Sunday, March 6, 2016

सड़क कहां है..

[तीन से आगे..]

मैं निकलना चाहती हूं. छत, दुआर, सड़क, मोहाना, तलैया से आगे, भूल-भुलैयों के पार, इस छोर से छूटी जाने किस छोर पहुंचना चाहती हूूं, इस गड़ही से निकलना चाहती हूं. अब्‍भी के अब्‍भी. इसी बखत. मैं ग्‍लोरिया स्‍टाइनेम को पढ़ना चाहती हूं.

"MY LAST HOPE IS to open up the road—literally. So far it’s been overwhelmingly masculine turf. Men embody adventure, women embody hearth and home, and that has been pretty much it.

Even as a child, I noticed that Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz spent her entire time trying to get back home to Kansas, and Alice in Wonderland dreamed her long adventure, then woke up just in time for tea.

From Joseph Campbell and his Hero’s Journey to Eugene O’Neill’s heroes who were kept from the sea by clinging women, I had little reason to think the road was open to me. In high school, I saw Viva Zapata!, the Hollywood version of that great Mexican revolutionary. As Zapata rides to his destiny, his wife hangs on to his boot, dragging in the dust, imploring him to stay home. Since I couldn’t yet admit to myself that I was more interested in going to sea and the revolution than in staying home as the mother or the wife, I just vowed silently that I would never become an obstacle to any man’s freedom.

Even the dictionary defines adventurer as “a person who has, enjoys, or seeks adventures,” but adventuress is “a woman who uses unscrupulous means in order to gain wealth or social position.”

When women did travel, they seemed to come to a bad end, from the real Amelia Earhart to the fictional Thelma and Louise. In much of the world to this day, a woman may be disciplined or even killed for dishonoring her family if she leaves her home without a male relative, or her country without a male guardian’s written permission. In Saudi Arabia, women are still forbidden to drive a car, even to the hospital in an emergency, much less for an adventure. During the democratic uprisings of the Arab Spring, both female citizens and foreign journalists paid the price of sexual assault for appearing in the public square.

As novelist Margaret Atwood wrote to explain women’s absence from quest-for-identity novels, “there’s probably a simple reason for this: send a woman out alone on a rambling nocturnal quest and she’s likely to end up a lot deader a lot sooner than a man would.”

The irony here is that thanks to molecular archaeology—which includes the study of ancient DNA to trace human movement over time—we now know that men have been the stay-at-homes, and women have been the travelers. The rate of intercontinental migration for women is about eight times that for men.

However, these journeys have often been unchosen one-way trips in cultures that were patriarchal and patrilocal; that is, women were under male control and also went to live in their husbands’ households. In matrilocal cultures, men joined their wives’ families—in about a third of the world they still do—but with equal status, since those cultures are and almost never were matriarchal.

In the face of all the dire and often accurate warnings of danger on the road for women, it took modern feminism to ask the rock-bottom question: Compared to what?

Whether by dowry murders in India, honor killings in Egypt, or domestic violence in the United States, records show that women are most likely to be beaten or killed at home and by men they know. Statistically speaking, home is an even more dangerous place for women than the road.

Perhaps the most revolutionary act for a woman will be a self-willed journey—and to be welcomed when she comes home."

मैं सपरना चाहती हूं. बिखरना और उसके बाद मालूम नहीं कैसे और किन-किन तीन और तिहत्‍तर बयारों से गुज़रना चाहती हूं.. कोई है सुन रहा है मेरी बात? तुम भी उड़ रही हो आसमान में, कागदों में आंख धंसाये, मुझको गुन रही हो, ओ, ग्‍लोरियाइन?

(बाकी..)

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