Equality of the Sexes: Past, Present. And Future?

In response to a post by one of my fellow bloggers, I felt compelled to write a few lines about my views on the concept of ‘equality of the sexes’.

In his post, my friend has mentioned a certain politician wanting to burn down the Ramayana and the Bhagwad Gita (both are noted Hindu Scriptures) because they contain statements that ‘besmirch women’. Likewise, another Hindu scripture, the Manu Smriti has also been quoted.

The post also mentions in an excerpt, that it is also important to note the social conditions prevailing at the time when these scriptures were written down.

The post also goes on to mention other religions and their ‘detrimental’ treatment of women.

That is the background of this post.

In my view, Men and Women are created to be the ‘pooraka’s of each other – that is to say, that each is ‘completed’ by the other. Creation myths in several cultures will outline how “God” made man and woman. This post is not about those creation myths.

I agree with my friend on several points. I personally feel that burning scriptures is not the answer, and that it is very important to analyze the social conditions prevalent at the time of these scriptures being written.

A woman is always revered as the “Mother” and perhaps that is the reason for why most religions give Women a very 50-50 status: on one hand they say that women are to be given the utmost respect and on the other hand they put several limitations on the women so that they don’t ‘stray’. Men, are meanwhile, allowed several freedoms, which emerge from a different logic.

This makes me want to go back and analyze the mind set of the people who came up with these ideas – to go way back into the primitive stage of man’s development.

The whole idea of man’s existence back then was survival and procreation. Man is the only animal who does not have a specific ‘mating season’. Besides which, when primitive man existed on the planet, animals were the dominant party. Today, the tables have been turned. The simple reason behind this is that man learnt that the only way he could dominate the animals is by creating more and more of his own species.

By and by, lineage and blood lines came to have an importance in history. For several reasons, it was important to have a clear bloodline of a family. In the end, since women are the only means of acquiring children, and since there was no DNA testing back then, it was extremely important to ensure the ‘purity’ of the woman.

At no point was the woman supposed to create a doubt in her man’s mind regarding the purity of the bloodline that she generated with him. Most of the rules that exist in these scriptures are there to ensure that such doubts do not emerge.

While respecting a woman for being the “Womb”, she became the subject of several limits placed on her so that her purity and the purity of the lineage she bore, was created. In that vein, she was not to entice or lure ‘other’ men towards her, either intentionally or unintentionally. She had to be clad in dresses which hid her ‘beauty’. At the same time, she could not move about either in society or on the roads, without proper ‘protection’. Her sanctity meant the sanctity of the bloodline.

Human beings interpreted the scriptures to mean what they felt was right at the time. This is true in the case of all cultures and all religions, all over the world.

In ancient Hindu culture, this meant that girls would be married when they hit puberty, or sometimes as soon as they were born. The reasons for this could be rooted in the social conditions of the time where there was less money to care for the girl child. And then these ‘rules’ took on a monstrous form of their own.

Another interesting thing I want to mention here, in the context of other societies that I know of, is this:

In the USA (which is supposed to be the most democratic and progressive country around), at the time when the slaves were legally given their freedom, women (either black or white) still did not have the right to vote. They got that right after many years of struggle.

Now, let’s come back to the Ramayana. In the scripture, which is an epic poem, Sita’s purity became questionable at some point. Ram, being the ‘Model King’ had to take a decision as a king and not as a husband. It was therefore beside the point if Ravan had actually touched her, or if she walked through the trial by fire without being scorched. Her purity was questioned, and as a king, he had to resolve this issue. He had to set an example and ensure that such things did not become rampant in his kingdom.

It is a matter of interest to me personally, that despite being the villain in the story, and despite having kidnapped Sita, Ravan did not touch her without her consent. He was also a very high-level follower of Shiva, and was quite a powerful person by himself. Yet, he waited for her consent. He kept her prisoner in a garden, and guarded it with women soldiers. And kept waiting for her consent.

Another ancient myth I want to talk about here, is of King Arthur. With all the stuff going around in that story, there came a point where Lady Guinevere’s character was in question. And since he was the king, Arthur himself could not champion her. He could not act as her husband, but had to take a decision as a king. Of course, we all know what happened to that story.

To come back to the original question from my friend’s post, burning down a scripture will not cause the eradication of incorrect thought processes within the human mind. It is us who have created the mess, and it is us who have to solve it. Until we remove this inequality from our minds, it will never be gone.

Cut to the present scenario in urban India, where women are supposedly ‘equal’ to men: We still want the woman to cook and work without creating doubts about her ‘character’. Meanwhile, when a woman goes out with a man for dinner, she still wants him to pay the bill.

We still can’t do it, can we?

To Quote from my reply to my friend’s post:

Empowerment of women is something we all need to work on – sure! But apart from men, women need to work on it too! In my experience, most of the times, it is a woman who is responsible for another woman’s social problems. More than men, women need to remove the ‘inferiority complex’ from their minds.

Blaming men for their lot is a damn easy way out for all women.

Why don’t women do something about their own situation in the first place? Why do women put themselves in such a position? After they become capable of taking care of themselves, why don’t they actually do that?

Celtx – Screen /Script Writing Freeware


This post has taken way too long for getting posted!

Want a freeware which makes your life easy for writing scripts for film and television, and all the rest of media pre-production stuff? Look no further and visit www.celtx.com to make your script / screen writing dreams come true!

This is totally an open source freeware! * LONG LIVE THE INTERNET *

These guys have a forum and a wiki and all kinds of happening stuff as well! An amazing place for screen / script writers to get together and interact and post their scripts for others to see!


tarot-ically speaking…

It gives me much pleasure to announce the birth of my Tarot Blog at WordPress.

Go ahead and have a look! This blog will feature random thoughts on anything and everything to do about Tarot.

At present, the blog is pretty much in its infancy. I plan to improve it over time, so y’all will need to keep checking back from time to time.

The link for this blog has also been added to ‘my websites’.

Thanks in advance! 🙂

Payment for services rendered: The truth is stranger than fiction.

As a freelancer, I face the double role of being a business (wo)man along with being the creative person. And as a freelancer, I am also open and understanding about payments, fees – what have you.

There have been several occasions where I have been asked why I charge (in the first place) to why I charge so much, and so on. There have been several cases where I have adjusted my fees to suit the work.

Don’t get me wrong – I have met all kinds of people. For the most part, they have been nice and have paid me what I asked for, and on time. They also attest to the quality of the work I have done, and do not feel cheated when they have paid me an amount as my fees or charges. There have also been times where I have adjusted my charges to suit the quantitative requirements of my work, and have not felt bad about it either. And the clients have been happy, as well.

Which brings me back to the reason behind this post. I have recently encountered a rather funny client.

Yesterday, I met a young man at the helm of a film production company in the lane next to mine. After a lot of B.S. about ‘work’ and so on, he proceeded to ask me how much I had received for a recently completed audio visual script for a Company. Upon telling him my fees for that job, he went on to tell me that I had been overpaid. “Is that so?” I wanted to retort back. But then I told him that I felt rather under paid for the job, but since it was my first assignment, I had taken it on anyways. Then he proceeds to tell me how he wants to make a 20 minute film to show in film festivals and he wants writers like me to come up with scripts for the film. OK. No Problemo. But when the time came to discuss payment, he began to give me some more B.S. on team ethics and giving ‘freshers like me’ a break and so on and so forth. In short, he wanted to get the script done for free.

First he undermines me by telling me I am being paid more than what I might be worth and then he asks me to do work for him for free. Nice tactic young man! I told him that when I have a script that I couldn’t care about, I would send it his way, and took his leave.

The funny part about the meeting was that the whole time that he was talking, kept looking into his laptop screen, as if he was reading out from a script or something! Wassup Dodo! Can’t remember your lines, huh!

I have often wondered why people think that when someone, be it a freelancer or be it an established company, quotes a fee for services, the other side feels the need to negotiate. Perhaps that is the norm. Negotiation is part of the deal, I suppose. It’s crazy to imagine a capitalist market economy functioning efficiently if there is no price equilibrium between supply and demand. But what about quality? There is probably a good reason why a picture painted by Picasso fetches the prices it does, even if the painting looks funny to a lay person like me. How can one set a price on art and creativity? Yet, economics and market forces help out in saving the day. I might very well point out here, that most famous painters died penniless, and their art fetched value many years after their death.

Money is a medium of exchange and a mode of value – we learnt in Economics. These are the basics. I fix a rate or a charge or a fee, based on the time, the effort, the quality of work and the brain space it will need. When clients begin to haggle, I feel as if I am bargaining for a T-Shirt on Fashion Street. But I am not selling T-Shirts am I?

The truth is stranger than fiction, and there is a damn good reason why I charge what I do. Deal with it. Else go somewhere else to someone else who is desperate enough to do an assignment for less, and give you absolute (de)value for money (this means cheap quality work).

Movie Review Including the Glaring Mistakes in ‘Water’

Just came back from the movie theatre after watching Water, the movie by Deepa Mehta. This movie was banned from being shot in Varanasi, India and was finally shot in Sri Lanka. Hence my interest. Also, the fact that this movie completes Deepa Mehta’s trilogy which included the movies Fire and Earth. I had quite liked both the movies. Probably, that is why I was keen on watching this movie too.

This movie is supposed to be a portrayal of the situation of the widows in pre-independence India. If that is why this movie was banned and all that, then I think that the whole issue was wasted. The movie doesn’t really portray that much. There are better movies than this which show the plight of the widows in India. So if that is the only reason why someone would want to watch the movie, then please don’t waste your time.

Then we come to the glaring mistakes I found. First off, the Swastika symbols depicted throughout the movie were wrong. They were the other way round, quite like Hitler’s Swastika. That is not how a Swastika is drawn. Every Indian / Hindu person knows this since childhood.

Here are a few pics of the correct and the incorrect Swastika symbols:

Correct / Auspicious Swastika:

Incorrect / Inauspicious ‘Sauwastika’:

You can find more information about the Swastika here.

The second big mistake I found was Gandhiji’s age depicted in the one scene that he makes an appearance. In the movie, it is shown the Gandhiji is the newest politician-reformer on the scene and that he has just arrived from South Africa. Well, as far as my knowledge of history goes, he was not a tottering old man like he was shown in the movie. In fact, he ought to have been quite younger than what was shown.

Now let’s talk about the characters. Lisa Ray plays one of the widows who is used by the ashram to earn money via prostitution. Well, when John Abraham’s character wants to marry her and she discovers that his father is one of her clients, and that if she goes back to the widow ashram she will be put back into business, she commits suicide. That, in my definition, makes her quite a cardboard character. After all, she was quite enthusiastic to marry the bugger even though it was not ‘right’ for widows to want to remarry. All that love, and no courage. Especially no faith in the one she loved, who in fact shows up and wants to marry her despite all the hurdles.

And the less said about John Abraham’s and Lisa Ray’s acting, the better. At least, Lisa shows some potential. Given a few more good roles, she might just bloom into a good actress.

Seema Biswas has proved her mettle yet again! She is the only good thing in the movie. And the little one, Chuhiya played by Sarala is endearing and charming till the end.

Kulbhushan Kharbanda’s character surprised me no end! He plays a sadhu of sorts who talks about Dharma or religious laws with Seema Biswas’s character. With all the stuff going around, I actually expected him to want to exploit this woman. He didn’t and that surprised me!

The movie drags on and on and there seems to be no plot besides the failed love story. The cinematography and the locations are quite breathtaking as well.

I suppose with the bad, comes some good! So I will give this movie two and half out of five. That’s fair by my reckoning.