Chaobinism: Defying Chauvinism

In our society most of the rules are formed, deformed and again reformed by the male lots. It’s always a Thoiba, Tomba or Chaoba’s world. For a Thoibi, Tombi or Chaobi, it’s a different tale to tell. In quite a devilling Hindu style, the bigger gender says, ‘Nupigi punsidi paap mayaamna yomaga poklakpani’. I ghastly wonder how those religious pundits ever dare to come to such a conclusion. How dare they!

Man-tastic chauvinism is a social trend that’s been observed for all these decades in almost every society including ours. Hence, a Thoiba, Chaoba or Tomba is metaphorically considered as a mani matum for his parents whereas a Chaobi or Tombi is — for the want of an appropriate word — a leibaak leituum? I have always been emotionally offended by such a mindset ever since I was a kid. I am still emotionally offended by such a thaak-nemba mindset. On moral or immoral grounds, when a son makes a mistake it’s ngaosinaba but if a daughter does, it becomes a great concern not just for the family but also for the entire saagei-naatei and keiroi-leikai.

World Cup for the Men and Beyond

In various cases, daughters are expelled to have their share of fun. To cite a simple example, hanging out somewhere or watching football or any game late in the night with friends would be unimaginable, if not it is odd or disgraceful for a girl. However, the same is a matter of ‘nupa thokpa’, a time for great celebration for the male lots.

I have in fact grown up in one such leikai where guys in groups enjoy late night football or any match over pegs of local booze and nganu/yen/oak thongba for maarinaba. I do not intend to culture a similar habit. But I would encourage the idea of a few leikai friends or even cousins hanging out together for a football match. Why should boys/guys have all the fun? This has been a major concern for me; not that it’s a matter of animosity towards the male lots.

Well, this would hopefully be the last time I would ever get a chance to watch World Cup leisurely from the comfort of my home. I know not how my nupamayum would be like but am damn sure no family would entertain their ‘mamou nupi’ watching football late in the night and waking up late in the morning. So that’s it?
Marriage, at least to me, seems like an artificial sterilization of a relation that is forged and forced to maintain for the rest of your life with some special clauses for the bride such as: ‘Thou shall abandon all the pre-marital hobbies. Thou shall adhere to the rules of waking up earlier than the morning birds. Thou shall under any circumstance fulfil the duties abound with the awunpot of thy luhongba’.

Gawd! I am already getting sick of these things already. I wonder if I would be able to religiously follow them all. Or should I start thinking about empowering ‘Chaobinism’?

Of Chaobinism and the Wind of Change

Earlier, the norm was set like this: the son has to earn while the daughter has to run the home. But things have changed over the years. Daughters not only run but also earn for the family. I know many friends and acquaintances, who financially support their families and at the same time run all the household errands. The rising number of such women and daughters, in my opinion, is a clear sign of progress, rather than a reply to the inflated mindset of man-tastic chauvinism in our society.

I have also come across many brave and courageous ladies who have misspelled the myth that ‘Nupa dangna paangal thokpa thabak touba ngami’. Consider the rise of Mary Kom, for instance. History is also the sole witness when it comes to the thouna-lingjel of Manipuri ladies. It would not be an exaggeration to state that the hand that once rocked the cradle also cracks many a rock just to support her family. Of late, the rising number of working ladies in both public and private sectors is more or less an implication that we have finally come out of the cocoon to face the world and pave our own ways.

Yes, it’s a clear sign of positive change. It’s the gradual phase of ‘Chaobinism’ defying chauvinism that has been rooted on our mindset for all these years and decades. The dictionary would never have a right place for ‘Chaobinism’ but who cares? We are ready with the change though we know male chauvinism will prevail as always. We are going with the flow of the times that are changing. No matter what, it is as much a Thoibi or Chaobi’s world as much as it’s a Thoiba or Chaoba’s world.

This article was published on 15 June 2014.

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