Friday, August 05, 2005

Sitaram and Radheshyam

A WOMAN NAMED SITARAM ?

Have you ever heard of a woman called SITARAM ? or RADHAKRISHNA or RADHESHYAM ? WHY ?
The names sound feminine enough.
Then why does one only hear of men carrying those double-barreled names ? Legend has it that these double barreled names are the outcome of a " vardaan" from the Gods to two women, Sita and Radha: that their names would always precede the man's. this was because their steadfast loyalty and pure love had raised them head and shoulders above their communities, even their men, Ram and Krishna, respectively.
For Krishna had dallied with dozens and married two, but Radha, a married woman defied home, family and society, to abide by her steadfast love for her Lord.
Sita too proved her mettle, in banwas, in imprisonment , in the agnipariksha and ever after, to place herself a cut above the Maryada Purushottam, against whose later days and apparent lust for power, question marks still stand.
So it is Men who are called Radhakrishnan, Radheshyam, Sitaram or Shivaramakrishna.
The issue here is the usurpation, by the male of the species, of the double-barreled name, which was the vardan of the Gods for the females of the species.
Why are Men so afraid of being outdone or exposed by their Women ? so much so that they must perforce even snatch away laudatory names, bestowed on them by the Gods. No girls are ever christened Sitaram, Radheshyam or Radhekrishna; only plain Sita or Rama, Radha or Krishna. It is the boys who get the double appellation.
In the old days, women were not even tolerated acting out male roles on stage. But it was alright for a man to done a sari and makeup to essay a female role.
From the beginnings of Time, or as the saying goes, " Jab Insaan ne dharti par hosh sambhala….", the female of the species was found to be the Lifegiver, the Nurturer. Hence the personification of earth, nature and the rivers etc. as female deities and the matrilineal communities. At some juncture, when a crisis erupted when the woman was going through her reproductive cycle, the Man used his brute physical force to meet the crisis and to take over.
What proof is there that the Cave Woman did not accompany the Cave Man on his hunting expeditions ? or that Cave Man actually slung Cave Woman over his shoulder to cut short the wooing process ? except the buffoonery of some Western writers ? where brute force takes the day. In the Orient, female deities held sway longer - in fact, almost until the precursors of the Occident arrived, after the Occident had outgrown its own female deities with the advent of Christianity..
No matter how much they may wish to disown it, modern Hindutva men cannot escape the acknowledgement that their predecessors copied Islam's purdah system in shutting India's women into ghunghats. Along with the ghunghat, which is alien to the carvings of Mohenjadaro and Khajuraho both, Hindutva has also opted for aping Christianity and Islam in imposing uniformity in organized religion, where rather than reap souls, religious leaders prefer reap real estate riches from their devotees.
Hindutva is dead set on maintaining parity with Islamic regimes in not allowing women their say in Parliament. The Women's Reservation Bill continues to hang fire more than fifty years after equal rights for women were enshrined in the Constitution. given the mood of the present day politics the bill could well nigh remain "hanging fire" for decades more.

Kusum Choppra

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