I did not get to see matrubhoomi
, young Manish Jha's much acclaimed film...
I left for chennai the week of its release and thought I would see it on my return.
matrubhhomi did not run for a second week in India's capital city. it got good reviews and was awarded in cities such as Venice, Kozlin, Thessaloniki and Florence, but it was wished away in our own delhi... though it ran for a second week in chennai
is it just too close to reality... everyday infant girls are done away with, women raped even pregnant ones, striking gender imbalance figures are published by disturbing NGO's..
this is just one side of reality.
there is a subtler side, one we do not see unless we look. we are faced with this alarming reality with obsessive regularity in our day-to-day work at projectwhy.
little girls are not given the same food as their brothers, they are never taken to the doctor at the right time, their vaccination schedule is not followed. it does not end there. at every occasion possible they are reminded that they are girls and this a burden to their families and by extension to society itself.
their school fees are not paid in time, school books not bought and their desire to study twharted and even sneered at by their male peers. and it goes on endlessly... without respite the same way as the endless abuse in Kalki's body in matrubhoomi... as they are married at an age when they should still be playing with dolls and become mother as a time when their bodies have still not finished growing
Jha's film should be viewed as being in a much larger context: girls have to be protected and cared for, nature has to be left alone and not tampered with..
i sometimes wonder at the need of education in its present avatar and I mean education for every child be it rich or poor. multiplication tables and spelling of never comprehended words, or rote learning of civic rights and historical dates with the sole purpose of getting as close as possible to the imposible 100 mark is not going to bring about the changes we need to usher.maybe our policy framers should think of reviewing the course content rather than splitting hair over trivia. children should be made aware of their role in society, their duty as citizens to bring about change, they should me aware of the problems lurking at every corner and been shown the way to address them.
it is not impossible neither is it difficult; it just necessitates the will to do so.. just as we should not as a city have turned away from going and seeing matrubhoomi!Note: According to the latest government data on births, the number of females per males at birth in Punjab was 775 to 1,000