The character Kokila Modi from Star Plus show Saath Nibhaana Sathiya has become quite a sensation in the past few days. All thanks to Yashraj Mukhate and his viral rap. The internet craze around the song does not seem to stop or die soon. So wild is this frenzy that every single Indian meme page on the Internet has at least one Kokilaben meme right now.
However, as Kokilaben keeps breaking the internet, it is important that we conduct a quick reality check here. While we must be hailing the character for some light-hearted entertainment in the past week, let’s not forget how problematic Kokilaben’s character was during the show’s seven-year-long run. But then again so many can not even see it this way owing to a very nice packaging in the show. Well, this story is especially for you if you ever fell for that facade because Kokilaben was problematic AF and here’s why:
In India, we have had this long perpetuated tradition of the dictatorial mother-in-law who makes her bahu function as per her whims (and calls them sanskaars). Kokilaben is the true epitome of the same idea. Take for instance the scene from Saath Nibhaana Saathiya that has been parodied by Yashraj. Watch it sans the music and rap, and you’d realise how problematic it actually happens to be.
In the scene, Kokilaben can be seen grilling her daughters-in-law for a mistake in a manner that only school principals do (not approving of that either). And actually scolding her bahus for household chores and not fulfilling their “duties” was an everyday thing for Kokilben back when the show was still on air. Now imagine how horrible would it be to live with such a saas!
In the show, Kokilaben very diligently subscribed to primitive ideas and values. She was very particular about familial hierarchies and thus always expected her son Aham to be given more preference than Jigar. Also, she expected Rashi to touch Gopi’s feet and take blessings from her because Gopi happened to be the elder’s brother’s wife in the show. Well, she was full of such primitive ideas that she rarely held back from expressing and obsessing about in the show.
If a feminist were to ever live with Kokilaben, listening, and watching her going about her daily life, it would be a legit nightmare for the former. The character of Kokilaben in the show practices everything that feminism has been fighting against. She can be seen constantly bordering her bahus with household chores and repudiating them when they don’t do it well, all in the name of sanskaar. In one of the episodes, she gets furious at Rashi for eating before her husband and also humiliates her mom for not raising her with traditional values. Rashi is also scolded by Kokilaben for her incapacity to cook. In another episode, she taunts Gopi for not taking good care of her husband. She also asks Gopi not to forget her husband because of her studies and keep enticing him irrespective of what she might be going through. Also from the looks of it, she seems quite averse to modern-day women and their ideologies, be it Rashi or Meera. Well, I could legit go on and on but you get my point!
Okay, so Kokilaben might be faced by the evilest of people in the show, Gaura, for instance. However, if you’ll closely follow her character, she is no less. Actually, if you think about it, Kokilaben hardly has any qualms in doing things that are otherwise considered criminal. She goes about flinging knives, locking people in glass chambers, and threatening women that they belong to the storeroom. How is this normal?
She chooses illiterate Gopi as her daughter-in-law instead of Rashi only because she seeks a dutiful daughter-in-law who does everything as per her orders without questioning her authority and rules. That said, Kokilaben herself rarely listens to her own mother-in-law. Long things short, she loves her autonomy, would do anything to keep it intact, and hates it when it is questioned. In fact, she seems to have raised her son in a way that he does everything that she asks him to and nothing else. He listens to only his mom and no one else and behaves as per her commands.
Well, not that we have been served a reminder, no harm in going back to the meme fest, right?
Featured Image: Instagram