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Bewildering Stories

The Critics’ Corner

Prakash Kona writes about...

A. R. Yngve’s “Sins of Our Fathers

“Sins of Our Fathers” is a cleverly written theoretical story, but the concept of karma is much more problematic than the story seems to reveal. More than predestination, karma is about probability. In other words, how I conduct myself in daily life will contribute to my good or bad karma. Nothing is karmically predestined except stupidity. Even the Buddha was tired of fools. In that sense, Waman is a fool at best. And if he’s using karma to justify aborting female foetuses, that only adds to his stupidity.

Firstly, patriarchy is not about eliminating females. Something more deadly than eliminating foetuses is the exploitation of female labor. Certainly Waman did not think of murdering his wife; that might place his heterosexual credentials at stake, not to mention the fact that he needs the wife to cook and clean and bear sons. Waman’s misogyny is therefore at bottomline a resentment of his dependence on women. So, to put it mildly, female bodies and minds are useful for the male world.

The story simplifies patriarchy to just destroying female foetuses. Rather, patriarchy is the denial of women of their bodies. Patriarchy is about exploitation and enslavement, leaving women only free to resist.

Yngve’s story stands at the fringe of a discourse that is almost universal. As long as there are armies, bureaucracies and governments run by men, for men, with women playing a secondary role, the women in the west are as much slaves of the system as their eastern counterparts.

Copyright © 2005 by Prakash Kona

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