It is the Weak Person’s Fault

There is a new TV serial on air, which goes by the name of ‘Sujata’. Unlike the myriad idiotic saas-bahu serials, it explores issues relating to the everyday life of the average middle class Indian wife and mother. Free of scheming bahus with nothing but time on their hands and destruction on their vain minds, it explores the plight of a middle aged mother of two.  Sujata, struggles with daily stresses of a disrespecting husband, disobeying children and everyday rejections and disappointments caused by them.

Her husband does not heed her, and considers her quite unimportant. Her children don’t respect her, and don’t want her to be a part of their lives anymore. Her only companions, whom she confides in, are her two friends, and ‘Ganga Mausi’, the care taker of the house. They feel bad for the mental agonies that she goes through everyday, and duly hate the people responsible for it. They console her when she is feeling low, and try to make up for the loss of love, respect and care in her life.

All this is very sad, indeed.  In one scene, Sujata’s husband tells her to fetch his shoes and tie his laces for him. Now that is something very despicable. After all, what sort of a man tells a woman to put on his shoes on his feet? Now the lady is in the process of getting her husband’s revered feet ready for office and suddenly in comes her best friend, who sees the state Sujata is in, and is incensed. Seeing this, the husband, who does not wish to be seen in a bad light, quickly changes party, putting on a honeyed voice and telling his wife not to spoil him so, that he can do that himself and she should go and attend to her friend. All this to show to the outsider that he is not an insensitive husband, which is quite contrary to the truth, and to make it clear that she is the one taking all these pains to make him comfortable. That is bad I say! Inside the house, he makes his wife slog and work like a mule to suit his every need and whim, whereas in front of outsiders he puts on a mask of love and care. After reading this, anyone sensitive enough to feel bad for a fish without water will feel bad for this woman.

Some will even relate to it, being reminded of the agony their mothers or sisters go through. But not many will feel this situation to be partly the woman’s fault too. If the she raised her voice against such injustice, wouldn’t her kin sit up and take notice of her plight, and behave in a better manner henceforth? In this scene for instance, shouldn’t she have told her husband, right in front of the friend that it wasn’t him who had ordered her to buckle up his shoes, rather than the other way round? He would have undergone considerable shame, even shown anger toward her later on, but would have learnt a lesson for future reference.

My point is, if the weak never raise their voice, how can they expect to be treated fairly? In another scene for instance, she is talking to Ganga Mausi about some mistake her husband made and him apologizing to her for it. Ganga Mausi feels it to be right, that the apology is the norm for a mistake. But our dear lady feels the other way. She does not want her husband’s head bowed in front of anyone, be it even herself. The mausi protests, but the wife defends her husband, even if the husband is an arrogant ‘I’m-too-good-for-my-wife’ jerk. This scene clearly shows that the woman herself is largely responsible for her husband’s arrogant behavior.

This story is not just the story of one Sujata in one TV program. It is the story of scores of Indian women, who take mistreatment lying down. They don’t raise their voices, and never do anything to uplift their status. And when they’re hurt by the cruelties, they feel sad and spend their lives longing for a better life. If you want to change the way you are being treated, you have to get down to business and change people’s opinions about you. The going can be tough sometimes, and can even hurt. But it’s all going to be worth it in the end. As they say, without a good deal of crying and stomping, even a baby does not get his meal.

Shalini Rajvanshi

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