top of page

Idiocy of the 

Indian Protection of Women from Domestic Violence 

It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!

4. Leadership in the wife

What designs the domination A disruptive coach

A tool for the upwardly mobile The females also as detractors

Action by the aggrieved on her own Spurring a revolt

The slotted arrangement The English difference

The vernacular adjectives and the deciphering

A real test of marital loyalty


Now let us speak about the leadership quality of the female. There is a general belief that the Indian female is weak. Well, it is correct only to a very limited extent.

I need to discuss this issue from my own life experiences. I come from a family in which the females were not subordinated. In fact, they were quite superior. For one thing, on my maternal side, the family system was matriarchal. Wherein the women folk had more say in the husband-wife relationship. For as mentioned earlier, the husband was a sort of non-entity in terms of power over his wife. The power was in the hands of the granduncle of the wife.

Second, my mother was a senior government officer, who more or less carried some legacy of the British-Indian officialdom. Beyond that very good in English. To top it, financially not dependant on the local populace, due to the fact the income was from the government coffers.

What designs the domination: I have noticed one very significant point. Actually there is no male domination over females inherently. Whoever is on the higher side of the feudal, hierarchical word code is superior and can control the other. If the female can use the lower words to the male, she is superior. That is all. The only thing is that in the husband-wife relationship, the wife has to acknowledge his superiority in the word codes.

A disruptive coach: Another thing is that usually females of the common levels cannot approach the police for any family issues, other than at the behest of some other vested interests. Now, in my own family, my mother was quite able to call the police for her own issues or for some other woman’s issue quite fast. For, when she approaches the police, being a retired senior government officer, she gets the higher words of respect from them. Usually, she is a ‘Madam’. Being a person, who loves to trounce persons who doesn’t acknowledge her social superiority and who loves to take over the subordination of others from their own superiors, she does make use of the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, to create havoc in other families.

When married females come to her, she coaches them with such words as ‘You are not his slave. You should move out on your own. Why should you need his permission? He is not your superior.’ And such words. However, she is very careful to see that her own subordinates are quite subservient to her.

What she is basically trying to do is not to create a peaceful atmosphere inside the household of the other females, but to create belligerence where there had been none. She finds it quite unbearable that another woman is being loyal and faithful to another man. It creates a feeling of revulsion in her.

A tool for the upwardly mobile: My observation here is that the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, is only a tool for the upwardly mobile class. Or a tool for such do-gooders like the NGOs, who want to come as aids to the lower class females. In both cases, there is a slight issue of contravention of what is actually aimed for by the Act. In the first case, powerful family members, both male as well as female, can use this Act to intimidate the husband. In the second case, rank outsiders line up like my mother, to batter up another man, both physically as well as legally.

The females also as detractors: Now, there was another observation that I had. When I brought up my own daughters, my policy was to lend them all the freedoms that are healthy for them. Took them for joggings, swimming, playing football, and much else. Though it did create a sense of acrimony towards me among the others, it was mainly the female folk who took it all up as a direct challenge on them, especially in the home arena. When I used to take them out in the night time in my vehicles, they would very visibly propose and wish for some major mishap to happen.

So the question of the males being the limiters of the female freedom is not correct. Even though both the Indian male as well as the female does face daunting limitations in unrestricted social movement. This is basically due to the varying levels of social hierarchy that also brings in varying levels of personal quality. Not necessarily connected to moral standards. The lower the person is, the less is his or her possibility for decent social interaction and movement around the township.

Action by the aggrieved on her own: If this Act has to be used, it has to be used by the female on her own. If she is acting at the behest of others, she has committed a terrible contravention of the sacred tenets of marriage, by aligning herself to others against her husband. It is here, the issue of a root-level change of social culture has to be envisaged.

All these rights to equality and personal dignity are all connected to English. The wife being equal to the husband is also only possible in English and languages similar to that. Being in vernacular and claiming equality, is akin to not standing up, when the class teacher comes into the class in an ordinary school in India. It is rank disobedience, impertinence and outrageous. It deserves the severest punishment!

Spurring a revolt: Now, let us think about who all would propose the wife to disobey her husband and make rally her to revolt?

The slotted arrangement: For this one has to understand the regimented formation of the Indian family. Inside each family, there is a specific regimentation of persons. Usually the senior aged persons don the top positions. Or in some cases, the rich persons occupy this slot. It can be both males as well as females. Whoever is on top, are in the vantage position to view all others as subordinates, and to receive their homage, in words, usages, deeds, postures, gestures and precedence.

The others arrange themselves in the various groves downwards. Each level would have persons subordinate to themselves. At the bottom usually are the children. In some of the households, the children exist below the level of the servants of the house also, in terms of hierarchy in words and usages.

Now, one of the youthful male persons in this household goes forth and marries a female. She is brought to the household. Now, where does she fill in? Naturally below her husband. Yet, not only below her husband, but literally under everyone who is above her husband in the hierarchy. If she enjoys the position and the servitude, then it is a liberal atmosphere for her. If she can’t find enjoyment in the servitude to others other than her husband, then she would claim that she has been enslaved.

Now, there is this very fine aspect to be understood. She is not just below her husband, but below so many others who go up the pyramid. It is like in an Indian police station. There are constables under the Sub Inspector. Yet, in the departmental hierarchy, there are so many other senior officials like the Circle Inspector, Dy.SP, SP, DIG, IG and DGP above the Sub Inspector.

The Sub Inspector can enjoy rights over the constables only to the extent that his senior officers allow him. If he is on a stance of hostility with them, they would simply ask the constables to disregard him. Then his only method to enforce his authority would be his own personal mental and physical capacity. There would be no help from the departmental regimentation to subordinate the constables. However, if the constables are attached to him at a personal level, then he can manage to remain as their leader, despite the scrapping of support from the higher authorities.

The same is the situation inside the husband’s house. The wife has been indoctrinated to listen, obey, respect and to support her husband by the powerful regimentation inside the husband’s house. Indicant words, messages, hints and many such things from the family members all add up to inform her that she is subordinate to him.

The English difference: Here comes one of the major differences between an Indian marriage and an English one. In an English marriage, it is a relationship between two persons, with no similar continual regimentation done to subordinate the wife to the husband. Whatever she has learnt over the years about the social conventions act as the machinery to make her accommodate herself as his wife.

However, in the Indian situation there is a terrible power in words, that cannot be conceived of in English. To explain it, I may need to digress a bit and go to the themes in my other books.

The vernacular adjectives and the deciphering: Look at this line: He is a good man. Now in English we understand the word ‘good’ as the adjective. However in Indian feudal languages, the word ‘good’ is not actually the most powerful indicant word regarding the person’s quality. Instead, it is the word ‘He’. ‘He’ can literally be in three different levels in most Indian languages. In Hindi, I think only two levels are there. Now, the word ‘He’ when used in the three different levels, introduces three different personalities. The highest is a great person, who has to be acknowledged, revered and obeyed.

The middle level ‘He’ is an okay guy, not too great or too small.

The third level ‘He’ is a nonentity, a person no one need give much credence to. He can be treated like dirt.

Well, this kind of deciphering of codes is related to the question of whether this person should be obeyed, respected, worshipped and acknowledged. The same lower indicant word when used in the sense of endearment has a different level of deciphering.

A real test of marital loyalty: Now, suppose the husband is on a path of obvious or subtle hostility with the senior members of his family. Now, comes the real test of the married life. The senior member would quite easily inform his wife not to revere, obey or acknowledge him. In feudal languages, they need not mention it in so many words. All they have to do is to simply change the words and usages to a lower level. The same words can also be used actually, but the sense has to be changed. For example the same lower level word for ‘He’ in a sense of endearment can be changed in meaning to that of disparagement and pejorative, by a slight change of tone and emphasis.

These are basically within the ambit of the so-called oriental treachery. It is a very huge theme and cannot be discussed in detail here.

Now, the husband would literally be like the Sub Inspector who has lost his seniors’ support. Now again the situation is quite complicated by the fact that in most cases, the marriage would have been an arranged one. In which case, the exact quality, calibre and capacity of the husband wouldn’t have been much of a reckoning factor, other than in cases wherein he is a government employee or a rich man in his own right. In most cases, his attainments would be entangled with the various features and attainments of his extended family.

It means that his wife married him not by measuring his total personal worth, but by the evaluation done by her own family (meaning parents, uncles, aunts etc.) members on the total social, financial, official and such other features of his complete family members. So that all his senior family members can and would stake a claim on his wife. If he stands in opposition to them, they would feel it their right to remove his wife from him. If his wife understands that she is his wife and not a public property, she will stand by him. If she and her own parental side support the claims of the seniors in the husband’s house, then she will not support him.

Here the situation can be real terrible, especially if his financial clout is not much. And in such situations, his mental composure would go haywire and his financial stamina would falter. His most important prop in life had deserted him, in the most vital moment.

bottom of page