Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
By Canis Lupus A few days ago, I came across a story about the Durga Vahini’s plans to spread awareness about “love Jihad” in Himachal Pradesh. (Read) My spontaneous reaction was a laugh which started deep down in the belly. Evidently the good ladies of Durga Vahini didn't know what they were about. I think they are wasting their time. Kullu women are very (repeat) very independent. Education has brought some changes and brought them more in line with the traditional Bhartiya Nari, to be sure. However, the older generation never cared a hoot for abusive men or useless men. The traditional Hindu wedding is fairly common, but that is only part of the story. The women also took matters in their own hands if they wanted to. If they like(d) a man they moved in and went through a form of marriage which was merely a type of agreement written on a piece of paper. If the luckless fellow didn't match up to expectations, or she met a better match, she simply tore up her paper and walked out on the man. I have some doubts on the legal value of these papers, which I still think is quite dubious, but nobody was complaining – leastways not loudly enough to get heard. A village pandit with whom I discussed this system many years ago was quite indignant when I suggested that it might be wrong. He stated that the shastras recognised many forms of marriage and this type was very much recognised and termed as a gandharva vivah. I checked with another learned pandit who seconded the opinion. Though not the best form of marriage, it was indeed valid in the shastras. I don't see anyone professing any misogynist or patrician belief systems from other parts of the country scoring too well with these women. Why, I know of at least two women who stormed out of an unsatisfactory marriage after unceremoniously dumping the luckless lord and master of the house, leaving said fellow to lord it, and master it, over his vacated house. And these were both Hindus, one from Punjab and the other from some other place which I don't recall right now. There was a disadvantage of sorts with this arrangement: property disputes tended to get incredibly complicated and defying any solution. However, the Kullu women can teach the Durga Vahini women a thing or two about thinking and acting independently. The Brits used to have a District Gazetteer which they updated every few years. The Kangra District Gazetteer of 1917, (Published by the Superintendent Government Printing, Lahore, Punjab, 1918, of which i have a copy) in the part dealing with Kullu says (and i know these lines by heart by now): "The Kulu woman rules her husband and she likes to rule alone" (Page 50; this is said in context of polygamy). Somebody once told me that this may be one reason why so few Kullu boys join the army. In the lower hills of the districts of Mandi, Bilaspur and Hamirpur, for instance, it is almost a rite of passage for every boy to try and join the army after his schooling. The Dogra regiment has its firm base in these districts. It is only after the recruitment board has rejected them that they contemplate some other career option. Not most of the men in Kullu, though. They would rather stay at home and keep the Queen Bee content. It would be somewhat difficult when you are posted in, say, Port Blair or Siachen. (Despite roads and mobile towers, you still have to walk a great deal, uphill and downhill) The modern Kullu girls have, naturally enough, changed with the times. The mobile phone, education, TV, internet and easier travel (comparatively speaking) are bound to bring changes. But that doesn't mean these girls are going to give up their independence that easily. If the Vahini ladies want to preach to our girls, why, they are most welcome. All that tramping and hiking up and down our steep mountains will do their lungs and hearts a world of good. And the girls will have something new to laugh at. So everybody is happy. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this articles are the personal opinions of the author. The News Minute is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information in this article. The information, facts or opinions appearing in this article do not reflect the views of The News Minute and The News Minute does not assume any liability on the same.
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