|HOME | NEWS | GUEST COLUMN|
November 25, 2000
A Woman To Blame
Dasharath was a good king. He loved his sons, especially the eldest Ram, very much. He knew Ram was the right choice as his heir. Anyway the dynastic rules laid down that the first born male child inherited the throne. It was only Kaikeyi, the hateful youngest queen who demanded -- to use a culturally different metaphor -- 'her pound of flesh.' Of course, the two favours she asked -- one that her son Bharat -- instead of Ram -- be enthroned and that Ram be exiled for 14 years were due to her for the extraordinary feat performed by her during a battle.
It was using her own finger in place of the main screw in a wheel of Dashrath's chariot that was coming apart which earned her the vardaans or boons and favours from her husband. She was to have asked for them any time she wanted. And what was she doing on a battlefield? It seems Dashrath was so enamoured of her he could not be without her even when a war had to be won.
Reminds one of Sangeeta Bijlani in hotels and dressing rooms with Azharuddin during Test matches, doesn't it? And now, not having a poor low caste working class woman like Manthara to take away some of the blame off the queen, Bijlani, it seems, must bear it all by herself.
Blame the woman is the motto of all those who find fault with changes in Azhar since 1995 when he got close to Bijlani and married her. People waited until her husband's fall from grace to publicly say she was a bad influence on him. How often one hears, "My brother is good, his wife forces him to behave irresponsibly." How can a good, innocent, generous man metamorphosise into a monster just because he marries a wrong woman?
One does not support men ditching their older or, as in this case, a traditional wife once he acquires fame and money. Nor does one support the fake, sham parallel marriage to a more glamorous woman as is the case with Dharmendra or Boney Kapoor. But it seems to take more than upsetting a marriage to blame the new woman. The fact that Sangeeta Bijlani has not been a super success has added to the contempt people now openly show for her. After all, we have rewarded Hema Malini, a participant in an illegal act, with a Padma Shri (she even said it should have been given to her much earlier) and the prestigious position of chairman of the National Film Development Corporation.
In the controversial Christian Personal Law, a woman can be divorced if she commits adultery but not her husband. His adultery must be coupled with desertion, violence or incest for the wife to be able to seek divorce. It appears in Bijlani's case that her being the cause of the break-up of a marriage or her expensive and glamorous lifestyle had to be coupled with her husband's loss of status for the blame to be laid at her feet.
If Azhar lost a match purposely, he did it himself. His wife was not on the field. A person always has a choice. A son or a brother who turns against his family is to be blamed for himself. It is his family he is neglecting or ill treating. And it is his team and his country a cricketer is betraying.
What about this Chamundi who says he knows he is called a broker and a pimp? That he is said to have led Azhar astray in the first place? Apparently he has a grudge against Bijlani. Did the lady take care to see that this friend would not continue wielding influence so that she does not meet the same fate as Azhar's first wife? It would not be an unwise thing to have done.
There are friends and cousins who say he was once a simple shy boy. No one is born corrupt or glamour struck. One's interaction with new realities forces one to make choices. Azharuddin, a simple shy man from an orthodox family, seems to have become comfortable with his new status through a glamorous wife. That was his choice.
And yet even in the year 2000, the story is still written with the woman as the temptress who makes the man fall from grace, from his tapashcharya, the daughter of Eve, of Menaka, of Kaikeyi.
Sonal Shukla is a writer and feminist activist.
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK