I'm not going to state the obvious problems in the plot and rally the feminist cause here. But I am simply amazed that a play in 2010 can be based on such a theme. I thought we have pretty much come to a time when it is taken for granted that girls have a decent education and they have a right to put it to use. I was quite disturbed by the thought that people feel the need to make such plays, for whatever reason! Do we still consider that a woman's "real" place is in the kitchen, managing the household and looking after the family? And what was the play trying to do? As most people would percieve it, was it really trying to promote the rights of the women to an education and a life of their choice? Wasn't it simply trying to re-confirm the patriarchal ideology?
There are such examples EVERYWHERE around us!! I can't help but notice how much everything stresses on women's place being in the house, a "good" girl is the one who doesn't open her mouth, doesn't express her wishes and instead puts her family's wishes before her own, most importantly, doesn't have any sexual desires apart from those that will fulfil her husband's wishes etc etc etc! Popular Culture is ripe with examples of chauvinist ideas! There is this gujrati gazal, (which I really like but not for it's content), sung by Manhar Udhas, Juvo Lila College Ma Jayi Rahi Che. One of the stazas say:
ના સુરમો ના કાજળ ના પાઉડર ના લાલી
છતાં એની રંગત છે સૌ માં નિરાળી
બધી ફેશનેબલ સખીઓ ની વચ્ચે
છે સાદાઈ માં એની જાહોજલાલી
Loose Translation: She doesn't have any make-up on but still she is the most beautiful one from amongst all her "fashionable" friends.
Obviously the "simple" one is placed above the "fashionable" ones as the implication is that if she is simple, she will be "traditional", thus, accomplying with the patriarchal norms. It has such beautiful music and lyrics but the ideology spoils it for me again! The society still has these structures, which even after the feminists have been rallying their cause for about a 100 years, have not changed! I keep feeling that I will one day cave in to the pressure as well, simply because I'm surrounded by it, all the time! I am so tired of flagging up this cause all the time and explaining everyone why I believe in it, coz they can simply not wrap their heads around the idea! Some people I know, my close friends, shake off the responsibility by saying "Yea, we are orthodox and this is how we think." They accept that women have the right to make their choices but refuse to acknowledge that they are the ones who form the society, the same society that accepts only those women who give in to its pressures. In this case, how will "equality" be established? People will keep excusing it by saying, "We don't think women are inferior or not equal to men. We just think they are different and have different roles in life." Give the woman the choice to decide what she wants to do, for God's sake! I am tired now! People, please understand, as a human being, I have the right to wear what I want, eat and drink what I want, do what I want in my life, choose my friends and my partner(s) in my life and so, stop making me feel guilty for doing any of this!!