Sharing an email from Kajal.
A thought has been bothering me for a few days. Indian mythology or cultural texts have several icons and references for the ideal son/daughter i.e. the ideal children. But do we have any benchmark for ideal parents in our traditions? Mostly what I remember from atleast the two major epics is parents who abandon children, torture them to please another spouse or society or ask of impossible sacrifices from children for the larger good. Do you remember any ideal/non-controlling parent in our stories? Would you say this has impacted how we see parent child relationship till date in this country? Is there a parent version of Shravan Kumar? Or is it just assumed that by virtue of being parents they are selfless and right?
So do we have any role models? What did these role models do for their children?
Indian mothers are seen (in movies) frantic, worrying about the amount of hot and freshly cooked food the male children have eaten [Like this, Link]
They are also seen fasting for the male child’s long life. In the movies they seem to feel responsible for finding a sanskaari and obedient daughter in law as a spouse for the male child and collecting dowry for their daughters. Traditional mothers are expected to raise the paraya dhan to become obedient daughters in law.
Fathers seem to be responsible for ensuring obedience, school fees (if they approve of sending the children to school), dowry and Honor.
In many movies, loving parents are seen working hard, despite illness sometimes, to feed their children, to get urgent medical treatment for their children, for the children’s (more often male children) school fees and for the girl children’s dowry.
What about the parents in Indian mythology?