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Na Ana Is Desh Mere Lado – Ammaji – What power does to a woman

Na Ana Is Desh Mere Lado can be the subject for a very interesting sociological study on the concept of ‘power’. Power logically ought to be sexless, genderless. The long association of power with the male gender has made the two concepts almost synonyms of each other. The relation between the powerful and powerless also is best exemplified by the man-woman gender divide and bias. Men are more or less in all given situations the dominant element-aggressive, in your face, almost brutish. And they go to any lengths to retain the throne of power, subduing all attempts made by women to tilt the scale of balance of power. Woman are more docile, submissive malleable; not only in their demeanour and attitude but also in their stance. Thus it so happens that if ever a woman were to scale the position of power, her internal and external self becomes more ‘male-like’.

Ammaji is the best example that one can use to support this argument. She is the centre of power in her domain, Veerpur. But here the rules, hierarchy, structure, roles, and systems that she lords over and protects are those that are male oriented. So she does not hesitate to carry out female infanticide, scorning the womb that nurtures a girl child and celebrating the ones that produce boys. She gets her sister-in-law flogged by her husband (Ammaji’s brother-in-law) just because she had dared to give birth to a girl. She is even willing to use her niece as a pawn to win favours from the evil District Magistrate Vora. Thus in spite of the fact that she is a woman, while acting out her role of the village head she follows essential male standards and precedents.

Even while doling out punishments, she chooses ways and means that are more popular with men. She prefers to whip her adversary, Dharam Veer Singh (guilty of having conspired to kill her) using her favourite whiplash. She does not shy away from using those means of punishment that will involve using considerable physical strength on her part. Like a man she ties the same villain to the back of her jeep (a vehicle driven mostly by men and that she drives herself) and drags him all around the village as an example, to instil fear into the hearts of all those who might have hopped to bring her down.

Her Machiavellian mind works like a man as exemplified by the manner in which she entrapped Dharam Veer Singh and DM Vohra-pretending to be dead so as to suss out the enemy. Even her external gait, her postures are more akin to a man’s. In order to retain the legitimacy of her crown she has to fulfil her role like a man. For with the passage of time, power has essentially become a man’s domain and women have to kowtow to male stereotypes.

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