30 November 2007

To Ponder Over...

Under the category of 'Daughter of', while filling up a form for obtaining a Voters' ID, I chose to write my mother's name instead of my father's. I may now not get that Voters' ID. A Voters' ID. Something that Vimla, who acts as domestic help for a lot of neighbours, had to convince a very reluctant official to obtain. "What's the point? Doesn't your husband have one?" Her husband. He had abandoned her a long time ago, forcing her to be the sole provider for her family. Vimla today is more economically independent and empowered than several of the women for whom she works. These upper class fully educated women, for whom she works, are very likely to not know about their sexual rights; are very likely to be abused with a marriage and not complain. Because 'single'/ 'seperated'/ 'divorced' status has its own attached social stigma. Vimla would know. But Vimla, in managing to finally get her Voter's ID, was able to register her dissent. And in trying to demonstrate an alternate possibility, even if it was on a government form, so was I.


Vidya said...

Daughter of.. Atleast the word Lastname makes a good attempt at hiding the system in niceties! However I no longer understand these terms empowered/independent. The question is if Vimla's husband decides to come back what would she do? Social stigma more often than not forces them to go back even if they don't want to.

metaphysicallycomplicit said...

'Daughter of', 'Wife of', last names - they're similar in the sense that they force people to conform to certain structures.

You're right about how empowered/ independent can be problematic terms. I was using them here in a comparative sense. And also to refer to Vimla's ability to make certain choices about herself, her body, her children on her own terms. Of course, my use of 'choice' here is also limited since I'm not talking about social conditioning. But sometimes even this restricted notion of 'choice' becomes important (as in Vimla's case.) Better this sort of choice than a complete denial of space.

I also agree to what you're saying about the husband coming back. It's all rather depressing.