Government proposes, society disposes
By S Vaidhyasubramaniam
23rd September 2012 12:00 AM
Before I got married, I remember my parents running to meet the family astrologer for a discussion on the compatibility of my horoscope with my wife’s. My grandparents ran to another renowned astrologer for a ‘second opinion’. Today, if you plan to get your daughters married, you will not only run to an astrologer but also to a career consultant who shall trace the remunerative career trajectory of the groom. Thanks to the government’s ‘out-of-the-box’ idea of providing salary for wives.
This ‘employment opportunity’ sensationalises modernity, generalises falsehood and trivialises the holy institution of marriage. Neo-modernists brand this as women empowerment. For the neo-modernists, modernity lies in the three Fs—Fat in the food, Fizz in the Cola (also read ‘beer’) and Fabric in the jean. Thanks to the torn image of modernity and its dangerously deceptive exterior, the price of a jean pair is inversely proportional to its fabric content. Such idiosyncratic modernity characterises Page 3 celebrities (sorry, socialites) but definitely cannot characterise the mainstream population of India and its rich civilisational family fabric mainly woven by womenfolk.
Salary for wives means commoditising the sacred family establishment. The fullness of character in wifehood cannot be emptied by ‘modern’ mindsets. Such mindsets need a disinfectant and clarity in thought is the best disinfectant. A wife’s role can’t be redefined through the narrow lens of policymakers whose recent decisions already have cataclysmic consequences. The Confucian thought “Yang & Yin” reinforces the interplay of opposites as the fundamental constitution of the entire universe. The modern thought process, filled with vacuum, doesn’t realise that men are incapable of running families and can’t discharge such a significant responsibility. Self-acclaimed women rights activists and modern thinkers distort and jargonise this as male chauvinism. They begin to construct a non-existing gap between a husband and wife. Any disturbance to the functioning families by ridiculing husband-wife relationship as employer-employee, is a step towards family destruction. There is no ideal husband or ideal wife but an ideal couple.
A majority of the Indian families believe in the spirit of harmonious coordination that makes a family an earthly paradise. The Manu Smriti (ancient text) quotes: “Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra devataha”—where women are worshiped, there the God reside. Even male members don’t get this divine privilege. A girl child (kanya), a married woman (suhasini) or a married couple (thampathi) is worshipped even today. Thanks to the wife, the husband is a ‘festival bonus’ in this way of worship. In the celebrated Sundara Kanda of Ramayana, Sita, during her times of distress in the forest of Ravana, thinks of 11 devoted wives—Sachi Arundhati, Rohini, Lopamudra, Sukanya, Savitri, Srimati, Madayanti, Kesini and Damayanti and vows her devotion to Lord Rama. Swami Vivekananda’s words “still on this sacred soil of India, this land of Sita and Savitri, among women may be found such character, such spirit of service, such affection, such compassion, contentment and reverence, as I could not find anywhere in the world” are still valid. The family bliss derived from the genuine spirit of womanhood, especially from the Indian wives, cannot be hijacked by toxic (p)bills like the present government’s ‘Salary for Wives Bill’.
For every successful political vote, there are successful social anti-votes. Our society’s strong attachment to a different set of 3 Fs—Faith, Family & Fortitude—ensures that even if the government proposes such a preposterous bill, society will flush it to the gutter with more force. Government proposes, society disposes.
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