Mother Keeps

Be. Do. Life seems to be constantly switching between these two modes. You would be hard-pressed to choose between the two. If activity is what makes life ‘life’, you can’t perform if you don’t survive. You can’t however rest easy just by surviving. What’s the point of living if you don’t do anything good? And to just survive also, you need to ‘do’ things – build shelter, find food, participate in the ritual of reproduction, etc. Survival and activity very much go hand in hand. And none is more important than the other. That’s life. An intelligent mix of survival and activity. Of be and do. Of maintenance and project. Of upkeep and progress. Of reproduction and metabolism.

There are different scales and perspectives at which we witness life’s survival and activity. One may go on to generalise the dominant role of plants in the ‘survival’ of life and of animals in the ‘activity’ of life. Animals after all have the attribute of motility which takes them around to perform. Plants on the other hand are literally rooted to protect life. Sure it does not mean that plants only ‘be’ and animals only ‘do’. It’s the dominant role we are talking about here. And remember neither of upkeep and progress is more important than the other.

In a similar vein, the nature appears to have conferred upon females the generic role of survival and upon males of making changes. Female body is equipped with ‘inward’ strength and male body with ‘outward’ strength. The nature has relied on the solidity of female’s inward strength and given her the principal role when it came to reproduction. The male’s contribution is restricted to providing sperm for fertilization. Even his mitochondria are not allowed to pass on to the offspring. In most plants too only the maternal mitochondria and chloroplasts are inherited by the offspring. Viewed this way, the heritage of life lies with the female. Mind you, life survives through reproduction only. Women are the true carriers of ‘vansh’ in that sense. Glad we have a festival that celebrates a female deity.