Monday, June 27, 2016

Father's day -a daughter's gratitude

I saw a thought-provoking post  on Facebook on father's day of 2016. This lady thanked her dad saying,
"My mom taught me to be a lady.
My dad taught me to take shit from no-one.
Daddy won".

This is such a fantastic message...especially from a female brought up in the east! Growing up in India of the 60s, and 70s  (even today, things have not changed much), girls were told repeatedly by their 'elders' such as parents, grand-parents, uncles and aunts and even teachers and society in general that girls and women ought to 'obey'; girls and women have to 'tolerate', be 'quiet and put up with whatever is said or done by others especially 'elders', 'parents', 'husbands', 'in-laws' , women have to 'be HUMBLE' and so on. Even the movies and TV serials extolled the women who silently put up with verbal and physical abuse of their 'step-mothers' or 'husbands' and 'in-laws' such as mother in law, sister in law, brother in law, etc. without protest!

There were also messages from society stating either clearly or in a subtle unspoken manner that  a person  from a lower caste,  should meekly submit to whatever 'shitty treatment' he is subjected to by people of higher castes without  protest! Meek submission was the 'praiseworthy' normal behaviour expected in women, children, lower castes and so on in India.

Even today, a female or a lower caste person(especially in villages) standing up for their rights is labelled as  a 'problem behaviour'!

I really admire this dad who brought up his daughter teaching her not to take shit from anyone! We need more such dads in India!

My own family unfortunately always told the females that they should be 'humble', 'tolerant', 'not give back-answers',   'not show off', and so on. My grandmother would repeatedly tell me the stories of women in mythology who were ill-treated by their husbands or in -laws but they put up with it without protest and that these women they are the  'saintly' role models to be emulated by ME!

To fight these beliefs and change is such a challenging task for me and other women who grew up with these messages  drilled into our heads since childhood.  Even to this day, I hesitate to stand up for myself especially if I am having a difference of opinion with an elderly person. I often give in, 'out of respect'. I expect others to do the same and arguments ensue again as the current generation have been brought up with different values.  I have to make a conscious effort to remember that standing up for myself and not taking shit from others is my fundamental right...If I don't make this effort, I forget and the old values instilled in my childhood take over!

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