In an interactive session organised by the BDR club on the Story of Rituals – an interwoven discussion on the movie “WATER By Deepa Mehta” and the short story ” THE LOTTERY By Shirley Jackson”, we came across the interesting topic of “morality”. The discussion, moderated by Mohana and Avleen, started with a brief screening of the movie Water by Deepa Mehta, well known for looking at the sensitive topic of widow remarriage and the ironical way in which society functioned in the pre-independence era. The movie explores the hypocrisy of the Upper caste Brahmins who mould the laws of “Shastras” according to what benefitted them, the inhuman ostracization of widows with an exception of being forced into prostitution as well as the idea of breaking free and redemption. The film beautiful captures the thought processes of the various characters who in their own way give a wonderful glimpse into the various perspectives that women as well as men held. The decisions made by the protagonist moulded the discussion where the participants enthusiastically gave their views about the entire situation. It was discussed how all throughout the years rituals have been prevalent because of the fear of the social fabrication being disturbed. One also came across the various contradictions of how it was correct for the Brahmins to sleep with women of lower castes or widows in an attempt to purify them. This gave rise to the idea of who decides what is right or wrong, which was discussed with the help of a short story called The Lottery by Shirley Jackson which tapped on the idiosyncratic way in which a society can function. In the prose, an entire society is made to believe that a lottery is great, even if it results in your death. The idea is never questioned by the members of that social circuit as they have been made to enjoy the entire process and each family takes pride in it. Such stories can be very well juxtaposed which situations prevalent even today, where certain ideologies gain popularity and is projected out to people in such a way that few take it as a holy grail. The discussion was concluded with a simple thought which was shared by mostly all those who participated, which was that of the need for tolerance and acceptance of individuality and individual thought as well as freedom, so long as it does not infringe on human rights to a major extent.
Reported By – Archisha Bhattacharjee