Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day, all. May all beings be happy, may all beings be free of suffering, may all beings become enlightened.

With that benediction taken care of, I should get back to being a curmudgeon. First, I think the whole idea of one day in a year being dedicated to one’s mother is needlessly restrictive. If one values being born[1], then one must revere one’s mother every single day. Surely, marking only one day in a whole year to express one’s love and gratitude to the one person who was most directly involved in bringing one into being is not enough.

Second, I resent the MacDonaldization of the world, part of which is the adoption of American traditions as if one’s own tradition is somehow inadequate and inferior. It is undignified. To use an Americanism (I know, the irony), it is cringe-worthy.

Third, the crass commercialization that accompanies every American tradition goes on to infect the rest of the world like the Chinese virus out of Wuhan. I yield to no one in my support of commerce and people’s freedom to truck, barter and trade. But reducing everything to being just another occasion for buying more stuff is a sacrilege (which is saying something since I am not religious in the traditional sense) I deeply abhor.

The wiki informs us that the “modern holiday was first celebrated in 1907, when Anna Jarvis held the first Mother’s Day service of worship at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia.” She too came to regret the commercialization of Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is good and important, and has significance in the West for Westerners. For Indians, though, adopting that Western tradition actually is a step downward in their reverence of mothers. Let’s not forget, Indians worship god as mother — there’s Shakti and her myriad manifestations such as Saraswati, Lakshmi, Kali, Durga. No other tradition in the world elevates the mother as the Indian tradition does. The tragic irony is that females are seriously oppressed and abused in India. That’s also part of the culture, unfortunately.

Alright, time to listen to a song. Sachin Deb Burman’s song about one’s mother stands out as the best in the Hindi movie song catalog. It’s from the 1969 movie Talash. If you don’t understand Hindi, I am sorry you’ll miss the awesome lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri. Around the 2:30 time stamp, his plaintive cry “ma … ma” is totally heart-rending. Listen to that bit a few times. You don’t need to understand Hindi to understand the basic emotional content of that song.



[1] I confess that as an antinatalist, I am not thrilled that I was born. It would have been better never to have been. Read my post from two years ago titled “Happy Mother’s Day.”

Author: Atanu Dey


One thought on “Happy Mother’s Day”

  1. ‘The tragic irony is that females are seriously oppressed and abused in India. That’s also part of the culture, unfortunately.’
    Yet most of them go on to become mothers…..and will have sons who oppress and abuse women…who is to blame? mothers or sons?


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