Bond: Not a Bondage

This article is a compilation of my thoughts on Mr.  T. M. Krishna’s column in The Hindu dated July 4, 2015- Revisiting the Bond. Off late, Mr. Krishna is known more for his repugnant political views than his music. Though it is an individual’s freedom to opine about issues of his/her choice, it is definitely not right to force one’s opinion down one’s throat through a medium which is consumed by mass. In this case, it is his atheism. I have been following his articles for a few months now and it is hard to be a mute witness to whatever he rants.

In the column, the writer has bashed the Raksha-bandhan festival that is celebrated across India to mark the bonding between siblings, as being a sexist celebration. First of all, this is just “making an issue out of nothing.” Despite that, I would like to present my views.

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Every culture has an ideal aspect and an actual aspect.

Ideal aspects are the roots of the culture. In our case, i.e. in case of Sanatana Dharma, it is the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas. Vedas are collection of hymns and mantras which have been realized by our Maharshis through penance and yoga and passed on to the generations through Guru-Shishya parampara. These aren’t commandments unlike those preached by the followers of Semitic religions.

Actual aspects are those customs and rituals which have become a part of the people’s life. These actual aspects could have a scientific base in our scriptures or no. We do not know. For example, the social system of giving dowry is seen as a taboo in the Hindu society but there is no mention of it any of our scriptures. I do not have much knowledge of how it started but today it has become a social evil.

What Mr. Krishna is trying to say is that one such “actual aspect” in Hindu society is an act of showing women as a weaker section in the society. I quote him:

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This is a misleading conclusion of the festival. There may be or may not be scriptural evidence for this festival (I will return with an answer when I come to know) but I see no harm in celebrating it. In fact, it makes our society a securer place to live. It is a celebration of human values and family bonding. Condemning it as a sexist practice only holds a mirror to Mr. Krishna’s perverted mindset. Sanatana Dharma has always respected women. Ours is that religion which said: पिता रक्षति कौमारे भर्ता रक्षति यौवने | पुत्रो रक्षति वार्धक्ये न स्त्री स्वातन्त्र्यमर्हति || (Manusmriti 9.3) These lines have also been misquoted several times but they only mean that woman is that gem in that society who should never be orphaned and she should be taken care of in every stage of her life. If she is left alone to fend for herself, values, family, society and hence the higher purpose of life —all of these will lose their meaning.

As argued by Mr. Krishna, if a woman is stripped off her sexual-ness and her portfolios as a mother, a sister, a daughter or a wife, what remains is only a carcass.

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Womanhood is an identity for a woman and not something she should be ashamed of. It comes with its own duties. Man and woman are made for different responsibilities in life and therefore there is no question of one’s superiority over the other. It is not sane to argue that women are not treated on par with men in India when the two are not comparable at all. Mr. Krishna is more likely appreciating the woman of the West who is free from the bondage of being a mother, a sister or a wife but on the other hand, women there are seen only as objects of pleasure.

Fools are we, trying to bring equality among man and woman in a society which has upheld woman higher than man from time immemorial!
“यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवताः” (मनुस्मृति 3.56)

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