Once, I heard a young woman from Delhi saying : ” One of my friends ( a woman too) has had sexual relations with 16 different boys within a year.” That’s something unconceivable, impossible for almost all the Indian women. Yet, in India, the female emancipation is a reality, a “silent revolution”…At least among the privileged, for the few ones who are “trendy”. In cities like Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore, in places that symbolizes modern India, many students and young corporates work 12 hours in a day. But when they have fun, they do it in the western way. They do shopping, they go to restaurants where one dish costs the average salary of a peasant, they go to discos,…to places that are crammed every week-ends with youngsters belonging to the well-off social class. There, alcohol is flowing, girls are made up, they have mobiles, they wear jeans, revealing tee-shirts, mini-skirts, switch heels,…( Most probably, the same ones are dressed traditionally to go to work and dream of an arranged marriage!)
A far cry from rural India where women are living under the control of their husband, their mother-in-law. There, many generations still live under the same roof. There, more the parents are poor, more they have children. It’s because children are retirement pensions for many Indians. In the poorest states of India, couples have as many as eight children. In contrast, in Kerala, one of the richest and the more educated of the Indian states, people have two childrens per couple…since 30 years. If they have more, social benefits are suppressed. So the family unit is small…at least within the hindu and christian families that have seldom more than 2 children while the muslim ones have between 3 and 5 children on average.
Between the privileged ones and the poor, there are many women, educated urban women, who just try to find their way. One example is Renuka. She is 38, commercial director in a computer company. Her husband is a university teacher and he controls everything. Every morning, she has to wake up at 4 am to cook, to prepare tea for him and her in-laws. But she is OK with that because her only aim is to work, to keep on working. Like many urban women in their 20s and 30s, she reads feminine magazines, articles about losing weight, about how sex is good, how to stand up to her husband,…but acting is something else ! India society has still a foot in the past while another is in the 21° century but India has changed a lot since the last ten years !