Women's mE-Powerment

November 08, 2007
Aditi Nadkarni

In India, most people refer to divorce as "die-vorce". This manages to give the word a morose, bleak sense following which a person's life is over. The "die" is emphasized and the rest of the word is dissolved in the kind of sigh that is usually reserved for funerals. A common postulate used by the conservatives to justify this dreary verdict, is the post-thirty, declining fertility. According to these praja pundits, the biological clock is just a rusting time-bomb. Men of course, they claim, are less affected by the misadventure of die-vorce.

Well, its is time for these dictums to change. The 21st century is here and so is the new image of the Indian woman. Of course, a divorce is in no way representative of modernism but the single Indian woman, by herself and yet happy, is now becoming an acceptable persona in society. This means divorce will now be less of a tragedy. People will hopefully not burst into tears upon hearing that your marriage didn't last and if they do, well, hand them a tissue and walk away, your head held high.

Women have careers, aspirations and access now. Education and technology is at their fingertips and the middle-class is more worried about their daughter's degree than about getting her married off. They are realizing the importance of financial independence. While the cosmopolitan desi woman is changing fast, the rural areas still await the rising. Nonetheless, one hopes that it will soon reach the areas where it is most needed.

With an education and an ambition to match that of her man, women are less likely to settle down for a marriage of convenience where provision is the sole benefit. Parents are less inclined to have their daughters married off without much thought. The Bharatiya nari now seeks a soulmate.

This will probably be the most difficult period for Indian society. Whenever major cultural transitions occur, society as a whole, experiences growing pains. There are always a few who are threatened by this sudden and unsettling atmosphere of increased competetion and shared control. Some societies or communities simply do not like the prospect of a woman playing a man's role. They find it unnatural and worthy of contempt.

Let us take the example of divorce rates and their correlation with women's liberation. Divorce is a social occurence which has for long played an ambiguous role in Indian societal issues. Studies in developed nations with high divorce rates show that children from broken homes experience a wide variety of emotional problems. Traditionally, in Indian society, a woman's role has been to hold the marriage together with the binding glue of sacrifices, submission and tolerance. This makes deeply cultural civilzations contemptuous of divorce. However, social studies have ignored the unrest in society caused by a marriage patched together for monetary reasons alone or due to a lack of options. Domestic violence, monetary losses, property cases, child custody battles all swarm the overburdened family courts in India. Caught amidst most unhappy marriage are the guileless faces of children who don't show the manifestations of having gone through this experience until much later in life.

There was a time when a slap here and some verbal abuse there was considered a common thing among some cultures. In fact even today while the 498A and Dowry Act are available for the protection of a woman in need, the implementation is severely challenged. The police who are the first in line to respond to such complaints fail to maintain a professional disposition and quite casually inform the abused woman that "miya-biwi an-ban" (husband-wife squabble) is a common occurence and they shouldn't make a police case out of it. So while the women are taking on new roles, civil mentality has a long way to go.

True education demands not just qualifications or credentials but also cultured thinking. As this change comes over society, one always finds men and women alike fighting the growth. Developed nations have all had to go through this teething problem whenever the conservatives grew vary of metamorphosis. Resistance has been encountered plenty of times in the history of civilizations. Widow re-marriage, educating the girl, legalization of abortion were all faced with vehement counteraction by certain elements of Indian society who were reluctant, to say the least, in moving forward.

What is different today though is the range of options available. Women if they are brave enough to make the choice, can have the financial ability to walk out of a disrespectful relationship that threatens their safety. They have the right to equal opportunities, careers, education and most importantly the right ambiance. We are amidst an evolutionary stage. Both, the legal watch and society look down upon dowry and undue pressure to produce a child. Organizations are available for aid and occupation. There is a whole world and an entire lifetime worth forsaking an abusive relationship over. Educated women in the cosmopolitan cities with acess to all the opportunities and means have very few credible excuses for staying in a marriage that puts them or their children at risk. But the choice has to be one's own; the priorities, the courage and the initiative has to be taken by the woman herself.

Being your own woman requires that one not be bothered by the wide-eyed gasps of "Die-vorced" or "Still single?" or "No children...yet?" It is crucial that the sound of your own liberated and strong voice drown the cacophonic trill of your biological clock. Children are wonderful and bring immense joy but only when there is an environment which ensures such a blissful scenario. Bringing a child into the world in the hopes of salvaging a bad marriage is the worst thing one could do to quench their own reproductive anxieties.

Never finding a Mr.Right should probably be less scary when compared with having to spend one's life with Mr.Terribly Wrong. There was a time when a woman my age would've been expected to be married and with child. Today, the decision is my own. The empowerment, mind you, was my own as well. With power come responsibilities and these independent choices come with a price.

All one needs to do is flip the first two letters of the word "empowerment" to find its true meaning. Empowerment is only "me-powerment" in disguise.

Aditi Nadkarni is a cancer researcher, a film reviewer and a poet; her many occupations are an odd yet fun miscellany of creative pursuits. Visit her blog for more of her articles and artistic as well as photographic exploits.
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Deepti Lamba
November 8, 2007
03:04 AM

If the 'me' isn't happy then the 'us' in any relationship be it romantic, family or friends cannot be happy:)

Aditi Nadkarni
November 8, 2007
09:55 AM

Hi Dee, you said it! When anybody for that matter, man or woman isn't happy with their lives it reflects in their communications, their interpersonal relationships and in the way they deal with their insecurities. Most people are so fixated on making everybody around them happy that they forget about themselves. I guess there comes a time when being selfish is a bit of a virtue...for the greater good.

November 8, 2007
10:28 AM


well argued and laid out:)

this is one major crux:

Whenever major cultural transitions occur, society as a whole, experiences growing pains.

the other one (and yes am indulging in a bit of generalization here) that is co-related deals with desi men and their insecurities...

enough for now?


November 8, 2007
12:51 PM

Social evolution in a conservative society like ours is a long drawn out process.Hopefully education/awareness helps us find a panacea for peaceful co-existence.


SIFF where are thou? :P

November 8, 2007
01:52 PM


siff = godwin


Aditi Nadkarni
November 9, 2007
10:13 AM

Thanks T. At the risk of alienating quite a few desi men on the forum, I'd say I agree with you. Although I think its men in general and not just desi men in particular that need to get used to the new roles women juggle. This will require insecurities and ego issues to be dealt with. The change is coming though I think.

SK: Absolutely. Education, awareness and harmony between sexes are what will help this evolutionary stage accelerate and show effect in areas where change is most needed. Thank you for your comment.

And for god's sake people do not invoke the SIF monster! :)

November 9, 2007
11:41 AM

Family is the bedrock of civilization and humanity has universally found it indispensible institution since ages. Billions of people have found solace in it. Any activism to atomize or subject family institution to anarchy will meet tremendous resistence and backlash in India. Tough sell to desis. It will only revive and re-energize counter movements for empowerment of family, empowerment of community/caste, empowerment of traditional civilization based nationhood.

Aditi Nadkarni
November 9, 2007
11:47 AM

#7 Kerty: Try as I may I could not understand what your above comment meant. Would you be so kind as to shed some light on the gist of your comment, particularly this:

"Any activism to atomize or subject family institution to anarchy will meet tremendous resistence and backlash in India"

Activism to atomize or subject family institution to "anarchy"?!! What kind of activism is this?

November 9, 2007
05:53 PM

Atomization of Family institution means family is not treated as a whole but as its divided individual sub-parts i.e. Man, woman, Sas, Bahu, children, elderly, youth etc - where each components are singled out individually and sought to be empowered individually in a way to divide/destroy and disempower the institution of family. - where they are treated as if they exist independent of and outside the context of family. - Where empowerment of one component is used as a pretext to victimize other components of family, end result being all components of family stand victimized and in ruins.

Subjecting family institution to anarchy means the very definition and composition of family undergo 'anything-goes' cherry-picking that society loses the consensus on what family is, let alone need or resolve to uphold it or empower it, thus there nothing left to uphold or empower. Since institution of marriage is a foundation of family, it the first thing that willneed to go thru anarchy, before anarchy can take over family institution. Roles that were traditionally performed by family and now abandoned by it have to be taken over by omniscient welfare state or omnipotent welfare church or both - the activism promises women liberation from drudgery of marriage and family; men are brought on board with the lure of commitment-free and consequence-free sexual freedom; elderly worries are alleviated with security thru health and welfare schemes, youth are kept happy with sex and party culture, and children, well they don't count anyway, well, they get free education, health-care and foster homes - so the system works out for the benefit of everybody. Except that the system is not politically and economically viable and can not be sustained for long, leaving people nothing to fall back on. Traditionally, family institution is the one that has allowed humanity to absorb the shocks and transitions that come with political winds, passage of time and calamities. To rob such basic safety net and vital nourishing institutions from humanity is no less crime against humanity.

Aditi Nadkarni
November 9, 2007
06:12 PM

Kerty: Thank you for the clarification.

"Where empowerment of one component is used as a pretext to victimize other components of family, end result being all components of family stand victimized and in ruins"

That is only if you take empowerment in the sense of governing bodies or opressive rule. Women's empowerment influences the whole family. I believe I have addressed this issue when I say:

"Traditionally, in Indian society, a woman's role has been to hold the marriage together with the binding glue of sacrifices, submission and tolerance. This makes deeply cultural civilzations contemptuous of divorce. However, social studies have ignored the unrest in society caused by a marriage patched together for monetary reasons alone or due to a lack of options"

If a human being is defined solely by the ambiance of his interpersonal relationships then there is no "self" left and that cannot be healthy from any psychological stand point. I believe that the empowerment and individual growth of every family member adds towards the growth and harmony of the family. Otherwise you have an imbalance where one member is constantly assigned the role of a sacrificial goat.

The second part of your comment makes it seem like women's empowerment is a movement which encourages women to abandon their family roles and men to reject marriage. I am not sure where this is coming from since my article does not promote or even address such an extreme line of thinking. As social animals we do have the capability to be independent individuals and in fact by virtue of this self-growth and self-sufficiency contribute better towards the family unit. It does not have to be one or the other. In fact an unhappy, incomplete, dependent and indecisive individual will probably not be as beneficial for the family unit. Any kind of harmony requires a balance.

As for tradition...who said tradition was written in stone? Human beings evolve and progress.

In my article I dedicate an entire paragraph to the extreme line of thinking that has long since plagued women's empowerment by misrepresenting it as some kind of a power war:

"This will probably be the most difficult period for Indian society. Whenever major cultural transitions occur, society as a whole, experiences growing pains. There are always a few who are threatened by this sudden and unsettling atmosphere of increased competetion and shared control. Some societies or communities simply do not like the prospect of a woman playing a man's role. They find it unnatural and worthy of contempt"

November 9, 2007
07:03 PM

I meant omnipresent welfare state and not omniscient welfare state. I type in a hurry and there is no mechanism to edit it once it gets posted.

In India, for modern nation/state to become viable, it had to subject notion of civilization had to go thru atomization, anarchy, relativism and consequent divide and destroy. But for reletivism and divide-destroy created by hindu civilization v Islamic civilization, Modern nation-state could be implanted in India. Once it was firmly in place, it had to do the same to next level in hiearchy - notion of community - thru upper-caste V lower caste, caste V dalit divide. Now that notion of civilization and notion of community lay sufficiently subdued, battle lines are drawn at next level - family. Subduing family institution will yield western style individualism, but it will take welfare state and omnipotent welfare church to get there, to take over roles and functions vacated from family. Omnipresent state and Omnipotent church are judeo-xian mandates, they are mirror image of their notion of monothestic God, where both vie over each other to become that mirror image of God , supreme authority that holds absolute power over everything underneth and nothing can survive without it, where democracy becomes an instrument thru which atomized individuals transfer all decentralized roles and power to the centralized power center, i.e state. That is why judeo-xian nations have been pioneers and aggressive in pursuing that road map. And because it is judeo-xian paradigm, you will see counter movements from hindu as well as moslem world - they would strive their own nation-state to be strong enough to withstand, but not become in the mirror image of judeo-xian paradigm. Until now, their notion of civilization and community have been hit hard, and hindus have remained apathetic and cocooned inside their families but when it really begins to hit their home hard, that is when real radicalization of Hindus will hit the roof.

November 9, 2007
07:18 PM

You might not be able to relate my comments to anything specific you wrote. I wanted to present a broad framework in which modern trends and activism can be understood.

November 9, 2007
08:10 PM

When something gets atomized, it releases power, that power is up for transfer. Power wars occur in order to gain maximum power. When family is atomized, women's movements expect that they will receive the more power in return. One will see statism-feminism nexus to share the power initially during the transition when family is being atomized. But in the end, it is only statism that gets empowered. Women would see dramatic shift in their role that suits the needs of statism - they will become a pillar of statism just like women have been a pillar of family and civilization.

One could wish women's empowerment to work in the context of family and not individualism - but that is not ideologically viable. Western Feminist lexicons are too strong for any women's empowerment movement to withstand for too long.

November 9, 2007
08:17 PM


I type in a hurry and there is no mechanism to edit it once it gets posted.

since we write to communicate here is a suggestion to make it more effective

use 'word' and hammer away...then check before copy pasting in this box

(check would include - spell - spacing - maybe even division)

November 9, 2007
11:04 PM

Hardly 5%of the populace pays income-tax.77% of the people are seemingly living on less than 20 ruppees a day.12 -15% of the population professes Islam.With this backround there has been an increase in divorces in the chattering classes.The amount of mental and social morbidity women undergo is enormous in a divorce situation -ask any divorcee.The bleak nature of most second marriages is another reality.Men too initiate divorce proceedings ,it is not all feminist triumphalism.A few smart aleck bloggers proclaiming this as a great revolution is unrealistic.Children seem to be last on the list of priorities.

November 9, 2007
11:38 PM

Now the difference in India is, opportunity to abuse men and escape without punishment. This is the think many people oppose. If anyone terms this, opportunity to abuse men and ILL-POWERMENT of woman ,as "CHANGE " and protest against this as "people are not ready to accept the change",......then I am ready to say that, these type rigidness in people against such "change" will increase but never decrease.

November 9, 2007
11:40 PM

i used the term ILL-POWERMENT, i defined it with some examples but after pressing the button post, i got a message like, it is termed as spam, why? may i know this?

November 9, 2007
11:58 PM

What an article....It opened my eyes.

I really appreciate the article's subtle attempt to justify the biased laws like 498a and DV act.

Feminists hate the conservative society and want freedom from it. The fight is not easy for them. Any system does not like rebels and it does everything to crush the rebels.

Being a rebel myself with my own set of individualistic principles, I know how the system and conservative society created pressures on me. Individualistic men have the maximum chance of getting into false cases compared to men who confirm to the basics of a conservative society.

Similarly, feminists standing against the conservative society also feel quite some social pressure for prolonged periods of time.

It so happened that some feminists joined SIFF being frustrated with a life burdened by heavy load of individuality. Here they found the people who can listen, believe in gender equity and remain perfectly cool in tough times. But, within a few months, they started preaching the importance of conservative roles of men and chivalry to the new SIFF members. In spite of being feminists, they expected special treatment to wives even as the husband had found her adulterous behaviour with a "keyboard logger" in laptop and got threats of false 498a when he confronted her. The feminists preached, how difficult it is for a newly married woman to forget her ex-lover.

We were preached, true men wear chivalry on their armour. They want wives to have cakes and eat them too. They also emphasized how it is important for a woman to search for both individuality and also togetherness in a relationship without understanding that these two can be almost mutually exclusive.

Soon, they were told that they are in perfectly wrong place and were told to to go.

There was a time when men used to work in sun and rain while women used to stay inside the comforts of home. There was no BPO or IT or R&D industry where people can work in air conditioned buildings.

I myself worked in a steel plant for 5 years and I know how it feels like while working near a Blast furnace, slab caster or Hot rolling mill.

Women given a chance were not really enthusiastic to work outside home, when the workplace was harsh or hazardous. They were also not ready to take up a job when the earnings from a job were meager.

Its not a big deal when women believe that they can live single till mid 30s. Men were doing that all along even while being emotionally suppressed and used as unpaid bodyguards by their mothers since childhood.

Getting addicted to career is great. I see more and more women are now getting addicted to dumb, absurd code coolie work in IT companies working long hours even as the men chill out. For men, it is life as usual, but for women it is a social achievement to go up in the ladder. Men are more interested in quiting the cubicles and starting vegetable shops or restaurants, where as women being addicted with analytical binary thinking try to be super code coolies or clerical managers claiming their initiatives to create business models for low cost offshore software code maintenance and testing units.

It is difficult to be a conservative when one is young. But, people realise the heavy price that they have to pay, when they grow old and head to a old age home far away from their children, grand children and great grandchildren.

November 10, 2007
12:05 AM

hello sumanth:)

It opened my eyes.

not really! ... you rambled for 581 words and said nothing that proved otherwise


November 10, 2007
12:08 AM


"""while being emotionally suppressed and used as unpaid bodyguards by their mothers since childhood."""

what is this unpaid bodygaurds? mothers love thier sons without expecting any payment.ok, accordingt to the statement a boy acted as a bodyguard for her mother, then can he expect payment for that?

November 10, 2007
04:58 AM

sumanth... the rhetoric is really tedious, man. it's the overgeneralization that makes this all invalid. you can make such brash generalizations about anyone... what you are saying is no different than the other side. such boring stuff, really, cause it's got no practical application. it's all just blah blah blather.

November 10, 2007
08:24 AM

See, I am not the only one making over generalisations.

This article shows that a lot of women's conflict with the expectations from a traditional society. For these women the valid conversation is, "marriage is a compromise and it will be hell if things go wrong."

Some of these women are able to ward off the marriage evil. But, a good percentage of this category of women succumbed to the social and parental pressures and reluctantly tied the knot.

I have nothing to say about the women, who remained single warding off the marriage pressure. I would like to think of the mental state of those "freethinking individualistic women" who married under pressure from parents, relatives and others.

This second categories of women feel that they lost out in a battle and they go all out to take revenge on the conservative society, which took away their freedom. The best way they can do it is to not give 100% to the marriage or relationship and start rocking the marriage.

However considerate the husband may be, this category of feminists, deliberately feel trapped and remain disatisfied, as they are out there to prove a point at the cost of their own happiness, their future and the happiness of others. Any woman who got married under pressure from parents has very little chance of putting effort to make things work in marriage given the massive feminists propaganda about "soul mate".

If Indian marriage is such a bad institution, then individualistic women should stop marrying. Getting coerced by parents, relatives and society to get married and after marriage torturing an innocent soul is really pathetic.

Marriage does not make either male or female feel powerful by default. Because, it is all about commitment, responsibility and integrity. Both have to make adjustments and there is certainly a reduction in freedom unless two people create a structure and define the limits.

As talk is only about......me....me.....me.....Me.....Me.....ME....MMMEEE........then any relationship is doomed for failure from day one.

So far as "empowerment" is concerned, Victor Frankl was highly empowered, when he was inside a concentration camp. Because, Power just like happiness is a state of mind irrespective of circumstances or environment. Who knows, the traditional housewives may be feeling more powerful than the female rocket scientists in NASA.

So, how appropriate is it to market the concept that "working women are empowered and married women are helpless"?

November 10, 2007
12:20 PM

"So, how appropriate is it to market the concept that "working women are empowered and married women are helpless"?"

Perfectly put, Sumanth!

Em-powerment (or Me-powerment) is just another excuse of the feminists to get it all from the society. Agreed, the society was male dominated once upon a time, and that was also due to biological (and practical) reasons... Women were mostly physically weaker (accept or not) than men, and most of the jobs in the ancient past were physically challenging which the women never wanted to do (and mostly couldn't do at all).
So obviously it was the biologically stronger men who was to do all those jobs. And this led to an obvious male domination in the society.

With advancement of technology, and some biological evolution as well, today we have many of the jobs which require little or no physically challenging tasks; even women (some of them) are getting a bit stronger physically to be able to do some of the physically demanding tasks. Good!
So we see that there's quite some default empowerment (and equality) coming to the ladies. So its pretty evident that the kind of 'empowerment' that was claimed to be 'required' for the women in those ancient ages is practically 'no-more required' at all!

IMO, giving a weapon to a weak person might empower him/her so that he/she can now protect himself/herself from a stronger enemy. But giving the same weapon to an already strong (and unscrupulous) person would only result in utter misuse of the weapon to destroy rather than construct anything.

That's exactly what's happening due to these biased laws in the hands of already empowered (educated and capable) unscrupulous ladies. They're no more interested to create a family, but enjoy more destroying their own and other's families!

Aditi Nadkarni
November 10, 2007
02:22 PM

Sumanth & Egg-Jaktly: ""So, how appropriate is it to market the concept that "working women are empowered and married women are helpless"?"

So how appropriate is it to market that an article markets the concept that working women are empowered and married women are helpless when the article doesn't really market that concept?

November 10, 2007
02:46 PM

He He...
Well Ms. Aditi, this comment (about marketing) no longer really pertains to the article.
Its more to do with the other feminists' comments above here! :-)

November 10, 2007
04:44 PM



is it marketing or manufacturing?

November 10, 2007
10:22 PM


There goes you theory or tool or weapon or whatever you use against women over 30 and separated! Trying to play with their insecurities really does not work anymore. So what's ur next plan?

Seems like to me and evident now, that women who have left your boys are very much happy , content and peaceful. Never see them ranting or whining out here or any other website. Comon you fellow...get a life!!! :)))

November 10, 2007
11:54 PM

"""Seems like to me and evident now, that women who have left your boys are very much happy , content and peaceful."""

is it a conclusion or astrology? what ever it may be, that is wrong.

November 12, 2007
02:29 PM

Hey Aditi,
I had a wonderful experience of women empowerment this weekend.


This diwali weekend I was in Montreal, Canada. Now Montreal is considered as Mecca for light lifers and club hoppers in Canada and all the northern states on east coast of US.

After the diwali celebrations, we planned a boys night out and landed up in a strip joint (people, don't you dare judge me...even if you do, I dont care), anyways. We were siting near the table with our poisons measuring every inch of the female anatomy on the dance floor. The girls were shedding the last fabric on their body and trying all different acrobatic postures to tilltilate the audience around with an amazing deadwood face. No connection no emotion or reaction to the piercing eyes around. All so mechanical so artificial.

At around midnite, bunch of girls walked in. All in their early twenties. All possibly students. Non of those late twenties or thirty powergirls /corporate bods. These girls escorted by 3- 4 guys(probably boyfriends). These girls turned the tables(read scene) in the bar. None of them lesbian, but at the strip bar with single motive of having fun.

Seeing women in audience is not uncommon, most these women escort their boyfriends or husbands and sit with them looking lost,with no interest whatso ever with whz going on the stage. They are just there with single motive of escorting their boyfriend/husband. To help them live his fantasy.or whatever. But these girls were different.

These girls were cheering, whistling, hooting and enjoying every moment to the hilt as the strippers shed their clothes, encouraging them each and every moment. Making strippers kiss and tease their boyfriends. All in fun. Laughing, giggle

Few of them even joined the strippers on stage to tip them.All confident, flamboyant yet very much in control. Pure fun, nothing slutty or crude. Amazing thing was their enthusiam was kind of infectious. After a while the whole scene changed, people instead of oggling at the strippers were now laughing at the antiques happening at the stage. The strippers were now smiling and at times laughing with these girls. The lapdancers instead of soliciting clients for lapdance were now hanging around these girls and ensuring that these girls have fun. Nothing sexual there. The women escorting their bf/husbands were now taking interest on things happening on and around the stage. Everyone seemed to having fun. Now instead of some sexual visual orgy, the scene became hilariously funny.

These girls ruled the show. Follwing these girls, a guy got on the stage, tipped the stripper and then faced the girls, raised his both hands and took a bow. The audience (stripper included) clapped in acknowledgment.

That was women empowerment right there. Its not necessary for a woman to have certain educational degree, career graph or some mythical powers to feel empowered. Empowerment is self realisation.

All these girls were empowered all in audience acknowledged that with round of applause. None of them judged or tagged as sl** or attention seeker because none of them was.

We can dish out all the theories about woman empowerment, but nothing will happen unless a woman realises here powers.

People who think that this was humiliation on womanhood or start giving lectures of role of woman and her dignity in society...2 words - Don't Bother !!!

Deepti Lamba
November 12, 2007
08:37 PM

Sandeep, till the time no kid is involved in the adult entertainment industry I think supporting the moral brigade would be cutting our nose to spite our face;)

November 12, 2007
09:07 PM


I am very much right. Kindly check all the rantings of the various sniffers who have time and again cried on how their wife's abandoned them.

Therefore, the wives are happy and the sniffers are sniveling now--which is their routine. Got it?

Where did i say this is an astrology? Pick a quote of mine and link it.

Once again, i am not talking to you!

November 12, 2007
11:34 PM

Will women feel empowered if their lovers, boyfriends, husbands, fathers, families abandoned them to pursue their happiness without them? After all it is about happiness of whoever is doing the abandoning the committment and responsibility - so as long as husbands feel happy cheating or abandoning their wives, it should be ok, no? What if fathers feel burdened by female babies and decide to abandon them for happiness, you would think that should be ok, no? Or would you suddenly join morality brigade and condemn it? If women choose to be objectify themselves by choosing to be strippers, hookers or sex objects, would you consider it to be empowerment of women? By the same token, if society chooses to give more power to objectification of women and treating them as objects or commercial asset, would you consider it empowerment of society or women?

On a foot note, RK Narayana once did a very poingent cartoon. In one frame, against the backdrop of a family, a woman is shown leaving the family and kids in a huff yelling at her husband she will not be dictated anymore. In the next cartoon frame, she is shown in a corporate setting taking dictation from her boss with utmost servitude and obedience.

Aditi Nadkarni
November 13, 2007
12:44 AM

Kerty: While some of your questions seem irrelevant towards this thread I find this particular line of thinking that you exhibit very interesting..

You said: "Will women feel empowered if their lovers, boyfriends, husbands, fathers, families abandoned them to pursue their happiness without them?"

Do you feel people cannot pursue what makes them happy without abandoning their loved ones?! Hmm, that is quite a curious attitude towards not only the pursuit of happiness but more importantly towards the dynamics of a relationship.

If one is within a loving, mature and secure relationship where both parties are understanding and respectful of each other's needs then why would the question of abandonment even arise.

Something tells me you either haven't read the article and as a result have taken off on a tangent or worse still have read it and taken a most extreme interpretation of each of the issues touched upon in this article.

Your comment #32 disregards the millions of blissful relationships where both people have the ability and maturity to be there for the other person without being any less of themselves.

And now that you mention it, it seems to me R.K Narayan's cartoon could be applied to several male chauvinists as well! At home they are able to order around their submissive wives while at work they turn into servile wimps. No?

November 13, 2007
01:27 AM

My comments were geared towards comments posted in this thread, more particularly Insider, Ravi, Deepti etc. I think issues I raised are relevant in the discussion of women's empowerment.

I have no issue with empowering relationship, marriage, family that can provide foundation of happiness and welfare for men, women, children and elderly - it takes lots of love, sacrifices, commitment, shelving of personal egos and Money - each relationship has to work out a trade-off that works for them.

November 13, 2007
03:19 AM


NO need to read other's comment. Every body happy if they are out of the abusive relationship.Both husband and wife are happy of their divorce, except in a case child custody goes to wife and she is not allowing her husband to even see that child eventhough she has to do that. If any one feel that deviding father and child is amusement or good, undoutably they are sadists. In general case men are very happy because of divorce. But they feel bad only they face fabricated cases. If anybody feels that fabricating cases on some one is amusemnt to them again they are sadists.

Apart from these, every single woman is not a divorced woman. may be divorce is pending in the court, in such cases they are also suffers lot. that's why i asked "is it astrology or assumption".

November 14, 2007
02:18 AM

Men's empowerment: mE-Powerment

After studying much of masculist theory, history and the statistics, I believe that the male power is myth.

Socially, males have to do all the risky and hazardous work. Once married or into a relationship, he ends up even worse.

Most separate men, who interacted me have been highly empowered. They married after settling into a career after decades of hard work in schools. They thought, they will have a good life when they have a career and monetary freedom. There came the wife, to take away all that freedom and on top of that they got abuse. Now, imagine the same men with great careers being free from wife. That means, they have more freetime and their money is also not going down the drain to a ungrateful person. The guys with children now fight for child visitation and get to spend time with the child without a nagging, abusing, constantly monitoring wife. That can be the most wonderful thing that can happen to a man.

So, as soon as a guy gets 498a and escapes jail (as now in Bangalore bails are available even without a complaint/FIR by woman), he just chills out.

The guys who got separated after 2 to 3 years are the happiest lot. They know 100% of all aspects of Indian marriage, where a urban man gets very little out of marriage.

The Men can also play the same game by changing their priorities.

So, now it is time for Men's Empowerment. Once Men also stop marrying like feminists and find it cheaper to manage with sex hungry girl friends, the whole game can be turned upside down. My prediction is that the average age of marriage of men will scale up to 30 or 32 in just a few years.

We will accelerate that.

If family is such a dangerous institution, then why should men live in it. They should be better living with their caring parents and spending their weekends with girlfriends.

There is no freedom for men in marriage just the way there is no freedom for women in marriage.

So, lets make it a marriageless society. All problems are solved. If there is no marriage, where is the question of dowry or marriage spendings?

Both men and women will remain empowered. Thats a great win-win mantra. This will also reduce the number of babies produced.

Aditi Nadkarni
November 14, 2007
08:28 AM

Sumanth:Are you able to log into your author's log-in? Comment 36 with a bit of expansion could've been a whole article by itself!

You say: "If family is such a dangerous institution, then why should men live in it. They should be better living with their caring parents and spending their weekends with girlfriends"

Sounds good but if you rant like that on an online forum then that whole "Girlfriend plan" won't work out....especially if they are those "sex hungry girlfriends" that you speak of. Woh to sab bhaag jayengi itna bhaari bhashan sun ke.


Calm down. Don't get your panties in a bunch.

November 14, 2007
11:26 AM


Sacrifices, self-lessness, duty, dharma, serving and living for others are values you will find running common in all traditional institutions like marriage, family, community. Without such values holding people togather, none of these institutions would work, and they would lose civilizing and nurturing effect on individuals - they would become den of bestial forplay.

Humans are biologically no different than any animal, and unless his/her base bestial instincts are tamed and sacrificed for evolving into higher state of being, he/she will remain beastial in nature. Sure, men would love to sex every desirable woman he sees, rape any unwilling object of his desire, dump consequences of his actions on others, exploit every weakling for his ego and gratification, discard whatever he does not need as rags, not take responsibility, live carefree in a self-centered commitment-free hedonistic jungle - but he has to sacrifice all that fun pursuits when he enters into civilizing relationships or the relationship would not work but become mere extension of bestial foreplay. A man when released from civilizing relationships would fall back to his base hedonistic nature. Women would have more to fear and lose if society becomes breeding ground of such men and their hunting jungle. Which means a repressive totalitarian state has to evolve to tame the man and protect the well-being of women and the weak. Such totalitarian state can not remain gender-neutral, the very ideal on which it builds its power. It would eventually fall.

Since most Indians are familiar with Ramayana, I will quote a scripture to illustrate these power-plays are nothing new and such drama have been played out many times before.

Ravan was supposed have become so powerful that no man could ever challenge or kill him - because he had turned men into Rakshasa that were bestial men not amenable to be civilized but were tamed enough into submission by Ravan's totalitarian powers to become its puppets and henchmen. But Ravanic forces could not tame all bestial men into submission as many skirted Ravanic state like monkeys only to eventually bring down Ravanic state when they made an axis with civilizing forces. Ravan's sister Shurpakha was jealous of traditional womanhood in Sita and helped Sita to be abducted by Ravanic state that kept her as captive away from civilizing forces. When Ravanic state falls, we hear nothing about what happened to Shurpankha. I suspect she was merely a shadow of Ravana whose role was merely to transform traditional women into submission to Ravanic state(that is why Shurpankha is called sister axis of Ravana). There is a great deal of morality play behind Ramayana that illustrates eternal relationships and struggles that go on among men, women, state and civilization.

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