“When wives become too possesive of her husbands and do not want the affection to be shared with their near and dear…”

Do you think this was his first slap? Do slaps happen without verbal and emotional abuse? Would you say a non abusive man who sees his wife as an equal partner, no matter how stressed or how angry, no matter how close to his own family, and how ‘provocative’ the wife, would slap his wife?

What are the chances that he is lying even about the cause of the fight, knowing an indication of a man’s love for his biological family could make him look like a good Indian Budhape ka Sahara? Many Indians would agree that a Shravan Kumar might use well intended abuse to control a Paraya Dhan who is trying to make him a Joru ka Gulaam?

Dharmesh told police that he was watching TV with Mahalakshmi when around 10.30pm, he got a call from his sister who told him about her plan to visit them on Monday for a few days. His wife objected to his sister’s visit, leading to a heated exchange between the two. During the argument, Dharmesh slapped Mahalakshmi and she collapsed on the sofa.

On seeing his wife unconscious, Dharmesh panicked and even tried to revive her through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He rushed her to St John’s Hospital, but it was too late. Dharmesh’s mother and couple’s 4-year-old son were at home at that time.

These comments below the news indicate he has succeeded in Victim Blaming.


When wives become too possesive of her husbands and do not want the affection to be shared with their near and dear,such thing may happen in fit of anger. Wives should be more understandable to their feelings,so as not to offend their sentiments,which even pushes a Sadhu to become Saitan.


Women hates women, only on FB they love a lot, but not in reality, let it be mother – daughter or mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, all are of the same type, have seen many families, once they are married, they cannot meet their friends, they are now allowed to come to house, i cannot say about possessiveness, but that is the way today’s woman are, if the husband talks to their parents, wife is suspicious to know as to what they talked, they think it has to be some topic about her only, i wish today’s women change their mindset in terms of relationships, hormone alone cannot do this, it is all in their head. Here also, i am not supporting this guy for killing her, but sometimes if u r angry, it is better to get out of the place, rather than getting into heated argument, some will not agree, but sometimes women also irritates by asking some irritating questions which can make anybody lose temper, unfortunate she got killed in the process.


I made it very clear to my wife before our marriage that I adore my mother,sisters & brothers. I lost my father at young age and they were my support. I respect her brothers, sisters & Mother. I made it very clear to her about my views which she accepted. 20 years on we don’t have fight on this matter. We are respected in both our families and life goes on. We rush to each others help in times of need. I wish this lady would have understood her husband’s wish to accomodate his sister for 4 days. But slaping wife is not expected from such a highly educated person, neither the teacher who instigated her husband. Teachers tend to take everybody’s class including their husband’s too. May her soul rest in peace and strength to bear the loss of a family member.

* * *

The comments also indicate that we continue to believe that the criminals can be instigated to commit crimes by victims, specially when victims can be silenced with death, or fear of death/stigma/dishonor/shame/violence.

The comments also believe that many Indian wives do not welcome visits by relatives of Indian husbands and this is seen as wrong. (It’s not mentioned if Indian husbands welcome their wives’ parents and siblings into their homes or are they too ‘possessive of their wives’)

Why do you think would someone (in general) not want some people to visit them – should everybody (or only some people?) have a say in who visits them?

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84 thoughts on ““When wives become too possesive of her husbands and do not want the affection to be shared with their near and dear…”

  1. I believe the issue is again deeply entrenched in our belief system which justifies all kinds of interference and participation wanted /unwanted by the boy’s family in his life and home even after he is married.if a couple or worse still a woman claims that they are an independent unit and hence extended families and parents on both sides need to treat them like that,they are labelled as “too westernized” and obviously bad.
    Every individual must maintain or try to maintain good ties with his/her extended family and look after his/her parents as and when the need be,but as a married couple a mutual consent has to be reached about this too.
    If a couple lives in an independent home both of them have equal right as to decide whom to entertain or not in their house,however the commonly held perception is that the man’s folks have a justified right to visit/stay whereas the woman’s folks can come there *conditions apply.

    • Agreed. I know of a friend whose mother-in-law taunted at my friend’s mother stating ‘mothers of daughters should not be visiting daughters often and should be aware of the tradition as to not even drink water in daughter’s house’. The mother was hurt and walked out of the house. She had lost her husband and was looking to spend time with her daughter. BTW, the mother-in-law has all the rights to stay in the house. She refused to take care of my friend’s son when my friend expressed interest in working. Terrible!!!!

    • I think why most women do not like their husband’s people visiting them is because of unwelcome comments, advice, suggestions and criticisms given by them. Another reason is that it is the woman who has to do all the extra work caused by the visits of anyone. If the husband also helps out with housework, probably the wife might not mind occasional visits from her inlaws provided they behave with decorum.

  2. The point here is not whether the wife is saintly or satanic – it’s very possible that there are nasty and unreasonable women in this world just as there are nasty and unreasonable men in this world. HOWEVER, it is not acceptable for anyone, including the husband, to give in to violence. Would the people who have commented been so understanding if the woman had slapped her husband or if she’d slapped her MIL/FIL for being nasty (as it happens in many cases)? Women are adults and not circus lions to be disciplined with a rod. When the movie Provoked was released, many people found it unacceptable that a woman should set her husband on fire despite how much he had tortured her. They wondered why she didn’t just divorce him (never mind that she was in a foreign country and entirely under his control). That’s the same question I wish to ask these ‘understanding’ people.

    • I agree.
      Most of the commentators who explained about the “boundaries of the wife” etc. are missing the whole point. I simply could not see the connection. The point is not whether the wife is possessive or not, objects to his relatives visiting or whatever else they have mentioned.
      Why is nobody objecting to the slap??

    • More important question is…. WHY THE HELL DOESN’T SHE JUST FIGHT BACK?

      I’ll tell you why! girls are brought up with low-self esteem when compared to boys who are sexually confused and unaware of the problems girls usually face in their upbringing and even exploit the weaknesses.

      And the lack of sex education in the schools and a rigid social struture which restricts male&female social interaction has really done wonders in broadening the disparity of male&female understanding.

  3. Even if she were extremely ‘possessive’, how does it make it right for him or anyone to slap her? Funnily everybody seems to agree that she brought it on her, just as rapes and street sexual harassment is all invited for, by the victim’s behavior. So sad that such incidents happen, and people are so quick to defend the accused.

    And yes, men, even if they are ‘possessive’, that’s perfectly acceptable, because what business does the wife have being close to her family? His family is now her family, isn’t it? Makes me so mad!

    • “men, even if they are ‘possessive’, that’s perfectly acceptable” – Not only is it acceptable, it is actually considered a desired trait. ‘My husband/bf loves me so much that he doesn’t want me out of sight for even a sec’

    • Reason why criminals can get away with anything is this kind of thinking. They are never questioned. It is always the victim who is seen as the one who instigated or provoked the criminal into committing the crime. “poor fellow, he couldn’t help it”…the bugger has all the sympathy and support from society.

  4. That’s terrible. The only time physical violence is warranted is for self defense. Slapping someone, regardless of what they say, is assault and the perpretator should be held legally accountable.

    I don’t know what the Indian laws are like in regards to murder, but wouldn’t this count as second degree murder? It doesn’t seem to be premeditated, so first degree is out. But this man did physically assault his wife and she’s dead as a result–hence, murder. Unless people like this are brought to justice, spousal abusers will look at it as a free pass to continue physically assulting their partners.

    The commenters are completely hopeless. I don’t think we can change their minds. The only thing we can hope for is that men like Dharmesh get sent to jail so people like the commenters are afraid of breaking the law, when it comes to slapping their wives to death at least.

    Why do you think would someone (in general) not want some people to visit them – should everybody (or only some people?) have a say in who visits them?

    In India, even for most of the upper middle class (at least in metro areas), I think space is very limitted. It would have been so much easier for the sister in this story to stay in a hotel instead of cramming into her brother’s place.

    My husband’s little brother moved in with us in Delhi (after graduating from the US) because he found a job here. We’re having a blast! I have an ally to help me drag my husband out of the house on the weekends! The three of us (and my cat) live in a three bedroom/three bathroom flat and it’s a perfect size for us. However, there are people in this building who live in a joint family setting in a flat this size. Grand father, grand mother, man, wife, and two kids…and sometimes even a maid! I don’t know how they stay sane. I guess some people have more need for space and privacy than others.

    • I guess in the Indian context it is not even so much a question of space as that of a woman’s relationship with the ILs. If the relationship were to be good, I am sure she would not mind them coming and staying, no matter how small the place. The problem arises if she is expected to entertain them, look after them, serve them as “guests of honour” and then be subject to jibes and criticism all the time. If she is a working woman on top of all this, needless to say she would feel like a rag at the end of the day and would not particularly look forward to getting out of bed every morning. Naturally she would not want them around very much.

      • Also the mindset of people such as the commentators is such that if it’s the Jamai (son in law)visiting his ILs the ILs have to bend backwards in his and his parents sewa. But in case of bahu if she’s not beaten up(in this case even that boundary is crossed), ‘allowed to work’ by not compromising on ‘family life’, not taunted at is enough to consider her being treated well. In case she along with rest of the family is invited to lunch/dinner at guys extended family she is shoved in their kitchen to help.

      • The whole thing sounds so warped. I’m also surprised that none of the commenters brought up that the sister announced her arrival a day before showing up. Common courtesy would dictate that she give at least a few days notice before arriving for four days!

      • Sons in law are treated with respect in our society and they enjoy a good equation with their inlaws. While DILs are generally treated shabbily, hence the equation can never be the same. Try treating the DIL with respect and see the magic happen!

  5. This makes me so angry.

    I think women have every right to object to visitors if they are not comfortable. 90% of the time, it is the wife who has to do the extra cooking, cleaning, and general management. The man just invites people home and then stretches out and relaxes leaving the woman to do all the work. Even I have had tiffs with my husband over this issue and we came to a compromise so that both of us are happy. No one should ever raise a hand to another person. And these people who are complaining about the attitude of women are clueless and totally blind to the realities of married life. I feel sorry for their wives.

    • They’re not clueless. They’re just unwilling to let go of the sense of entitlement that being male brings with it. This man would have sulked and thrown a tantrum if it was his wife’s sister visiting them.

      Perhaps the kind of men who leave comments like these do not really accept that women are human not sacrificing little angels who live to please the husband

  6. No Indian man will talk about the slap or object it. Men think that they have all the rights to slap their wives. My own 73 years old Father-in-law said when I told him that his son is physically hurting me for no reason, which I know he has done with his wife for years. How can they not understand that they can’t tame an adult by slapping? He slapped her, but what was he expecting that she will keep quiet and forever she will welcome his sister more than ever? Beating or threatening is not the permanent solution unless what happened here. Who will object a relative coming home if he/she is harmless? Does anyone know the reason why she objected her sister-in-laws visit to her home?
    People judge me for staying away from my husband, being a paramedic I know what can a slap lead to? I lived in terror for 3 years, I dint want to die so soon and I had better things to do in life. Every time my husband hurt and abused me he used to say sorry. And always said this happens when he is angry. But how many chances one can take in life?

    • No Indian man will talk about the slap or object it.

      I would, and I do.

      I object to it in the strongest possible terms, regardless of the nature of the exchange between the couple, and I sincerely hope that the law takes its course as it must.

    • Interestingly enough, none (literally, not one) of the Indian men I’ve met would think it’s okay to use physical violence unless in case of self defense. I don’t think it’s fair to say absolutely no Indian man would protest a man slapping his wife.

      The domestic abuse cycle also works very similarly in the Western world, the only difference being that it’s not socially sanctioned. If spousal abuse is so rampant here, could it also be because daily life here is so frustrating? And the person with the power takes it out on those with lesser power? Husbands take it out on wives, wives on children (I’m very surprised at how many people are okay with hitting their kids), office workers on anyone lower in the hierarchy, people on domestic staff, etc.

      It’s great that you had the strength to get out of that toxic situation.

  7. First, I find it extremely difficult to believe you can kill someone with a single slap, if that is the case, there would be lot more corpses lying around. The issue has to be much more deep rooted than that.

    • That is a totally separate issue. The whole issue is what gave the man the right to raise his hand on his wife in the first place? I am sure there are many women who did not die as a result of being slapped but have suffered worse – having to live with physical damage as a result of being victims of domestic violence.

    • Exactly what I was wondering as well. I am wondering if the guy did something much more drastic than just slapping her, that caused her to die, but is unwilling to divulge what he did for fear of the consequences. Even if he chose to report it as a ‘slap’, if it’s force and intensity was strong enough to cause death, it needs the same level of investigation as that for a murder. I do hope the law does not just take his word for it or rely on outdated nonsensical Indian ideas about whether a woman should/shouldn’t voice her thoughts and opinions in a disagreement that affects her in her own house.

      Violence in any form is unjustified – whether it is a slap or pre-meditated murder. He could have handled the disagreement in a thousand other ways.

      The wife had most likely been through multiple such visits from family and the inconveniences it caused, hence was protesting. She had every right to. The husband should not have agreed to his sister’s visit without consulting his wife and if she voiced her disagreement, they should have jointly tried to figure a way out.

      In my family I have seen how much my mother had to suffer when my father would often allow and invite relatives/friends to visit/stay over at extremely short notice. He would be sitting in the living room leisurely chatting with them, while she (and we girls when we grew up) would be slogging and sweating in in a hot kitchen trying to rustle up meals. When we would protest and question him about why he allowed the folks to visit/stay over like this, he would in turn blame us for not wanting to maintain close ties with the family and friends. That would make me so mad! It taught me to be very sensitive about these things when I would be visiting family/friends. To verify if it would be OK to visit, to give enough notice, to not assume that the wife and kids would always be on board with visitors etc.

      • Identify very well with what you have written about your mother. When I was a child we stayed in Mumbai, the only ones from my father’s side to do so. The rest of the extended family stayed in central Maharashtra. My parents were both doctors, and every time some relation had a serious medical problem, they, with their whole family, would come and park themselves in our house for the duration of their treatment. It was taken for granted that they had a right to do so, no matter what my mother thought about it. Doctor or no doctor, she had to be the good bahu then, do all the running around to hospitals, cook for them, etc.; she had no choice. This continues even now that they are in their seventies. A sick relative comes over to get their treatment one. At least now she voices her opinion, and we do too, telling our father she can’t be expected to run around for them!

  8. I just wonder how SIL can take for granted the wishes of the owner of the house whether she is in a position to entertain her well or not…it seems for her only brother’s consent is sufficient while the one to whom she is going to bother is ‘the lady of the house’….it is obvious that her schedules are also to be taken care of….how can you dictate terms on her…there must be some reasons too that she is not welcoming her SIL….
    one more thing…it is obvious that if you ask the lady to severe ties with her mayaka in the name of rituals, in the heart of heart she would be offended and being a human being (not devi) she would not like her husband to maintain ties with his parents and sisters…also mostly men as one of the commentor said above, tell before hand that he loves his family and cannot leave them and ask their wives to promise them that she would not tell him to leave the family, then how come they ask her to leave her family after marriage….was she born sans sentiments or is she a lesser human being?
    Besides all these, physical assault is always a crime, come what may…

    • Which daughtr does not maintain ties with their parents after marriage in the name of rituals..not in these days…dont say things just to prove ur point…rathr thy just want the husband to severe ties with his parents…but wrn it comes to her brother …she will have double standards.

    • One SIL of mine used to do the same. She used to call her bro (my husband) and inform him that she was coming to stay with us. My husband never felt it was necessary to inform me though I was the one who had to slog it out in the kitchen and take care of all her needs. She informed her bro because she wanted a car to be sent to receive her at the station. Ours was an open house for my hubby’s family and their extended family, friends and colleagues…thanks to my hubby! But I’ve made new rules and they are put up in a hotel and my hubby goes to meet them there. But it took me thirty one years and my grown up children’s solid support to achieve that. Not easy!

  9. Those comments took my breath away. Would these men have used the word “unfortunate” to describe the death if the wife had hit her husband? Or if their father had hit their mother and she’d died because of it?

  10. Those who say that whoever wants to invite their extended family, relatives and friends should also understand the person who invites should take the majority of the responsibility of hospitality. It’s nice you posted this because recently I had a tiff with my husband too regarding this. I do not have that much problem with his relatives inviting themselves over or dropping in unannounced as I have with him just sitting and twiddling his toes and me expected to not just whip up special lunches/dinners but also be an errand boy for them. It’s taken for granted that whosoever visits I have to drop whatever I may be doing and be at thier disposal. Well I certainly do have problem with that. I also have problem with these guests announcing to my MIL that their DIL is a great cook, nice, etc. Their so called praise bothers me because I have no wish to be a great a cook and do not want a certificate from them. I just want them to respect my space. My wishes and aspirations are not tied to my husband’s family. I keep telling my husband that no way did I sign up for this when we got married and he tells me I have problem whenever anybody visits. I wonder if we ever find a solution to this problem.

    • Just refuse to cook or do anything. My father used to invite guests over a lot, giving my poor mum next to no notice. And she would be the one having to cook, tidy the house etc. (I helped too but still…) while my dad sat and twiddled his thumbs. Once my mum only found out we were having guests for dinner only when she came home in the evening after work! That time she was so angry she didn’t cook or do anything, and when the guests came she explained that she was sorry but no deal, and even they agreed that my father’s behavior was wrong. This was embarassing for my father obviously. After that my father either told her well ahead-of-time or ordered catering. As long as you put up with it, there is no solution. Your husband is not the one suffering so he will not change.

    • I hear you, I hear you.

      When we invite folks over, I expect my husband to partner with me in with cleaning the house, prepping/cooking/serving meals. Because this expectation is set right from the start, there is no disagreement about why he has to do it.

      You should definitely discuss this with him and make him aware about much effort it takes to entertain folks and it is not fair of him to expect you to shoulder the burden alone.

    • I agree with bbdlite.
      Your husband is totally unaware of how much time and energy is utilized in entertaining others. Don’t try to make him understand, because he will never understand as long as he does it himself.. which might never happen..

      The thing with these kind of situations is – you should always try to do what you want to do.. For instance, in this particular situation – if you don’t want to spend your time cooking for them, then cook the easiest thing possible and bring the special stuff from hotel, or take them all out to a hotel..

      • Sushma I would like that. However my MIL decides the menu…she refuses stuff to be bought from restaurant except when we are given only half an hour’s notice. she sometimes fasts and my husband doesn’t want her to work and at times she does some cooking and wants to draw me in in her elaborate cooking. if we visit any of their relatives she would announce that her DIL makes very good rotis so why doesn’t the host rest while I make rotis. drives me mad. i do freelancing and dont go out for work which makes it worse. my husband’s excuse is that he doesn’t know cooking but can help in other ways. i also don’t understand what kind of entitlement these guests have?

        • Anonymous,
          I feel for you. I can understand how it can be frustrating to cook in someone else’s house! Your MIL just wants to show you off, I guess. The best thing I can think of is to tell her before going there, something like – “I don’t like to cook in other’s house..please don’t ask me to cook there”
          You’ve got to learn to say “no”. Try to be as polite as possible. First “no” is always difficult. For everybody. But imagine the life of freedom and liberation after that.
          Regarding cooking in your house – I was in a similar situation too as a newly wed. It is not as much of the work that bothered me, but the feeling of being discriminated and isolated that pinched me more. I didn’t like that everyone else was sitting while I was the only one working. Then I started pulling my husband in for all the work, whether he liked it or not. Then, I no longer felt like a work horse, but like someone who is participating in the house work. To be fair to my in-laws they also did their share of work(I realize it now, I didn’t realize it then)

          regarding guests – I think their sense of entitlement is prevalent everywhere in India. We tend to take “athithi devo bhava” to a whole new level. I think you should slowly start to learn excusing yourself more.. Like, when I visit India and guests come over at my in-laws place, I sit with them for a while, ask for tea-coffee and finish all those formalities. After sometime, if I am not participating in any conversations or if I have some other things to do, I excuse myself politely that I have some other errands to run and leave that place. You work from home, you can always use that as your excuse..

          Hope this helps… more strength to you!!

    • My husband says “jab koi hamare ghar aana chahta hai, aap ko to bukhar ho jata hai” He also says “look at how other women manage their homes and show hospitality to everyone.” The truth is the people he is talking about show hospitality only when they have invited people, not when people have invited themselves to their place. It’s always they visiting us, not us visiting them.What irks me is that I’m not even given a short notice. They just have to ring the doorbell and catch me unawares. The doors are closed for them now. In case they land up, I’ve stopped entertaining them. Hubby has to handle them alone, make small talk and helplessly try to fetch a glass of water for them, without any co-operation from me. Slowly equations are changing and I am asserting myself without fearing consequences.

  11. Physical assault is not at all justified, even when the situation goes out of control. Why did the lady object to the SIL’s visit? There must be a reason. She must be coping with tight deadlines at work, she must be ill or she must be wanting to take a break. We do not know. The commentators conveniently ignored that and seem to be sympathizing with the man for being instigated to slap the wife. Why do some men think they have to right to ‘tame’ the wife if the wife ‘instigates’ him or makes him angry? Hasn’t all this arisen due to patriarchical mindset in most families? This guy should be sent to jail for his life time. His anger is not justified at all. Let him repent for what he did. His anger not only resulted in the death of his wife but also resulted in his 4-yr old son losing his beloved mother.

  12. Most of the comments are judgmental about the lady. In true Indian style they conclude that she wanted to distance the husband from the family and probably “asked” for this. Nobody knows what the equations between the woman and her ILs were. Nobody knows what she had to put up with. Nobody knows why she did not want the sil to come. She probably “asked” for it. The sympathies lie with the husband.

    The first thing my husband, a doctor, commented was that they need to do the autopsy to find out the cause for the death – thereby implying that a mere slap might not have been the cause, there might have been some other problem which may have been aggravated by the slap. That being as it may, the question is who gave him the right in the first place to slap her? If there had any other known problem, I am sure the man would have been the first one to shout out from the rooftops and say that she already had some problem – after all there is a lot at stake as far as he is concerned. He has not done that. He has admitted that he slapped her and she fell unconscious and died. One can only imagine how hard that slap must have been.

    This man was educated abroad. He has had exposure to various cultures. One would have expected him to be civilized. He had a good job in a multinational company. He had a four old son. He has deprived his own son of his mother. The child will not have his father either, since he will most likely (and hopefully) be in jail. He will most likely lose his job and find it very difficult to ever find another one which is as good. He will now have a criminal record. Was all this worth that moment of anger? Can anything bring all this back? He will have enough time now to cool his heels and head behind bars and reflect over all these points now. Having said all of which, I cannot deny, one does feel bad that a young man who had everything going for him should have come to this. No one can be happy in another’s misery.

  13. That must have been a hell of a slap.
    No matter what the reasons were, there can be no justification in a person resorting to violence to make a point. The man can hit someone else tomorrow and kill him/her. Will we keep saying that he should not be provoked?

  14. WHY are we/ the news article/ the commenters even discussing how they had a fight or why she didn’t want her SIL to stay over? The thing to discuss here is that he slapped her (unacceptable) and that she died and they must find out why.. did she have other injuries? Did he hit her before this? Was it something else? It is disturbing that the majority of comments on this article were even about whether or not the provocation justified his actions. NO provocation can justify violence with a partner. Why don’t people get this?

    There was another comment on the TOI article that said that we shouldn’t mind being slapped by partners. That we don’t mind when our father/ mother/ brother/ sister slaps us, so why do we mind when our partner slaps us. What kind of warped shravan kumar thinking is this? We should mind when ANYONE slaps us!

    I remember watching the Satyamev Jayate episode on domestic violence. Random men they interviewed on the streets (not all ‘poor’ and uneducated) happily admitted slapping their wives.. that sometimes they get annoyed and they slap her around a bit.. she’s upset for a day and then it’s ok. They said this smilingly, as if it’s one of those cute things about marriage, with no fear of admitting a legal crime on TV. That is the problem. Not women and their issues with in-laws or their nagging tendencies (another TOI comment). Why is this not obvious to people?!

    • The reason why they so brazenly admit such things on telly is because our very law makers and custodians of the law don’t think twice about lecturing women about following Sita as an ideal. As long the mentality changes up there, nothing is going to change down the rungs.

      One of the major obstacles to change is the fact that our need to “compromise” and stay away from extremes. There seems to be no black or white. Everything comes in shades of grey. However, there are some things which can only be black or white. Unless they are defined as such, no changes can be effected in society. Let us take the example of men helping out with domestic chores. We would choose to leave that to individual couples to work out – who does what and how much. Which is perhaps not bad in itself. But unless we say, “well, every man must do his share of housework” and define what that share should entail, there will be men who will say “that is upto me and my wife to decide” and there will be wives who for the sake of domestic peace would go along and say, “well, I don’t mind doing all the housework, in fact, I even like doing it, so who is anyone to object”? So when will anything change? Certain things have to be stopped – no compromises entertained e.g. the practice of sati. If the British had kow-towed and decided to entertain “cultural practices and differences”, we would not have got rid of it till now. Similarly excusing men who hit their wives just because that is how it has been all along in our society is not going to lead us anywhere.

      • Are you suggesting that it is a good idea to legislate the exact division of tasks for a married couple? Such an attempt is likely to prove disastrous, because there is no limit to the number of different situations that different couples might be in. Surely, they should have the freedom to decide what arrangement suits them best!

        I don’t disagree with your larger point, but as a lawyer myself, I’ve long come to acknowledge the fact that there is a limit to the effectiveness the legal process as an engine of social change.

        I should add that British legislation against Sati was, by all accounts, fairly ineffective, and did very little in itself to reduce the actual prevalence of the practice. Much better results were achieved when communities themselves were mobilized through several waves of reform (e.g: The various Bhakti movements), as well as by more modern reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy. As a matter of fact, British insensitivity towards cultural practices resulted in a backlash during the independence movement which eradicated a lot of the social victories that women had gained, and created a glorified, idealized version of Indian womanhood that persists to this very day, very much to the detriment of those of us who believe in a more egalitarian society.

        The law can only do so much. It must protect the rights and freedoms of those that it governs, but while doing so, care must be taken to not over-legislate, to not substitute protection with control, and to not destroy individual freedoms in the process of providing any protection that the law may grant.

        • I agree that there are practical difficulties in legislating every aspect of the personal lives of individuals. In fact, I would agree that such an attempt may be absurd too. But what really bothers me is that there is no social or community based effort to change the status quo an the case in question is a very typical example. The “boys will be boys” attitude has to change. It is this very kind of approach which is responsible in labelling this episode as “unfortunate” rather than a burning shame. Had this very event been the other way round, the woman would have, socially speaking, short of being burnt at the stake been given a real third degree treatment. It would not give me or anybody else any big happiness if the man is made to suffer. But the fact remains that if he is let off lightly, the trend of physical violence against women will continue unabated. Even if he is punished severely, it is still going to be quite a battle before this problem is handled effectively. .

        • @ Swati,

          I think laws cannot help here because if a law said the woman/ man should always cook 100% and the husband should do other chores to make up, I would hate that! We cook 50:50 and both like our own cooking.. I would hate to have to cook everything all the time or rely on him to get my stuff just right! It just cannot work.

          I know what you’re saying. I have seen young independent indian girls working outside India with me who are shocked that my husband happily does half the house work. One was asking me just yesterday, ‘he dries clothes also??’. The only way is to teach young women/ girls that it is NOT their job to take care of the house, it is a joint responsibility with their husbands. That it is OK to split chores 50:50, it’s not their ‘dharma’ to do it all for the man. Also, teach young men/ boys that is is normal to do their share of the house work.. that it’s not a personal insult to them to have to iron their own shirt! That’s where it begins, making our sons and daughters do equal chores at home and NEVER telling our daughters that it is their duty to please/ compromise. This has to be a parenting thing and thus a social, not a legal thing. I do wish it was as easy as making a law though. ;)

  15. This is nonsense. He is the only one who survived the altercation – he can say any damn thing he wants. Who will counter him?

    And as for blaming the woman who is dead as was done in the comments section – that is scary and sick. Such things do not happen in fits of anger, not if the person in question has any kind of impulse control. It doesn’t happen no matter how ‘irritating’ or ‘possessive’ the woman is. Doesn’t happen because the woman ‘takes class’. Complete balderdash.

    How ridiculous is it to blame the one who died for being ‘irritating’ or whatever and being understanding towards the one who caused the death….

  16. Reblogged this on showersandpetals and commented:
    We keep hearing so much about physical violence on women in and outside the house. Domestic violence is seen as a “family matter” and not many would want to step in to stop it – not even the police. Worse still we have a lot of moral police who generally feel the women “ask” for it by not being “obedient”, docile and toeing the line. The man is justified if she pushes him over the edge to lose his temper and lash out physically at her. This is the latest episode in Bangalore – one slap (and the first time, if the husband is to be believed) and the wife is dead. Both the man and the woman were “highly educated”.

    Most of the comments are judgmental about the lady. In true Indian style they conclude that she wanted to distance the husband from the family and probably “asked” for this. Nobody knows what the equations between the woman and her ILs were. Nobody knows what she had to put up with. Nobody knows why she did not want the sil to come. She probably “asked” for it. The sympathies lie with the husband.

    The first thing my husband, a doctor, commented was that they need to do the autopsy to find out the cause for the death – thereby implying that a mere slap might not have been the cause, there might have been some other problem which may have been aggravated by the slap. That being as it may, the question is who gave him the right in the first place to slap her? If there had any other known problem, I am sure the man would have been the first one to shout out from the rooftops and say that she already had some problem – after all there is a lot at stake as far as he is concerned. He has not done that. He has admitted that he slapped her and she fell unconscious and died. One can only imagine how hard that slap must have been.

    This man was educated abroad. He has had exposure to various cultures. One would have expected him to be civilized. He had a good job in a multinational company. He had a four old son. He has deprived his own son of his mother. The child will not have his father either, since he will most likely (and hopefully) be in jail. He will most likely lose his job and find it very difficult to ever find another one which is as good. He will now have a criminal record. Was all this worth that moment of anger? Can anything bring all this back? He will have enough time now to cool his heels and head behind bars and reflect over all these points now. Having said all of which, I cannot deny, one does feel bad that a young man who had everything going for him should have come to this. No one can be happy in another’s misery.

    Nothing but the severest punishment would suffice in this case if we are serious about putting an end to violence by any human being against another. It all ultimately depends on how serious our law enforcers are about it.

  17. There’s another trend very much prevalent in the society and I am surprised I’ve never come across that on this blog. A bit similar to the title of this post.

    Consider a case where a couple has 2 kids. Elder son and younger daughter. A lot of people would not marry their son before their daughter gets married. The argument they give is – If the son gets married first and the DIL comes home…..their own daughter will feel jealous by the attention the DIL get from her brother. That she’ll start having complexes because her own brother priorities have suddenly changed and that would affect her relationship with her husband whenever she gets married. And that it would affect the bond between the brother & sister.

    A lot of people actually do it – even when there’s a 5-8 years difference in the age of the siblings. Not only they don’t start looking for a bride for their sons before the daughter gets married( in case of arranged marriages), if the son were to find his own partner – they wouldn’t allow him to marry.

    I never knew about this until one day a colleague(who isn’t married yet) told us that his younger sisters wedding was fixed and a lot of other colleagues were like ‘atcha hai teri shaadi se pehle uska fix ho gaya – nahi to ladkiyon ko na fir jealousy hoti hai’. And most of the folks including that guy nodded their heads in agreement.

    What kind of lives these people live i wonder!

    • Never knew this angle, I thought daughters are married first because they must marry as young as possible, maybe before the brother finds someone else more important in his life. The brother is expected to contribute if he is earning, a wife may or may not approve of that; also since the wife might object to her husband’s inheritance being given away in dowry.

    • I’m sorry but I find this really creepy. My brother is six years younger than I am and was married two years after my divorce.

      He’s the affectionate kinds and always asks my mother or me for suggestions if he buys gifts for his wife. It doesn’t occur to us to feel jealous. She’s his wife, he loves her and it warms our hearts to see them both so happy.

      Why would a sister feel jealous of her brother’s wife? I’m sorry, but it sounds incestuous!

      • Jealously in the sense that – being the younger daughter – say – she could be the pampered kid. And with a DIL coming into picture – the parents (at least initially) being nice to the DIL, decisions being taken – taking 5 people into consideration, not just 4. Its not necessary to assume that all in-laws are monsters.

        It’s still sad – this line of thinking. May be people don’t have confidence in their own kids – the way they raised them. May be they don’t have confidence in themselves.

        • Mir, thanks for responding. I’m not denying that such brother-sister relationships exist. In fact, I was married to a man whose mother and sister called him a dozen times a day. It was their way of “showing affection”.

          What I’m trying to say is that men must separate a little psychologically from their birth family when they get married. This is important, and necessary, for the new marital bond to develop and strenghthen.

          As siblings and parents, we have to put some emotional distance when a much loved sibling or child marries and starts a new family. A new marriage is a fragile bond and requires the emotional energy and committment of both partners for it to strenghthen and develop.

          Its possible to be a loving spouse and a loving sibling if we are clear in our minds about the limits and boundaries of both relationships.

    • “…their own daughter will feel jealous by the attention the DIL get from her brother.”
      What a sick society we are. Why the hell should a sister feel jealous of a sister in law?

      • This is exactly what they show on TV Serials in Malayalam and Tamil. The unmarried, (even married) SIL is always jealous of the brother’s wife. She always finds fault with the DIL, creates problems, poisons the mind of the mother etc etc, it goes on and on and on. She can’t stand the brother and his wife being happy.

        It’s so sick and then the TV people say that they show what is prevalent in society!!!!!

      • My SIL felt the same when I got married to her brother. To this day she hates me for that and looks for opportunity to harm me in different ways.

    • I had a BIL and a SIL who were unmarried. The BIL was “kept” unmarried till the SIL was “married off”…reason was that in case a match was not found for the SIL, they could do a “golat”…meaning exchange marriage.

  18. I do not think this case merits a lengthy debate.

    This was murder, or at the very least, voluntary manslaughter, and all the rationalizations in the world are not going to bring back this woman’s life.

    Apart from self-defense, there is no possible justification for an act such as the one committed here. The fact that his response blames the victim rather than conveying atonement and regret, is truly a sad reflection upon him.

    Absolutely terrible, and as usual, I am saddened, but not surprised.

  19. I have come across these kind of commentators on TOI on other articles too, always sympathising with the man who murders his wife. There was a news article few years back about a man who planned and executed his wife’s murder such that it looked like a robbery. He was an HR in Bangalore and co incidentally his wife was a teacher too. Barring one sane man who tried to put sense in these commentators they were all sympathising with the man, a murderer. The man too had confessed his motive to murder her was because she use to fight with his parents whenever they visited. What kind of people are these commentators to justify a crime? What right do they have to judge a dead person who they know nothing about and who is a victim? Makes me mad.

  20. Think of me as a mean person but sometimes i wonder what kind of talk/ comments will generate if by some vague chance the following scenario happens.
    ” a man and his wife are watching tzV in their nuclear family, His parents come for a visit , they want hot food, they settle down to chat with their beta, the tired DIl has to start making garam roti’s and dal and she gets a call saying her mom is ill and she turns off the stove and rushes to leave , the MIL wants food, the husband wants his parents taken care of and in her haste she smacks him ( you know stress over her ailing mom, tiredness after a long day, irritation, worry …eh) with her bag – by mistake and he falls against the tv, smacks his head and dies — pure accident…”

    Can you imagine the outrage? i hate violence but the saidst in me wants to see the reaction to this situation. will anyone support the woman? even though she is wrong to raise her hand / bag etc.,

    we twll little kids, ‘ USE YOUr WORDS’ why cant we teach grown men that?? and what an example this man is for his son,. eh son your mom didnt like your aunt coming, so by mistake i killed her !!!!! lovely.

      • I recently happened saw a hindi movie scene in which the wife touched the husband’s feet.. and he benevolently held her up. I must have seen this countless times on tv or on karwa chauth, but it really struck me as inappropriate. How can we talk about equitable marriages if women are taught to touch their husband’s feet? We cannot practice subservience and expect equality.

        • ‘happened to see’ not ‘happened saw’. Hello editing errors and typos, we meet again.. sigh.

    • Radha,
      regarding “use your words” –
      most men I see around me don’t use their words at all!! Even in my marriage, I’m all for explaining things and sorting things out, but my husband is passive aggressive – keeps mum but still wants his way. Most men I see are like this. They keep quiet whenever there is confrontation, with pent up frustrations and all; but they hardly talk. ‘Why can’t they just talk?’ is what I wonder…

      • yeah, so true. Infact when it comes to feelings and emotions clamping up, sitting on the fence seems to be a preferred way to deal with things for most men. in such a scenario, if the wife is constantly talking, sorting explaining and trying to draw him into a conversation she is seen as too loud ,aggressive too blunt with the mouth and what not. infact a plain speaking wife/mother or even sister is a nuisance for most indian men.

  21. I read the news article and am appalled at the cop who arrested him. He said the accused had no intention of murder but they arrested him anyways under 302 according to law. What does he mean by that? That slapping his wife as long as he doesn’t want to kill her is okay. Disgusting

    • What does he mean by that? That slapping his wife as long as he doesn’t want to kill her is okay

      I don’t think he was implying that it was acceptable.

      From a legal perspective, there is some ambiguity here; pending more data, this case seems to have fallen into a bit of a grey area between murder and manslaughter.

      Typically, establishing malice aforethought is a necessary condition for accusing someone of murder. This is a condition that does not appear to be satisfied in this case, which explains the reluctance of the police to make an arrest under Section 302 IPC (the section of the IPC that deals with murder).

      While the man did act violently, he seemed to have no intent to actually kill the wife, and in such a scenario, manslaughter is the appropriate term; however, if it can be shown that the deliberately engaged in an act which he knew to be likely to be fatal, he can still be booked with murder.

      Thus, it becomes important to determine why a slap (which would ordinarily not be sufficient to kill an adult human) was fatal to this woman, and if the husband was aware of any conditions or medical factors which made such an outcome more probable.

  22. Wait! Isn’t his second degree murder? Or manslaughter, at the very least?? Shouldn’t the man be arrested and an active investigation be underway??

    • Okay, I see Praveen’s comment now.
      A quick examination should reveal cause of death and a post mortem should confirm it. They don’t have to take the man’s word (‘slap’) for it. But then, are they looking for the truth, or are they looking for justification?

      • Correct.

        If the sequence of events mentioned in the report corresponds to evidence-based reconstruction, the charge will most likely reduce either to what is called ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ in Indian law (similar, but not synonymous with ‘voluntary manslaughter’). Specifically, this exception to the definition of homicide u/s Section 300 IPC would prevail:

        Exception 4.—Culpable homicide is not murder if it is committed without premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the offender having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner.


        It is immaterial in such cases which party offers the provocation or commits the first assault.

        The point of contention for the prosecution, on the other hand, would be these parts of Section 300 IPC:

        Except in the cases hereinafter excepted, culpable homicide is murder, if the act by which the death is caused is [...]

        Secondly.—If it is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused


        Fourthly.—If the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid.

        Obviously, this is one case where medical evidence is going to be of vital importance.

  23. First and foremost, a crime has been committed and justifying it is ludicrous.

    I agree with all of the comments above regarding our patriarchal attitudes – if the wife is seen as cook, maid, and care giver to the husband’s family, then why would he take her permission before inviting them? Or even care to discuss it with her? The first step is to not see the wife in this role but as someone who’s in charge at her own home, and makes joint decisions with her husband regarding matters that affect both of them.

    This reminds me of an incident with our Canadian friends. We had lived in Canada for years, then moved to the US. One summer, we were visiting Canada for short trip and our way to the hotel, my son (then 1 year old) became very sick. Being first time parents, we were very nervous and worried. We called an old Canadian friend, Ray, and asked him if we could spend the night in his home.

    Ray said “Definitely not a problem. But let me check with Sue first.” I will always remember those words. I’d never seen my dad ever ask my mom before inviting guests over.

    It was not a problem with Sue, his wife either. Being an experienced parent, she helped me take care of my little one. We stayed up late in her kitchen, mugs of tea in hand, checking on my son periodically. I don’t think Ray thought his wife Sue would object but it just came to him naturally – to check with her first.

  24. Things you can do when your wife does not want to host your sister:

    1. Argue with her
    2. Have a verbal fight
    3. Try to get her to compromise – ex: shortened length of stay, etc
    4. Talk to sister about visiting at a different time
    5. Realize this is not the right person for you since she does not get along with your sister (if that is important to you) and get a divorce and move on

    Things you CANNOT do when your wife does not want to host your sister:

    1. Physically abuse her
    2. Kill her

    • There’s another thing he can do…..meet his sister outside home…maybe take her out for a movie and a meal in a hotel. Would the wife mind that? Mostly not.

  25. So there are flimsy and non-flimsy grounds for slapping one’s spouse.
    “Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East) P.S. Harsha said, “It was on flimsy ground that Dharmesh slapped his wife. We are waiting for the autopsy report to establish the cause of death. We will look into all circumstances. We are awaiting the results of the scientific analysis”, he said.”

    • Does he mean to say there are occasions when slapping a spouse is acceptable? That would amount to justifying domestic violence. Does this not make it clear why domestic violence will never be wiped out of our society? As long as the judiciary and the executive bodies have such an attitude towards women’s problems, I do not see much hope for society.

  26. In one of those Victim Blaming comments, I do agree till some extent on there. However, I still do wonder if you know your partner so well (20 years is more than enough to know about each other if you don’t own any multiple personality disorders), why don’t we trust them enough to welcome their ‘family members’?
    One more thing I noticed, why is there, everywhere rather specified ‘Indian’ women, I mean women are women. If you come out of the Indian nutshell, you’ll see women are the same everywhere. It’s just the matter of the perspective of the society you’re brought up into.
    Also, if this guy isn’t punished with according to law the the years of jail or days of jail, it can set up a big example of domestic violence to be considered as something completely ‘unstoppable’.
    All these media and political people will always be stuck at the word “Waiting” because they’re always gonna be waiting for more of situations to happen to hit their heads with a will to bring upon a change.
    I am currently working with an organization that supports on safety for women and we’ll be legalized this August as the heads aren’t adults but they got the will and the power for it.
    Anyways, thanks for sharing this with me. This did ambush to an extent but till some point in India, this is an expected situation. It’s no big news anymore. Sad, I know but the bitter truth, yes.

  27. Pingback: “Her husband has told her she can leave if she wishes, she does not have a steady income of her own.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  30. When somebody does not want another to visit it is quite clear that the person visiting is an interference. Does it require some kind of Brahma vidya to understand this simple fact. The lady who was killed is the lady of house and she definitely is free to express her displeasure. When she has not been violent, the man has no reason to be violent. He is a murderer and should be treated as one.


    Protector or Murderer!!

  31. Pingback: “Everyone knows, when she decides not to keep relation, she will do that. But I don’t want to go far away from my mother, I want her to be with me.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  32. Damn mother-in-laws to hell, they have lived a full and complete life why now encroach unnecessarily on their daughter in laws. Indian culture sucks, and is complete baloney, a guy loves his parents and a daughter does not ???? Why should i stay with his parents, will he stay with mine ?/

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