Tag Archives: Patriarchy

The Muse-in-law

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Elizabeth quickly closed the journal and pushed it under the embroidery.  The pen clattered to the floor and rolled under the bed.

Her mother-in-law stood at the door moments after her thunderous steps alerted Elizabeth. She instructed a maid, who followed her, to collect all the books in Elizabeth’s room.

“Books can disturb your  sensibilities and corrupt your mind…making you an unsuitable wife for my dear son…”. Her voice echoed the hollow righteousness of her mind.

Elizabeth studied the ignorant yet vile creature in front of her silently.

“…that’s why I’m banning books for you. Girls should be like flowers – delicate and pure… “, the woman continued her monologue.

and deceptively poisonous? like you?“, Elizabeth wanted to say when inspiration struck her.

“Thank you”, Elizabeth blurted ,interrupting and dismissing her mother-in-law.

When she was left alone eventually , Elizabeth started writing the perfect plot twist for her play: “The team employed the use of Nightshade to get the information they wanted from their captive.”

———– end —————-

Nightshade – is a type of plant where the flowers, steams and leaves are poisonous like the flower shown in the picture prompt.

I also drew inspiration from the first woman to write an English play and publish it in her name: Elizabeth Cary  or Lady Falkland. More information on her is available in Wikipedia:


Excerpts from the wikipedia article that acted as a basis for my piece:

“At the age of fifteen, her father arranged her marriage to Sir Henry Cary, later made Viscount Falkland, who married her because she was an heiress. When she finally moved into her husbands home, her mother-in-law informed Elizabeth that she was forbidden to read, so Elizabeth instead chose to write poetry in her spare time.”

Elizabeth turned her mother-in-law’s ban of books  into a muse to create her own written material….

Her first play The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry (1613) was written in iambic pentameter ….. The Tragedy of Mariam was progressive for its time because it was the first English play to be written by a woman.[4] Her social commentary discussed divorce and female agency, which was innovative for the time. The play discusses revenge, scheming, and plotting as core elements which all aid in Falkland’s critique about patriarchal tyranny.”

The about 150+ word above story was in response to ‘Monday’s finish the story’ flash fiction challenge. This unique flash fiction challenge  provides  a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story.This time I used the first sentence (in Italics) provided at the end. The challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided. Details are available here:



Chennai High Court – Do you know how to spell DEMOCRACY ?

A bunch of people , men and women of various ages, who subscribe to a political ideology in a democratic nation (Chennai, India) decide to perform a symbolic act , the removal of the mangalsutra/Thali, to support the emancipation of women in a patriarchal society . No one was hurt or could possibly be hurt in that event.

What’s the big deal? Let this tiny fraction of the society do what they want to do and go home. You watch their event on TV or don’t watch it. You agree with them or don’t agree with them. You do what you want to do. Maybe organize an event to counter that symbolic gesture to promote your culture. Simple..Right? That’s how democracy works. Right?

Apparently not. Well, another group of people’s sentiments were hurt…that is a big deal. You see this “sensitive group of people” , the guardians of ‘Indian Hindu Culture’ as they call themselves , can’t tolerate freedom of someone else’s expression.

I understand such zealous-fanatical-about-culture entities  exist in our society….but the High Court? What were the Justices thinking? Or rather were they thinking?

Here’s some news coverage on this issue:
The Times of India articles says:

At a special sitting that began at 8.15am, the Madras HC reversed an earlier order and stayed DK’s programme. A bench comprising Justice Satish K Agnihotri and Justice M Venugopal said fundamental rights, freedom of speech and expression along with freedom to assemble peacefully could not be exercised if it destroyed the fabric and ethos of Indian culture, and caused law and order problems. The sitting was held in Justice Agnihotri’s residence. The bench gave its order at around 9am.”

Is the High Court bipolar? Give approval for the event one day. Revoke it the next day!

So if a criminal, with enough proof to be sentenced to death, has a bunch of goons who can cause law and order problems if they don’t like the verdict , will he or she be sentenced to prison one day and set free the next day?

Do they really understand what true Indian culture is ? Know that Hinduism is a tolerant religion ?

Someone please submit a petition to the High Court, that Indian men in Tamil Nadu are hurting  Hindu/Indian sentiments and destroying the fabric and ethos of Indian culture by walking around in western wear…by not wearing the traditional Indian dress of Dhoti. By not wearing the Metti. By not wearing the thilak/namam on their forehead. Will the high court then order all men to dress as per Indian tradition?Overriding their personal freedom to wear what they want?

No more of this western ‘Hindu/culture eroding’ dress:
Only this Outfit embracing true “Hindu/Indian culture”

Justices and people of India, please remember India is a ‘DEMOCRACY’ not  ‘ D  E M O C R A Z Y’.