Mohna’s mind, during her hurried walk to her coaching classes, was full of calculations for her future. Her eyes sparkled at the thought, “Just a little more of numerical studies and I will surely crack the upcoming entrance test”. The flow of her thought was pleasantly distracted by the cool wind touching her face. She slowed down her walk and took a deep breath, smelling the fragrance of fresh flowers and unripe mangoes, listening to the musical rustle of the leaves beneath and the songs of the cuckoo that she was so fond of. Suddenly, something made her stop altogether. She could clearly hear a loud thump inside her chest. Her eyes met something unexpected. “No, it could not be true”.
She could not believe her eyes and mustered some courage to look at it again. Yes, she saw it right! It was the slit head of a new born baby, the rest of the body thrown near the head, among the heap of dry leaves, lying along the roadside. Trembling with fear, she looked around, but could not find any human trace. She had never before witnessed death at such close quarters. Her parents had asked her not to use this shortcut to her coaching classes as it was uninhabited. She had heard about various incidents of dead bodies being found on this road. She remembered overhearing the stories of interpersonal rivalries behind these murders. Her mind kept questioning, “What in this world would have made someone murder such an epitome of innocence? “ Did someone kill the baby because of an enmity with the family?” By that time, her psychological state started sending signals to her body and she started vomiting on the roadside.
Hurriedly she ran to her tuition class and cursed herself to choose the shortcut for saving time, which she thought she could spend on her studies. She had never felt so relieved before, to reach her tuition class. She cleaned herself there and narrated the story to the principal with whom she shared a very good rapport. “Why would someone do so?” , she asked ignorantly.
The news had reached every house, even before the dead body of the infant could reach the heap of leaves. The principal answered that the baby was born to an unwed girl. So, other members of the family decided to murder the baby. What!! Mohna, a twenty year old happy and ambitious girl, who had immense faith in humanity, was shocked to know this. She had a plethora of questions unanswered.
Is the institution of marriage above humanity and life? How could a society of human race, frame a rule that is so inhuman! Why can’t the society be more accommodating? Why is it that a child of a wedded couple is a reason to rejoice, while of an unwed couple a reason to kill or curse the baby labeling it as “illegitimate”? The notoriety, mental agony and exclusion from the society, force the child to hate the family and parents for not killing him/her at the time of birth. The other side of the story is the life of that unwed mother which sometimes is worse than death itself. The woes of unwed father too probably go unnoticed and understated.
Mohana knew that the institution of marriage is the basis of family. It provides stability to couples and a secured future to kids. But, couples who once enter a marital life, and then discover that it is impossible to continue with it, find the exit door to be so tightly shut, that they find it easier to die instead of getting divorced and continue living. She saw several such evidences in newspapers. The tedious legal procedure also acts as a deterrent. Many of those who continue either undergo depression, some mental illness or live like the living dead. The purpose of marriage should be to give life to couples and not death or life time morbidity.
Mohna wanted to spread across a message of acceptance to the society. While we have started accepting live-in couples in some strata of the society, acceptance of a love child is extremely difficult, even today. It is true that live-in couples or divorcees find it difficult even to get a house on rent, let alone inclusion in this society.
In the process of formation of societal rules, evils like honor killing, denial of various social rights to unwed couples and so called illegitimate children, cropped up and strengthened it’s root.
With due respect to the popular film producer and director late Mr. Guru Dutt, if all Vijay babu’s who have the might of their pens and a mature understanding of the needed structure of the society, start leaving the society in a pursuit of a better one, a better and livable society will always be a distant dream. We need many more Raja Ram Mohun Roys to come forward, initiate a revolution and eradicate these evils from the society.
(This Post is written by our Guest Author Dr. Mona Sahay, She has worked as a faculty member with various Business Schools of NCR, including Amity Business School, Noida)