Women’s Day and Holi

8 March 2012.  International Women’s Day and the festival of Holi.  I wish to highlight an irony I witnessed on the eve of the day on which the two great festivals fall.

On 7 March 2012 – that is, today – the Holika dahan paraphernalia was set up in a particular place. [Sorry, I can’t name the place.]  A woman, like many other women, added many things to the paraphernalia which consisted of tall logs, dry leaves, cow dung cakes, etc. The cow dung cakes are part of the religious ritual, as far as I understand.  Some women came and placed some earthen lamps too around the whole set-up (which I call paraphernalia for want of a better word in my vocabulary).  Women came all through the day to place various things around the paraphernalia.  These women had spent days to prepare such things most of which were cow dung cakes which looked like black and big vadas (a ring-shaped food item).  Someone informed me (the idiotic me who doesn’t understand such rituals) that all these things which the women carried were subjected to some puja (religious ritual).

The burning of that  paraphernalia was decided to be at 7.15 in the evening, about two hours back from when I’m writing this blog.  

But the whole thing got burnt up at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. 

In the evening the rumour spread.  A widow had put her diya [earthen lamp] as an offering at the paraphernalia and the fire from the diya spread to the whole damn thing.  Yes, the whole paraphernalia had become damned because of a diya put up by a widow.  The mood of the entire crowd gathered around the paraphernalia was altered because of the rumour.  The crowd would have burnt the widow had they had a choice.

And they would have celebrated the international women’s day tomorrow. 

This is India.

I’m not exaggerating a bit, my readers.

This is the India of educated people.  It happened in an educational system.  I know I will be hauled over coals for writing this.  But this is the truth. 

In India we can at least write the truth.  Because most of our politicians don’t understand the languages in India.  Thank God, there are so many gods [I mean, languages] in India.  Thank the goons there are so many political parties in India.

Throwing dirt all over people.  Tomorrow.  Holi.  I would like to hide in my room.  I don’t like dirt.  It gives me health problems.  I don’t believe that people can re-establish their relationships by throwing dirt on one another.  I don’t think people have to get sullied in order to make an end of winter and start bathing daily again.  But I do agree that if people want to throw dirt on one another they should be given a chance to do so without harming one another.  So, wish you all a people-friendly HAPPY HOLI, rather than an environment-friendly holi.  Let the environment go to hell, let us all go to hell.  We’ll make the best of hell too.  Take some businessmen ( not women) with us.

Yeah, women.  It’s the international women’s day too.  A widow will be sacked from job.  A few girls will be raped.  And many girl children will be born in Mulayam’s state too to die in darkness.  Mayawati would have made no difference.  Except for putting up black elephants instead of white ones in parks.  And Mayawati is a woman, I guess. 

But most women will be happy wearing their best dresses tomorrow.  To celebrate INTERNATIONAL WOMAN’S DAY.

Showing off themselves.

Didn’t the 21st century liberate women?

I think it did.  And what did the women do?  They sold their bodies.  On the ramps.  As models with skimpy dresses.  At internet sites where pornography sells.  At some very fine job places too.  Look at Hindi movies to see how heroines are dressed.  And wonder whether the women  have liberated themselves really.  In spite of the opportunities given to them? 

Whose world is it, a man’s or a woman’s?

Can’t it be ours, both the man’s and the woman’s?

 

Wish you all a Happy Holi [let’s burn – the evil within ourselves if possible] and a Happy Women’s Day [let’s discover the woman within ourselves or the woman nearest to us].

 

 

 

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About matheikal

My more regular blog can be accessed at www.matheikal.blogspot.com
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8 Responses to Women’s Day and Holi

  1. Sid says:

    Changing the society would require changing the mindsets. You just can’t do it politically. You can only sit back and wait for it to happen. Sir, I know that for educated people it would be a test of patience.

    One quick point, if you are talking about the ‘International’ Women’s Day, then women in western countries indulging in pornography etc would be more or less considered well-off. In India, such women would be thought of resorting to desperate measures. The only common definition of empowerment for women globally, to my understanding would be to be self-sufficient.

    Also sir, you watching the ‘paraphernalia’ reminded me of R.K. Laxman’s Common Man, silent yet observant; watching the great Indian Tamasha from the sidelines. 😛

    • matheikal says:

      Thanks, Sid, for understanding the blog in the right spirit. There’s always a possibility of this kind of writing being misunderstood and misinterpreted.

      As you’ve said I enjoy the great Indian tamasha, but with a stab of pain somewhere deep down. I wonder why people refuse to see beyond the surface…

      You’re also right about the porn queens outside India. Their Indian counterparts are a rather poor lot. But what I wish to highlight is how women’s emancipation has been reduced to the emancipation of the body rather than the mind.

  2. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    Not much relevance to what you have posted Matheikal … but, please do tell me whether not observing Women’s Day will promote equity acrross the sex divide? Isn’t this parallel to what people argue when they criticize caste data in the national census?

    By the way, gender is a grammatical construct and sex is a sociological-cum-biological construct. Therefore, one really cannot talk about gender equity 😉

    RE

    • matheikal says:

      No, Raghuram, observing women’s day will not create equity. At best it can create/raise awareness about the situation.

      I’m not as much worried about equity as about women’s safety and dignity, both of which are increasingly violated in the present. The causes are many and complex. There’s a Malayalam writer who argues that the woman became a woman first and then became “body”. It is this pathetic situation that women should understand and correct. It is women themselves who need to do it; men will only exploit them further if they reduced themselves into their “bodies”.

  3. I simply can’t why a day is marked for celebrating something. Anyways, I am lame at understanding fancy things. As far as widow lightning the diya is concerned, I am not shocked. I know my country that well. Once my doctor cousin called me on Raksha Bandhan to say that I should untie the rakhi as the rumor is sisters who have tied Rakhi before 10:30 am that day, their brothers will die. Can you believe that non sense? Yes, Indians can believe any non sense in the name of religion.

    Sir, as far as women shedding clothes is concerned. I blame it on social networking sites. I saw photo of a Kota girl with 1400+ likes and 75 shares (she wrapped a red clothes and posed), she is not a celebrity, not beautiful but people made her real important just by clicking the like button.

    Even in blogging world those who can use the new-age-abusive language are far more successful. I think we took being liberated to another level and that level is not that high.

    I believe to attain the equalities in gender we should first look beyond the skin of a female and I don’t see it happening in my lifetime.

    • matheikal says:

      Saru, perhaps little can be done in emancipating Indians from their superstittions. Perhaps, men construct these superstitions with the subtle motive of keeping some section or the other suppressed…

      Perhaps women can refuse to cooperate with the whole skin business. That may be a solution.

      Thanks for the detailed comment.

  4. divenita says:

    Liked this post a lot!
    You are right in most of the parts of the post.

    Holi was supposed to be celebrated with turmeric which is good for skin. but again, we made it something else

    • matheikal says:

      I’m interested in knowing more about the origins of this festival called Holi. I’m sure it must have something to do with turmeric because of the way the skin reacts when winter changes to summer all of a sudden. You’ve given me much to study about with that one word.

      Unfortunately, people today are using chemical-ridden colours which saw many hospitalisation cases too yesterday as reported by the media. That’s why I called it “throwing dirt on one another.” And such dirt-throwing is happening today in the name of Holi.

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