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entitled Mouse-Maid Made Mouse, Yajnavalkya, the hermit father of themaiden decided to find a suitable husband for his

child when she reached theage of twelve. By the word suitable, it means that he should find someoneof their own status. It was exemplified that:Where wealth is very much the sameAnd similar the family fame,Marriage (or friendship) is secure;But not between the rich and poor.Inter-caste marriage is still a taboo nowadays.The reason, as what isexemplified a while ago, was social distance. A Brahmin should marry aBrahmin. A Shudra should marry a Shudra. They must maintain the caste of their forefathers and accept the tasks and way of living assigned to them. Those who had inter-caste marriage had to face big hurdles in the light of their decision to defy all the basic norms of the society. Among these is thediscord between the families which can lead to mutual disharmony betweenthe couples. In the essay, grandmother gaudily told the writer that even if she had lost all her rights to her religion and caste, it does not give her thefreedom to marry someone outside the Brahmin caste and ruin their familyname.Intercommunity marriage was another concept introduced in the essay.If a woman is from Kashmir, her husband must be from Kashmir too. This isone of the social rules broken by the writers mother when she was a girl. Those who choose to have intercommunity marriage are held in the same 8 light as those who risked having inter-caste marriage. Because of herdefiance, the writers mother is still not well-received by people.Marriage in India is considered to be a marriage of families rather thana marriage of individuals. If one could understand this concept, he will seethe beauty of arranged marriages and think that this is the best. Theapproval and support of the families of both sides are essential to a healthymarriage. Moreover, this kind of marriage proved to be more successful thanlove marriages. Indian culture sees the real love as something which doesnot spring from romance, but from a properly arranged union betweenindividuals.Another issue present in the essay is the right of women to educationand career. Women are denied opportunities men have. This led the writersmother for another cultural defiance. She entered a medical school inMadras. Being the only girl in the class, she was immediately taken out fromthe school and pursued the study of English literature. Later, she earned aliving by lecturing in a Madras college. The writers mother understood theirtraditions well. In her heart, she is always a Hindu. However, she could notcontain her dreams inside the box of these traditions. This seclusion of women may lead some to believe that the Hindus puttheir women on a low position. On the contrary, in the traditional Hinduculture, women are held in the highest regard and are more respected thanin the West. Tracing back the history, women occupied a very importantposition in ancient India. Sakhti is a feminine term for power because 9 Hindus believe that all male power comes from the feminine. Women at thattime could also study and teach the Vedas. They enjoyed rights of propertyand took share in social and religious rites. However, the status of womendeclined as Islamic Invasion came into the picture. During such aggressionsthe honor and chastity of women often became the casualties. As a result,Hindu society became more protective about its women and started torestrict their freedom. This entails that the restrictions on women did notcome from a low regard by men, but out of love and out of protection for thesake of their honor.Santha Rama Rau did not paint the Hindu woman as someone who isentirely powerless. Feminine colors were vibrant in their role in a joint family.Although they have no legal rights, the wife of the oldest son can be thehead of the household. And with their leonine powers, they can have theabsolute control over the members of the family for they hold and dispenseall the money in the household. The personification of this autocracy in theessay is Asha. Even when the joint system in India is declining, she still hadthe powerful influence over her family, though not in absolute degree.Having the eye of an outsider, the writer would always feel that theconventions of India are hindrances to progress. Her mother, although born aHindu, would still believe on progress and the need for change. But Asha,would remain faithful to their religion and philosophy and content herself with the progress she knows their journey from the great age of India.

10 Among the three, it is Asha who had a clearer picture of the real face of India.India is not a poor country. It may be on the base in terms of monetarywealth. But, it is on the summit by the richness of its values and traditions. Inthe essay, Asha said: Hinduism the most rigid of beliefs, the most realisticof philosophies and it determines everything from food to their morals. It isin India where religion and philosophy are tightly interwoven to the peoplesway of living. It is in India where culture is not displayed in the museums butin the hearts of all men. India was viewed by the Westerners as a placewhere people imposed rigid rules upon their people, denying progress,ignorant to the demands of the modern world. In the end, it is theWesterners who proved to be ignorant, who sees only the surface of Indianculture without digging to its true richness faith, respect, honor, love andpurity which the gods bestowed upon them. Sources: Books Grihault, Nicki. Culture Smart! India. Random House, 1996.Perry, Marvin. A History of the World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1985. Websites Jayaram V. Hinduism and Women. Hinduwebsite. 17 July 2009<http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/h_women.asp>Kamat, Vikas. Indias Arranged Marriages. 1 Jun. 2005. 8 Aug. 2009<http://www.kamat.com/indica/culture/subcultures/arranged_marriage.htm>Murthy, J. S. Restorative Justice and Indias Caste System. New World Outlook . 1Aug 2009. <http://gbgm-umc.org/nwo/99ja/india2.html>11