Indian mythology and history are full of accounts of sacrifice, self denial and renunciation by protagonists who command respect and reverence.
Giving up something for the betterment of others is a cornerstone of the Indian sense of right, honor and delayed gratification. The rewards of such behaviour are tremendous. Often as the protagonist undergoes tremendous self denial, the Divine reward him or her.
Our mythical heros & our Gods all exhibit these qualities- Raja Harishchandra puts his family through tremendous hardship, eventually he insists his wife give up the garment that clothes her to pay a tax he is to collect.
The Pandava brothers give up their right, their home & eventually their wife- because they felt there was greater good in being the ones to concede for the sake of peace.
Lord Rama, gave up his wife to ensure any perceived character flaws would not blemish his rule.
Gandhi gave up his worldly possessions and privileges so that he could focus on freeing India from her Majesty’s rule.
And so on it goes, many many more examples and role models that we have grown up hearing and reading about.
But I wonder, is there a difference between admiring or looking up to mythological or historical figures for giving up on their families and responsibilities for the “greater good” and condoning such behaviour- for surely if for the person or people they abandon is a victim.
The wife who is abandoned because of what people perceive or the wife who is put thru the wringer because of her husband’s sense of right. Even if there is some final gratification, isn’t it still wrong to make them suffer for what is not their doing.
Is it because the wife is viewed as chattel or a silent participant in her husband’s decision. For no fault of hers, she suffers immensely- is this fair? Or right?
This train of thought suddenly began earlier this week, when social media was ablaze with Prime Minister Modi’s stellar performance in sunny California.
Don’t get me wrong, I have immense respect for a self made man, very disciplined, focused and is probably slightly better for India than the alternative! His work in Gujarat has been fantastic, if he can achieve a percentage of that with the whole country that would be just amazing.
BUT what I cannot condone or even understand is his total denial of his wife. She has spent the last many years, decades in fact alone. She has been denied the pleasures, the privileges and indeed the pain of being a wife, a mother & a homemaker. If the idea was to abandon her, then why marry?
There is a term “Trishanku Swargam” – it does not translate very well but in essence means a state where a person is suspended in a limbo heaven. Can anything be worse for a woman? Married to one of the most powerful men in the world but cannot even use her legal last name. She lives in obscurity, she cannot take any joy at his achievements or any pride at his success. She has probably suffered ridicule and pity as she was growing up, long before her “husband” became a powerful politician.
That he cried as he spoke of his mother’s sacrifice at Facebook made me angry, for he did not acknowledge his wife’s even more intense sacrifice-
I wonder why people adulate such behaviour, why the celebration of an act that wreaks havoc on an innocent?
Is NaMo’s behaviour simply as people proclaim for the greater good of India?