‘My Father Confiscates My Laptop, Phone And Even My Camera,’ Said My Friend

While women are being praised for leading many sit-in protests, inspiring millions of people; some households are still facing patriarchy and are adamant on fighting it. A lot of men belonging to any caste, class, faith or race are the ones always boasting about their, ‘Head of the Family‘ and ‘Decision Maker‘ titles. Why does this happen? Does patriarchy slide into their blood, veins, DNA and even gets implanted in their brain cells?

“Patriarchy both creates the rage in boys and then contains it for later use, making it a resource to exploit later on as boys become men. As a national product, this rage can be preserved to further imperialism, hatred and oppression of women and men globally.”

– Bell Hooks

Patriarchy is a social system where men hold the primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of the property. “Jab tak mere ghar me ho, meri sunni padegi (Till the time you’re in my house, you have to obey me)”, “Hum agar chahe na toh tumhari sab aish band karadenge (If we wish, we can anytime stop all your recreational lavish activities)”, “Humse awaaz oonchi mat karo, khaa jaogi haath se (Don’t talk to us in that raised tone)”—these are some of the statements made at a neighbour’s household.

Illustration work by @nakedpastor. Image provided by the author.

I was right there, as a first-hand witness of such horrendous dialogues being spoken by her own father. I feel ashamed of living in a society that shelters these men, those who are in rage and utter words that hurt the sentiments and oppress women in general. I even heard the man saying, “Zyada bologi toh darwaaze se dhakka deke nikaaldenge (If you reply back, I will kick you out of the house).” 

These narratives depict that men live with the constant assumption that they’re the decision-makers of others’ life and can take a decision on something of great significance. Why? Are they God? Or the Government? They do not stand at any position where they can claim to be deciding what happens in someone’s life.

Indian men suffocate me, for obvious reasons! They make me wonder about the miserable status of women in such households. I tried getting in touch with her after this incident, and she shared, “My father confiscates all of my belongings, my laptop, phone and even the camera that I have. He tells me, once I don’t have these things with me, I’ll be handicapped and would come crawling to him begging for it.

She mentioned how it had happened multiple times over the years. Would pulling away the necessities drag down her voice? I believe that’s what the man would be considering, probably also hoping that a woman who knows how to fight the battle of patriarchy will stoop, as he’s the one whom she’s dependent on.

The Patriarchal system in the Indian society means that the family unit is based on a joint family structure, where only one male is the head of the house. Usually, this role belongs to a patriarch or father. He makes a significant decision in terms of marriage alliance for both daughters and sons, the decision of buying and selling property, maintaining the family property, and day-to-day life. Who knew, decisions would also be dictated over someone’s life, even though it’s about their children? Where is the freedom to choose?

Women in Indian society have been a victim of humiliation, torture and exploitation. Men predominate the society, hence women are a victim of immense male domination in their respective sphere of life; especially in their economic decisions on resources, and utilisation of her earnings and her body. A woman’s life lies between pleasure and danger.

Diminishing an emerging voice has always been the favourite pass-time of most men, and the reason is none other than their own upbringing. If they were ever taught that a woman’s say matters; they wouldn’t be curbing their voices today.

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