Heart of gold

On May 16 the newspapers carried the headlines heralding the spectacular victories of the inimitable political queens Jayalalitha and Mamata Banerjee who swept the polls in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal respectively. The same dailies, in stark contrast, carried a distressing piece of news about a devil of a father from Warangal who rushed into the maternity ward and strangulated his just born child, only because it was a baby girl, reflecting the two extreme characters and psyche of our society.

This miniscule example, representing such barbaric tendency in our land, explains why the number of baby girls is down to 914 for every 1000 boys as revealed by the 2011 census. This should be enough to stir the national conscience. It is indeed a cruel irony that despite the aware

ness that life on this planet would be meaningless without the loving care of the female species — as mother, wife, daughter and sister, the male chauvinistic society resorts to heinous acts of female foeticide and infanticide. It is a matter of shame that even in this age when women have proved their capability of playing any role — often better than men — in guiding the destiny of nations, such a gender bias exists in many parts of our land.

It is amazing and thought-provoking that the world population has an almost equal proportion of men and women. This itself is ample proof that at least Mother Nature does not discriminate among her children and it is our retrogressive mindset that is irrationally trying to upset the balance of nature — an unpardonable sin indeed.

Despite all this, the woman does not consider these offenders as villains! On the contrary, she pours out her unflinching love and serves them with devoted care, forgiving the atrocities perpetrated on her race. This divine instinct is not limited to elite strata of fair-sex; it is a natural boon which is a part of her being, irrespective of her disposition in life.

I can never forget a singularly touching incident which is indelibly etched in my memory, involving a lady from a very humble background whose life has been a shining example of forgiveness. She spent all her life as a cook at my father-in-law’s house. Married off at a tender age of nine she hardly lived for a couple of days with her husband who turned out to be a debauch. Having deserted her mercilessly, he went on to lead an utterly loose life with several women. Not once did he, in the course of nearly 60 years, so much as remember his legal wife. When he became destitute and bed-ridden due to a self-inflicted malady, she rushed to his place, nursed him till his death and arranged for his cremation! A true ‘Kshamaya dharithree’ indeed!

I wonder if the much-touted ‘superior sex’ would have displayed the same degree of forgiveness had the role been reversed!

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