AcharyadevoBhava?? by CrishMart



I was returning from my hometown to Delhi by train. It is a real long journey, and
quite monotonous if you have been already done with your laptop. Fortunately,
a lady was also travelling sitting opposite to me. She couldn’t have been more
than twenty five years, though she seemed careworn. She was travelling with a
young girl. After my lunch, I went up to the door to get a whiff of fresh air, when
I suddenly saw that little girl running up and down the corridor, playfully. After
sometime, she came running towards the door where I was standing and I caught
her in her stride and told her with a grin that she had been wandering too long and
she needed to get back to her guardian. I decided to escort her back to her seat.
When I reached her seat I saw that the lady travelling with her was nowhere to be
Not more than five minutes had passed when that lady came running towards our
seats, with a great cloud of anxiety all over her face. It was evident that she was very
worried, or to put it better she was scared. I put up my most presentable face and
with a genuine smile I said to her that she need not worry that much because all
the passengers were very honest and civilized people. I thought that it would ease
the situation and her anxiety but evidently she was not relieved. She smiled very
sarcastically and thanked me in a cold voice and pulled the child back into her lap
and sat down.
I was surprised at her lack of modesty, and decided to delve the matter further.
I struck up a conversation with her. And in due time I asked her what was her
relationship to the child. “I am her mother”, she replied in the same cold voice
she had used before on me, but now it seemed that her tone was of a wounded
person, and something in her tone intrigued me. I kept the conversation alive for
some time discussing about trivial matters and then I asked about the kid’s father.
“I am a single mother”, she retorted. I was shocked and a bit abashed by her way
of replying, and immediately understood that I was trespassing on some very
private matter of her. That very moment I apologised for being too inquisitive and
returned to my world of boredom. I don’t know whether it was my “good-looks”,
or my “charismatic” attitude, or because I had kept an eye on the little girl; but the
lady started to soften up, and started pouring out her heart to me.
She was just seventeen when she was having an affair with her private tutor. She was
deeply, desperately and quite madly in love with him. Within a year or so they got
quite intimate with each other and started exploring new avenues of her physical
self with him. Naturally, she got pregnant. When she conveyed this “happy” news
to her beloved, he, instead of supporting her with the idea of marriage, denied the
fact of being the father of the newcomer and turned her down. She even accused
her of infidelity, and turned tail. She was angry, disgusted, depressed and forlorn;
and turned to her parents for help. But they forced her for abortion. She wanted to
keep the baby. But her parents were rigid on their decision of abortion as they were
afraid of what others would say. In our society it is impossible to rear a baby that
has no father; May be according to some it is even a sin to give birth to a premature
child. So if they did not abort the baby they would be turned into social outcasts.
But she was adamant and unswayed; and did not feel that she had the right to
destroy a life. Marriage to someone was impossible for her as our tradition and
society still dictates that to marry; a girl should be “aksata-yoni”, a virgin. It has
been referred in the “Vedas”, the “Mahabharata” and almost everywhere that we hold true and pure. And sadly,
this twenty first century world believes the same.
So, she went against all odds and gave birth to the baby. She moved out from her parent’s place and settled
separately with her baby. She had already passed high school, so she got a job and started to support herself and
her baby out of her meagre income. She had to face many hardships as society didn’t accept a prenuptial (or
premarital) baby and her single mother. People criticized her, some on her face and some on her back; but she
fought against everything, with only one dream driving her, to raise her baby properly. As the baby grew, people
even pinched her about her father. They gave her names (out of which ‘illegitimate’ is the most presentable,
others are worse) which started affecting the baby. She felt desolate and forlorn and even sometimes she blamed
her mother for giving her birth. Still the lady kept her calm and made the child understand the whole situation.
Things got even worse when she went for her daughter’s admission, as every school in the city demanded the
name of the father of the girl which she was unable to provide.
Tired and helpless of such situation and unable to bear the constant gnawing of the society at their lives, she
applied for a job in Delhi for which she was selected. She is going to Delhi to take up that job, and with renewed
hope in her heart that maybe the capital would approve a mother to be the sole and efficient guardian of a child.
Maybe she won’t have to face such problems in a place where no one knows her. Maybe her child won’t have to
lose the opportunity of studying in a good school just because some coward denied his responsibility for their
daughter, which was her birth-right.
It felt really good to know her and her fight against our “paralysed” and “decrepit” society. We have reached
an era which is modern but its values are still rooted in the era of the “Mahabharata”. Though we should not
forget our values, still progress over the ruinous mentality should be achieved in order to make this world a
“Kingdom of Heaven”. In the “Mahabharata”, Kunti conceived a prenuptial baby with the Sun God Surya which
she abandoned in a basket in the river, as prenuptial baby was a taboo in the then society. She shirked her
responsibility as a mother and left her child to an unknown fate. Having a prenuptial baby is a taboo still now.
Kunti, fearful that her virginity would be lost to Surya, pleaded the God to go back. But Surya however assured
that even after being blessed with a son, she would still remain “aksata-yoni” (as was the custom in those days
and till now for unmarried girls), and would not suffer any opprobrium.
But it really feels great that today’s “Kunti” is vocal. She can fight against the society, even her own parents
and keep the child; suckle it, nourish it, and do everything to fulfil its need. She doesn’t need the child’s
irresponsible and weakling father for their support. It made me think that if “Kunti” can change then why can’t
the society and its entire “civilised” people change? Should we still cling on to some of the values of the era of
the “Mahabharata”, which are despairing and derelict, or should we strive to broaden our sense of humanity?
After having an engaging conversation with her, I retired to take a nap. As soon as I looked out of the window
I saw that the sun was setting down and preparing for the coming of the night. The day had ended. The Sun
would rise again over horizon the next day, and maybe it would bring a sliver lining of hope for the lady, maybe
it would take us all out of the darkness that we are engulfed in right now. But as of now, I do not know as there
is darkness all around and night is coming. But I still do hope that one day will come when the purity of heart
will be given more preference over the virginity of a woman.

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