Indian society is one of the most glorified societies in the world; where people live in harmony within the framework of love, fraternity and brotherhood. However, there is a lack of progress and immense backwardness, even in the twenty-first century.
The deep patriarchal mindset comes in the way of development of the individual as well as society. Parents might wish for their daughters to become an IAS officer, PCS, Professor, Doctor, Engineer and so on, but with their mindset, they sometimes don’t even let her talk to a man.
Society’s definition of an ideal girl is to be restricted within the framework of parents and society. They can’t accept that their daughter talks to other men. They fear that they would fall in love and break the societal boundaries of caste, class and religion.
The whole nexus of controlling and patronage revolves around patriarchy. A girl has restricted choices. Her freedom is pre-decided by her parents, family, society and so on. From food to marriage, from copulation to cremation, everywhere, a girl has to face the patriarchal brunt, and prove, each time, that she is maintaining the honour of the family. She replicates puppets and patriarchy gives the reigns of puppetry to her family.
Patriarchy blooms within the home, then it spreads into the public sphere. Even a simple chat with someone from the other genders makes a girl of questionable “character”. Parents show that they are modern and progressive and are ready to accept their child’s relationship, yet they fear inter-faith, caste, and class love.
The journey of love looks more romantic or dramatic in the reel world, but in the real sense, it is the path of doing or dying. In my research, I tried to understand what forces society towards honour-killings; I also tried to understand what are the reasons for the social acceptance of dowry. The role of patriarchy, ijjat wala aadmi/ pariwar (respectable family), caste, the feeling of superiority in class, caste, and religion are the main factors to restrict any romantic relationship.
The myopic mindset and awful restrictions on the freedom of a girl restrict her development, her family’s, society’s, nation’s and further, the whole world’s. While women all over the world are achieving their goals, the other side of Indian society is just bothered about ‘kahi kisi ladke se to bat nahi kar rahi hai’ and ‘kahi chakkar na chala le kisi dusari jati ya dharm ke ladke se’. (Hope she is not talking to any guy/ hope she does not have an affair with a guy from the other caste or religion)
I laugh at my younger self for believing that men and women can be free to express and love. Looking back, I was so wrong. Patriarchy has taken away the independence of love and friendship. Let them speak, let them play in their childhood, let them learn from any gender; let them be free from patriarchy!
The author, Shweta Srivastava, is a PhD Scholar & ICSSR Awardee, G.B.Pant Social Science Institute Jhusi Prayagraj.