HER WORLD Sunday, December 23, 2001, Chandigarh, India
 

Joys and trials of being single SOCIAL MONITOR
Joys and trials of being single
Picky Panwar
T
he word single denotes a person who has chosen to single himself or herself out to present an independent front to a world full of togetherness. There is the saying you can feel alone in a crowd. Feeling crowded even when you are alone is the turning point for most people who decide to be by themselves. The ability to find company within your own self is what the yogis have preached from time immemorial and this has been taken as a stiff and almost unreachable state. Needless to say, it is a difficult realisation that the self is by its birth and innate nature the very essence of singularity.

The three Marys in the ministry of Jesus
Usha Bande
O
ne of the aims of Jesus’ mission was to reconcile the physical family with the spiritual family without distinguishing between the male and the female, and to spread the word of God on earth. He therefore did not exclude women from his ministry.

CAREERSMART
Career resolutions you need to make
Manjula Wadhwa
L
ast evening when I happened to call on Seema, my close friend, production executive in an advertising company, I found her in a dishevelled state. She was under great mental stress. Over a cup of hot coffee, she blurted out, "A colleague, three years junior to me, has been promoted, Despite my utmost efforts, my boss is never satisfied with my performance.."

FIRST PERSON
"I’m fighting for rights of craftsmen"
Jaya JaitleyJaya Jaitley
P
olitics is not my cup of tea but I am determined to be in politics. I will never stop believing in politics, otherwise I will be failing in my duty towards democracy. It is difficult to believe in democracy without believing in its political system. I have never fought elections. People in Parliament are not the only persons who have the right to be in politics.
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SOCIAL MONITOR
Joys and trials of being single
Picky Panwar

The word single denotes a person who has chosen to single himself or herself out to present an independent front to a world full of togetherness. There is the saying you can feel alone in a crowd. Feeling crowded even when you are alone is the turning point for most people who decide to be by themselves. The ability to find company within your own self is what the yogis have preached from time immemorial and this has been taken as a stiff and almost unreachable state. Needless to say, it is a difficult realisation that the self is by its birth and innate nature the very essence of singularity. Single women stand out as a landmark as they are not supposed to adopt this lifestyle and it is often imagined that they are victims of circumstantial mishap. In fact they are the ones who have surmounted their inherited or formed areas of reality and come to terms with a lifestyle that defies the norm

They usually are professionally progressive and have a distinct flavour that is difficult to understand by many and not easily maneuverable. As a member of society, a single woman has many roles to play. Usually, it falls to her lot to distinguish herself as the very need for her to justify her existence to others often comes to the fore.

She is a perpetual threat to ambitious counterparts who are hunting for partners because, ironically, it is the single lady who is usually more attractive to the opposite sex.

Yes, the hazards are many and sundry. You can be considered a fool if you are single and in the material world friends, relatives and others often try their hand at taking you for a ride. More often than not, a single person’s good sense can be taken for granted. She has to be careful and draw the line. If she does not operate in the world with all the paraphernalia of high drama, it does not mean she has time only for others.

Single people are usually good cooks, well-read and run excellent and compact homes— all of which require as much time as it does to feed hungry children or fight with a husband or maintain a style which is more attractive than the one next door! However, to give all lifestyles their due, it is imperative for every individual to play the role she has adopted.

To be married, have off-spring and share your life with a spouse is an integral part of woman’s nature. She must then make the sacrifice to be able to indulge in the security of an immediate family. As a pivot for her family, she has the role of enhancing the development of her husband, her children and family.

A woman’s role, if contributory to the above mentioned, gives her an advantageous position and she is able to enjoy her individuality within the precincts of a happy union. As a single person myself, I often find my home a haven for my friends. They unwind at my place and relax as they find the simple and environment-friendly arrangement hassle-free. Of course many do not realise the price that has been paid in the form of no bombastic male company, no great amenities and simple food. Some dump their kids with me and go partying all night, while I enjoy myself completing homework and allowing the brats to come out with personal problems that they would have never been able to voice anywhere else. Often they do not want to go ‘home’ in a hurry. In major family crisis my apartment has been an asylum for many friends.

They have derived self-confidence by watching me manage ‘alone’. Amazingly, my little self-made study and meditation room is a place where some like to get away from it all, put up their feet, read and sing songs in praise of various deities.

Cheers to all those single women who have achieved success in running business empires, ruling the political panorama and performing academic feats, no less lead an ‘a-moral’ lifestyle. You cannot hope to be considered single if you break a home, or have a live-in business partner. You are also under scrutiny if you suddenly wring your hands and ask for masculine help in sorting out a group of rowdies or procuring your domestic gas and towing your ill-maintained car.

So roll up your sleeves, all you single gals and make sure your entire system has a strong immunity beyond which lie many horizons that can be reached.

The biggest mistake a woman who decides to make a life alone can make is to be considerate to over-indulgent family members who offer support, not without a motive, depend only on yourself. ‘Friends’ who are kind at times to pave a secure path into your sensitive dependability when they need you most, of course they are never there when you think you need them.

Some of my well-read, well-bred and professionally marked single friends have often made the said mistake only to sit back in retrospect and eventually realise that being single is being single. Expect company when someone recognises this state and does not interfere with it, or rather respond to people when they choose to be singular in finding you out. There is no need to make up a ‘lonely-hearts club’, enjoy the democracy of the universe this is the only one that you are placed in.

With a strong handicap in the form of time and understanding a real contribution to professional arenas should lead to more universal channels of self-expression. If talent and capability have not been pinned down to specified family, and allied social activity where is the need to victimise the surging life force to such imagined needs. Break loose and give of yourself to the thousands that are homeless, starved for attention and daily sustenance.
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The three Marys in the ministry of Jesus
Usha Bande

One of the aims of Jesus’ mission was to reconcile the physical family with the spiritual family without distinguishing between the male and the female, and to spread the word of God on earth. He therefore did not exclude women from his ministry.

In Jesus’ life and mission several women occupied prominent place and have played important roles. Jesus accepted them and acknowledged their help, often silencing the critics and detractors. Jesus asserted that his mission was to help the needy, the poor, the helpless, and women were not excluded from these categories. They could go freely near him, touch his hand, feet or garments and be blessed. Thus, women enjoyed freedom to be near him, along with the freedom to take up the role of his servant.

Of the many women whom Jesus benefited and who had the good fortune to play some role in his life and mission, three women (incidentally all the three were named Mary) call for special mention — Mary, his mother, Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene. While Mary, the wife of Joseph bore the Son of God, Mary of Bethany had the good fortune to anoint him and Mary Magdalene enjoyed the privilege of serving him and later witnessing his resurrection. These three women served the community in their own way; were dedicated to Jesus and were thereby blessed by him.

Jesus’ mother is the best known and the most revered woman in the Christian world; but she is probably the worst affected one, from the mundane angle. After the initial glow and glory of having conceived the Son of God, Mary realised her vulnerable condition. She, along with her husband and the infant son had to wander from place to place for 12 years, guarding their son from the evil intentions of King Herod. Soon after his baptism, he left for his mission. From the worldly angle, we can always empathise with Mary. Life was not easy for her. Jesus knew it and once he remarked, "Thou shalt cause a sword to pass through thy heart". It was they sword of separation he was referring to; the sufferings she would have to undergo at his Crucifixion.

Mary was a human being who reveals natural concerns for her son and his well-being. How she must have suffered when she learnt of his arrest and trial is not difficult to judge. Besides, she had to struggle with the difficulties of placing her spiritual allegiance to Jesus with her motherly love for him. Jesus kept a distance from his physical family. Probably, that is the reason why he often addressed his mother as ‘Woman’. By calling her ‘Woman’, Jesus was placing his kinship on the pedestal of spiritual relationship in which she would be the disciple and he the teacher. When Jesus was at the cross he saw his mother standing by and said to her "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" Jesus thus placed his mother under the protection of John and united his own family with the family of faith.

She is depicted as a spiritual mother to and in the Church. If this assessment of Mary as a symbol of "woman" in her new relationship to the community of faith is correct, then we can assuredly say that in Christ the dignity of woman is restored and her place of equality is affirmed. Especially significant is that Jesus’ mother typifies the traditional role of mother and that she is the symbol of woman in her new roles as spiritual mother and disciple.

Mary of Bethany was the sister of Lazarus and Martha. Jesus often liked to visit the family and stay with them. Martha was a good housekeeper and Jesus liked to be entertained in the "neat and orderly home where there was always a warm welcome and good fare". Martha was often engaged in what might be called "a woman’s traditional work", with cooking, entertaining the guests and looking after their comforts, while Mary was always sitting at the feet of the Lord and listening attentively to his words. Interestingly, when Martha complained to Jesus about the amount of work she had to do whereas her sister shirked the work, Jesus gently rebuked Martha, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things". Jesus knew that Martha over cared for his comforts, he appreciated it, but he understood Mary’s eager faith and her visionary attitude. Jesus often added, "But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her," Thus, while he appreciated woman’s household chores as essential to keep the family in comfort, he laid more stress on the spiritual qualities and needs. It was Mary’s good fortune to pour the expensive oil on his head and clean his feet with her hair. Jesus chided his disciples who criticised Mary’s action and revealed to them that Mary in her love for him had done a great service to him by anointing him before his burial.

Another important character is Mary Magdalene who has often been referred to by Biblical scholars as the "pioneer of the woman’s service mission." Jesus cured her of some sort of nervous disorder and in her gratefulness she dedicated her life to his service. Jesus and his followers were always moving from place to place — in towns and cities, through wilderness and on the seashore. There were followers and masses with him. Mary Magdalene and her band of women looked after their comforts, donated generously from their personal funds and also raised money for the mission. What was unique about Mary and her companions who travelled with Jesus and served them all was that Jesus acknowledged their traditional roles of offering hospitality and service to their physical family and extended it to the spiritual family, thus assigning new meaning to their service.

Mary Magdalene served Jesus when he was popular and stood by him when he was arrested. At a time when many a male disciples deserted him, it was Mary and her faithful band of women who bravely took their position near him, with hope and courage. She was the first to see the empty tomb and witness his resurrection. She became, thus, a member of his spiritual family.

Thus, the three women performed significant tasks to sustain faith and showed by their example how selfless service, humility and patience have their own higher rewards. Jesus did not distinguish between male and female disciples. He willingly accepted hospitality and service from women but he often made it clear that hearing and heeding God’s word was the "one thing necessary" in life. Not only his teachings and actions, but also the relationships he was involved in and the events surrounding his death and resurrection, led to the acceptance of women as valid witnesses and genuine disciples of Jesus.
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CAREERSMART
Career resolutions you need to make
Manjula Wadhwa

Last evening when I happened to call on Seema, my close friend, production executive in an advertising company, I found her in a dishevelled state. She was under great mental stress. Over a cup of hot coffee, she blurted out, "A colleague, three years junior to me, has been promoted, Despite my utmost efforts, my boss is never satisfied with my performance.." Are you also passing through a similar phase and feel that your career is marked by a lack of direction and general stagnation. Instead of cursing your fate or boss, would it not be a wise option to develop a positive attitude and re-evaluate your career—where it was, where it is and where it is going.

Do you want to make sure that your career is headed where you want it to go? Then you must make some resolutions to hurry up your climb to the top. Before you make any change, you need to sit back and take a long, unflinching look at your present career situation. In order to learn where you are happiest, know yourself. Take time to assess your skills, your aptitude, your likes and dislikes. Ask yourself, how many of these are getting used in your present job. Then ask yourself, if you can rearrange your priorities, responsibilities to gain more satisfaction, more efficiently.

Find quicker and more efficient solutions to the difficult tasks.

Jot down your list of priorities-either on paper or your PC. Be orderly and remove chaos from your life. Before anything else, just focus your attention to complete top-priority tasks on your schedule. Do not just pass your working hours aimlessly. Sooner or later, not only your boss will come to know, but you too will be less tense. Infuse some enthusiasm in your life and offer before being asked to do something. Just remove the barbed wire entanglement which you yourself have put in the path of your success.

Make a vow to listen more and speak less.

You will soon get the amazing result—not only you will gain more but also have an idea about how people perceive you. Never be afraid of criticism, nor be unwilling to apologies if it is justified. If it is not, calmly state your position, with no agitation reflected on your face. Another important point is to know your body clock. Some of us are morning people whereas some others do not get into gear till late afternoon. The best would be to schedule your priorities for the part of the day when you are most active, most important project with a distinct deadline is not ignored.

Couch potatoes with the personality of a dial tone are not liked by anyone in the fast-changing scenario these days. Moreover, education does not end up with job rather it continues throughout life. So be energetic and present your self new and improved’. Training in accountancy will help you manage your life and work as well attract attention of your colleagues as well as top bosses—look around, decide fast and get the advantage.

Develop the habit of reading publications, circulars, latest magazines, etc.

This will enable you to stay ahead of others and discuss intelligently the issues of general interest. Believe it, it will definitely enhance your worth. Apart from these, be supportive and open to the people you work with and nurture some good relationships.

Avoid gossiping.

Carve out an image of a person of integrity so that your seniors can repose confidence in you and entrust you the jobs which can not be entrusted to any Tom, Dick or Harry.

Encourage an atmosphere of faith around you, smile sincerely, assert firmly. Be serious and attentive in office meetings.

For achieving all the above, make a resolution to take care of yourself. Do whatever you can to rejuvenate your self, go for a movie, or a flower show, the sea-side or immerse yourself in reading a book of your taste.
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FIRST PERSON
"I’m fighting for rights of craftsmen"
Jaya Jaitley

Politics is not my cup of tea but I am determined to be in politics. I will never stop believing in politics, otherwise I will be failing in my duty towards democracy. It is difficult to believe in democracy without believing in its political system. I have never fought elections. People in Parliament are not the only persons who have the right to be in politics. There have been organisations, support systems and people who create awareness and work in a multifaceted way. They too have an equal right to be in politics. The reason that I joined politics was when I witnessed attacks on Sikhs in 1984, after Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s assassination. I felt it was a very horrifying episode in our history. It was politically motivated and an orchestrated exercised. It was a turning point for me. I joined the socialist group. Another reason for me was to become a catalyst for artisans to raise their voice within political parties because these political parties are influential and responsible for deciding policies. My politics revolves around the people who help in building up our country but are deprived of their rights. We have the habit of cursing political parties and politicians which is a bad trend.

I am fighting for craftspersons who face a problem while marketing their finished products. The crafts products from traditional sources are under a constant attack from urban, industrial and multinational products. As a result, traditional knowledge in the rural environment has gone into isolation and this worries me.

According to NCAER (National Council of Applied education and research) the number of craftspersons is approximately 48.2 lakh in the country. In the handloom sector, 65.5 lakh, including weavers who operate the loom as well as those who are involved in pre and post loom processes. Accordingly, out of the 6,00.000 inhabitants of Kolahapur city, 25,000 are shoemakers belonging to the chamar caste of tanners and leather workers. In the entire Kolhapur district, it is estimated that there are about 1,00,000 chamars.

Craftspersons in India have always remained the most deprived sections of the society. More then 94 per cent come from backward classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minorities. Amongst them are women who do not earn from it but work for it. They are always told to carry on their tradition skill and heritage. It is becoming very difficult for them to compete in the market. Besides, their skills are duplicated when inferior raw materials are made available to other so-called ‘craftspersons." Unfortunately, there are no such special programmes to promote Indian handicrafts outside the country and the government has never taken the advantage of expertise. The 250 million people from the middle class can understand and appreciate the products of their own culture and heritage. To make the local market popular, we have been organising bazaars from time to time where artisans participate from different parts of the country with their products. I founded the Dastkari Haat Samiti in 1985 and today it has about 1000 members who undertake training programmes, design workshops and show sales areas in the various Indian states. Establishing the Dilli Haat for craftspeople in New Delhi was my idea. Today the Dilli Haat can said to be a successful experiment. In the next five-year-plan year plan the government is planning to establish 20 to 30 such Haats in the country where craftspersons will informally market their produce . Moreover, craftspersons can interact with buyers to know their requirements and can also directly market their goods.

Cumbersome procedures make it difficult for the innocent artisans to get loans for the schemes. Corruption has also created hurdles for them and prevents them from taking advantage of the schemes available with the government, I feel. Artisans are the backbone of rural economy. In society’s, support system artisans and farmers are made for each other. Decision-making bodies have to realise the importance of artisans. For instance, distribution of sandal wood among local carvers, after exporting it for perfumes, has to be fair.

(As told to R.C. Ganjoo)
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