Grade Crossing

Why not a #SelfieWithWife?

Can a man take a #SelfieWithDaughter without thinking about his wife, who was home to a little foetus once?

 |  Grade Crossing  |  3-minute read |   01-07-2015
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all for the protection of the girl child. He has delineated several programmes and slogans that are targeted to storm the conventional thoughts and beliefs in most Indian families that a boy is a boon and a girl is a curse. It is great to see initiatives such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and #SelfieWithDaughter coming from him.

In India, the notion of family is considered hallowed, and it is no different in a joint or a nuclear living setup. Sadly, it is not just the men in the society that consider the girl child a hoodoo, even some women too think that way. More than anything, it is the lack of the primary adhesives - love, respect, and understanding - that enfeeble the relationships in a home.

A man’s love and solicitude for the opposite gender should begin from the basics, from his mother and sisters, to his wife and children. A girl child will only prosper in a family where the man and the woman respect and care for each other. It is not just the daughters who need protection in our society. We need to extend the same degree of love, care, and protection to a two-year old, a 20-year old, and a 90-year old. You might be able to take a #SelfieWithDaughter when she is 40 years old, but may not be physically fit to protect her. There should be others, like her husband and children to do that, more so in our current social situation.

Is there a scope for that in Modi’s life? Modi is not a devoted family man and he can only imagine what it is like having a girl child. As he declared last year, he has a wife whom he never cared for. Modi married at a young age, but he is not the only one who got married at that age. Gandhi did, among others. Even at a mature age, Modi didn’t want to continue the relationship or separate from his wife legally. It confounds me how someone who deserted his wife, can care for a girl child. If he had fathered a girl child, what would he tell her about her mother? That he always wanted her to fare well or he always wanted to bid farewell to her?

I know Modi follows Hinduism. Even Hinduism asks one to follow four ashrams in life - from Brahmacharya to Grihastha to Vanaprastha and to Sanyasa. When Modi decided to skip Grihastha after getting married, did he even think who is going to offer protection to his wife? He mindlessly ran away from her for his political career as if he were committing truancy. His political career shouldn’t have taken off at the expense of a woman and her life. He has lived all his life as if he never got married. Even without the debatable “Na stri swatantryamarhati” line, Manusmrti also entrusts the duty to safeguard a woman in her father, husband, and children. It is evident from Modi’s own declaration that conscience tells him he married a girl once, and I hope common sense will now tell him that it was not right to abandon her.

Can a man take a #SelfieWithDaughter without thinking about his wife, who was home to a little foetus once? Promotional catchwords aside, will Modi care for the safety and comfort of all women, not just daughters? If he will, he should start a campaign by encouraging fellow Indians to post a #SelfieWithWife and post the first one himself.


Sreejith Panickar Sreejith Panickar @panickars

The writer is a columnist, researcher and social activist. He is the founder-member of Mission Netaji.

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