I am son of my mother – Happy Mother’s Day
Have you ever seen a male beggar carrying a child in his arms or on his back? I am sure, you have hardly seen. I often find female beggars carrying babies in lap here and there: railway platforms, pavements, streets, temples etc. Some of you definitely think that carrying babies is their tricky way of drawing attention and asking for alms. Sorry! I don’t agree. A female beggar is, after all, a mother, and a mother does not desert her child, no matter how pitiable her condition is.
Yes, we often come across such shocking news in newspapers that “Baby deserted by its parents”, “Baby found in garbage” etc. Women who are single mothers are forced to desert their new-born by bitter social criticism about their dignity. They are left with two impossible options to choose between – pain of separation from the baby, and disgrace of getting pregnant before marriage. Such cruelty has been the picture in the rural backwaters of India, though it has faded somewhat in metropolises.
Is being a single parent a crime for women? Why does society have double standards – one for single mothers and another for single fathers? Some nooky neighbors (society wale) unhesitatingly ask a single mother who the father of the baby is, or where the father is, or if he has divorced her. The same people sympathize with a single father, assuming that his wife or the mother of his child has passed away. In Kya Kehna a Bollywood movie, Preity Zinta’s character conceives due to physical intercourse with her boyfriend before marriage, and as a consequence she has to experience the wicked face of society. The best example to cite from the Mahabharata in this respect is Kunti, mother of the Pandavs. She had become mother before marriage, but had to desert the newborn, fearing that her dignity would be stained by society where giving birth to baby before marriage is a taboo.
My mother has been a single parent for us: my elder brother and me, though she was socially married off to the person who has never shouldered the responsibilities of a husband or a father. Once a local shopkeeper could not recognize me, and he enquired me about my paternal identity. I daringly introduced myself as son of my mother, and told him her name. The person was taken aback by my unexpected reply. I never heard my paternal uncles and aunts praise my mother for the struggle and hardships she went through for bringing up and educating us.
With the wheels of time rolling on, the scenario has changed a little. Single motherhood is celebrated these days. In I Am (the movie has won the prestigious National Award this year), Nandita Das’s character wishes to get pregnant and experience motherhood, but without contribution of her husband who dumps her for another woman. She neither wants to remarry nor wishes physical intercourse with anyone. She chooses ‘the road not taken’ that is getting favored by a sperm donor. With sperm donors coming out of the shelf, women wishing to be single mothers do not need to depend on such social institutions as marriage.
If you ask me who is the ideal mother and who is the universal mother, I would definitely say that Sita is the ideal mother and Ma Sarada is the universal mother. When Sita was sent to Balmiki Muni’s ashram, she was expecting. Away from the comfort of palace, she gave birth to two baby boys. She alone educated and enlightened her sons, without any contribution from Sri Ram and his family. She is the best example of a powerful single mother in the mythological history of India.
Ma Sarada wife to Sri Ramkrishna is known as the universal mother the world over. She used to treat everyone from a robber to a monk as her child. All were equal to her. The disciples of Sri Ramkrishna were nourished by her care and affection. She knew the likes and dislikes of her children, and served them food accordingly. She did not distinguish among them. She was the human incarnation of divine motherhood.
To say in brief, mother is the god incarnate on earth. Though fathers help sow the seeds of life, it is mothers who nourish baby plants with all her being and make them grow into trees with long roots, strong trunk and spreading boughs. Slice of Real Life is paying its tribute to mothers across the world.