On behalf of all the daughters in India- Thank you for your beautiful and inspirational message. Though I do deeply feel, Sir, our ability to empower our daughters would be incomplete unless we address the other side of the issue our society faces. Are we doing enough to raise our sons so that we can extend the privileges of following their heart to our daughter-in-laws’ too?
You see we have reached a delicate state of affairs at present. Most parents now do raise their daughters to be the powerful forces they were meant to be. That is why we find successful women in all walks of life even in arenas that until recently were dominated only by men. Yet do we teach our sons to accept these forces as equal partners in their life?
While we dream with our daughters and teach them to reach for the stars why is it that as soon as they are wives and mothers we tweak the rules. We then expect them to expertly balance the home with their careers single handed. We have great pride in our daughters who have broken barriers and reached great heights yet the image of a good daughter-in-law deeply ingrained in our mindsets is of one who serves her family. Do we teach our sons that they need to share the burden on the domestic front, that it is not right to drop their bags and lounge on the couch when they come home from work? That their children’s success also depends on their own involvement in the kids’ lives? It does not matter if she has made excruciatingly difficult decisions at work, as soon she’s home, a woman is usually the one who has to deal with the decision of what is for dinner. The heart of every single woman who works outside her home throbs with pangs of guilt because she wonders if she is doing enough to nurture her family and kids. At the same time stay at home mothers, do question themselves as to whether they contribute enough to the family. Either way they beat themselves up because though we have taught our daughters to walk in a world of men, we haven’t done enough to relieve the enormous pressure on our daughter-in-laws’ to be the perfect caregivers.
It’s time we also teach our sons to be nurturers, to be women. It’s time we teach them that if dinner is not ready on time they are responsible too. That a pile of dirty laundry lying around the house does not reflect on the woman’s incapability but on the incapability of every one at home who does not share the burden with her.
If our daughters have learnt that they need to make choices in the light of their own wisdom, then our sons need to learn to accept and respect these choices. Every woman has the innate wisdom to know what works best for her family, her situation so she deserves to be respected for her choice whether she chooses to work outside the home or stay home to be with her children.
Our sons need to know that to exert control over the people you love is not what makes a man but to loosen those reins of control and create a space where the family can express itself without fear is what makes a truly great man. If we teach our daughters to marry for love, then we need to teach our sons and daughters what is love. It is a shared space where each person can be who they truly want to be.
You are right Mr. Bachchan when you say that the length of the skirt does not define a person’s character. After all, clothes are just a covering for the beautiful temples that house our spirit. But as a mother I do worry that if the clothes my children wore had necklines that plunged too low, hems that rode up high or were low waisted rather no waisted pants that revealed a crack, then what society would see when they looked them would probably be just a size, a figure, a body type not the budding talents or gentle souls that they are. It would take away from the magnificence they hold within. Jab tak puri duniya apni soch nahi badalti ,“log kya kahenge” is easier said than done.
And lastly whether they are sons or daughters we need to teach them to each take responsibility of their own health, well-being and happiness. They need to know that their life is a creation of their own thoughts, that unless they are happy with themselves they will never be happy with another.
Maybe,Sir, you could in your beautiful words write a letter to all the grand sons too.