Witch: Should you be one?
Today I gave my ten year old cousin sister a rather unappealing suggestion. I proposed, “In the future, you should aim to be a witch; The greatest witch this world has ever seen.”
Perplexed and astonished she replied, “Why? Witches are evil. They kill and torture men and wreak havoc on everything they touch. Didn’t you hear our grandma’s story?”
“Yeah, witches are evil. I will beat them if I see one”, her little brother, six years old sprightly fellow, said with vivacity.
With a smirk, I replied, “I heard grandma’s story as clear as the day. But I think you misinterpreted it. Let me reiterate her story and tell you my conclusion.”
They eagerly nodded and accepted my invitation to listen to grandma’s interesting anecdote. They sat on the floor with their feet crossed, looking at me as if I was about to give them a present.
I also sat in front of them and started my narration, “In their childhood, our grandma and her friends used to peek at their brothers. Her brothers used to write in Nepali paper with ink made from juice of green plants. When caught, they used to get scolded and told by their uncles that they would become a witch if they even watched their brother studying. Their uncle also warned them that if they ever touched a book, only God knows how ruthless punishment they will get in hell. After hearing such a warning, they used to run away in fear and play somewhere else. Also, they used to suggest to their female juniors to stay away from books if they don’t wanna turn into evil witches.”
“That’s what grandma was telling you.” She interrupted me in the middle.
I looked at her, making a stern face and said, “My story isn’t complete yet. Be patient.”
She frowned but obeyed me. Perhaps she became afraid of my serious look. Feeling sorry for her, I continued my story in a more soothing tone.
“Our grandma’s time was a male dominated one. Male were the “alpha” of the house and society. Women weren’t allowed to say anything against the men. They weren’t allowed to do the work that men used to do like fixing the roof, taking out hay from high haystacks, using spade, grape hoe or axe, earn money and so on. Women were titled as house workers and babysitters. Men could scold or even beat women but women weren’t allowed to do the opposite. If a woman rebelled against them and started raising questions against the existing system, she would be labeled as witch, isolated from society or even beaten or burned to death. If left alive, she would frequently be made a scapegoat for any misfortune that befalls upon others.”
“Moreover, if a woman studied, she would have understood that books are harmless; they bestow wisdom to everyone who studies them. With more knowledge, women would prefer to be independent or live and work equally as men. But such women were seen as a threat to the male dominant society. So men used all the tricks of their gaslighting book against those women like labelling her a witch, isolating her from other women and brainwashing everyone into hating her.”
By this time her frown had changed into a curious look. Her brother had already gone somewhere else to play. Perhaps the story was a bit complicated for him to understand.
So I continued, “Thus the definition of a witch becomes: it is a woman who has knowledge, skills and wisdom comparable or greater than men. She raises her voice against atrocity and violence. She demands that women should get the opportunity to work like men and in certain circumstances, men should do the task of women. She believes, physically, men and women are different but socially they are capable of holding the same status, prestige and position.”
Her curiosity wasn’t dim yet. So at last I asked her, “Do you wish to be such a woman?” With glittering eyes she replied, “Yes brother, I will be just like that.”
She then went to her peers to share this new found knowledge. I just sat there, hoping, if I had sparked her interest in studies; just as her parents requested me to do so.