What’s practically dominating social media since yesterday is a letter written by Amitabh Bachchan to his granddaughters Navya Nanda and Aaradhya Bachchan, in which he asks them to lead their lives the way they want and never get bogged down by societal demands and expectations.
‘Log kya kahenge’ should never be detrimental to their decisions in life, he wrote.
The letter shared by the actor on Facebook with a couple of pictures of him writing in a dimly lit, perfectly framed room have gone viral on social media. It received a massive response with people calling it heart-warming and extremely moving, given the times we live in. His words have resonated with women across the country who have faced judgement for not conforming to traditional notions and often scrutinised by society for the choices they make.
“And because you are women people will force their thinking, their boundaries on you. They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet and where you can go. Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom. Don’t let anyone make you believe that the length of your skirt is a measure of your character. Don’t let anyone’s opinion of who you should be friends with, dictate who you will be friends with. Don’t get married for any other reason other than you want to get married,” he wrote in the letter, which makes sense for any woman who reads it and not just Navya and Aaradhya.
Which was the whole point of releasing the letter publicly, right?!
However, the letter didn’t go down well with some who believe its tone is patriarchal. Bachchan started his letter informing the girls about their great grandfathers poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and industrialist HP Nanda, and the legacy they carry. The girls were told of the importance their surnames, but, at the same time, how that will not help alleviate the difficulties they’ll have to face because they’re women.
Some also called the letter a publicity stunt for his next release Pink, which is due to release on September 16.
In Amitabh Bachchan’s honest letter to granddaughters, it’s the paternal family that matters.
— Aparna Bhattacharya (@chhuti_is) September 6, 2016
3 guys show Indian problems
Kanhaiya Kumar -fake heroism of youth
Kejriwal -fake maturity of middle-aged
Amitabh -fake idealism of elderly
— The Bad Doctor (@DOCTORATLARGE) September 6, 2016
— Neha Gupta (@ne_hah) September 5, 2016
Opening line of the letter Mr Bachchan wrote to his granddaughters is itself problematic.They carry the legacy of both pardadaji & pardadiji
— ruchi kokcha (@ruchikokcha) September 6, 2016
— Harihar Goswami (@harihar_goswami) September 5, 2016
I see Bachchan’s promotion for Pink (about three women, releasing next week) is complete. Have fun Y’all. I’ll just go straight to the film.
— Aditya Shrikrishna (@gradwolf) September 6, 2016
— . (@ShiriishKunder) September 5, 2016
Nice patriarchy-tinged letter, Mr Bachchan. For starters, your granddaughters carry the legacy of their grandmothers too.
— Sandhya (@TheRestlessQuil) September 6, 2016
maybe you should have started by apologising for having your daughter in law marry a tree and then take it from there.
— Sandhya (@TheRestlessQuil) September 6, 2016
Read the full text of the letter here:
My very dearest Navya & Aaradhya
You both carry a very valuable legacy on your tender shoulders – Aaradhya, the legacy of your pardadaji, Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan…and Navya, the legacy of your pardadaji , Shri HP Nanda.
Both your pardadaji ‘ s gave your present surnames celebrated fame, dignity and recognition!
Both of you may be a Nanda or a Bachchan, but you are also girls…women !
And because you are women people will force their thinking, their boundaries on you.
They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet and where you can go.
Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom.
Don’t let anyone make you believe that the length of your skirt is a measure of your character.
Don’t let anyone’s opinion of who you should be friends with, dictate who you will be friends with.
Don’t get married for any other reason other than you want to get married.
People will talk. They shall say some terrible things. But that doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone. Never ever worry about – log kya kahenge.
At the end of the day, you are the only one who will face the consequences of your actions, so don’t let other people make your decisions for you.
Navya – the privilege your name, your surname offers you, will not protect you from the difficulties you will face because you’re a woman.
Aaradhya – by the time you see and understand this, I may well not be around. But I think what I am saying today shall still be relevant.
This may be a difficult, difficult world to be a woman. But I believe that it is women like you that will change that.
It may not be easy, setting your own boundaries, making your own choices, rising above people ‘s judgement.
But YOU !…you can set an example for women everywhere.
Do this and you would have done more than I have ever done, and it will be my honor to be known not as Amitabh Bachchan, but as your grandfather !!
With all my love
Your ….Dadaji ….your Nana.