No more sunte ho ji: Pune women challenge patriarchy by saying their husband’s names | india-news | Hindustan Times
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No more sunte ho ji: Pune women challenge patriarchy by saying their husband’s names

These women took their husband’s name for the first time in years after their marriage in defiance of the age-old custom

india Updated: Jun 22, 2017 16:02 IST
These women took their husband’s name for the first time in years after their marriage in defiance of the age-old custom  (Youtube\Screengrab)
These women took their husband’s name for the first time in years after their marriage in defiance of the age-old custom (Youtube\Screengrab)

A group of women in a small village in Maharastra’s Pune are doing their bit of smashing the rules of patriarchy and carving out a space of their own one step at a time.

The nine women, including health workers and housewives, have made news after they dared to say their husband’s name for the first time in years after their marriage in defiance of the age-old custom under which wives are not allowed to call their partners by their names.

From Walhe village, these women are a part of one of the 56 clubs across 13 states in the country that are run by Video Volunteers, a media and human rights NGO, under their KhelBadal campaign to “dismantle patriarchy”. Video Volunteers attempts to create a safe space for women and help them bargain for more agency.

Rohini Pawar, a leading woman rights activist and community correspondent at Video Volunteers, wanted to open the discussion on patriarchy with an issue that the women were familiar with. Pawar screened a video on the question of women not addressing their husbands using their first names in her discussion club.

After watching the video, the women tried an exercise to get the discussion going. Pawar asked each participant to say her husband’s name in a variety of emotions – happily, angrily, lovingly and so on.

Using her video camera, Pawar coaxed them to question the custom. “If we can’t say our husbands’ names, and they can call us whatever they like, does that mean they don’t respect us? Shouldn’t it be equal?” Pawar asks the women.

Despite being evidently uncomfortable, the women manage to say their husband’s name aloud amidst joking taunts and laughter. The video, which has been uploaded on YouTube, is being seen a fresh step in questioning gender stereotypes and embracing more equality in gendered relationships such as marriage.