Aur Todi Bhi
July 2006, volume 30, No 7

Jack and Jill/ Went up the hill/ To fetch a pail of water/ Jack fell down/ And broke his crown/ And Jill came tumbling after. As a little girl I always wondered why Jill lost her cool when Jack fell down and broke his crown! Did she tumble down out of mere empathy? She could very well have run after him and nursed his wounds. Why tumble down? Now, of course, I understand that the whole idea of ‘tumbling after’ can be traced back to the other orientedness of girls/women all the world over. Feminists all the world over defend women’s right to ‘play’ as, in some sense, a retreat from this long term sense of duty, the service ethic that women have, for centuries, been subtly (and not so subtly) maneuvered into. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy but Jillls, and not only Jills but Dhaniyas, Munias, Razias and Nomchungs of the Third World too, remain bright and beautiful even under the tremendous pressure of unrewarded work and drudgery of all kinds.

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