Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Orthodox Kerala Society

I recently came across a post by Swapna Raghu Sanand on 'Home of Beliefs'.....In it she writes about how some deep-seated orthodox beliefs have acted as stumbling blocks to Kerala's progress.

This is what she writes :

* The only decent career options are to become a doctor, engineer, lawyer,
* Mimicry and comedy is one and the same thing.
* Molesting or misbehaving with women inside a bus is perfectly respectable.
* Men with mustaches are more macho than the rest.
* Men disapprove of girls who visit beauty parlors and of course, none of those girls include their girl friends, wives or sisters.
* Malayali girls who wear jeans? No, no, they just want to attract men.
* A Mallu girl, who wears a ‘bindi,’ looks down at her feet with humility when men are around, and dresses traditionally is a ‘good’ girl.
* If you are a girl and attending a mallu wedding/ engagement/temple/wedding/ceremony/prayer/house warming, deck up in all your gold jewelry so that a prospective mother-in-law from a good family can spot the potential.
* Don’t marry into a family that has inter-caste marriage because your children or grandchildren may be motivated to do the same.
* Marrying a guy from the Gulf is like winning a lottery ticket.
* Don’t marry girls who are nurses, lawyers, air hostesses, or models because they are too much in contact with men who are not related to them.
* Girls who wear make-up, sleeveless clothes and short skirts are not ok to marry though you should go ahead and date them to ‘check’ it out.
* Girls with short hair are not girls, so don’t marry them!

I realized that what she put across was completely true.

I am a Malayalee, n my parents say the best thing that has happened to them in Life is that we kids were born n brought up outside Kerala. Thankfully my grandparents are also well-educated and broad-minded, yet there are times when they themselves feel embarrassed esp when there are men on the roads staring, eve-teasing or passing lewd comments at me and even mum.....(n all this when we are wearing normal salwar-kameez)....I fail to understand why, even with a higher female ration, most Malayalee men have to grab their crotches at the sight of a woman, n act so sexually-frustrated.

I also agree with the 'Decent Gal' image everyone wants to cultivate. If a gal keeps her hair loose, it is 'not proper', if a gal has not oiled her hair, it is 'not proper', if a gal wears lipstick n jeans, its 'not proper'. If a gal cuts her hair, its 'not proper'. If a gal laughs out loud, talks loudly, gesticulates or playfully teases her siblings outside, its 'not proper'.

N yes the Gulf Craze, it doesn't matter whether ur husband is cleaning gutters in the Middle east, or a Sheikh's ass, but u must get married to a Gulf-karan...It is another matter entirely, that these men visit their wives once every 2 years, for 15 days, to make them pregnant. Its a miracle their wives are still faithful to them, n can pass any DNA test.

I cant comment on the drinking, coz, mercifully the men in my family neither smoke nor drink...

N before u say 'Oh no, another outsider who doesn't know anything about Kerala', let me say, I'm saying this out of experience of not only mine, but also my friends. I recently went to Kerala with some female friends of mine. Sad to say, we had a horrible time in the local places. When one of my friends asked - What the hell is wrong with the men here? Even school boys are commenting so obscenely....' - I hung my head in shame.

As to the growth of IT, while 10 years old kids are researching the internet to make projects for their schoolwork, most parents in Kerala dont even have a computer at home. If they sit on the computer for some time, surfing the net, unexpectedly coming across social sites, their parents scold them for wasting time....I mean yes, the internet does have its own cons but just because of that, u cannot hold back ur kids from using technology. If they stay back in the same town all their lives its allright, but if they have to venture out to a different state, what then?

What a misfortune that one of the most beautiful places in the world is home to such narrow-minded people. No wonder Kerala still lags behind in many things.
I know some Malayalee women who do not wear nail polish, shampoo their hair, wear a single pleat saree only because they are scared of what the others will talk about.....They have lost their individuality and confidence. What is the harm if u indulge in these 3 things??? And why worry about what people are thinking? Did those people do any favour to you? Do they know of ur struggles and challenges? People will always talk bad behind ur back, so what is the point of getting scared and stopping urself from enjoying simple things in life?

'What will the people say' - is a question that is imprinted in the mind of most Malayalee women, stopping them from leading a humane life.

I do have a lot of very good Malayalee friends but few of them still stick to these beliefs and realize only too late that being broad-minded does not mean wearing a mini-skirt n lipstick...it only means to rise from the crab mentality and be proud of being a woman n acknowledge ur independent entity.

1 comment:

Haritha Nair said...

huh! its true true true true and 100 times true. Its horrible, this pseudo moral attitude. At times, it just make me red with anger - Why these people cant mind their own business? There are umpteen good things they can make use of their potentials for. But they simply, create rules and tangles for others. And try to snatch other's wings. They want to know each and every thing about others and its disgusting.