I know it hides under many layers of violent misogyny and sterile Manuwadi patriarchy.
Indeed, I know that many of the Dravidian lands and societies of today are certainly not the best places for women. And though they might not be the worst, with the world as fucked up in its sexism and cowardly masculinity as it is today, that’s really not saying much at all.
As a father to a brilliant warrior girl, I necessarily think about the various forms of patriarchy and misogyny in the world around us that my daughter will have to struggle and fight against. We are a border-busting family, or at least we try to be, so these thoughts always take place across multiple societies and possibilities, be they Minneapolis, Toronto, southern India, or who the fuck knows what the future might bring?
I have no doubt that she will fight those fights of collective liberation, wherever she may be, with far greater glory and courage than I could ever muster in a million lifetimes.
But I still worry. And thus want to arm her with as much knowledge and as many skills as I can cram into her brilliant little mind. I am doing that, I believe, with slow but hopefully ever-increasing success. I better prove I’m no slouch. I’m a warrior-appa after all.
Her soul however is far greater than I can ever imagine.
Her soul, like her mother’s, is far older, far wiser, far braver, and far more divine, than mine ever will be. I have no way of meeting her spiritually, other than in obeisance and, dare I say it, worship. It liberates me as a man to really engage with the nuances of fatherhood from the standpoint of awe, occasionally infuriating awe (she’s a toddler after all), but awe nonetheless.
This inclination of mine to understand my happiness and well being as a human being in direct conjunction with my sense of reverence for my female loved ones is, I believe, partly due to Dravidian matriarchy, somewhere, somehow, surviving spiritually in my being. Overcoming the many millennia of misogyny and patriarchy embedded in our times, Dravidian matriarchy remains in me, as do other matriarchies – guiding me, nurturing me, despite the inherent ignorance of my maleness.
As a small realization of the self in connection across time and space, universes and lifetimes, that kicks a lot of ass.
For I know that when Daya and her sisters finds themselves tired and weary, battling on, in whatever way they must, as the freedom fighters of tomorrow…
They can always wrench hope from the matriarchal roots of their warrior selves, be they Dravidian or Germanic, indigenous or adopted, somewhere or everywhere.
And for that, I am very, very grateful.
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