( The sculpture of ARDHANARISHWAR at Khajuraho Temple,India)
PLEASURE AT PAR
There is a misconception among Indian feminists that in ancient days , the women were observing their fundamental rights including the right over their own body and mind ।The mythical characters like Kunti,Madri,Mandodari,Draupadi are often referred for their polygamist activities .But are they truly adopted polygamy for their own will ? Vyasa’s Mahabharata tells us about the strange traditions of ‘niyoga’ in which a woman was allowed to have sexual meetings for bearing of offsprings. This custom was allowed because in Hindu beliefs a son is the most needed for a man. He could not go to heaven unless he would have a progeny .That is why Ambika and Ambalika were forced to have intercourse with their brother in law Vyas .Pandu, the husband of Kunti was a strange psychic person.He was an impotant and his sexual frustration made him to marry two wives Kunti and Madri and perhaps this sexual frustration revealed by the story of Pandu later killing the two deer engaged in coitus – an action that was condemned for all. To raise offspringshe forced his two wives to have offsprings from different gods .
In Mahabharat neither any of female characters had chosen her lifemate by their own will. Satyavati did not choose Shantanu as a husband, nor did her daughters-in-law, Ambika and Ambalika. Gandhari was forced into marrying Dhritarashtra. Madri again did not become Pandu’s wife on her own choice. Draupadi was won through a contest of skill and might – she did not personally pick out and chose Arjuna in her svayamvara. Uttara was offered to Arjuna as a wife, but he accepted her as his daughter-in-law, more on moral grounds than any other, a choice which could very well have been against Uttara’s desire, though the epic contains no echoes of her feelings against the choice. That is five generations of daughters-in-law coming to the Bharata family as queens.
On the other hands, despite of having a wife like Draupadi, the other heroes like Arjuna and Bhima got married Subhadra,Chitrangada,Hidimba but they never enjoyed the position of an official wife .
Kunti was forced to begot her three children from different sperm donor gods, but never any day she could claim Karna , to whom she begot from the sun god Surya with her own wish , before her marriage .It is told , though Draupadi had five husbands , but still she had infatuations towards Lord Krishna and and karma , the so called illegitimate brothers of Pandavas. But never any day she could express her love to those persons.
All these myths show us how patriarchal our great epic Mahabharata is.In Ramayana, where woman sensibilities were categorically denied, we found the sad controversial saga of Ahalya .She was the wife of the great sage Goutam. Enamoured by her astounding beauty, Indra, lord of the gods, disguised himself as Gautama and approached Ahalya. During the middle of her sexual meeting , Ahalya could recognize the disguised Indra due to his sexual behaviour at the meetings , but Ahalya did not want to disturb her sexual bliss and played along and granted him sexual favours for which later she was punished and cursed her to become a stone .
Never our epics any time had shown any sympathy about the sexual rights of women and always they are used for bearing of offspring, but it is a strange irony that masculine sexuality was not always used by them to raise children. Till then the masculine sexuality has been enjoying freedom over female sexuality. When a male writer writes about his sexual desire, passions or describes how many women he had craved, the topic does not bring into question of his moral integrity because male writers are not only sanctioned to talk about sexuality When Salman Rushdie enjoyed his fifth love , nobody points out on his morality, but when Kamala Das became Kamala Surraiyah , the Indian society took it as very social offence ..
Let us again return to our mythological values. Kunti was suffered a lot for her illegitimate son Karna, but .no one blamed so far the sperm donor god Surya for this happenings .Draupadi was insulted in the court of Kauravas , for having five husbands at a time .No body blamed Pandavas for marrying a woman jointly .They were even praised for obeying mother’s words , which were spoken inadvertently .Sex has different impact with gender variation. But in India, anything related to gender and sexuality in general is regarded as a forbidden topic. I have never read till now any comparison between male and female sexuality in Indian languages .The penis is well suited for this role; projecting free from the body, but vagina is itself an inner part of the body constitutes a hidden mystic concern always for boys as well as for girls also. A girl is considered as a minor until she has her first menstruation), but once she has it, she becomes an adult These appropriation of social values are not prevailing with a boy Still after his puberty ,he is considered as a minor and there is no firm rule or criteria when a boy should be considered as an adult. It is not shameful for a male to look at the body of a female with sensuous eyes; on the contrary, it is the female who bears the shame when a male looks at her. If a young male expresses his sensual pleasure to his peers in such a situation, they would share his pleasure. But if a girl expresses pleasure at seeing a male's physical features, her girl friends would criticize her for being shameless. When a teen couple are found in a love affairs and if a society has to condemn it, then the boy always gets excuse for his adolescence mind and the girl is blamed for trapping the boy. Thus the love plays a different role for masculine and feminine world .Once Simone wrote : “Man's love is of man's life a thing apart, 'This woman's whole existence”.Sex is more related to emotion in case of female where in masculine case it does not always related to any psychological bondage . but this bondage in love is more important for women than it is for men, because men grow up with a sense of identity that exceeds the boundaries of family life and burst out with the recognition of the vast world outside, the taste or freedom, and the exploration of sexuality. Whereas women are raised within the confinement of their homes and from their child hood it is taught to them that they have to be physically appealing in order to attract men, and finding a man to build a family around is their main mission in a woman’s life.
I am not arguing against any love between two sexes .Unlike to Simone , I always feel that women are ‘other’ than male with their biological , social and psychological differences. They have complete different sensibilities and different emotional spheres But, my point is this patriarchal society always tries to reject women’s sensibility towards love The patriarchal concept of love between a man and woman actually means, how it is politicized, how it is socially and culturally manipulated with masculine view which is constructed by the idea how to love a man, and how to care for him not only by our instinct, but by the socially expected gender roles. A woman may totally love a man, and refuse to cook for him, but it would not be acceptable behaviour for a 'woman in love' according to our cultural codes. Social needs to sustain families on specifically prescribed gender roles also instruct us on how to love a man. There is a hidden code to exploit women in the whole cultural and social scheme of romantic love, mostly because the concept of romantic love has been authored by men, and is based on men's fractured understanding of women as primarily sexual objects. The patriarchal concept always denies the individuality of a woman as a human being.
For me love is a total submission from two sides irrespective of any gender role .In this context, I want to again bring Simone as my example . The sex relation between Sartre and Simone was cool enough (see Simone’s letter to Algren) , and they had developed a relationship between Sartre,Simone and Sartre’s student Olga Kosakiewicz .Simone had her own bisexual relations and so as Sartre has many heterosexual relations and nobody showed their hostility with these relationship.Despite her relationship with Sartre , she had a love affair with American novelist Nelson Algren ,Still they both maintained there relationship till Sartre’s death .Marxism was not a matter of faith or trust for Simone , it was a compulsion made by Sartre only.Without related to ‘root’ of the theory in her heart,we found Simone was moving in the communes or in the Arab Lands with Sartre ,the ‘last Sartre’ brought a more confusion to the readers . On Monday. 19th July '48, Simone wrote to Algren. in her letter:
“If I could give up my life with Sartre I would be a dirty creature a treacherous and selfish woman... it is not by lack of love that I don't stay with you...Sartre needs me. In fact, he is very lonely, very tormented inside himself and I am his only true friend, I could not desert him...it is not possible to love more than I love you, flesh and heart and soul, but Sartre needs me.”
.Like anger, fear, hatred, humour, love is also an emotion. This emotion, however, is different from other emotions because material elements like marriage, childbirth, divorce, dating, etc., build up upon this emotion to give a person's life a definite direction and shape. Love is the only emotion that channels itself into paving a path for our life. It is an integral complementarity of men and women, rather than the superiority of men over women or women over men. It is the sharing ness of emotions and of life. I think that it's more important to be a complete human being than a writer, or a feminist or any other label one may be known by but I also realize the reciprocal nature of living and writing. I believe that living gives you material (pleasure, pain, angst, loneliness, joy and what not) for writing while writing helps you interpret your existence in a meaningful way. I live, I write, I grow and live some more and write some more and hopefully grow some more )...That's my theory!