Lajja- a Cultural Analysis

Topics: Women'S Rights

Title: LAJJA- A CULTURAL ANALYSIS “Galti uski hi hogi…who ladki jo hai” . How many of us are familiar with this statement? How many of us have experienced something like this? The answer is a lot, a lot which cannot be counted. If its rape, it is the girl’s fault as she must have allowed it; if its eve-teasing, it’s again the girl’s fault as she must have been provocative. Every time a girl is victimised, people go against her and instead of punishing the criminal, the girl is accused.

In this project, the movie ‘LAJJA’ has been taken up as an example of the oppressions done on women across the country.

In historical terms, oppression of women is a relatively new phenomenon. Six thousand years ago, the oppression of women arose after the division of society into classes and the emergence of class society. Prior to this there was no domination of a man over woman, or a man over man.

Only with the development of the slave empires of Mesopotania, Egypt, Greece and Rome did the exploitation came into action as before that there was no surplus created, only enough to survive. This movie highlights many social issues pertaining to the women.

The movie revolves around four women who in one form or the other are oppressed by the society. Vaideihi (Manisha Koirala) is a married woman who has no other choice but accept her husband’s extra marital affairs. The day she decides to take a stand for herself, she is banished from her husband’s household.

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Meanwhile she finds out she’s pregnant and goes back to her parent’s house. There she is rejected too, saying that this will bring shame to the family. So, we see how deep the social culture has influenced us that it forced a mother to abandon her own daughter at the time she needed her the most.

Maithilli (Mahima Choudhary) is troubled by the unreasonable demand of excessive dowry by the groom’s father which her father is unable to meet. Maithilli seeing this, calls off the marriage as she couldn’t see her father being humiliated any more. Every day there are so many such brides who, due to their inability of giving dowry, lose their marriage. These oppressions do not stop even after marriage. Once the bride is married she is insulted and asked for more dowries by her in-laws. After which she is tortured if she is unable to fulfil the demands.

Even though taking or giving dowry is against the law, it is still practiced in many parts of the country. Not only in the rural areas, but dowry is encouraged in the educated class of society as well. Another victim in the movie is Janki(Madhuri Dixit) who is a theatre actress and is in love with her colleague. She is pregnant and doesn’t care about the norms of society. Janki is lusted after by the owner of the theatre who exploits her. The owner misleads Janki’s boyfriend and makes him doubt her integrity. In a Raamleela performance, she being the Sita, has to take the agneepariksha after she comes back from lanka.

Janki refuses to walk through it saying that why should women always prove themselves to gain trust and respect. If a man performs adultery, he would not be even questioned. But a woman, just because she is a woman, has to be pure and safeguard her family’s name in the society. Janki says, “If Sita would not have taken the agni pariksha, the women of today would not have suffered the tantrums thrown at them. Janki is assaulted by the audience and is beaten up which leads her to miscarry her baby. The fourth woman, Raamdulari is a midwife in a village.

She is more literate as compared to the other women of the village and in turn educates these women. Raamdulari strongly opposes the leaders of village. Later in the movie, she is gang raped and burnt alive by a group of henchmen sent by the village leaders. There are many such ‘Raamdularis’ in India whose voices go unheard, who are oppressed in this ruthless society of mail dominance. It doesn’t matter if a woman is raped, abused or killed as it would be said that she deserved it. The film clearly points a finger at how a male dominated society treats women. Women never feel the same freedom which men have.

Where a girl is expected to be home by seven in the evening , the boy has no such restrictions. Women are never asked about their feelings, their desires, their emotions. A woman is just expected to cook, clean and produce children. But the situation is improving gradually as the literacy rates in the urban and rural areas are increasing. The woman no longer is just a homemaker. She has started contributing to the family income too. But many a times these women are exploited by their husbands and forced to give their earned salaries to them. Though being independent, they cannot enjoy the true meaning of independence.

Whether rural or urban the plight of women is the same. In the urban areas, women have started taking a stand for themselves as they are getting more and more aware. Women in India are either killed at birth, face difficulties in getting married unless the dowry is paid, accused of being unfaithful, raped or killed. Such instances are never-ending. Interestingly, not only in India but other parts of the globe too, the women are exploited and oppressed. What we as a part of the society can do is spread awareness, encourage more and more women to get educated.

Otherwise, if we don’t decide to take a stand now, then it will become so grave that how much ever we’ll want to eradicate the matter it will only get worse. After all, the greatness of a civilization can only be measured by the status of its women. ” Well ye know What woman is, for none of woman born Can choose but drain the bitter dregs of woe Which ever to the oppressed from the oppressors flow. -SHELLEY Bibliography 1. Lajja. Dir. Rajkumar santoshi. perf. Madhuri Dixit, Rekha, Manisha Koirala, Mahima Choudhary. Prod. Rajkumar Santoshi. writ. Ranjit Kapoor, Rajkumar Santoshi. Santoshi productions, 2001 2. Rob Sewell. The origins of women’s oppression.. ” 05 september 2001. <http://www. marxist. com/origins-womens-oppression. htm> 3. Lajja Poster. <http://www. google. co. in/imgres? q=lajja&hl=en&sa=X&gbv=2&tbm=isch &prmd=ivnsb&tbnid=kdAZHYUtaw5n7M: &imgrefurl= 4. http://www. chakpak. com /movie/lajja/11902&docid=W16XdwZh GJbT3M&w=190&h=215&ei=Do4sTq6GJYX prQfc- eCxDQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=431&vpy= 306&dur=4735&hovh=172&hovw=152&tx =84&ty=130&page=1&tbnh=145&tbnw=1 45&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:7,s:0&biw=1366&bih=643

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Lajja- a Cultural Analysis
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