“Renubala would rise at 4am, prepare a hookah for her shashuri (the Bengali equivalent ofsaas), then fetch water and clean the house. “I worshipped her as a goddess,” she recalls. “After she had taken her bath, I would wash her clothes, massage her head and body, tie her hair. Whenever she came in sight I would bend and touch her feet to show respect.” Utter submission brought benefits, she remembers: order in the family; stern guidance.
Since divorce was taboo in much of India until the past couple of decades, and paid female employment was rare, women such as her had few alternatives when stuck inside an unhappy family. Grumbling to your own parents was frowned on, especially if they had paid to be rid of you.”
This is an excerpt from a brilliant article from The Economist, called Curse of the Mummyji that uses our famous (infamous?) mother-in-law/daughter-in-law TV serials to provide you with facts on the status of women, society, the housing industry and Indian men. It makes for a brilliant read and I recommend it highly.
Here is more to whet your appetite
The bahu strikes back
” Sons rarely grumble—why would they? Anyway, a rigid family structure fixes roles for men too. When the women clash, tradition makes clear where male loyalty lies, says Mrs Nigam: “It would be very, very disrespectful to take the wife’s side against the mother.” Mrs Venugopal relates the tale of a man caught between his Austrian wife and Indian mother. The women live on the same street, so he sleeps at his wife’s flat, “but has to walk back to his mother’s house to brush his teeth in the morning”.”
Posted on January 17, 2014, in bad marriage, control, Culture, Divorce, oppressive customs and tagged Arranged marriage, assumptions, India, mother in law, stoicism. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.