Shah Rukh Khan: There was a neighbor I had in Delhi who never found any boy suitable enough for his daughter. So one day we finally asked him: What he was looking for? Did he think some prince charming would arrive? He very simply replied, “I want her to be with someone who can honour this relationship for a lifetime, with love.” This was an apt answer, I thought, because while it is easy to get into a relationship it’s not so easy to honor the relationship, and to do it lovingly is a tall order.
Our speaker Manju Kapur believes that it is even tougher for Indian men. Why is it like that? Well I would like to know the answer for sure. After all, I am an Indian man, too. On TED Talks India Nayi Soch to answer this question we have with us today Delhi based award winning novelist, Manju Kapur. Star Plus’s popular show is based on her novel “Custody.” “Yeh Hai Mohabbatien" Please welcome Manju Kapur.
Manju Kapur: I write novels, and for this I look at relationships deeply. In life we spend the maximum time with family. And in the same family, girls and boys are brought up differently. Boys are taught they must be responsible for the financial and practical well being of their parents and siblings, find solutions for problems, obviously find a good job. When they get married, it must be to a girl who gels with the family, because she is not only marrying the boy but the entire family. Girls are taught repeatedly to adjust and compromise. They are taught that the needs of others must always be kept before their own. That is why they know how to be sensitive to other's emotions. This ability is not seen in boys because it is hardly touched upon in their upbringing.
As is often seen in a man-woman relationship, if the man does not get his way, he starts showing his anger by screaming, taking offence, throwing tantrums, and sometimes it gets to raising his hand. Whether the issue is big or small, a man’s anger is a weapon he uses to show his power and show the woman her place. The entire family has got together and made men such that they don’t need to put in any hard work to maintain relationships. The loss because of this is that when the man has to deal with his partner maturely, he fails the test because his emotional education is flawed.
Once on a flight back to India, there was an infant crying. The mother tried everything to get him to calm down, cajoling, patting, giving him milk, walking up and down the aisle with him. For a brief while the father also tried, but when he didn’t succeed either, he just ordered his drinks, ate and, once tired, he peacefully went to sleep. And the mother kept putting up with it, with the problems of both, all alone.
Another time I heard one woman tell another “In America my son has to do everything himself, now I will have to get him married soon,” not conceiving that the son can learn how to cook and look after himself. No, just get a girl and put her to work.
Finally, in this male domination, women have a role to play as well. Today, here I am not talking about larger crimes like rapes or acid attacks that we read of in the newspapers every day, I am talking about the little insults and hurts that every woman has to put up with on a daily basis all her life.
Yet today, if we look at it, there is hope for change. In every sector, women are moving ahead rapidly and becoming more independent, and men will have to partner with them because only then is true love possible. Breaking the old mold, both will progress, have more potential, better personalities. This is new thinking.
SRK: There is one thing I would like to say in front of Manju Ji, that I can cook, no really, it’s true. On a plane, I calm and put kids to sleep. It’s a small thing but very vital. We should not tell men that this is your responsibility xyz — that is also wrong — and not tell girls that you have to look after things, compromise. If we start from here, there will be a change in society. Totally. Isn’t this what you wanted to say?
Thank you so much Manju ji. Please give a big round of applause for Maju Kapur. Thank you so much for coming here.