The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, November 26, 2000

The new woman: Still a myth?

IN the context of Rana Nayar’s write-up "The backlash" (November 12), the seeds of feminism are inborn in every woman and all she needs to do is to integrate the feminist perspective in all spheres of life whether it is the right of reproductive health or other personal, national and international matters.

The author highlights one of the striking developments in contemporary India — growing self-assertion among women. On the surface all seems well as women and men increasingly occupy positions of equality. Indicators (such as the number of women driving their own cars) show that they are gaining in self-confidence and status. Many men help in housework and often look after children. The docile subservient Indian housewife is increasingly a vanishing species. Many younger women and quite a few older ones now wear trousers, particularly jeans. From a distance it is often difficult to tell whether an individual is a male or a female.

The younger female generation, particularly those who are in their teens, are growing up in a new culture. In the rural areas and among the poorer masses the old order is changing slowly but in the upper and middle class the transition is rapid.




The writer argues that by acquiring economic freedom, women are marching ahead to total freedom thereby shedding all responsibility. I do not share these views.

Sociologists found no evidence to suggest that employed woman demanded freedom from traditional roles. More over female wage labour in a capitalist society involves a basic contradiction between the roles of housewife and wage labourer. It is believed that from this contradiction will emerge the demand for women’s liberation. It is this contradiction that will focus women’s attention on their position, highlight their inequality and lead to demands for liberation.

A question may be asked whether the present backlash will lead to total freedom or not? My answer is negative. Sexual inequality is rooted in biological differences. Unlike economic inequality, gender inequality springs directly from a biological reality. Men and women were created different.

The fact that more women are going to work has not in itself aided sexual equality, but has served to reinforce their status.


Now, greed gods!

This refers to the article "Now, greed gods" by Naveen S. Garewal. (November 5).

It is really surprising to hear the programme being branded greed-driven, for aren’t most of us running about the whole day to earn our livelihood in our varied capacities? Aren’t most of us working hard from morning to evening to earn money? Except for those who have already earned or inherited lakhs or crores, for whom it is simply an unimpressive gimmick, for the rest of our population, it is a chance to fulfil the dreams that they otherwise couldn’t even have dared to dream.

Since most of the people don’t possess the capital to start any business venture or any other grandiose plans, here they can, at least bank upon the capital of their "intelligence and presence of mind", if the luck permits, of course. And it is not that easy either. A concerted effort has to be made to go from step to step. You have to have luck as well as be able to use your brains and exercise lots of presence of mind to earn this money.

Moreover, isn’t it certainly better and healthier than stealing, robbery, smuggling and greedily clinging to the chairs for power? It distracts the eager minds from many negative thoughts, putting them on the much better track, of trying for success in such game shows. And it gives a common man or woman happy dreams. In this harsh life of modern times, even dreams are welcome, specially if they come in the form of clean entertainment and help us to become more conscious of the need to improve our general knowledge.


‘We, the lonely people’

Apropos of "We, the lonely People" by Hitesh Kaushal (November 5). Loneliness is a curse but aloneness is bliss. One can be lonely even in the midst of a crowd. All great works of the world like inventions and writings, have been accomplished in aloneness. Thoughts pour in one after the other. That is why great scholars burn the midnight oil. It is ironical that man is desperate for the company of people but finds himself lonely in their company.

If you want to be a good speaker you must be a good listener first. It does not matter how much you speak, only your patient hearing makes you a sought-after person. Victims of envy and hostility also face isolation. Aloneness provides opportunities for introspection that helps us to overcome our weaknesses and problems.


Nature as a guide

This refers to the write-up "Nature as guide" by A.J. Singh (November 5). The writer has bemoaned the habit of hurry and scurry of modern man. The one glaring result of industrialisation is our separation from nature. Modern civilisation has made our life exceedingly mechanical. We have been turned into machines and we have one and only one aim in life — to struggle endlessly with little concern for any other thing. As a result we have increased our worries, cares and anxieties. Nature is a treasure-trove of pleasure. She is fountain of divine beauty. She is a friend, a guide and nurse to man. She has a healing touch of her own.

Nature is not only a source of joy, it is a source of education too. Trees full of fruit teach us to be humble, mountains teach us to be firm, the flowers teach us to smile even when we are surrounded by the thorns of life.


Agra goes green

This refers to "Agra goes green, grudgingly" by Amar Chandel (November 12). Every Indian is proud of the Taj which has been rightly described as a ‘poem in marble’ in this article. One, however, is pained the learn that much needs to be done to ensure that Agra is spick and span and the task of cleaning up the Taj area should be undertaken with the urgency it deserves.

I would also appeal to all concerned to take care of the Taj which is a national treasure.


Overcoming loneliness

Apropos of Hitesh Kaushal’s article, "We, the lonely people" (November 5), it is said that loneliness is often the result of one’s lack of ability to communicate. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. A lonely person sees alamity in every opportunity but an optimist, even when lonely, sees opportunity in every clamity. The most valuable asset in life is a good sense of humour. Even when we are alone, if we learn to laugh and take overselves less seriously, we can usually overcome our loneliness.

A cheerful outlook, a sense of humour and faith in God are sure to help us cruise through the trails of loneliness in life.


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