Friday, February 5, 2010

God save Indian women -- NCW says no swayamvar for them

After Rakhi Sawant’s swayamvar reality show where she chose her husband (or so we thought), a new show has started where Rahul Mahajan will be choosing a wife for himself. Nothing gets Indians so excited than prospect of seeing a marriage party! However NCW does not seem to be too happy about people making their own choices in marriage.

NEW DELHI: National Commission for Women has written to I&B ministry asking it to ensure prevention of indecent portrayal of women in a forthcoming reality show on a bride hunt for Rahul Mahajan.

"I have seen the advertisement only. However, we have written to the ministry asking it to ensure that there is no indecent portrayal of women in that reality show," Girija Vyas, NCW chairperson, said.

She said the show — `Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jaayega Swayamvar Season 2' — is yet to be telecast and the letter was written before that because NCW wanted to ensure that there was no inappropriate depiction of women in the show. Vyas also took exception to the use of `swayamvar' in its title, saying it suggested commodification of women.

"Swayamvar is a word which denotes commodification of women. Why should men or women be portrayed as objects," she asked.

It is common knowledge in India that swayamvar was historically a well-accepted and respectable form of marriage for women and especially mentioned in many Hindu epics including Mahabharata. It is astonishing to see how NCW chairperson has decided that it means commodification of women? NCW did not object to Rakhi Sawant’s swayamvar show so evidently the only reasoning seems to be that NCW is unhappy that a man is being given the same choice of choosing a life partner that was given to a woman in earlier reality show.

Let’s read some basic definition of swayamvara below.

The literal meaning of swayamvara is given below based on Sanskrit words used:

Swayamvara (Sanskrit: स्‍वयं‍वर), in ancient India, was a practice of choosing a life partner, from among a list of suitors, by a girl of marriageable age. Swayam in Sanskrit means Self and Vara means choosing or wanting.

So according to NCW chairperson, if a woman chooses her husband by her own will somehow it results in commodification of women. God save Indian women from NCW!

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