the women who pressed that a ‘women’s day’ is not really needed – take a walk…. Ponder.