Today is Mother’s Day. But why only today, isn’t everyday some mother’s day, if not every mother’s day? Everyday someone (or ‘somemany’) becomes a mother and the ones already mothers, continue to be one. So why celebrate only today? Well without going too much into it, this is the day the Greeting Cards and Gift shop companies, besides the childcare product manufacturers and many others formed a cartel to fleece all children! Now, now let’s not be such a cynic! What are a few thousand rupees for the woman who gave you more than her life, besides the blood sweat and copious tears for you? Apologies to the entire mother-dom!!
World over people celebrate this one day and make it a point to call their mothers or send them flowers and chocolates, if not some token gift. We do have Father’s day too, but the heavy emotion is missing in that. Have you wondered why? Do fathers contribute any less in the child’s well-being? Before some women hurls a stiletto at me let me clarify that this is not a mothers vs. father’s debate! It was one innocent question which came to my child-like mind. Mommy!!
|Nargis in Mother India|
Our culture is extremely sympathetic towards mothers and is considered to be an act of sacrilege if one faults a mother. That is exactly how we still remember the depiction of yesteryear actress Nargis in Mother India, one who toils, strives and sacrifices, all for the sake of her children. We remember the stoic Nirupa Roy and the homelySulochana of the celluloid world. That image might have undergone a sea change now, but the imagery is nothing short of legendary.
The situation was no different in our Mythology too. Mothers in our mythology too were the sacrificing sufferers who lived first for their husbands and then for their children and nothing beyond. Except for an occasional brush with fame, their roles were always tragic. Kunti from the epic Mahabaharata is one such mother who epitomizes this image. First she was given a boon of having children whenever she wanted, which itself was out of place. Why would someone give such a boon to an unmarried underage girl? Even if we allow it to pass for poetic justice, she gets married to a person who could not procreate. She ‘gives birth’ to three sons and is soon a widow, with five sons! She goes through the ordeal that her sons go through along with a secret of begetting a son out of a wedlock, which hits her when she least wants it. A mute spectator and a sufferer in all the wrongs heaped by section of the society against who she could not say a word, but suffer in silence. Her moment of glory was never to come. A life of nothing but tragedy.
Similar characters abound in the same epic. Be it Satyavati, Gandhari or Uttara, Abhimanyu’s wife whose only role was to deliver her dead husbands son, the only heir after the war of Kurukshetra. Elsewhere, also we find mothers who have only to shed copious tears for their sons or husbands.
Why has there been so much of stereotyping of mothers in our culture? The celluloid image of mothers has been inherited from our mythology and perpetuated by poems and songs over the years, in all the regions and languages of our country. Does this reflect the inherent second citizenship of the women folk in our milieu? Is referring to all goddesses as Mother just an act of lip-service or an act of minority-appeasement, (to use a contemporary jargon)? The trials and tribulations of mother is raised to an altar of ‘motherhood’ and then sung praises of this singular honour bestowed by nature on women. The women of today need not be the Mother Earth of yesterday. She does not have to go thru the rigours of the earth to beget new life. Let motherhood truly be a cherished moment for each woman in our country in the truest sense of the word, and not just as a single act of fulfillment in her life
On this Mother’s day, besides doing our little bit (calls, visits, gifts, whatever) let us resolve and spread the word, to allow all would-be mothers to retain their would-be child, whatever it be. Let the mother decide! This might be the best gift to all the Mothers of our country, and probably the only solution to female-infanticide!