Sunday, October 12, 2008

Of Live-in wives, Rakhi-sisters, and Babysitting-mothers

New Delhi. National Commission for Women (NCW) has welcomed Maharashtra Government decision to confer legal rights of a wife to a woman who has been in a live-in relationship for a considerable amount of time. NCW says that the step in the right direction and central government should make it a national law. Commission further demanded that rakhi-sisters and babysitting-mothers should also be conferred legal rights of a sister and mother respectively.

“Men have been using women without being responsible towards them for a long time now. Such laws will put a fetter around such wild men. Live-in relationships are just the beginning. We will make sure that men are tamed and civilized through similar laws extending to other relationships.” NCW spokesperson Anekta Kapoor told Faking News.

Ms. Kapoor pointed out that many Indian men, especially Hindus, have rakhi-sisters, who even play the role of own-sisters in religious and social ceremonies but are given nothing in return. In fact the rakhi rupees given to them are also too less. She termed this practice as exploitation of women.

Ms. Kapoor suggested that girls, who would tie rakhi on the wrists of men other than their brothers for a considerable amount of time, should be given the legal status of a sister where she can claim share in property or a regular income for survival from their cash-rich rakhi-families.

Similarly the rights of babysitting-mothers have to be protected. According to Ms. Kapoor, men force their wives to work for money and instead employ babysitters to take care of new born babies. Many of such babysitters even breastfeed the babies, Ms. Kapoor informed. She told that such babysitting-mothers should get equal rights as mothers as they are the one who have actually discharged the duties of a nursing and doting mother.

NCW has decided to push for these recommendations and turn them into national laws to protect interests of women in the country.

Although there is no national commission of men or any organization talking about men’s rights, Faking News tried to get the male opinion on the whole issue. Most of the men were surprised that government was conferring the legal rights of a spouse to only the woman in case of a live-in relationship. Why the man in such a relationship should not be given the rights of a husband after considerable time has passed, men wondered.

There were mixed reactions among the men to NCW’s suggestion of conferring legal rights to rakhi-sisters and babysitting-mothers. Some welcomed the step while others termed it laughable.

“I have suffered heavily due to this reckless practice of making rakhi-sisters, which is actually encouraged and forced upon by parents. There were so many beautiful girls in my colony, but my parents asked them to call me bhaiya or asked me to call them didi, and I ended up making them rakhi-sisters. When I grew up I knew it was such a tragedy. Now parents will think twice before doing so as they would know that they might end up giving their property to rakhi-daughters, and no one like me will suffer in future.” Mukesh Yogi, a software engineer confided to Faking News.

Clearly the decision of Maharashtra Government has opened a can of worms, and in coming days we could see new definitions of relationships and legal rights in India.


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