Playing the role of a mother to a girl in an Indian society has always posed unique challenges. Today, under the impact of global culture, these problems have metamorphosed into new complexities. An average middle-class Indian mother has to strike a precarious balance between the new trends of liberal ideas that her daughter has absorbed; and the constant effort to mold this young lady of the 21st century into an ideal pattern of a traditional woman. Her life for her is a continuous battle between the inner world of her that yearns for the happiness of her child and the outer world of her that surrounds her that creates an aggressive pressure on her to curb that free spirit and the happiness of her In general, fathers in Indian households pamper their daughters with gifts and outings as long as they do not stray outside of their domestic confines.
The responsibility generally falls on the mother to take care of her daughter’s education, as well as domestication. In fact, it is this last quality that matters most and proves to be a challenge. This includes your learning of household chores; be soft-spoken and kind; less fickle about her wishes and dreams, if she has any; never make any decision or fall into arguments with her superiors in age. Her lack of conformity with any of those supposedly feminine virtues under the microscope of the elders is generally regarded as her mother’s incompetence. The true education for a girl, on average, is not the premise of the school but her mother’s kitchen. However, she must be educated to be a graduate at the very least! Academic success has face value as it is a passport to the marriage market! This has been the standard story for generations of Indian girls.
However, history, in recent times, has taken a peculiar turn. It is true that even today education, in general, for a girl (even those who are admitted to eminent Public Schools) is ritualistic mainly for a brighter matrimonial prospect. However, the impact of the different electronic media she is exposed to gets in the way of taming her. She admires modern, vibrant, independent and intelligent girls who can take care of her needs on the TV screen or on the Internet, thus fueling her aspirations for more freedom. Today’s educated modern mother, who is more self-aware due to media exposure and has always longed for free space for herself, finds it difficult to control her daughter’s dreams and desires. Ironically, the situation is complicated when the former’s deeply imbued ethical codes and norms from the earliest days of childhood create the writhing scorpions of doubt in her mind.
The partially evolved Indian mother today finds herself in a profound dilemma. On the one hand, she can empathize with the independent aspirations of her teenage daughter; on the other hand, she fears her severely critical in-laws; the commanding voice of her husband and, bizarrely, her own teenage son! Social stigmas are strangely stacked against a mother if her child wears a short skirt or develops a close friendship with any child outside of her community! She then secretly lets her daughter enjoy a friend’s birthday party under the pretense of going to private lessons, but she asks him to come home before dad! She drowns out the latter’s voice, often harshly, if the young woman expresses her opinion frankly on any subject in the presence of family members, but she comforts her sobbing in the dark silence of her bedroom. she. It’s a world of strange dichotomy with tablets and smartphones flooding the Indian market, infusing the adolescent minds of girls with new ideas and training that are diametrically opposed to the tradition-bound concepts they have learned from their patriarchal home atmosphere. .
There is a flip side to the sudden and drastic changes these confused young women experience in the world outside their supposed domain. Often, due to their desperate longing to get away from the claustrophobic atmosphere of home, these unfortunate young women board in schools to enjoy the free-flowing merrymaking and fun of underground hookah bars; lead to drugs and indiscriminate sex life. By the time the mother learns the truth about her daughter, either through school or from her friends, the latter is in her soup. If the girl is mercilessly treated by her family members and kept under house arrest, the mother also suffers psychological trauma from being openly branded a “failure”. Often this feeling of shame and humiliation leads her to unreasonable cruelty towards her wandering young lady. Later, when humanity prevails, she pleads with the family to spare the girl and let her continue her education. In such cases, she has to suffer untold persecution at the hands of her in-laws. Even calls from the school for counseling sessions to get the lost teen back on track are left blank. If the mother manages to win the sympathy of her husband, she is restored to normality. If not, her daughter doesn’t get a second chance to educate herself. She is married to the groom chosen by her father’s family. The bejeweled mother of the bride watches in silent pain the sealed fate of the child of hers…
However, the situation becomes more bizarre if the young woman is career-oriented in a supposedly traditional family. The positive impact of the accessibility of electronic media cannot be overstated. There is a plethora of career options and unlimited information that you can search for on the Internet. Naturally, when you raise your demand for an MBA, Medicine, Engineering, IT or fashion design, the cloud of civil war in the family is looming! It is generally believed that her brother deserves priority in pursuing her dream career. For them, marriage is the last deal for her sister and they save a lot of money for her dowry that cannot be wasted on their foolish pursuit of her. Quite often, it is also the mother who thinks that a prosperous son-in-law is a better proposition than letting the girl follow her career and leave home to take a job in a distant city. Now it is the girl’s turn to counsel her mother about her desire to be independent and self-sufficient. She promises that she will not abuse the freedom she has been granted and she seeks the latter’s help. Thus, once again, we witness the lonely struggle of the mother to win over the family in the name of her daughter. Interestingly, there are some recent unrecorded cases of desperate Indian mothers (I know as a teacher) who sold all their jewelry, their only personal asset from the wedding, to buy their daughters’ freedom.
However, Indian women from the upper middle and lower middle class sections are considered more powerful today. Her academic and social struggle to create her own identity and give a strong voice to the nation’s emerging youth movements addressing serious issues of governance and the rampant abuse of democracy cannot be overlooked. More and more women are writing their real success stories in different professional fields, including politics. Many Indian families today are opening up to the idea of liberalization in the home, although there are miles to go before women, cutting across all sectors, can dream freely. Meanwhile, the unrecorded battles of Indian mothers would continue for generations until “Indian Women’s Empowerment” became a reality in the home and in the Indian parliament.