BThe case of Hollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput has finally been delivered at CBI – but not before everyone else, from his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty to Bollywood filmmakers Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra, Salman Khan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ekta Kapoor and Mahesh Bhatt blame. But what has escaped public attention is the toxic family structure of the Indian cow belt, especially Bihar, and the way it treats its precious sons.
Sushant Singh Rajput’s father, KK Singh allegations and his family’s positions should also be subjected to social and cultural scrutiny. A “witch” and a “gold digger” are routine labels given to women by typical mothers-in-law; and blaming a son’s girlfriend in a big city for everything that’s wrong is how families deal with sons’ self-reliance. Not to undermine their grief, but the way the family reacted speaks volumes about the burden of being a son in a Bihari family. He must not be less than a Shravan Kumar all his life.
The son is still a child – mera laadla
An adult male is always a child / baby of these families. Her independent choices are frowned upon, especially when it comes to marriage. If he goes against traditional family decision-making, either the circles of his friends, his girlfriend or his wives are blamed. There is hardly any talk of mental health in these families. Even though it’s there, it’s still patriarchal in nature. For example, a son / man cannot show emotional weakness and stress. It is considered to be a kind of debilitation or emasculation. It must be the perfect version of ‘adarsh balak‘.
Families do not accept any version of the son other than the one they create for them. All these people who came to talk about Sushant’s life had not met him for several years. To them it was like, “we knew him as a happy, carefree 10 year old boy, how could he have become? depressed in your late twenties? ‘ In fact, the actor’s father even said that until he met Rhea Chakraborty, Sushant had no mental health issues. And that her career was flourishing until Rhea came into her life, and she even plotted to take away her savings.
These families have only one vision of their son: he is never depressed, never makes mistakes, is never bullied and never gets married outside of the family’s choice.
“The girlfriend / wife separates the family from the son”
The familiar Bihar trope is that of a deceitful son who gets lost because of an enchantress.
‘Rabindra Nath Tagore’s Short Stories‘, a famous series on Netflix, explains this theory perfectly. Mahendra, a young man, marries a charming woman named Asha. He falls in love with her and forgets all his duties towards his widowed mother. Now the stepmom sees Asha as a villain who has corrupted Mahendra. Asha is seen as someone who took her son away.
There are many local songs in Bhojpuri which portray Bengali women as villains who trap Bihari men in their charm. They practice black magic on men. A Kajri song, typically sung during the month of Saavan, targets Bengali women as:
piya plus gailen calcutta o rama,
bengalin bitiya kai dihali o jadua
tohara ko debo bengalin daal bhari sonwa o rama,
chhod di na hamro sajnawa o rama!
The man went to Calcutta where he fell in love with a Bengali woman. The family asks the woman to take the gold instead and leave the man behind.
Families who can’t stand “girlfriends”
This “home breaker” angle is not limited only to Bihar. North Indian families have a particular aversion to girlfriends. The family believe the girlfriend has corrupted the son’s mind even though he is starting to wear a different colored t-shirt.
Families do not approve of “girlfriends” who do not fit into their “perfect Bahu” category. In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput, there was a middle class Bihari family and a modern Bengali girlfriend. The family lawyer also remark in a video posted by Rhea that she has never worn a salwar kameez in her entire life. What does this have to do with the criminal charges against Rhea, other than showing a dislike for her? This detail is also present in the FIR.
This whole episode reminds me of a friend from my college days. He often counseled his mother, who lived in a remote part of Bihar, because she felt that her new daughter-in-law was trying to take her son (my friend’s brother) away from her. My friend was never able to convince his mother that it is just that his brother’s priorities have changed in life after his marriage.
Also, in our society, young boys grow into men who believe that they can have several adventures, but they will eventually marry within the caste / class / religion / region. Their affairs will be hailed as their personal achievements, but their decision to marry someone they choose will be looked down upon. Invariably, the man’s family will prevail in the marriage.
The family “disconnection”?
Sushant Singh Rajput’s father, KK Singh, claimed in FIR that Sushant’s interaction with the family has been limited over the past year. A family can’t believe that a grown man doesn’t need a woman to tell them about his interaction with the world. An adult can decide if he wants to get away from a toxic environment. Whether it’s work, home or love life. In fact, these families even expect the daughter-in-law to carry the burden of being a bridge between them if the son skips school.
It could have been the other way around too. What if it was Sushant who didn’t want to talk to the family because of their discomfort with his girlfriend? What if he just wanted to stay with Rhea?
If we go through his interviews, it is only his mother that he refers to in the family. He rarely spoke of his family and his father. On her social media accounts too, Sushant only noted his mother. He often said he had no friends. At the height of his career, he planned to go to NASA and do other things.
Depression is seen as a defeat
Depression is seen as a defeat in these families. And a man, especially from a middle class family who had a successful career in Bollywood without a godfather, can never be accepted as defeated or depressed. Suchant’s sister job a photo on Instagram and wrote that he does not suffer from depression. Her brother-in-law Vishal Kirti wrote a blog post, saying that although he lost touch with Sushant a year ago, he still can’t believe he was depressed.
The fact that the family is unwilling to accept that their son may have been depressed even after his death shows how little they know about this issue.
Sushant’s father has claims that Sushant wanted to do organic farming in Coorg but Rhea stopped him. That Rhea warned him about his haunted house and forced him to move elsewhere. That she even took his phone from him.
This is how the whole country had the right to call Rhea a witch. Bihar leader Janta Dal (United) Maheshwari Hazari even called Chakraborty a “vishkanya” who was sent to trap Sushant in his love.
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