Monday, 31 January 2011

Kavita Kosh: A visionary marvel

Having a break from the series of Origin of English words today, I would like to post about an act of vision which not only deserves to be respected but it is also an act of adulation, admiration and our unscathed attention!!

Civilization began and man started to use language to communicate, to express himself and soon a need was felt that text needed to be conserved. There were stones, clay tablets, wax tablets, papyrus, silk and what not! All these were used before the technological innovation of books. All what was written came to be recorded in books. But with the passage of time, the methods and means to record and collect the documents too have undergone a drastic change. Present age is the age of internet and high tech devices. Hundreds and thousand of documents can be uploaded, saved and retrieved with just a click of the mouse.

Well versed in the attributes of this wonderful medium and being an expert in its application, an IT professional, Mr Lalit Kumar, in 2006 i.e. just four years back, conceptualized the idea of coming up with a website where poetry could be documented and saved. To be a visionary one does not need any specific qualification, a special degree or an accreditation from an academic institution. It is the thought that matters and the thought here was to develop an encyclopaedia of poetry where poetry lovers could find, read and satisfy their literary cravings The website, Kavita Kosh(, soon developed as a chest or we can say a treasure house of Hindi as well as Urdu poetry where one could find poems of all eras and varied genres.

From Vedas and Upnishads to the ghazals of Gulzar, from regional poems to folk songs, from creations of the great veteran poets to the contemporary works of budding poets, from complete anthologies to the songs written for children, we can find every kind of literary work here in this website.

This uphill task of making Kavita Kosh a literary repository could not be done by single person. Soon a team of voluntary contributors and intellectuals came together. The team of Kavita Kosh has been working relentlessly since then and that too without any commercial interest. An intrinsic motivation makes them work so hard and cooperate with each other in the best possible way. Kudos to their diligent work!

Kavita Kosh is a kind of boon for those engaged in research work in Hindi Literature and Hindi/Urdu poetry. It should also not go unnoticed that it is also filling the cultural chasm for those Indians who are living outside India holding them to their mother tongue and mother land. It is a blessing for all the poetry lovers!

The site allows room and opportunities for the readers and poets to edit the poems and add new ones. Being a kind of virtual library, Kavita Kosh is doing a fantabulous job of preserving and conserving our literature which otherwise is prone to get destroyed in the wake of the influence of western culture at present.

Literature, though not biological, is just like a living being. It breathes, expresses itself and can live beyond the lives of those who have created it if it is preserved appropriately. Whether prose or poetry, literature has transcendental properties. Kavita Kosh, in real sense is working towards conserving our literary heritage.

The present day concept of exhibiting success envisages the use of a whole lot of quantitative and statistical figures. Henceforth the popularity of Kavita Kosh too can be measured and represented in numbers. It goes like this.

There are: 1118 poets, 186 shayar, 135 female poets, 391 poets who have translated poems, 1225 books, 5305 Ghazals, 502 Nazm, 12790 poems…..

And the list goes on and on…!!!

Let me come up with another astounding figure here…Every day more than 65000 pages of this website are visited… Phew! Isn’t it astonishing?

It is growing day by day….its length; breadth and height are increasing dynamically. For example, the recently added Audio section here gives us the opportunity to listen to the timeless poetry in the voice of legendary poets themselves. New plans for its further growth and development regarding the compilation of poetry are being regularly formulated and implemented. We hope that the quality work continues for the times to come. What all is needed is the increase in number of contributors who would put in their efforts to fulfil its real objective of making it an asset for the generations to come.

Thanks to Kavita Kosh that our future generations would definitely have a rendezvous with our literary and poetic legacies otherwise there are chances that they would only be able to learn “my hips don’t lie” in the name of poetry. The contribution made by Kavita Kosh needs all applause and accolades. We all need to understand the importance, its uniqueness and the significance of Kavita Kosh can be summed up in one single sentence, “The past and the present are being saved here for the future!”

The legendary maker of this site, Lalit Kumar has recently come up with a hindi blog aggregator by the name of “Lalitya”…And what my strong conviction is that this new project of his, would also grow exponentially as I feel that The Man has been blessed with “Midas Touch”

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Origin of English Words- "Spoonerism"

The words or phrases in which letters or syllables get swapped are known as Spoonerisms. These linguistic flip flops or accidental transposition of letters and syllables often produce rhyming sounds along with making sense. English language has provided rich and fertile soil to their growth. There are around 616,500 words in English and are growing at a rate of 450-500 per year. All this offers a great scope for such a ludicrous swapping. Such swapping happens mainly due to slip of tongue.

The word “Spoonerism” owes its existence to Rev William A Spooner. Born in 1844 in London, Spooner was an albino with poor eyesight. He was a Dean in Oxford University. He died at the age of 88.

With his “Tinglish errors” or may say “English terrors" he has left a legacy of laughter and smiles apart from providing a new entry in English dictionary i.e. the word “spoonerism”

Spooner had a nimble mind; it worked so fast that his tongue could not match the speed with which his brain processed the thoughts which led to the crossing up of words and sounds. This especially happened when he was angry or anxious.

Some of his famous “Spoonerisms” were:

"Work is the curse of the drinking classes" when he meant to say "Drink is the curse of the working classes".

"Noble tons of soil" for "noble sons of toil",

"You have hissed my mystery lectures; you have tasted the whole worm" for "you have missed my history lectures; you have wasted the whole term"

"Queer old dean" when referring to “Dear old Queen Victoria”.

There is a psychoanalytical point of view when one produces these verbal somersaults.

The words are substituted in which the two words--intended and spoken--are not related in meaning but are similar in their sounds such as 'persecuted' for 'prosecuted'. It gives us the account of structure and organization of our mental dictionary. Words are stored in our mental dictionary in semantic classes (according to their related meanings) and also by their sounds (similar to the spelling sequences in a printed dictionary). Speech errors like that of spoonerisms, show the mental representation and processing of what we know about the language we speak. Such errors also sometimes reveal our repressed thoughts.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Origin of English Words-A series!

I have been motivated to write this series by the series of 'Famous Photographs' by Lalit in his blog “Writely Expressed” So I owe this idea of penning down a series of small articles entirely to him. Though I may not be as good as him, I would try my best to sustain the interest of the readers.
When we study phonetics we also study about the history of origin of words. Initially here in this series I would be writing on Eponymous words, i.e. how some “proper nouns” became “common nouns” and “adjectives”. How some people have managed to leave their impact and have influenced the society that their names have become an integral part of the language and are now lavishly and extensively spoken, written and heard of in day to day usage of the language without even our being aware of their origin!
So those who are interested to know about how some words have been coined in English, would now be able to satisfy their curiosity with this little endeavor of mine.

The first word which I am taking up is “boycott”

The dictionary meaning of the word boycott is “to abstain from or act together in abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with as an expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion.” Many people take part in a boycott at some stage of their lives but almost no one knows how the word came into usage

It was in 1880’s that word “boycott" entered the English language at the time of Irish Land War.

There was an estate agent of Earl of Erne by name of Captain Charles Boycott in the 19th century. He was a former officer in English army. By nature he was harsh, insensitive and unfair even to genuine demands of the poor tenants as they were demanding the reduction in rent. He even went to the extent of evicting the tenants.

Charles Stewart Parnell, of Irish Land League encouraged the people to oppose Charles Boycott by non violent means. He made local businessmen and tenants to refuse to work for him. Boycott and his family had to remain without servants or farmhands and even there was no mail delivery or service in stores for him. He was farming at Loughmask in County Mayo and had to hire 50 Orangeman who were the volunteers from the north of the country for carrying out his harvest and that too under the protection of 900 soldiers. Ultimately he had to flee to England with his family. Or we may say Captain Charles Boycott was “Boycotted”.

Boycott became the “boycottee”, not the “boycotter”. He was ostracized, expulsed, or opposed because of his behaviour and actions.

Soon the word “boycott” became a byword and began to be used. It was used by the press for the first time.

The Times of London on November 20, 1880 said: "The people of New Pallas have resolved to 'boycott' them and refused to supply them with food or drink."

The Daily News on 13th December 1880 wrote: "Already the stoutest-hearted are yielding on every side to the dread of being 'Boycotted'.

Within few weeks, Le Figaro in Paris said: "The lively Irish have invented a new word; they are saying now to 'boycott' someone, meaning to ostracize him."

The word is now invariably used in French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Croatian, Polish, and Japanese!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A symbol of disability---but an only option for our liberation!!

Having contracted polio as a small child or baby, one has to undergo a wide range of treatments and long and seemingly unending hospitalization. One would have to use braces, crutches or many other orthotic devices, which at that time are the only options that can keep the person mobile. These can also be removed with time as and when deemed fit by the doctors. We may start walking unaided. One almost forgets the entire psychological trauma suffered at the time of contracting the disease. But a day may come after some 25-30 years, that we might start having a feeling of exhaustion, fatigue and weakness in muscles. Post Polio Syndrome comes now to stay there in one's life. Life now becomes all the difficult. We may face declining activities with reduced energy levels. Unwantingly we have to sit back at home and show reluctance to go out. We tend to become isolated due to decreased mobility as one has to stay indoors all the time.

The doctors at this point recommend using a wheelchair. It is quite understandable that the decision of transitioning to wheelchair is difficult, painful and angst-ridden.

I can relate very well and understand all these experiences since I too am a polio patient.

Patients with Post Polio Syndrome or any other debilitating illness might have to use a wheelchair for their mobility as some point of time.. There can also be an acquired disability like spinal cord injury, due to an accident or some chronic illness, that may leave no other choice than using a wheelchair for the rest of the life. Let us see the example of Christopher Reeve, who after his spinal cord injury, became Man in Wheelchair from a Superman. Nobody knows what is in there store for him.

Physicians may recommend us using a wheelchair. There can be some initial hesitation and we may think a lot before deciding in favour of a wheelchair. It would help us in conserving our limited energy apart from preventing us from falling and tripping, saving us from further agonies.

Although it can make our lives easier, yet the decision is very agonizing, complex and emotionally disturbing. Why is it so?? Why is that the very thought of using a wheelchair is mentally so upsetting? Why do people dread to be seen using a wheelchair in public? Why the phrases “wheelchair bound” or “confined to wheelchair” are used?

Rational needs of using the wheelchair is now overpowered by the irrational negative attitude towards it. The last option available for mobility is seen with so much repulsion!! There are negative emotional overtones towards that object which is the only means of “Our Liberation”. The whole credit of our being mobile and our outings should solely can be laid on a wheelchair.

The factors contributing to this resistance not only depend on our psyche but also on the reactions and attitudes of the people around us, our family and our society.

We may have got much praise for “walking” with the help or braces and crutches or sometimes unaided after our rehabilitation. So we may not want to let those praises turn into comments like “you have now become lazy and so don’t want to move!!”

Society gives “special and inordinate value” to walking. Sitting on a wheelchair we look different! No one can ignore us or I may say no one can resist from “staring” at us. So it becomes virtually impossible to be a “passer”. We then tend to see ourselves from the eyes of others.

All this is due to the fact that a wheelchair is the universal symbol of disability! So the thought of sitting on a wheelchair becomes one with idea of getting marginalized or stigmatized. It divides the world in two groups “have’s and “have not’s”. That the equation becomes unbalanced now….on one side there are able-bodied people and on the other there is a disabled person! We then are not part of the “popular crowd” Again the reason behind this is that since ages, persons with disabilities are regarded as burdensome without any dreams and desires of their own.

So our view of ourselves becomes unwanted. We become the victims of age old prejudices. Rather than thinking in a positive and rational manner we find ourselves tied in the shackles of our own thinking. We then prefer to be “walking” even if there is 90% risk of falling down and hurting ourselves sometimes fatally rather than moving around in a wheelchair and enjoying almost 90% mobility.

There is no harm in accepting that “I am person with disability”. I am using a leg brace or a pair of crutches doesn’t make me an able-bodied person. Wheelchair too is an assistive device like a brace. All that we need is mobility…which may sometimes be provided by a leg brace and with the changing conditions of health it can be provided by a wheelchair!

There needs to be a trade off between negative irrational beliefs and positive rational thoughts. We were paralyzed by polio…let the attitudes of society not paralyze us more and more each day!

We need to be moving and for that we need to be liberated, though not physically but mentally!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Commitment Phobia

Commitment can be best defined in just three words and they are “ a purposeful persistence”.

Just as children have bad stomach or measles, likewise men suffer from what is known as “Commitment Phobia”. Phobia is an excessive and an unreasonable desire to avoid the feared stimulus. Fears can be crippling and Commitment Phobia too is a kind of disabling disorder, which can lead to complete disability or we may say an inability to have stable and long term genuine relationships. The stimulus which such men fear is, getting committed to a long term relationship with a single woman or we may say they have “One Woman Syndrome”. It is a psychological as well as an emotional disorder. A paradoxical situation is seen i.e. a commitment phobic only craves what he fears most and it is ‘Love and Connection’. Intimacy is in his DNA but still he runs away from it.

The man who suffers from commitment phobia is himself a tortured soul. He suffers from emotional conflicts. He has negative and irrational beliefs about love and togetherness in a relationship. He does not suffer alone, but creates confusion, pain, and havoc in the life of a sincere woman who loves him. Emotional intimacy brings shivers to him! All this is due to the unpredictable and bizarre behavior of this emotionally unavailable man!

It is rightly said for a commitment phobic man that “he can easily turn a woman who is a saint into a mad woman as he is quite skillful and adept in playing games with her mind and heart”.

While writing this I might sound harsh and bitter with my words but I can’t sugar coat the reality! This is a disorder that is extensively found.

Men who are reading this article can check themselves for the symptoms whether they suffer from it not. When a commitment phobic man sits down to think of having a long term relationship he might have breathlessness, dizziness, excessive sweating, dry mouth, a bout of anxiety or a sensation of detachment. He might become irritable with complete clouding of thought processes.

A woman must spot out whether the man, she is madly in love with is commitment phobic or not. It would require 3 ‘Ts’ i.e. Time, Testing and Tenacity to do that because such a man often camouflages. Charming, charismatic and romantic, he knows how to make a woman safe and special. Being a master of seduction, he possesses all the qualities to lead a woman out of a world of reality into his faux fantasy land.The poor female eats away her pride and forgets her own self in loving him. She promises more and more to maintain the relation with him than he does!

He would never tell the girl that he loves her even if she repeatedly keeps on reminding him of her sincerest feelings. He would feel love for her when he doesn’t see her but at the same time is ready to run away when she wants to be close. He shows adulation towards the woman he is with and makes her feel as his dream lady, barraging compliments to her! He would want a relationship but at the same time would ask for space. This is the reason that he is often attracted to have long distance relationships with busy and independent women who might not try to entrap him into any kind of commitment or promises. Such a man is an ardent pursuer till he wins over the lady on whom he sets his eyes on!

He has a tendency to get a woman who is quite different from what he actually wants. She may be much older, much younger, married, or they might have different interests and circumstances. As these differences act as tools in the form of excuses to end relationships.

So beware…“A Commitment-phobe loves the chase but doesn’t want the kill”. He gets attracted to a female’s reluctance and all the more intrigued by her resistance! There are subtle messages in his announcements when he says, “You are special for a short time, but it won’t be forever”. He is never ready to talk about his relationship goals and mostly chooses a woman who herself is insecure and needs attention. This man dislikes tears but is never moved by them.He retains the power to refuse the love of a female who is almost reduced to a level of a beggar begging for his affection and feeling so powerless in front of him.

Psychologists opine that this disorder can be the result of an emotional trauma or some kind of betrayal during the course of a person’s life. It can also be due to some inferiority complex.

So if one really loves a man and unfortunately the man is a commitment phobic guy, one needs to act objectively rather than justifying the actions and acting as an advocate of this Mr Right. He needs help. Counseling and hypnoanalysis can show fruitful results by helping in resolving his unresolved emotions and conflicts.

A word for females: Do not become a victim of a commitment phobic guy as there are few chances of winning over such a man.His actions have to be taken a closer rather than getting mesmerized by his words. It can take a huge toll on your emotional health as you won't be able to trust the words "I love you" again in your life. So leave him if you don’t have the patience as it can drain you mentally and emotionally.To get him there needs a lot of hard work to be put into the relationship from your side. You have to try pulling him out from his dark world of negative irrational beliefs.

Saturday, 27 November 2010


Cougar is a domestic cat living in wild. It is a big game predatory cat. But now the word “Cougar” has become synonymous with a middle aged woman who goes ‘hunting for a cub’! This solitary cat prowls and preys on a man almost of her son’s age!!

The word can be new to you but the phenomenon is age old. If we go back to the 1500's we would find that Queen Elizabeth was notorious for her strong inclinations towards younger courtiers!

The concept might definitely sound weird to the Indian psyche since we are made to believe that 'respectable' ladies DO NOT behave like this! But the fact is that, it is a fast developing phenomenon. It has become quite common in western countries especially in U.S where you would come across many such examples. You must have heard of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher who have 15 years of age difference while and Barbara Hershey and Naveen Andrews have an age gap of 21 years. The modern woman is seen as strong figure in society and thus her attitude towards cougar dating is less secretive now.

Somebody has rightly said, “The human mind is so complex and things are so tangled up with each other that, to explain a blade of straw, one would have to take to pieces an entire universe”. Thus whole lot of factors…psychological, biological, emotional…here also, get involved into converting a woman into ‘a cougar’ and a young man going after her, completely mesmerized.

A woman in her late 40’s and early 50’s reaches her sexual peak..the time which coincides with the male menopause. She might feel deprived of her physical needs at this time. She finds a man quite younger than her age, full of energy in comparison with her spouse. Things begin to get exciting, enticing and interesting for her when she finds an untiring stamina and an unstoppable intensity in a young man! Modern day educated, empowered, professionally successful and financially secure woman would like to seek some thrills with a man who can help in fulfilling her unmet desires.

Cougaring may sometimes go beyond physical infatuation. The woman may want someone to appreciate her, to be with her and to be tied to her. The reason behind it may be that she might be suffering from “Empty Nest Syndrome”. It is a time when her children leave home after becoming independent. The ‘Goody Goody Momma’ now becomes ‘Ms Independent’. Finding her relationship with her spouse stale and unadventurous, she enjoys mentoring a young man since she has got a lifetime experience which the young man doesn’t have. She tries to find a man who is romantic, chivalrous and, above all, relatively free of the emotional baggage. Her man should be alone, free and available for her.

And the man involved, gets attracted towards her maturity and self confidence which she has developed during the course of her life. Those young men who have a broken heart sometimes find women of their age boring, manipulative and selfish get attracted towards wiser, spirited and older women. So the emotionally stunted man looks for a motherly figure in her.

But unfortunately such unrealistic expectations, misplaced affections and pseudo-attachments in no way offer a solution to the problems caused by middle life crisis for women. The solution to their problem lies in their real set ups and in their own surroundings rather than in going berserk and haywire.

Leisure time activities, hobbies and career pursuits can give fuller meaning to their lives along with a kind real contentment.Both the spouses can rediscover each other and should dedicate more time to each other and thus connect to each other in a more meaningful way, since THEY both have spent their lives together.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

A growing culture of slenderness!!

We need to be beautiful to be worthy!!

And what does the concept of beauty encompass??

A difficult question…right??

Beauty is mostly defined according to our cultural settings. Females fantasize about their men having six-pack-abs just like Sharukh Khan with a sturdy body! Pot-belliness, hairiness and obesity are seen with contempt and rejection. And men want females to be just like Angelina Jolie..

They can’t tolerate flab on the skins, not even hesitate to comment on the physical appearance of the other person without even thinking about how the person would feel or take it and that too with a least amount of realisation, that they themselves are so imperfect!

Having a great physique becomes synonymous with “achha”. They without being given any right to do so, indulge in value judgement!

Being overwhelmed by this fashion world and trying to get westernized we have started worshipping the culture of slenderness. Fashion doesn’t permit us to appreciate large size, maturity, voluptuousness and massiveness. People are swayed by the glamorous media giving them various choices such as creams, lotions, serums, and liposuction and laser surgeries. All this has conditioned the minds against fat under the skin. There is constant reinforcement about the disapproval of overweight in the minds when people find large number of gyms, aerobic centres, spas mushrooming even in small towns. They tend to set unrealistic standards not only for themselves but also for those who are around them.

Poor body image is also a product of ones low self-esteem. It becomes both the cause and effect. The person may not only dislike himself due to obesity but he may also not even like to see plumpier people. Those who are not satisfied with their own bodies might also find faults with others. Thus complex psychological issues sometimes get involved in this whole issue of body image. We then get driven by a fantasy that “our life begins only when we are thin”.

You would be shocked to know that in a study conducted by the scientists, ‘body shame index’ was calculated. It was found that men and women could not find obese people suitable as their partners. They even had problem with their sexual arousability.

Unfortunately even our cultural prejudices are in favour of slenderness and against overweight. This is also a function of psychological and social factors. People associate slenderness with happiness, success, will power and is acceptable socially. On the other hand overweight symbolizes laziness, lack of will power, and being out of control. And alas! Out ward appearance thus stands to symbolize personal order!

Those who cannot conform to the set standards of slenderness due to any reason have to face prejudices. There is an increasing and an indiscriminate negative stereotyping of the people who are plump.

Though being obese and overweight is not good for health and can lead to many diseases and its hazardous effects are innumerable, but relating the size of body to being good or bad is just outrageous. A fat body should not be regarded as an insult.

There should not be objectification and criticism of the body or it can have devastating impact on the psychology of an individual.

Confucius has said: 'Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.' These are not only the words to be read and forgotten. These should be deeply embedded in our psyche. Every individual is unique and beautiful. To be different is not a bad thing.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Frailty thy name is woman...

When we talk to infidelity or frailty, consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously, an image of a man comes in our mind. Why doesn’t the image of a woman ever come in our minds especially in the context of Indian society?

The image of a woman embedded in our Indian psyche is that of a weakling who has always been suppressed, oppressed and exploited by the male dominant society. She is an “abla naari” who is always a dedicated wife, incapable of committing any adulterous act!

But let us not be hypocrites anymore. Let us not indulge in undue display of modesty. Let us not obfuscate or try to confuse the truth under the veils of denials!

The modern day Indian woman is getting more and more into extra marital affairs.

The “fairer sex”, now days, is quite a lot, becoming “unfair” to her life partner. She no longer feels any special bonding with her home and hearth. The present day females are thus responsible for turning their marriages into “Caustic Marriages”, leaving their relationships to corrode and rot.

And shockingly, this is one of the reasons behind increasing divorces cases in our country. The women of the feminist movement in our country might come running after me with batons in their hands for writing all this. But closing the eyes does not hide the truth.

I might sound cruel and anti feminine but I would like to say that a woman is better than a man in the matter of infidelity. When she can hide her secret bank accounts so well, then she can also concealing her hush-hush affairs quite dexterously. She is adept in combining subterfuge along with her relationship management skill to escape scot-free. A definite set of pattern is found when a female enters into the cheating business!

She often rationalizes her act by saying that something is missing in her life and this “something” which is missing in her life is fulfilled by the other man! She might have everything—a home, a family and a great husband—but she still wants to be “happier”! She may justify her action by putting all the blame on her husband that he doesn’t give her ample time and attention. The reason for the vacuum can be given to inability to conceive. And thus there goes a long list of reasons and causes. She tries to find “spark” somewhere else.

Inclination towards the other guy may gradually become an intrusive and obsessive thought. There may be acute longing for that person. She might also remain in pain due to her inability to be with him.

Another amazing trend seen in this regard is that this another guy mostly hails from her social group whom she trusts. He may be a co-worker, some one from friend’s circle or an old college friend. The guy, with whom she gets involved, is generally single and is likely to remain single due to his previously broken relationship. Or he may be an “unhappily-married” man.

Infidelity may be mental or emotional one, and not necessarily, be sexual. She may not indulge in physical relation with the other man. It can be under the guise of a platonic relationship or “just friendship”. She takes her lover as her soul mate and continues with her marriage, which gives her ultimate security. This way she enjoys a double bonanza! Emotional needs get fulfilled by the lover and all the other needs are taken care of, by the poor hubby!

The readers might find it to be exaggerated but such a kind of the set pattern is found when a female indulges in an extra marital affair taking her own life, her husband’s life and the lives of the kids to a threshold where nothing else but destruction.

The vow “til death do you part” just remains a lip service. The modern day liberated, educated and an outgoing woman wants to be a free-bird. She does not want to be left behind the men in any respect whether it may be the area of infidelity or cheating.

The chemicals released in her brain make her fall in love time and again.

Shakespeare was not wrong when he said….

“Why, she would hang on him
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on, and yet, within a month—
Let me not think on't—Frailty, thy name is woman!”

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Are They Really "Role Less" Creatures??

When we talk of identifying the marginalized groups in the society, disabled population is always taken into consideration especially in underdeveloped and developing countries. But if we take a closer look within this section of the society, there is yet another subset which has to face the sting of being disabled to a greater extent and live a life of mediocrity. It is of disabled women. It’s really unfortunate and shocking to see a worse kind of gender bias within this group. There springs up a case of ‘double discrimination’…being disabled and being female, they are the worst suffers in every walk of life.

A disabled woman may be a victim of a paradoxical situation where poverty would to her increased disability and disability would increase her poverty. Lack of knowledge, awareness and literacy may further worsen the situation. Her potential to learn and develop as an independent entity takes a back seat, hindering the attainment of equal opportunities.

The countries where the notion of ‘son preference’ dominates culturally, girls with disabilities become a second rate citizen for the family as well as for the society. A disabled woman may confront two contradictory situations. On one side her health, her medical care and her basics needs are totally ignored by the care takers. Lack of positive stimulation often results in the stunted growth of personality and self esteem. On the other hand she may be overprotected due to that prevalent superstitions and ignorance that leads to her complete isolation from the society.

In one of the studies conducted by UNESCO, it has been estimated that only around 1-2% of disabled children in developing countries receive any kind of education, and out of this low percentage disabled boys attend schools much more frequently than disabled girls. The fact sheet prepared by Rehabilitation International and the World Institute on Disability for the UN 4th World Conference shows such heart rending results.

The phenomenon is present every where, in almost every country irrespective of economic development and culture. The difference is only in the magnitude.

The females with physical impairment are employed at lower rates than the disabled men. Disabled women have little access to education and employment. They are given less guidance about their career and future lives; receive less rehabilitation services and they just survive with almost no economic security. In yet another survey, it has been found that around 42% of men with disabilities are able to actively seek work as compared to 24% women.

She is definitely at a distinct disadvantageous position as compared to her male disabled counterparts and non disabled women. Whether it may be traditional or stereotype gender role or any non traditional role, she is considered “an absolute role less creature”. Disabled women can also be victims of violence, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. And shockingly it happens within the family as they remain under a kind of “house arrest” for most of the time.

There are also instances of involuntary sterilization so that they may not produced disabled children. The fear is totally baseless as most of the disabilities are not inherited. They are neither allowed to become biological mothers nor does the society give them the right to be foster mothers and adopt a child. There are no two opinions of the fact that disabled women may face extra difficulties during their pregnancy but it is myth that she cannot be a good mother and cannot take are of her baby. With her organizational skills and management qualities she can dexterously look after all the responsibilities, just like the non disabled females.

Disabled women do become mothers and that too very good ones contrary to presumptions of this non disabled world. Countless women have proven themselves that in spite of their physical limitations they can be wonderful home makers. With their emotional strength they can show the world that they are in no way less than the non disabled females.

She cannot be a mother, a wife, a homemaker, a lover, a nurturer! There is no one to trust her abilities as the main focus remains only on her disabilities and a deformed body! She is not loved and accepted as a partner by a non disabled man because he wants a perfect female for himself. If somehow somebody makes relation with her, she is given the impression that the person is doing a ‘noble duty’ or ‘some kind of favour is being bestowed upon her’. This ‘charity’ robs her of her dignity. Ironically she is neither liked nor loved by a disabled man. Due to his ‘own reasons’ he too wants an absolutely normal female for himself! Not only are the places, freedom, education, employment inaccessible to her but love, care and all the relationships also become inaccessible leaving her on a pedestal of a worst possible situation.

Neglected by the society, tormented by internal conflicts she can develop into a cynical being, quite prone to adopt self destructive strategies and can develop many mental problems. Being unloved, unwanted, unemployed and uncared for disabled females can become bitter, angry, frustrated and depressed. Social isolation and limited roles to perform can play havoc to their personalities.

We all need to work out a solution for this. Practical steps are needed to be taken rather than sitting, thinking, writing and reading about such problems. The pre-requisite requirement for changing the scenario is a revolutionary change in mindset of the people. The age old stigmas attached with the disability and gender bias have to uprooted and thrown away. The orthodox beliefs and the dogmatic thought processes need to be totally revamped. If not done in time, there is a strong possibility that the disabled women would soon perish off ...far off in the oblivion....with no identity and individuality of their own.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Marital Satisfaction and Communication!

Marriage is a universal institution that brings together two persons, their souls and their families closer and encompasses a wide gamut of meanings and varied other aspects. It is a kind of contract between two individuals where they get united legally, economically and emotionally. According to Black Law Dictionary, “Marriage is the civil status of one man and one woman united under law for life, for the discharge of each other and the community, of the duties legally incumbent on those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex”. It brings legal and normative obligations for the two individuals. It is a private institution of great public concern.

While carrying on with this nuptial relationship, each partner wants to be emotionally nourished and satisfied to fullest extent. The condition of marital satisfaction thus becomes a subjective reality, closely related to marital adjustment, marital happiness and effecting marital stability. Absence of marital satisfaction can lead to shattered dreams, tethered understanding, tattered relations and withered lives.

The basic ingredient needed for experiencing marital satisfaction is the level of communication between the two individuals i.e. how well the spouses are able to express their feelings, desires and expectations to each other. Whether it may be an expression of affection, sexual satisfaction, reaching of consensus on a matter, management of conflicts, role distribution…all depends on the way one communicates. Either in verbal or in a non verbal way one should become adept in expressing oneself.

Lack of communication can prove disastrous. We can see an example here. Many people often like to focus on how they would like to be loved by their spouses. They tend to express their love in exactly the way they want to receive it, completely ignoring the thought how their spouse would like to be loved! Suppose the wife, in order to feel loved, would like her husband sings love songs for her or bring flowers for her whereas the husband wants her to encourage and admire him giving him positive reinforcement at appropriate times. Totally unaware of her husband’s needs and way he would like to be emotionally stimulated, the wife keeps on singing love songs for him. All this can prove extremely irritating for the husband, playing havoc in their relationship. Even the sexual needs and desires have to be communicated well. In the absence of it both of them could become dissatisfied dissolving the relationship and that too unrealizingly! Self disclosure thus becomes a key element in an effective communication which leads to mutual trust and respect. Communication thus can increase positive sense of satisfaction between the two partners increasing positive moments in their lives, taking the relationship to a higher pedestal.

There generally five levels of communication:

Sharing of general information

Sharing of facts

Sharing of opinions and beliefs

Sharing of feelings and emotions

Sharing of needs, intimate concerns, hopes and even fears

When the spouses are on level one it is like talking to a new acquaintance. At level two they are sharing only facts. At the third level they can learn more about each other through deeper discussions but remaining on this stage and getting stagnated here can become confrontational. Reaching level can assist them in understanding each other by bringing their feelings and emotions to the surface level. But the most desirable level to experience marital satisfaction and a for a stable relation is to reach the level where they get into the position of sharing their intimate concerns, fantasies, dreams and fears. It can keep the marriage pumping forward.

But styles of the communication can off course vary! One needs to recognize that everyone has a unique way of expressing and communicating. Gender differences do exist while doing so. Women tend to be more expressive than men on self disclosure of personal matters like love and intimacy while men can express their physical needs more vocally than the women. Marriage communication has four basic styles namely supportive, emotive, directive and reflective. An emotive person for example wants be the center of attraction and indulges in talking most of the time. But a reflective person on the other hand is quieter and spends time in thoughts rather than conversing. These two persons can be annoying to each other sometimes but if understanding develops they can wonderfully be complementary to each other!

All what matters is the proper understanding of what is said, how it is said and why it is said. This can avoid criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stone walling. Talks, discussions and negotiations can help in building of an unbreakable bond between two persons uniting them together in a love relationship for the rest of their lives!!