I can’t get over the tweet by actress Ankita Lokhande, former girlfriend of late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, she had written, “Would anyone, who claims to have loved someone so deeply, allow the other person to consume drugs claiming to know his mental state and condition? Would you do that? I don’t think anyone would. So how can it not be seen as an act of carelessness and irresponsibility?”
Well, I don’t want to comment much on what Rhea Chakraborty, who was Rajput’s girlfriend when he died by suicide, should have or shouldn’t have done, enough has been said. But I do want to ask why as a society do we want the woman in a man’s life to babysit him? Why do we love to infantilise grown men in this country and when the woman exercises her agency, she is labelled as controlling and is hated. That’s a double whammy – damn if she does damn if she doesn’t.
Raja beta syndrome
In our country, the moment a boy is born he becomes ‘raja beta’ or a son who can do no wrong. This syndrome is so deeply entrenched in our psyche that we are ready to accept that any woman in his life whether it is his wife or worse still if she is a girlfriend or live-in partner is the person abetting all things wrong in his life. Rajput was an adult and in a live-in relationship with Chakraborty out of his choice as much as it was the choice of Chakraborty. So why blame her alone? I don’t think she forced her boyfriend to have drugs nor could she have if she wanted to? Also, could her former girlfriend have prevented her boyfriend if she wanted to if he was hell bent on substance abuse? Think.
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Entitled boys and society
Under the label of ‘raja beta’ we nurture entitled, irresponsible boys and men who will always find someone to blame. Their families will rather take responsibility for their choices instead of letting them face the consequences. Do we even realise that it stunts the personal growth of our boys?
Even today I know that most Indian girls find themselves growing up in the kitchen with their moms guiding them to learn household chores like making rotis, brewing tea, serving food as early as when they are ten years old. All this to train them to become acceptable daughters-in-law and expert caregivers. While the boys are free to go out and play or chit chat with the guests. It surprises me when mothers want their daughters in the kitchen rather than in a school even in this age and day. I keep wondering who has decided these roles that we need to fit into. Why can’t the men in the family take up household chores as well, now that women also have flourishing careers?
Unfortunately, men of our generation are raised to think that housework is not their priority and that’s the reason why women are expected to smother their boyfriends and husbands with motherly care. Like their mothers who cleaned up the mess in their rooms, the girlfriend or wife is supposed to pick up the thread where his mother left. How many women have the luxury of coming back to a neat and clean room after leaving for office in a hurry, having their laundry washed, folded and ironed and food being served to them while they watch a movie? No such luxury if they don’t have house help for sure.
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Moms stop worshipping your sons and get over the ‘raja beta’ syndrome because our biological differences did not come with pre-loaded software that says household chores are for women only. It’s a skill and everyone can learn it.
Practice gender equality at home
This has been oft-repeated but do we take it seriously? Do we realise gender equality begins at home and that both parents are responsible to walk the talk? Yes, women are at the helm as
mothers who essentially are the ones raising their children so they have a more important role of inculcating equality at home. We have to remember we can only see change happen when men and women break away from their gender roles and start sharing the roles they play inside and outside of the house.
Enter a girlfriend or a wife on the scene when the ‘raja beta’ grows up, physically I mean, and all hell breaks loose. Raja beta’s care is now transferred to her. Yet, she can never be family, she will remain an outsider throughout and as a result, she cannot and never can think of the welfare of her man or his family isn’t it? She will be judged at every level, every step. This has become the case in this high profile case.
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The discussion is endless, the under lining factor is men are not the responsibility of women whether they are raja betas or the not so perfect specimens. Men are capable enough to take
care of themselves, share the housework, take responsibility for their actions whether it is regarding consuming drugs or be in a live-in relationship without any qualms.
Image Credit: India.com/ Zee News
The views expressed are the authors own.