Since this is Women's Month, I thought it appropriate to write about a country where women are generally seen as second-class citizens, except in Meghalaya, India.
In Meghalaya, you will be hard-pressed to find anyone male with a leadership position. This state has been flourishing as a matrilineal society for generations and has not been questioned until now. Where almost every country is run by patriarchal societies, Meghalaya's every governing body is headed by women. As amazing as this is, there is unrest among the men who have had to live with this system for quite a long time.
One of the more vocal opponents to this matrilineal system is Keith Pariat. Pariat is President of Syngkhong-Rympei-Thymmai, a men's rights movement. He is among the many men who have been trying to level the playing field, to change the way his gender has been seen and treated for generations. Interestingly, the men of this state are the caretakers of their family while the women take care of business, even as far as governing the state.
For Pariat, the treatment of Khasi men is demoralising and creates low self-esteem if at all. According to Pariat, "Matriliny breeds a culture of men who feel useless". In the Khasi culture, the birth of a girl is celebrated while a boy is barely accepted. How ironic that in other parts of the India and some other countries, women and girls are seen as property, to be exploited and used without any regard for their being, while in this state, women are held in the highest esteem.
I feel for Pariat and the men who believe that they are not treated equally, and while I hope that their status in their state changes one day, I'm not unhappy that even in a country where women are barely recognized, there is a place where they are seen as important members of society, to be seen as inspiration for future generations. That's my take on this, what's yours?
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