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GB ‘Lokkhi in Olokhhi’ – KAUSHIK CHAKRABORTY

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The very concept of lokkhi meye has seen a gross deviation in the social context over the years. In her childhood, any daughter with an indifferent attitude to things around her is often 'marked' as a lokkhi meye. Such a daughter would quickly pick up her love for the kitchen; her inclination towards all sorts of homely chores... all leading her towards securing a descent shoshur baadi in future. On the other hand, households seeking a lokkhi bou for their sons would tag a girl as lokkhi only when they find her superb at domestic work. I doubt, if Dipa Karmakar or Jhulan Goswami ever will take that hot seat, whether they qualify in lokkhism, no matter how much glory they bring to the country.

Goddess Lakshmi is largely worshipped among the Bengali households as a deity of prosperity. She is looked upon as a caretaker of the family assets; a security-in-charge of wealth. Naturally, a lokkhi meye or a lokkhi bou is somebody who is supposed to be good at protecting the household wealth. A deeper look would reveal through such a myth, women are made to be more inwardly active. Any newly-wed woman is most welcome to go for a movie show with her husband, but never with ‘another man.’ A working woman getting frequent calls or messages from her male colleagues is still an issue; which is never for a man when he deals with his female colleague.

Twenty-five years ago, when housewives got transformed into homemakers, the male chauvinists had smartly pushed their female counterparts more towards that nook under the guise of liberation. It was rather an aberration. And under that pretext so many lokkhi meye had to resign from their career and accompany their better halves to another place for their husband’s career development. These women chose to be lokkhi, than lucky.

The myth of lokkhi meye is as serene as divine. It could’ve been a boon to the society, a boost for women. But social hypocrisy has tarnished its very essence. Certain section of women choose to be loyal to their ‘home’ than to their rights, and setting weak examples for others. The concept of a working woman has degenerated to a social stigma for the elderly, who confuse between their bouma and their attendants. Husbands find it hard to differentiate between ‘duty’ and ‘responsibility.’ ‘Boys’ who love to spend time with their ‘girls’ in pubs suddenly impose a ‘no-smoking, no-drinking’ dictum on their wives right after they’re married, while they themselves carry with it coolly. If the wives obey them, then they’re lokkhi. Otherwise... olokkhi

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