Matchbox Sample Questions and Answers

Sample Answers

1.  A debate is conducted on the topic ‘Marriage becomes a box to women’.  Write four arguments in favour and four against the topic.

Points in favour:
1. Marriage as an institution is patriarchal and anti-feminist
2. Women suffer domestic violence because of the dowry system
3. Even if one finds that the relationship will not work, it is not easy to get a divorce
4. The feeling of love and romance doesn’t last forever and still the couple is forced to pretend to be happy due to social compulsions

Points against:
1. Marriage provides lasting financial and emotional security
2. The good times in marriage outweighs the challenges
3. You never feel lonely
4. Marriage resolves conflicts and provides a support system

2. Write an Editorial for a newspaper on ‘Domestic Violence against Women’.

In the recent times there is an increasing awareness among the general public regarding gender equality and violence against women.  But even now, the inequalities and abuses continue in many domains. One such area of major concern is the domestic violence against women.

Domestic violence includes any form of violence suffered by a person from a biological relative.  But largely women and children are at the receiving end.  Cruelty by husbands or his relatives and dowry related homicides contribute to be a major part of reported domestic violence cases.  Compared to some other countries, the domestic violence rate in India is low.  However we, should also remember that domestic violence remains largely under-reported due to various reasons.  Fear of reprisal by the perpetrator, hope that the domestic violence will stop, shame, loss of social prestige, fear of media coverage, and a sense of helplessness are some of these reasons.

Being a largely patriarchal society, the Indian public and even the women had taken these problems for granted for a long time.  But as awareness grew, various governments started implementing several domestic violence laws.  In India we had a Dowry Prohibition Act from 1961.  This made giving and receiving dowry a crime.  New sections were introduced in the Indian Penal Code in 1983 and 1986 regarding this.  In 2005, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) was introduced.

Physical injuries as a result of domestic violence against women are easily identified and can be used as evidence in courts and legal procedures.  But emotional, psychological and human rights abuses involved in domestic violence go unnoticed very often.  Psychological abuse can harm the self-worth and the mental and physical well being of a woman.  This can even lead to suicidal tendencies.

Reducing domestic violence is important not only from an ethical perspective, but also from a human rights perspective and health benefits perspective.  Women in the families who are physically and emotionally healthy can positively impact the society at large.

It is important to study the impact of socio economic class, educational level, patriarchal family structure, and region-specific factors that affect the number of domestic violence incidents.  A concerted effort from the government, law enforcement agencies and the civil society is essential to tackle this issue.

3.  A great relationship is about two things - first, appreciating the similarities and second, respecting the differences.  How far do you agree with the statement.  Comment your views.

As human beings we are similar but as individuals we have a lot of differences.  These differences are due to both heredity and environment, as we have learned in our Biology classes.  In order to be successful in a relationship, is it necessary to choose a partner exactly similar to you in tastes, thinking and inclinations?  Not necessarily.  While you can use your similarities as your pivot points, it is the way you handle your differences that make a relationship interesting.  It adds variety and opens up possibilities.

Managing similarities is easy.  So, let me talk about the benefits of having differences.  First, it gives an opportunity to share one's experience with the other and learn more about an aspect of life which one has ignored or was ignorant about.  Life can be enriched through shared experiences.  Second, by sharing these experiences you appreciate the person rather than the activities themselves.  For example, if the partner enjoys adventure sport, you can appreciate the adventurous spirit in that person.  Third, it allows you to see the world through a new perspective.  It gives you insights into experiences that were never possible before. 

Thus, it is equally important to respect and celebrate the differences as much as you appreciate the similarities in a relationship.

4.  Imagine that Ajit feels guilty over his harshness towards Nomita.  He requests Nomita to forgive him.  How will he ask for forgiveness?  Write three sentences.  You may use the expressions like "Plese forgive..., I regret..., I am extremely..."

a) Please forgive me for not informing you about the letter.
b) I regret my mistake.
c) I am extremely sorry for what I did.

5. Why are women compared to matchboxes?

The story matchbox by Ashapurna Debi starts and ends with an explanation as to why she compares women to matchboxes.  Matchboxes have enough gunpowder in them to set fire to hundred Lankas.  They have huge potential.  But they won’t flare up by themselves.  So, people treat them casually.  Women are also like them.  They also have immense potential in them to cause tremendous changes both in the society and in their own lives.  But they won’t do it as they are not ready to get out of their comfort zones.  They are not ready to burn the colourful shells in which they shut themselves.  Men know this and that is why they treat women and matchboxes with equal carelessness.

6. What makes Nomita Furious?

Nomita was pushed to the limits of her patience as her self-esteem is questioned.  When Ajit keeps her letters from her, she is angry. But when Ajit reaffirms her helplessness by saying "What will you do? Can you do anything?", Nomita becomes really furious.  When push comes to shove, she decides to harm herself as she is incapable of doing anything else.

7. Write an article on the topic, "Atrocities against women; a serious threat to society".

For a civilized society, it is shameful to see that violence against women continue unabated.  If the physical strength is a licence to brutality, such a society has no claim to cultural supremacy or democratic values.  Unfortunately, both in developing and developed countries we see that discrimination exits against women which often leads to atrocities against them.

There are different reasons for the existence of violence against women in the society.  In the case of individuals there may be biological or genetic reasons. Psychology and personality traits play an important role. Alcohol is found to be a major trigger for violence.  Cultural myths, social practices, and wrong notions about power and superiority sometimes lead people to violent behaviour. 

Family, school and religion play their roles in shaping a person's character.  Sons of violent parents are more likely to abuse their intimate partners.  Men raised in patriarchal family structures usually turn out to be suffering from male superiority complex.  Gender role stereotyping which is common in our society leads people to grow in to adulthood with false notions.  Structural violence is caused by the ethics, the values, the morals and the culture of the society that promote exploitation of women.

Media play a major role in shaping the conscience of the society.  Television and movies are filled with scenes of women being threatened, raped, beaten, tortured, and murdered. These media portrayals of violence make people desensitized and less empathetic towards the victims of violence. 

The consequences of violence against women are far broader than the impact on the victims. Their families and friends are also affected.  In the case of domestic violence, children are affected most badly.  The physical and psychological impacts on the victim are enormous.  A considerable number of suicides are a consequence of atrocities against women.

There is also a consequence to society.  Fear of crime rises, especially among women.  The social security is threatened and an insecure society is unhealthy and less productive.  There is an economic impact also.  Medical costs, lost work productivity, long term health costs, legal costs, compensations etc impact the society as well as the victim in an indirect way.  Diminished quality of life is another indirect impact.

It is important to study the factors that make women victims of atrocity and take corrective measures.  Education is one effective way to eliminate structural violence against women. Strict implementation of laws and introduction of new laws, if necessary, to ensure equality is also essential. Empowerment of women is not just the need of women; it is the need of the entire society.
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