We love to harp on the relative freedom that women enjoy in India especially when we read about ‘bund-gobi‘ (my ex-roommate’s term) Saudi women. When we just decide to gloat about how our women can travel safely in trains at night, there comes news of a wierd kind. We are forced to reevaluate our attitude toward women. Do we really grant them equity? One such news item that caught my eye earlier today (is already doing the rounds in the Indian blogosphere) was the existence of an “institute for ideal wives”, as reported by TOI (who else?). Some interesting statements from their course curriculum are:
During a three-month course, girls are taught that the best time to have sex is from midnight to three in the morning.
From three to six in the morning is the time to sing bhajans. They are also taught that they should keep the husband’s needs above everything else, that a joint family is an excellent setup, that the seven vows of saath pheras are not forgettable nonsense but lifelong commandments, that an ideal wife must have five “ornaments” — coyness in her eyes, smile on her face, sweetness in her speech, love in her heart and a hand that can work very hard.
She may work to increase the family’s income but she should never forget that she is essentially a homemaker. If things go wrong, however, she may file an FIR in the nearest police station.
I cannot help but shake my head in disbelief. This is simply too funny to be true. I cannot imagine that being a married woman is a vocation in itself. Also, interestingly when I opened the article on TOI’s website, a pop-up ad advertised Shaadi.com’s virtues. Do the founders of the Manju Sanskar Kendra know of this technological-demon that pervades their ‘free publicity’ by TOI? Another unrelated news item this time on Rediff reported a far graver crime. A tribal woman unable to repay her debt was allegedly sold for Rs.10,000. I am unable to comprehend how selling one human being in these times is going to benefit the purchaser. Thankfully, the guilty were arrested. Such things may be happenening almost everyday in India and I may be too naive to understand complexities of bonded labor and covert slavery but that doesn’t stop me from being disgusted. Is it just me or does someone else also see subtle similarities between the ‘ideal wives’ and the ‘sold woman’? Someone please direct me toward news articles of respecting womanhood in India in recent times.