Saturday, October 11, 2008

Indian chivalry ?

This article appeared about 4 weeks ago in The Telegraph, Kolkata.
There’s a shortage of both loose change and good manners in the city. If your
taxi fare comes to Rs 57 and you give the cabbie Rs 60, nine out of 10 times,
you won’t get the balance back. In some stretches, it’s mandatory to declare
your “loose change status” before jumping into an autorickshaw.

Recently, when a Metro commuter realised she only had 100 rupee notes in her
wallet, she panicked. At the counter, she sheepishly fished out Rs 100. The
man raised his head, scowled and barked: “Ki, change nei?” (Don’t you have
any change?) She could only shake her head sadly. “Here, take your ticket and
change,” he said. As she was thankfully collecting the notes and coins, he
added: “Chhele holey ditam na!” (Had you been a man, I wouldn’t have given
you the change). Chivalry or gender discrimination?

I asked two women I know about their feelings. Quoting Nandini,
As for the article, it seems plain obvious to me that it was
charity/chivalry rather than discrimination. It indeed is ironic
that in a male dominated world such acts of kinds even take place, wherein
it is the males who are sort of being discriminated against. However, I
personally don't think that such acts of chivalry/charity will increase the
level of respect/alter the general male attitude towards women in general.
It's sadly only a temporary passing phase.
Quoting Bhavana,
I don't think an issue such as this should be viewed in the context of gender discrimination at all. It is just an amusing reflection of an Indian male's perception of chivalry and should be taken in a lighter vein.
I have to agree with both of them ... this is not gender discrimination at all. Rulebooks for men of our society have clear instructions for going out of the way for women and elderly. It is not always the same chivalrous attitude present in the European civilisations. Its some kind of a rule which is followed without understand. Hence, sometimes the male ego comes out in defiance and tries to prove the fact that he is smart enough to set his own preferences. “Chhele holey ditam na!"

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