An anecdote goes that a scholar of great esteem visited Srikrishnadevaraya’s court and declared that he wrote a book on Paathivrathya Pradarshini(A showcase of virtues of a woman) after consulting many Dharmasastras and that he wanted an opinion of Bhuvana Vijayam. The poet started reading a verse and Tenali Ramakrishna in his usual style, intervened and declared that if women will read the book, there will be a revolution. And he starts explaining thus.

Pathiki maaraadaka (Don’t disobey your husband) – Just ignore your husband. Don’t respond at all

Palumaru edvaka (Don’t cry for every reason) – You shouldn’t cry too many times. This means she should cry at least a few times and preferably at fixed times.

Aliyaka (Don’t complain that you are tired – do all the work enthusiastically) -Work only till you are tired. Even if all hell breaks loose afterwards, don’t work.

Migula Gayyaali Gaaka (Don’t act like a shrew) – You shouldn’t become a shrew fully, but can be to some extent. Else, how can you control your husband?

All the court laughed heartily and a thoroughly humiliated poet had to be consoled by the king with gifts and titles.

This is just a jest and people thoroughly enjoyed it then – and they still enjoy it. And no one expected such a state of affairs to fructify. But, what if such dystopian state of affairs become the norm of the day?

Look at the rules Taliban have over how women should behave. They are equally weird and are held sacrosanct by the current ruling elite. Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan made a list of such rules in 2015 and one need not be surprised if the same rules are reimplemented again. Presented below are some such rules. I leave it to the reader’s discretion whether these rules are to be followed and more importantly, voluntarily followed by all those who sing paeans to the Taliban.

  1. Complete ban on women’s work outside the home. Only a few female doctors and nurses are allowed.
  2. Complete ban on women’s activity outside the home unless accompanied by a mahram (close male relative such as a father, brother or husband) and Burqa is made mandatory. Ankles should be covered and wide pant-legs shouldn’t be worn even under a burqa. Public flogging is allowed if women don’t follow these rules.
  3. Ban on women dealing with male shopkeepers, doctors, tailors etc – for that matter, any non-Mahram males.
  4. Ban on women studying at schools, universities or any other educational institution.
  5. Ban on cosmetics, perfumes and brightly coloured dresses
  6. No man should hear a woman’s voice. No man should hear the sound of a woman’s footsteps.
  7. Ban on women’s presence on radio, TV or public gatherings, public baths, playing sports or even entering a sports club. Riding motorcycles and bicycles even with their mahrams is not allowed.
  8. Ban on public gatherings for women – either religious or recreational. They should not even be seen on the balconies of their houses. Compulsory painting of all windows, so women can not be seen from outside their homes.
  9. A woman cannot be filmed or photographed. Women’s pictures can’t be printed in newspapers or books, or hung on walls of houses and shops.

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