The Indian mother is gradually changing and recent ad campaigns mirror that change. From being a protector alone, she has moved on to being a friend and guide. If earlier the Indian mother wanted to keep her child happy and safe at any cost, today she is ready to push her child to excel
When an 11-year-old English boy crossed the English channel in freezing weather – a friend remarked, “Well, he had to be English. An Indian mother would not even let him cross the road!”. Indian mothers have been fiercely protective of their children and a good mother has always shielded her children from every difficulty, illness or even the chastisement of neighbours since the days of Krishna and Yashoda .
The mother in Indian society has all along been placed on a pedestal where she is deified and fertility is rewarded with respect and recognition through rituals and behaviours. She has stood by her children and has even walked out on her husband to support her principled son in many a Bollywood setting. In advertising too, the mother was always the demure super woman dedicated to the well-being and happiness of her kids. The children were usually passive recipients of her caring; seated at the table, playing in the garden, running at school competitions or sleeping in bed. She was the ultimate care-giver. Other forms of popular culture such as TV and cinema have fuelled this and the good mother has always shielded her children from every germ, problem or heartache.
She has never challenged them and has turned them into winners through her unflinching and unconditional support. Her kids are taller, healthier, smarter, faster, naughtier and happier than all others. This has been her victory and she controlled everything the children did as though in relinquishing that control she became the ‘bad’ mother (kaisi maa ho tum…”)
Since Mother India and Nirupa Roy, she starved and worked herself to the bone to feed her kids – and was never the ‘society lady’ who neglected her children and went to clubs. She was demure, traditional and her world