In India, and I think in other countries also, in different ways, the same thing happens. In India, when a boy is born he is welcomed with bands, dancing, singing, so the whole town knows that a boy is born. But when a girl is born there is no celebration; the whole town knows by the silence that a girl is born.
What is the problem for the parents? To them, a daughter or a son should be the same. But the problem is that the son is going to earn, is going to help them in their old age, is going to have the inheritance of the family. The daughter, on the contrary, is a financial loss. You feed her, you clothe her – and when you marry her you have to give a dowry. Strange – she will be becoming a slave, and the parents have to pay: “Please accept my daughter as your slave” – the dowry is the payment. Ordinarily slaves are purchased, and whoever purchases has to pay. In the case of women, the parents of the woman have to pay also – give the daughter and pay enough money.
The woman does not want – nobody wants – to be dependent. Nobody wants to be a slave. Nobody wants to be inferior because nobody is inferior. People are different; the question of superiority and inferiority is simply absurd. So she starts taking revenge unconsciously. She cannot love the man who owns her as a property, who does not recognize her as a human being equal to himself.
One of the Hindu saints – I don’t call him a saint, but Hindus worship him, read his book more than that of any other saint – is Tulsidas. And he condemns woman in such ugly terms. He says if you want to remain in control of a woman, you have to beat her once in a while; any excuse will do – so keep her afraid. She should not be given any equality, any friendship. And this has been called for centuries, “love”!
The woman is boiling – unconsciously of course – and it explodes in small things and whatever she can do, she does. She cannot beat the husband, she beats herself because she has been told, “Your husband is your god. You cannot beat him; you have only to worship him.” So having no choice, in anger she beats herself.
When I started criticizing Mahatma Gandhi I said that what he is doing is nothing but the age-old, feminine strategy. You cannot fight with the foreign rulers: you don’t have arms, you don’t have strength, and you don’t have even the desire. And all his nonviolence, passive resistance, is nothing but what the woman has always been doing. Nobody has given her the credit of creating a philosophy of nonviolence! She does not beat someone else when she is angry – she tortures herself. And the man who has reduced the woman to such a state also cannot love her.
Love can exist only in equality, in friendship.