No matter how much as we use the generic #allmenaretrash tag on our social media interactions, we as women know that all men are not the same. In fact, most of them are uniquely disappointing in their own special way. As a country, India is home to many such varieties of men; from that creepy uncle who drinks too much and gets handsy at weddings to lecherous old men who constantly ask random women for ‘hot pixx’, and from heartbroken acid throwing ex lovers to roadside majnus who sincerely believe that women should be flattered by their public proclamations of lust.
However, lurking under our very noses is a particular kind of man, who lacks any obvious identifiers and hence blends into his surrounding amongst many others of his kind; making him a silent enemy, and yet the most common of all the men we’ve learnt to despise. Ironically, it’s always a woman who contributes greatly to the creation of such a man, for they suffer from a very particular affliction borne out of overbearing affection: the ‘raja beta syndrome’.
All it takes to make a ‘raja beta’ is a mother (and sometimes even a father) who look upon their male child as some sort of a blessed divine figure from the moment he is born and subsequently ingrain the same belief in the child as he grows up into an insufferable brat. These boys are the best example of a product of the patriarchy because they grow up in a house where the male-female disparity is practised on a daily basis and propagated by even the females of the house. If the son is an only child, it serves to further strengthen the effect, and God forbid he has a sister who is treated differently.
These men grow up to believe that they are the superior gender and women are supposed to constantly bend to their will, even if they don’t overtly admit it. They believe that only men are allowed certain freedoms, and instead of reforming such a system, they enforce it by telling the females around them to refrain from a number of things for the sake of ‘safety’. These men also cannot stand being around opinionated women or holding job positions with a female supervisor; and often seek out meek women for romantic relationships to hold on to the superiority they believe they are entitled to.
But that’s not where the problem ends. Men like this have been brought up by their doting mothers to believe that a clear line exists between the women they’re supposed to ‘date’ and the women they’re supposed to marry. These men grow up thinking that sexually liberated women are ‘easy’ and pursue them relentlessly, often ending up with a bruised ego at having their advances rejected. But when it comes to marriage, these men are particular about having women that haven’t been ‘defiled’ by other men – just like their wonderful mothers when they married their fathers. A woman who is open about her sexuality like ‘only men are supposed to be’ is equally fetishized and looked down upon by such men who seek such women out for ‘relationships’ and spurn them when it comes to marriage, threatened by a woman’s claim to sexual freedom. And behind each such man is a mother who will never find a daughter in law who is ‘pure enough’ for her son.
And maybe that’s the best for everybody. Imagine being married to a man who looks for his mother in every girl he pursues romantically? Patriarchal rules pertaining to cooking, cleaning and housework become even more enforced in such a scenario, because not only does the man expect the woman to do everything for him; but also believes that her life’s purpose is to dote on him at all times, not unlike his own mother. Such man-babies make terrible husbands of course, with all the tantrums and the complaining and wanting everything served to them on a silver platter. Add to the mix a mother who sees no fault of her son no matter what he does and you have the perfect recipe for a disastrous married life.
Raja betas are everywhere, thanks to the overwhelming patriarchal tendencies that still govern our country and have given rise to a whole generation of men spoiled by their overbearing mothers. These men are used to women waiting on them and serving their every need and hence sincerely believe that a woman’s worth is defined by how men see her. They are unable to see women as their own individual selves and see them as objects in relation to the men in their lives. The horrible thing about such men is how common they are, irrespective of educational or economic status, and how easy it is to find oneself dealing with a raja beta without even realising it. Advances in women’s rights and awareness about equality usually do nothing to curb this lifelong disease which mercilessly infects newborn males in all spheres of the society, proving just how strongly such values are considered a part of our wonderful ‘indian sanskaar’. Raja betas are everywhere; and do yourself a favour the next time you find yourself involved with one in any capacity– run.
By Anusha Datta