Patriarchy operates in our society in both subtle and crude forms. Putting the father’s surname after the child’s name or considering the father as the guardian of a student are some of the subtle ways in which the importance of the father is asserted, almost obiletaring the acknowledgement of mother’s contribution in the life and upbringing of the child.
There are several reminders around us that patriarchy is thriving in the country but when institutions also contribute to the regressive practice, it becomes concerning.
A Twitter user Tanvi Vij shared the picture of a form she was seemingly filling where among other things, she was asked to write the name of her guardian. In the ‘Relationship type’, there were only two options: ‘Father’ or ‘Husband.’
It can be seen that Tanvi wrote Mother and ticked a box that she created next to it in the ‘Relationship type’ column.
Sharing the picture on Twitter, she wrote, “Mummy ka column kyu nahi hai bhai” (Why is there no column for mummy).
Her justified question invited several supportive comments from the users who have faced the same or are against the practice of considering only the men a guardian in the life of a woman.
Ruby Rani, a commenter asked, “How can a husband be a guardian??"
How can a husband be a guardian??— Ruby Rani (@RubyRani1) December 7, 2020
Another person named Abhishek Gupta said that not just father’s name in the guardian column, many forms usually ask the applicant to write father’s income as if only the father earns.
Ye to problem h system k saath.. ab bhi Income k liye Father's income likha hota h as if sirf Father hi kamate hn… Father's occupation pucchte hn… mere jaise logo ko bhot problem hoti h..— ABhishek Gupta (@________AB_BOSS) December 7, 2020
Another Twitter user supported Tanvi and said, “I personally know many women raising their kids all on their own in India. This needs to change.”
I personally know many woman raising their kids all on their own in India. This needs to change.— Human (@HumanHuMai) December 7, 2020
One more person raised the question why the relationship type column puts ‘husband’ as an option under guardian and not ‘spouse.’
Ambika Pandit, another Twitter user, said that the option for mother’s name just as it is there for father’s name. She pointed out that the children of single mothers are asking and struggling with the question that has been asked by Tanvi.
A very important question. The column for mother's name should be there just as for d father in any case; but children of single mothers in particular have been asking & struggling with this question 4 decades as forms such as this 1 below still offer d option of "guardian" only https://t.co/Wlq5Ywh2fb— Ambika Pandit (@AmbikaPanditTOI) December 7, 2020
However, there were many who took offense to Tanvi’s question and made some uninformed comments.
In response to Tanvi’s question about the missing column for mother’s name, one person replied, “Because father pays for your education.”
Because father pays for your education.— Ambar_47 (@ambar_hitman) December 7, 2020
But people were quick to point out the flaw in that statement. A person said in the reply, “That’s not always the case! Shame on this ideology!”