Culture is made up of many different components, all interacting together, to form a working/stable society. Unfortunately, once laws are in place, it takes a ruling decision to change ways of the past. Inequality separates a society and categorizes peoples into levels. With every system of categorization, there will always be dominating powers over a faction. Changing an oppressed culture cursed with the unequal treatment of women can be very difficult in a myriad of ways due to apathy, fear and ignorance of the past.
When people don’t care to change/conform, or feel as though they don’t need to voice their opinion (whether it be positive or negative), or simply don’t care at all, people with something to say are able to freely take actions as they please! In the film, Water, Chuyia’s (an 8 year old girl whose husband just died) parents didn’t stand up for their daughter to save her from a future condemned to life as a widow. Although religion serves as a way of life for many people, religion is still just an idea and as humans, in society we always have options. Of course, deciding what is right and wrong is in the eye of the beholder and our capacity to truly care differs as well.
Fear is defined as “a feeling of agitation, distress, apprehension, alarm, or anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger”. The most important word in the definition is “feeling” because it signifies that it is a human emotion and thus is relative to each individual. Fear of being able to speak freely without punishment is a right women had an in particularly hard time with earning. In the film, Water, when Chuyia asked some of the other widows in the ashram “Where is the house for the men widows?”, the other widows were shocked to hear such a question. She was answered that,”G-d protect our men from such a fate”. Past mistakes can be viewed differently as well. Any experience can be viewed as both a learning curve, or as something to be feared especially when circumstances have similar or identical factors involved. Knowing the past and potential futures may either insight excitement, or hesitation towards it.
Blind faith in a culture is a self-sustaining process. The problem with it is that nobody questions what they believe in, and that each new generation is raised with the same morals. Maintaining the status quo keeps a certain balance. However, when as little as one individual goes off the beaten track, there is potential for more people to follow. Introducing change is sometimes a rather difficult process due to the fact that the “old ways” bring the comfort of familiarity. When Narayan (an adult male law student from the city who is a Ganghian idealist) falls in love with 20 year old widow by the name of Kalyani, he informs his wealthy parents of his intentions of marriage with a widow. When his mother heard the idea she was absolutely shocked at the idea and did not want her son to marry a widow! When Narayan’s mother asked Narayan to confirm that she heard him correctly, she asked “You want to marry a widow?!” Narayan then responded that “The ways of the past are slowly fading away and we should embrace the new age and listen to what Gandhi has been saying.” As he fell back onto the bed behind him. Learning from one’s mistakes is something that one picks up with experience. With knowledge of a past outcome, it is easier to either avoid, or recreate, that same scenario. As humans, we base our actions on what we know. Thus the more we know, the better we can judge each situation.
Oppression of anything usually comes with grief and sadness. No culture would openly accept a new change/ruling power without questioning it first. Because of this, people must be coaxed into the idea through infiltrating and introducing from within. Small changes lead to larger ones and large changes require people to view all sides of the argument. Even if a faction is forced to conform to a particular norm, will power and hope for the future are just two examples of things that will keep someone going in times of trouble.
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”