HER WORLD Sunday, February 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India

Achieving wives make husbands ill
Taru Bahl
orking women, who enjoy their jobs and soak in all the add-ons that go with it — chauffeur-driven cars, lavish expense accounts, fancy outstation travel and exciting social interaction could be responsible for their husbands’ failing health! We have heard of hubbies getting insecure with their wives super success a la’ Amitabh Bachchan in Abhimaan.

Politics as inheritance
Teena Singh 

  • Prineet Kaur

  • Satwant Kaur Sandhu

  • Gur Kanwal Kaur

Caught in a whirlpool of stress
he article, “Marriages caught in a whirlpool of stress”, by Vimla Patil (January 13) was interesting. It seems that the entire blame regarding broken marriages has been shifted to men, because in the opinion of the writer, it is the husband and his family members who are the root cause of this dilemma. This is true to a certain extent but not wholly true. 

  • Emotional intimacy

  • Carrying on a social crusade

TV plays the taming game
Alka Sharma
ne may be pardoned for this unseemly outburst but there can be no excusing the regular, televised subverting of women’s dignity, whenever there is the occasion for it. I don’t wear an old hat. No, I have nothing against those commercials that allow a woman’s skin, at least, to breath easy.




Achieving wives make husbands ill
Taru Bahl

Working women, who enjoy their jobs and soak in all the add-ons that go with it — chauffeur-driven cars, lavish expense accounts, fancy outstation travel and exciting social interaction could be responsible for their husbands’ failing health! We have heard of hubbies getting insecure with their wives super success a la’ Amitabh Bachchan in Abhimaan. We have also seen marriages breaking up as husbands justify their neglected and unloved status by getting into extra-marital relationships in an attempt to nurse bruised egos. To actually fall sick with complex physical ailments just because your wife’s job is keeping her busy, is something of a shocker.

A study by University of Chicago sociologist Ross Stolzenberg, published in the American Journal of Sociology points out that husbands of women who worked more than 40 hours a week showed poorer health indicators as compared to men whose wives were housewives or whose wives were in less threatening jobs like teaching or home working. The study had another interesting revelation. If you swap places and put the wives in the non-work mode as opposed to having husbands who clock-in long working hours, they showed relatively more robust health! So are we to conclude that women are better off when hubbies are at work than are men whose wives are at work?

Bharti, a Delhi-based marital counsellor, says that mid-30s onwards women come into their own. Children have reached that stage where they no longer need mollycoddling and spoon-feeding. They are relatively freer to pursue their own interests. They are also clearer about what exactly they wish to do. So when they step out of the house to seek a vocation for themselves and to put their own talents to good use, they are mentally and physically prepared to put their best foot forward. They by then also know how to "handle their husbands". The men, on the other hand, are not too happy with the change.

They have been used to having their wives around as handy errand boys, always there at their beck and call and eager to please them. Seeing their wives new-found independence is not something which even the most liberated man of the world feels really proud of. He may be supportive but to whole-heartedly embrace the upsetting of his own apple-cart does not come too naturally to him. Also, while women more often than not will find something to keep themselves busy when their husbands are not around, turning their dull hours into a constructive learning experience, men don’t echo the same sentiment. They sulk, throw tantrums, give subtle hints about other housewives who run the home more efficiently and lovingly and begin to get more demanding. When their efforts bear no fruit and wifey dear is still as persistent about following her career path, making the most of the opportunities that come with the package, their ‘state of neglect’ actually turns into a health problem.

If the study is any indication, workaholic wives will unfortunately have to accept most of the blame and responsibility for the definite health hazards which their husbands face. Other than psychological reasons like a successful wife posing a threat to the husband’s social status or even to his masculinity were the typical housewifely kind of physical reasons. Women the world over are expected to look after the home and hearth. They are supposed to cook, clean up, change the babies’ diapers and monitor their husbands’ diet.

The nagging wives syndrome is a pointer to a typical wife’s concern for her husband. She checks, reprimands, nags and denies her husband his extra drink, cigarette or any other over indulgence. A busy working woman who not only has limited time but also very clear ideas about her not "wasting too much time doing non-productive things around the house" is putting the health of her spouse directly in the line of fire. Men traditionally need to be reminded to have their medicines, their medical check-ups, follow up to the doctors, to control the sugar in their diet and to exercise. With the wives too busy and casual about playing this role, the natural outcome has been to have over achiever working wives all right but at the cost of having sick and ailing husbands. The study brings out only two solutions. One is that the husbands learn to fend for themselves. Maybe even use the extra time they now have to add value to their professional and domestic skills. Women have for long used that waiting-time to learn baking, embroidery, painting and knitting. alternately they learn to take responsibility for their own health. either which way, they have to finally grow up and stop expecting the wife to mother them!



Politics as inheritance
Teena Singh 

Prineet Kaur

“What makes you look such a plain Jane in the newspapers?,” I ask Prineet Kaur. “I think they must be photographs of mine taken at the end of a exhausting day or may be I am not photogenic”. It is difficult to believe that she is 57. Member of Parliament, Prineet Kaur, of the Patiala royal family says: “I was born when my father Sardar Gian Singh Kahlon was posted in Malda, West Bengal and Prineet was a Bengali name given to me.” Her father, an ICS, is an intellectual and her mother Satinder Kaur has always been loved and admired by many. “In fact the favourite part of my growing up has been the time spent with my nana-nani. They are the single largest and most important influence in shaping me into what I am.” Dressed in a beautiful green silk crepe suit with two emerald and diamonds rings and matching ear-rings, a gold kara with a green edging, the maharani sits sipping light tea. How is it being called Maharani Sahiba in the 21st century and does a huge palace feel like a home? “I got into it in stages. From Oakland in Simla to various army set-ups during my husband’s postings and finally to the New Moti Bagh Palace. Even to be called a yuvrani to begin with, took a while getting used to. I had grown up to a three bedroom place feeling like home”. The girl from Simla passed out of Chelsea after her schooling and graduated from St. Bede’s in 1964. The same year she got married to Amarinder Singh, present Maharaja Patiala and the Punjab Congress Chief. The aura of the Patiala royalty used to make intellectuals and their wards vary of forming relationships. How did she agree to marry into the family? “My father happened to know my mother-in-law and father-in-law Maharaja Yadavindra Singh. They were the most wonderful of all human beings, thus he felt comfortable giving away his daughter to the Patiala royalty. For me it made very little difference. I wasn’t interested in anyone particular and thus in a completely arranged scenario it was okay”.

As a young bride she accompanied her mother-in-law to various social work meetings, particularly to the Red Cross. Prineet soon rose to head the committee. Her total involvement in the club’s activities involved visiting slums and she did not hesitate to reach out to the ill and the unfortunate. Her work got her applause at the state as well as national levels. Punjab Government and the President’s awards were a recognition of her work. “The popularity and respect of Patiala royalty, even today, years after the Raj, has been earned by us. It is the family’s undeterred commitment towards the people of the region that brings such adulation, such awe!

My husband is, in fact, simple, kind and helpful to a fault. That is perhaps the strength of his popularity”, she says, adding: “My joining politics became circumstantial and now we are wholly self-sufficient in our constituency. Otherwise, I did not even want him to join any politicking”. It was a matter of pride for all Sikhs when he dared and showed his complete resentment of party Chief Indira Gandhi’s nod to Operation Bluestar. “He had told Indiraji, that this was an act of terror on all that constituted his very being. Thus he resigned even though it was a step manifold backwards for his political career in the Congress”.

Prineet philosophises about her husband’s falling in love one more time. “He just slipped during the lows in life. He never wanted a divorce. It was an extremely excruciating six-odd months for me and our children, Jaya and Raninder. But today we are back as a close-knit family that we always were. It is a closed chapter. Part of an unfortunate destiny. He never ever talks about it. Luckily, all is in the past”.

Satwant Kaur Sandhu

Satwant Kaur Sandhu, the Minister for Printing and Stationery, Youth Services, removal of grievances and pension in the Akali Government is better known as the widow of a stalwart political leader and MLA, Ajaib Singh Sandhu from the Morinda constituency. “Since my father was in a transferable job I was brought up by my maternal grandfather, Sardar Kaka Singh. This was to facilitate a certain minimum education and training to help attain financial self-reliance”. Born in 1940, near Lalru, she finished her matric from Bilaspur near Jagadhari and went on to get training in arts and craft from Patiala. She started teaching art and craft on November 4, 1961, in Bilaspur. After that, she taught in Kharar and in the Government School Sector 21, Chandigarh. Her grandfather Kaka Singh’s association with Sardar Ishar Singh during the Jaiton Morcha culminated in her marriage to Ishar Singh’s grandson Sardar Ajaib Singh who was already an MLA and her senior by a dozen odd years. “Sardarji was the Deputy Leader of Opposition under Badal, during Giani Zail Singh’s Government. He died of a sudden heart attack on November 6, 1974. His was the first death to be mourned at the state level, irrespective of and above all political preferences”. Though, courted by all political parties for the byelections, Bibi Satwant Kaur, got pushed into politics at her father-in-law’s insistence and she remained a part of Akali Dal in order to carry on her late husband’s legacy. She won from Morinda the following year by a margin of 329 votes. She later shifted her constituency to the reserved seat at Chamkaur Sahib and has always been returned a winner.

Only once did she step aside in favour of Bimal Khalsa, widow of Beant Singh who had been convicted for Indira Gandhi’s assassination. “My party convinced me of the greater sacrifice of Bimal, which needed to be recognised”.

Bibiji Satwant Kaur comes across as an extremely homely and simple grandmother-like figure. She is candid in her appreciation of manners and the good language used by most men in other parties. “The men in the Akali Dal, barring a few, use very abusive language to express themselves. Once, when they were checked because of my presence my esteemed senior Talwandiji observed that I was by now one of the men”, she laughs. Her political inheritance is being looked after by her son Harjinder Singh Lally, an engineer by profession.

Her younger son Harmohan Singh, a lawyer, now a DSP at Ludhiana fought a legal battle to get into Punjab Police. A conciliatory approach is her mool mantra.

Gur Kanwal Kaur

Whenever she reads headlines such as: ‘Militancy now irrelevant, fear no longer stalks Zaffarwal,’ Gur Kanwal Kaur smiles and remembers with love the one man who made this possible, her father, former Chief Minister Beant Singh, “So that his name, his conviction, his achievements remain alive and palpable, I decided to join politics. He was always a part of the political arena, but somehow only after his death I realised the quantum of his heritage and felt the need to fulfil the responsibility of carrying it forward”. Born on December 10, 1948 Gur Kanwal, fondly referred to as only Kanwal, is the baby of the family.

A graduate from GCW, Ludhiana , she did her Masters in philosophy and later in history as well. While doing her postgraduation, the mutual attraction between her and young Captain Raminder Singh, hockey player in the Services team led to marriage.

Her husband retired as a colonel from the Army and has been Director Sports, Punjab , for the last few years. She led the life of an Army officer’s wife and has been a devoted mother to her son, Aman and daughter, Jeena.

She was practical enough to send her son to Australia for his Masters in Business Administration in order to keep him focused on his studies and help him remain detached from the spoils of grandfather’s political position.

Gur Kanwal had been the President of Punjab Mahila Congress for the last five years and feels very strongly for the cause of women. “Just today I assured women in ward 32 of my constituency in Jalandhar Cantt of my earnest and foremost endeavour to better their lot by fighting for their rights and helping them in financial independence. No nation can grow without the education, the earning power, the status of equality for woman”.

Fully supported by her family, Gur Kanwal is hoping to carve out a political career, which shall make a difference. 
Her father’s assassination has left no dark clouds on her psyche. For the one thing she learnt from ‘Papaji’ was :“Do your duty to your very best, leave the rest to God. Birth and death are in his hands. Fear none and be afraid of nothing”. Gur Kanwal is fond of singing, her favourite being Mehdi Hassan and the heart-tugging Batalvi ghazals.



Caught in a whirlpool of stress

The article, “Marriages caught in a whirlpool of stress”, by Vimla Patil (January 13) was interesting. It seems that the entire blame regarding broken marriages has been shifted to men, because in the opinion of the writer, it is the husband and his family members who are the root cause of this dilemma. This is true to a certain extent but not wholly true. If we go a little deeper into the study of this menace and take a more holistic view, we will find that nowadays the female and her family members have become all that more responsible for the failures of marriage.

The reasons which were overlooked in this article, which play a critical role are firstly the IPC 406 and, more recently, 498-A. Our judiciary has played a pivotal role in enhancing the failures of a marriage. Though 498-A was introduced to give more protection to women in case of domestic problems, it is being misused to such an extent that the girl and her parents are ready to use it at the drop of a hat and by doing so ruin the chances of reconciliation among the involved families. No one bothers about the trauma and ordeal of the boy and his family which they have to undergo at the hands of the police first and then in the court of law, with no one listening to even giving them a chance to prove their innocence.

Secondly, today’s girls have adopted pizza culture which they think saves their time which is spent in doing household works which in turn mars their outing, social-get together, kitty parties etc.

Thirdly, joint families are as much shirking as living spaces and we are moving towards nuclear families the reason being that the girl finds it all that more difficult to adjust to the values and culture of the family of the boy, citing all the more peculiar and unusual reasons for the divide.

Last but not the least, is our age old culture in which we have developed branding the mother-in-law of the girl to be the real culprit behind the failed marriages that is why perhaps we today like the soap operas like Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, movies like Sau Din Saas Ke, Ek Din Bahu Ka which always depict the evil side of mother-in-laws of the girls. I wonder is it only the mother-in-law of the girl who is always negative or is it not possible that sometimes the family of the girl can be a spoilsport, playing the negative role by just having blind faith in their daughters, and encouraging her, and cajoling her for all the wrong reasons. Has anyone bothered to make a serial like Bahu Bhi Kabhi Saas Hogi.

In the end, I just want to say that marriage is unison of two souls and hearts. It is such a beautiful relationship, so as to be broken by any issues or misunderstandings. We should always try to solve these issues amicably by keeping our egos on one side, rather than blaming each other.

We shall try to make the world both male and female- oriented, rather than making it male or female dominated.

Gaurav Bhatia, Rupnagar


Marriage is the great dream of every woman and she feels it is a dream that can absolutely change her life. As society is changing towards becoming a hi-tech society, marriage is becoming a terrible dream for many women.

The writer has beautifully summed up reasons that are responsible for the failure of marriages. Inside the four walls of the home women will not get the healthy environment to develop their talents.

This leads to frustration and emotional problems. To forge a good relationship men have to know the importance of woman and to respect her feelings, emotions be sensitive to her problems.

We have to nurture real love for our life companions. Where real love exists, there will be no ego problems. Real love means sacrifice, not only by women but also by men.

Jagdev Kodpha, Lahaul Spiti.


In a joint-family —rural or urban —a woman, even the one he is working, has to perform multifarious household chores. The range of her functions is from being a cook in the kitchen to a principal in a school or a college. Her life is a tale full of stresses and strains of home and office. So much so that during the time of her leisure and pleasure, she has to carry the ‘home’ wherever she goes. I think the reservation of seats in various constitutional bodies will not cut much ice and make a difference. She will have to stand up (without hoping for a standing ovation;) and assert her rights at home as well as in her office. The male-dominated society cannot be subdued to behave well unless she stands up against the injustice done to the women in the society and launches an effective move against it. Merely celebrating a year as Women’s Empowerment Year will not do unless something tangible is done. Husbands ought to share the burden of family life proportionately —the wives alone cannot hold up the sky.

Iqbal Singh, Hamirpur.


Man’s chauvinism or egoism has been the villain of the piece. Man’s paranoia is behind his frying to intimidate women. Women are no longer meek followers and they can themselves assert vehemently. That is the most perceptible cause of marriages being in a whirlpool of stress.

In the modern age, women do not only bring up their children but they earn handsomely and work. They are bound to hand our this earnings either to their husbands or spend on the up-bringing of their children or the family. They do not enjoy equality with their partners and this also causes the marriages to go to ruin. The fact is that women are more than equal to men and who can create an orchestra of many a quality, are subjected to a number of weaknesses, or to socio-political servitude. This causes marital stress — the bane of modern India. Thus men, not women, should be termed as iconoclasts or the breakers of family ties.

Hans Raj Jain, Moga


Nowadays, television etc. are a strong medium of information and they try to educate people (men and women) by telling them to exercise their rights (which are in plenty) but not their duties (which as per them is the job of the other sex). Also, while mentioning rights, they want the right to the freedom of the jungle where there is no law to be obeyed. But alongside, people also want the security of small towns coupled with the luxury of big cities. Add to this the rights of western culture and security of our country’s family structure annd you will find a couple who is totally confused and is constantly finding fault with each other.

Another major reason for marital strife is the constant interference of a third person who instigates either the husband or the wife and misuses the immense trust reposed in him/ her.

Rajesh Singh, e-mail

Emotional intimacy

This refers to “Lack of emotional intimacy” by Rajshree Sharda” (January 6,) The lack of emotional intimacy primarily arises because of no awareness about emotional intelligence or feigning the existence of emotional intelligence. This is couched in the traditionally perceived notions of masculinity, where being emotional is still considered a feminine trait.

Men have this notion that they are emotionally challenged because emotions are a woman’s prerogative. However, in the din of machismo the fact that is forgotten is that intelligence does not mean hurtling one’s ideas down the other’s throat. Intelligence is the ability to understand the needs of the partners, desires, longings etc., which is generally considered a trivial contrite and is the root cause of emanation of various tensions in life.

The presence of emotional intimacy facilitates fostering of integrity, effective communication and trust-building behaviour, three basic edifices that govern and conduct a relationship. Emotional intimacy is sought to be cultivated through materialism, though both are inversely proportional to one another. For a healthy society, a mutually satisfying relationship is the need of the hour. This deep bond can only develop if emotional intimacy is inculcated. Fifty per cent of health-related problems would just vanish, if emotional intimacy is established.

Nalin K. Rai, New Shimla.


Conjugal relations, or for that matter even other relationships, are sustained by emotional intimacy. Without the emotional touch, life becomes barren and human beings seem to be working like machines. “There must be privacy but not secrecy,” wrote Nehru to the young Indira in an exclusive letter.

Karnail Singh, Ranjit Sagar Dam

Carrying on a social crusade

This is with reference to the article by Teena Singh “Carrying on the social crusade” (January 6).

I was appalled to read the problems faced by Ritika Khanna, wife of Vineet Khanna. The Youth Technical Training Service (YTTS) founded by Vineet stands desolate today, thanks to the casual approach of the government and social agencies. I still recall the obituary article penned by a leading Rotarian of the region, Rtn. Saboo titled ‘Courage thy name was Vineet” published in The Tribune soon after the demise of Vineet.

The sorry state of affairs at YTTS and the problems faced by Ritika are a sad reflection on the attitude of the elite and intellectuals residing in Chandigarh. It is high time for the right-thinking people to come forward and save the institute from a silent burial.

Manan Gupta, Kapurthala


Ritika is a courageous girl who has the passion to make her husband’s dream come true. Her striving and struggle will definitely be rewarded one day and she will be successful, provided of course she does not give up hope. Even the Bible says “Blessed are those who suffer”

Santosh Sabharwal, Hoshiarpur.



TV plays the taming game
Alka Sharma

One may be pardoned for this unseemly outburst but there can be no excusing the regular, televised subverting of women’s dignity, whenever there is the occasion for it.

I don’t wear an old hat. No, I have nothing against those commercials that allow a woman’s skin, at least, to breath easy. So what if they “commercialise” her? They only credit her with some marginal utility that men may weigh against their need... Besides, all that talk of commercialising the fair sex really is old hat, you know. It does not sound clever beyond high school declamation contests. What makes me bristle, then, is the unrestrained, malignant but soap-slick propagation of the myth that a bindi a day makes a woman pray (for her husband). “A rupee, a rupee,” cheap by any reckoning!

And cheaper still, if you consider the number of times an adhesive bindi can flit from the forehead to the wall mirror and back. Men, surely, couldn’t have had it better. They are—at least, their mothers are—lapping up the bonanza, hour upon hour, day upon cable-tied day.

It is, veritably, the flavour of television. Bartering her pride for a bindi and betting on a mangalsutra not have been in their stars but certainly is on Star Plus. For which reason alone I would give the channel a minus score; may be, a perfectly chilling absolute zero-minus 273.15 degrees. But I fear my effort would only make these programmes super conductors and take away all popular resistance to them! Over the months, I have continued enduring the fall of soap bahus and the consequent hurrahs of my dear ma-law. But no more.

One never had a choice with Parvati bhabhi’s playing the boringly perfect home-maker in Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki. She came that way but taming even those with a dash of impishness and mischief is inexcusable. It seems no stars can shine in the lives of these assembly line bahus

Men are given all the reasons for their boasts. The manner in which Tulsi and Mandira continued bruising their hearts over Mihir in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. I am not sure if a soap femme caught between three men would have maintained Mihir’s Ramchandra halo.

There can be only one explanation for TV bahus fitting into a mould: their being mere bindi-toting, onion-peeling, moisturiser-soap-dolls, wedded to soap cakes, with a life measurable in episodes.

Rather than let them assail me subliminally, I turn to the Liril's girl under the waterfall. After all, she has lasted infinitely longer than any soap bar would!