By Karan Chetri
Northeast India is not spared from the evils of patriarchy and the curse it holds for the womenfolk. But in spite of the setup which governs the people of the region, the womenfolk of the Northeast region of India have always broken the glass ceiling and brought about a seismic shift in the way the world looks at women. They are always seen to be breaking the patriarchal barrier and making their voices heard against the male-oriented “traditions” and “culture” the society tries to uphold.
It is known to all that the North eastern states massively comprise of the tribal population. And among these tribal population do we witness the contribution of the womenfolk at the forefront. Contribution here would not only limit itself to the household chores and child rearing but to the work front as well. These people have the tendency to work together as a whole, and that’s where their role and importance as a woman fits into.
Citing as an instance here, It is startling to witness that Meghalaya as a state still persists to cling to its long tradition of matriarchy, where a woman serves as the head of the family. Similarly the matrilineal system traces the lineage from the mother’s side and not the father’s. That’s a big shot for the women folks, specially in times like these where the patriarchal set up has overtaken even the basic right of every woman.
To this date, Meghalaya’s matriarchal setup is dawned upon as a manifestation to enlighten upon the status of women in the North-Eastern states. The nontribal population residing in the region has been somewhat influenced by the outlook of tribals in relation to how a woman is looked upon. This has equally liberated the society’s mindset, further shunning off the limitations for women. There are instances that showcase how in some of the places in the region itself, women overtake the position of bread earner to sustain her families, especially when a man is unemployed for some reason. Some are bound to depend on their woman for sustenance.
One cannot completely deny the existence of patriarchal control over the society, but amidst such a setup, the women out here have to an extent made attempts to find a rather tiny ray of path to behold their share of right and respect. Yes, there have been struggles undergone by the women folks as reflected in the life sketches and the works of the women authors of the region, but irrespective of the struggles, the outcome truly stands out to be fruitful. Also, the style statement emitted of the women from the region is truly to ponder upon. They give a fierce competition to the mainstream regions, which stand out apart from them. The women out here have undertaken various experiments and still continue to do so. And as a result of which, they have been able to set a benchmark of their own