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OPINION| Anandiben Patel Advised Schoolgirls to Make ‘Perfect Daal’. Really, Now?

How to be an adaarsh ladki?

Well, if you ask Madhya Pradesh Governor, Anandiben Patel, she will tell you that it’s by learning how to make the ‘perfect daal’.
A video showing Patel advising schoolgirls in Rajgarh district in Madhya Pradesh shows her offer some very ‘valuable’ advice. She asks them to “not leave the kitchen, and learn how to cook the perfect daal.” In the video, she initially starts by saying that she is proud that these girls have done some “good work,” but then adds, “But don’t leave the kitchen.” As if making this statement in 2018 isn’t already atrocious, she then adds, “If you can make good daal, you will have a good relationship with your mother-in-law. That’s where the problem will start from – if you can’t make good daal.”
Here’s the thing. As much as daal is an Indian staple, women are not tested on their ability, or inability to make daal in everyday life. When women are held up to the same standards as men in any competition, “the quality of her daal” does not add bonus points to whatever she is trying to achieve.

“A woman’s place is in the kitchen” is a myth we should have left behind a long, long time ago. Add to that the stereotype that a woman needs to be on good terms with her mother-in-law. Everybody needs to be on good terms with each other. I mean, world peace, right?

Even though television shows will have you believing otherwise, the stereotype of a daughter-in-law being this vamp who hates her mother-in-law doesn’t quite exist the way you would think. And even if that does exist in relationship, it stems from a lot of reasons, which do not revolve around lentils.

Take this example. You’re applying for a job. You’ve had a formal education, you went to a good college, and you’re pretty confident you’re getting the job. The interview goes great – and at the end, when you’ve answered all their questions about quantum physics or business strategy or whatever you specialize in – they ask you to take one final step. “Okay, now we will have a 5 minute Masterchef-style test to check the quality of your dal. Your entire job, career and standing in society depends on this.” The possibility of the above scenario actually happening is never

Unless you are applying to be a cook, nobody will ask you to make daal.

So instead of telling young, impressionable girls how they can achieve their dreams and grow up to become literally anything they want to, Patel choosing to reinforce the archaic stereotype that women should stay in the kitchen is perhaps not just wrong in terms of her telling this to young girls, but also shows the larger idea she is reinforcing – of women’s only achievement in life is knowing to please their in-laws, and have no individuality of her own.

Following this comment by her, Patel apparently also stated that the girls shouldn’t cut their hair, because long hair means ‘shobha,’ a matter of pride. 

Twitter, also wasn’t too happy with her statement.

Really. Unless there is something “kaala” in your dal, it shouldn’t matter.

Updated: October 1, 2018 — 11:03 pm
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