How important is it for a girl to get married?

Settled and Secure?

I have always felt that if Indian parents were not too worried about a girl getting and staying married most of their (girls’ and their parents’) problems will be over. From the careers they choose, the clothes they wear, the way they walk, talk everything they do is done keeping in mind the only future the daughter has – being a good wife to some magnanimous guy who will condescend to marry her if he’s bribed with enough dowry.

Indian parents will sacrifice their daughter’s dreams to get her what they consider a dream catch…oops match.

The girl must marry, not necessarily to someone she gets along with, but to someone who will provide her security. This choice, generally from the same community, is not foolproof. But the girl must pay with her happiness, peace of mind and freedom for SECURITY. Sometimes she must risk her life for SECURITY.

Just think how easy our daughters and we will breathe, if we weren’t raising them to be secure wives, if we raised them not as girls but as individuals.

If we raised them to be self reliant, loving, responsible, independent, thinking, caring, dependable, confident, happy individuals.

If we unshackled our daughters from the ‘duty’ of getting and staying married.

If we allowed our daughters to marry as and when they meet the right kind of life partners;

If we supported them when they chose to marry someone who respected them as equals; someone who took it for granted that they will use their own heads to think;

Someone who loved his own family and respected and cared for hers;  and accepts that she might do the same;

Someone who was a human before he was a man, not someone who would compete with her, but someone who thought they, made a team.

No pressure to give dowry. No worry that she will not be the proverbial ‘son’ to you. She will proudly be your daughter, and if you wish your Shravan Kumar in your old age.

Can you imagine how a girl’s life would be if her parents were not so worried about her getting married?

Edited to add: If happiness is truly what we want for our children, let’s show them how to be responsible for their own lives, and let’s set them free. Read what Dipali Taneja has to say, here.

Edited again to add: I found this absolutely fantastic post, read it to know how perfect our present day, marriage scenario is.

Added on 13th Sept 2008 : I find Amrutha’s post on arranged marriages simply brilliant, some of the comments discuss marriage and divorce.

94 thoughts on “How important is it for a girl to get married?

  1. This is something I feel very strongly about too. Am doing a related post- should be up in a day or so.
    It would transform our lives and our general culture in a very big, positive way- allowing our girls to live without fear.

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  2. OMG! U struck a nerve!! I have so often felt the same… my mum’s sole purpose in life was to get me married and every decision she made for me was based on this. She had been waiting for me to turn 18 and…me trying to run away from it. I tried everything in my book from studying, moving to a diff town, working in a diff town… I know today if things were different my life would have been different, I would have seriously thought about wht I want form life when I was in my teens and not a decade later.

    And today with my daughter, I know and want to raise her differently, as an individual who is solely responsible for her own life, independent and self reliant..she has to make her own “security”..and if she wants to get married to a guy or a girl(yes i have thought about it) and when it will be her choice. and not her mothers!

    I came across this poem by Khalil gibran on children, which I also try to follow, its always at the back of my mind.. here is the link –> http://moithoughtsonstuff.blogspot.com/2008/01/on-children-by-kahlil-gibran.html

    p.s didnt mean to write a post here…just got carried away..

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  3. Dipali Delighted to find support in what I thought was rather an unconventional view point, and looking forward, eagerly, to reading your post on the same:)

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  4. Imp’s Mom I know my life would have been different too if getting married was not always a concern. In my dad’s generation, even the brothers could only marry within the community because otherwise the sisters would be treated as outcastes!!
    ‘and if she wants to get married to a guy or a girl(yes i have thought about it) and when it will be her choice’ :I have thought and discussed this with my kids too, I think finally, in this generation, we are all beginning to LOVE our children. The last generation loved us, but loved their old habits (called traditions) more; they loved public opinion and hypocrisy more too. My priorities are very clear. My children come first.

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  5. the guys themselves dont have a choice, what chance do the girls have? i was myself nagged for years to get married till in finally bit the bullet now.

    if this was the pressure on me, i can fully understand the stress that a girl might go thru. i hope at least i will have the good sense to bring up my kids to make their own independent decision in the life.

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  6. philip It’s not just the pressure to get married, it’s how everything they do, or they are allowed to do, is only so they get a HUSBAND. Many girls are not allowed to take up certain careers, no matter how much they are suited for that line or they are not allowed to wear certain kinds of clothes, just because the future sons-in-law and their families may not approve!
    And then even if they are really unhappy, they must make their marriage work!!
    It’s not just being pressurized to get married, it’s more like they were born to get married!

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  7. Imp’s mom Just the read the last line of your comment. I love nothing more than a long, long comment in response to any post of mine…your comment made my day.

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  8. aww…thnx..nice to knw i made your day🙂

    you know there are quite a few who love public opinion and hypocrisy in this generation too..I knw of such people…and i can only feel sad for them.. what a waste of their lives!

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  9. Imp’s Mom You are right! And how did I forgot this generation is also full of parents who don’t even allow their daughters to be born!

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  10. Loved reading your post, another great post! Its a story of every household in India. 8 years back, when I had decided to go to US for my post-grad, my parents had asked me to AT LEAST get engaged before I left. When I didn’t do that, within 3 months they hooked me up with a guy in US from our community so I could get married to him. That didn’t last either, my life would have definitely been different without this pressure.
    My younger cousin sis was very much interested in studying wildlife, and her parents were opposing her career choice saying ‘How will you raise a family living in forests and jungles? Who will marry you??’ I hope the next generation would not have to deal with such things.

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  11. Priyanka We can change this. We can make sure our daughters are not made to go through this. The only security in today’s world is the security that comes from self reliance. I also feel that the kind of men who expect a girl to provide dowry, sons, self sacrificing servitude etc can never make her happy, and that is the kind of husbands they are likely to find in a TYPICAL arranged marriage scenario. Whenever and if they do wish to get married, and if they do not find anyone they’d like to marry, and ask us to help out, let’s help, but let the choice be theirs.

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  12. Wow!

    as usual a great post…

    u have hit the nail on the head… a girl is brought up with only marriage in mind.. can the mindset be ever changed?

    maybe one at a time, starting with our own..

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  13. You need to talk to my mother. Of all the people I know she was the only one who always said, “Getting married is not a priority for you”. Openly, much to the chagrin of a lot of people I know- relatives and such like. But it helped me to become me. Not take nonsense, not feed in to the nonsense of being “settled” after getting married… Then it used to seem a little over the top, but now I feel she was not emphasizing it enough.

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  14. The effort to change situations lie in the person and family. i come from a family which was extremely progressive in matters of female education and marriage . Therefore it is difficult for me to accept such things .But yes it is a reality in most of India – more typically North India . Most of my classmates in college in Lucknow were engaged before we graduated ! I must say I felt terribly left out at that time !
    But yes times must change and it is our generation which must act as the change agents .

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  15. Happy kitten, I think the mind set has started changing, I have seen all the girls, in fact all the children, in my family, including my own son and daughter, understand that self reliance is a priority, economic and emotional. We are always there for them, but they do not have to give up their happiness and freedom to get our love and support.

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  16. alankrita- you must write a post on this! I heard my sister-in-law say this first, I was a newly wed then, I could not believe somebody could suggest something so scandalous! Today I know she was so right, her daughter, a successful Corporate Lawyer, recently married a wonderful, equally brilliant guy, who thinks only my husband(his chacha)can make ‘methi chicken’ better than him!

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  17. homecooked I do have a daughter, she is my life:)We never feel we have to worry about her future any more or any less, than my son’s. Marriage is welcome, but she is not being raised to be a ‘perfect wife and daughter in law’. She will always remain our daughter (not Bollywood style paraya dhan), no kanya daan and no name change for her, she is equal in everything including inheritance rights, and the responsibility to be there if needed in our old age:) Raksha-bandhan, is a reminder to always be there for each other. Gifts are exchanged, not one gives, one receives. Believe me I have seen many parents voicing exactly the same feelings these days. They have happy children.
    Thanks🙂

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    • Nice read ! I am 24, you might be my mom’s age ! You certainly think ahead of your generation. I have a working mom, and she is as liberal and open minded as one can be, she has always given me the freedom to chose the career or do what I wish to do without any botheration. But it is me who is not able to relate with women of this generation. I don’t consider economic liberation as the only empowerment of women. Women of this generation might have become independent but certainly not achieved the freedom.
      In a haste to be modern (western actually) they have forgotten the principles our value system is based on !

      P.s – I like to receive gifts from my brother on Raksha-bandhan, and don’t see anything wrong in raising daughters as perfect wives and daughter-in-laws.

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  18. eve’s lungs- “The effort to change situations lie in the person and family” Totally agree. And I have seen it happening….the best part is it isn’t all that difficult, it’s already happening, we just need to join the flow. I feel sad for those who allow their daughters to live through hell to make an unhappy marriage work. If they’d just support them, they’d all be so much happier.

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  19. since i am the last one to comment, iam basically going to be echoing wat others said. i cudnt agre with u more on this.
    mandira

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  20. Anything I could’ve said has been said as is. I am in agreement with Unmana that am glad to find so many people think this way.

    Another line I liked was …

    She will always remain our daughter (not Bollywood style paraya dhan), no kanya daan and no name change for her, she is equal in everything including inheritance rights, and the responsibility to be there if needed in our old age:) Raksha-bandhan, is a reminder to always be there for each other. Gifts are exchanged, not one gives, one receives. Believe me I have seen many parents voicing exactly the same feelings these days. They have happy children.

    Bless!🙂

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  21. On the kanya daan thing, for my wedding I was adamant- not to have anything like that. So we had an Arya Samaaj style wedding- they customized it to a “pranay bandhan”, no giving away. And my mother did the rituals- in a “regular” type of wedding being a widow, she would not ahve been allowed to.

    But as I told her” Heck I pay my income taxes and have my own SSN, how can you “give” me away”.. She should know she taught me this…

    Yes, I guess I need to write about how unonventionally she brought me up- it was “culture shock” to hear from friends the pressure they were under or to see cousins.

    I am getting Indian Homemaker Addiction, is there a de-addiction blog?

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  22. Alankrita You are so lucky!I tried and fought and even had my husband’s support, but I had to give in many times (including during my dad;s funeral recently-
    http://lifeofanindianhomemaker.blogspot.com/2008/03/when-i-was-eleven-dad-had-gifted-me-his.html
    Nothing works like watching what you believe in working, and that’s the best way to shut ‘people’ up. Is that too jumbled ….I mean the reason why you must write about your upbringing is so that some girl in some family might read it and show it to her mother and say, “See it worked for her, let me also marry the guy I love/choose a career over marriage/choose to work in another city/take up an unconventional career…” We have so much to fight against!
    And please don’t get de-addicted, love having you here!

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  23. Whoa.. this is somethin thats been on my mind forever.. infact could you come home and talk to my mom and dad????🙂

    IN my family, anything i do is considered pointless simply because i am not yet married… i wonder why the whole world revolves around “:marriage:”… anything they say, any sentence spoken, completed will be with “hope next yr this time ur happy with your hubby:.. duH.. leave me alone ppl, talk abt my accomplishments instead… sigh..🙂

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  24. Many women feel their lives would have been so different if this pressure to marry was not there. To live, to study, to choose careers, to have your whole life determined with just one goal- MARRIAGE is so unfair. This new generation has women refusing to sacrifice their happiness for security (???)of marriage. They are happier doing their own thing. Marriage is great, but there’s more to life, and I think a girl should have some choice-without any direct or indirect pressure, to marry, when and who.

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  25. Well, I am new to your blog and landed here blog hopping. About this particular post, I want to just address it wrt my life. I was never pressurised to marry. I chose my partner and now face divorce because the guy decided that after 7.5 years he just cannot live with me; does not care about the son we have. In retrospect, there are times now that I wish I had let my parents chose my partner. Marriage has lost its sanctity big time. It is almost like oh ok, we went out and then let us break up…it is…we were married and now we are divorced. Since this is happening, I am coming across more and more cases where divorces/separation seem to be the norm.
    I know that in most cases, the marriages are forced and it is all about the “catch”; just wanted to say this end of the world also exists.
    sorry if this comment is not in tune with what you have penned. Just my 2 cents🙂

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  26. Well, I am new to your blog and landed here blog hopping. About this particular post, I want to just address it wrt my life. I was never pressurised to marry. I chose my partner and now face divorce because the guy decided that after 7.5 years he just cannot live with me; does not care about the son we have. In retrospect, there are times now that I wish I had let my parents chose my partner. Marriage has lost its sanctity big time. It is almost like oh ok, we went out and then let us break up…it is…we were married and now we are divorced. Since this is happening, I am coming across more and more cases where divorces/separation seem to be the norm.
    I know that in most cases, the marriages are forced and it is all about the “catch”; just wanted to say this end of the world also exists.
    sorry if this comment is not in tune with what you have penned. Just my 2 cents🙂

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  27. myheadtrip First let me apologize for this terrible delay in replying. Now for your comment. If your parents had chosen a husband for you the same could have happened – having an arranged marriage brings no guaranteed security. Those who treated marriage with respect still do so, those who did not, stayed married but only in name.(occasionally they settled down after some straying).
    What happened in your case is happening all the time. Do you think it did not happen earlier? Maybe men lived with the family, but they had affairs and I guess that was fine with the wives because they had no choice.. they had no where to go.
    And you are fortunate that the law does give you the right to refuse divorce if you feel he is being immature and frivolous. (if you are Hindu that is). You sound like a strong girl, I am sure you will take wise decisions. My best wishes are with you. hugs,IHM

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  28. I am being extremely gender neutral here – Rights are an illution – IHM. Guys face the same problems as girls, maybe not at homes. They also want to be independent, they want to have complete control of their security, they also want to be completely free from any interferences in their jobs, they also want to be more efficient and useful to the society. But we have to accept that there is a huge dependance on “Workplace” or “Business” or “Family wealth/business” where even guys cannot take complete control or even partial one at that.

    Sometimes I feel that the freedom of switching jobs because we find it difficult or challenging or taxing etc. is worser than not having the freedom to do so. Because after a point of time, after we go through all these things, we start learning to manage it. If we had quit earlier, we might have missed the oppurtunity to learn and adapt to difficult situations.

    Of course, I am not relating to the other situation expressed in this post as I don’t know much about it, but wanted to share thoughts on a relative subject which I have experianced.

    Destination Infinity

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  29. @ Destination Infinity Welcome🙂
    I am glad you are being gender neutral, in reference to a job it is easy to be reasonably gender neutral I guess😉
    …but how are rights an illusion? I did not understand? The lack of freedom at work place depends on the kind of job you have. A creative field, a tactful and encouraging boss, sales jobs etc might give you more freedom then a bank job, maybe? I know some people who started their own business because they did not want to be ‘answerable’ to a boss, they wanted to work in their own way, in their own time, of course basic rules had to be followed everywhere. Free lancing might give some ‘freedom’ and the right to work they way you choose too…

    //Sometimes I feel that the freedom of switching jobs because we find it difficult or challenging or taxing etc. Is worser than not having the freedom to do so// I would say it is good to learn from your mistakes, it is also good to decide for yourself and take responsibility for your own actions – it is possible that the frequent job hopper is just not interested in working, maybe they are better suited to some creative field? Or they need counseling? Whatever it is, I do not support the taking away of the freedom, because then there is a lot of scope for exploitation, if you do not have the freedom to leave a job, you may stick to a job that does not pay you well, or you might be made to work extra hours, their could be sexual harassment for women, the job maybe seriously stressful…we all need CHOICES. And we all need to take the responsibility for the choices we make.
    Your JOB is such an important part of your life, if you are lucky you love it. If you hate it it, you ask yourself if it worth the security/monetary benefits it gives you. Despite all responsibilities, if you have a supportive spouse/family, you may dare to switch to a job you love. You have to watch ‘Rock On’ and see what I mean. You live once, when you hate a job you are likely to do no justice to it, either it pays you well enough for you to love it, or you just love what you do. If neither is true, then it can make you rather unhappy😦 Just like women and men should have a choice in who , when and if they marry, they both should have a right to give up a job and find another, but whoever takes a decision, also takes responsibility. Freedom does come with a lot of responsibility🙂

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  30. There is an assumption we all make while evaluating situations which are extremely relative – exploitation for example. What may seem to be exploitation at a particular stage of our career or life would seem perfectly normal at another stage and good at some other stage. I am not able to give examples but I have felt and hence wanted to share. Sometimes we need to accept that we are ignorant and there is some thing to learn at every stage of life. What is right to us may be wrong to same ‘us’ at some other point of time. Thats why I was saying that some times we need to take our decisions but most of the times, take the input of an experienced person who has crossed your stage and is much ahead in life.

    Destination Infinity

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  31. You have said it. My sentiments exactly. I am always lamenting no one thinks like me, or perhaps its merely that I know none as yet. Glad to have met you in this virtual world at least!
    Kudos for this post.

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  32. Shail Welcome🙂 It is a pleasure to meet people like you who can question long held beliefs. Do visit again, I have blog rolled you too🙂

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  33. I loved this post, IHM and it rightly so features on your favourite posts lists.

    I agree with every word of yours on this.

    Indian parents are a melodramatic lot who love their children, sacrifice all they can while raising their kids and then remind(more than remind… more like a bargain!!!) their kids about all the sacrifices made once their kids are ready to be married.

    Times have changed and mindsets too… unfortunately the mindsets of the average Indian parent is still governed by what everyone around would say or do if they get their daughter married to someone of her choice instead of going through the travails of an ‘arranged’ marriage!!!

    I’m not against arranged marriages… but that doesn’t mean the right to choose one’s life partner is taboo!!!

    This whole ‘duty’ to get your kids married is something that is being overplayed.

    And I won’t just blame the parents… we are sadly a society full of nosey people who like to get juicy titbits to cook up nice masaledaar gossips to pass around… I don’t foresee a change in our parents until we start minding our own business and let people around enjoy their dignified personal space!!!

    PS: Awesome post and great thoughts!!! Not yet used to that award giving funda on blogosphere… but this post will b the first one to receive a blog award from me once i get a hang of it🙂

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  34. duno why.. but i absolutely feel like just tracking down this person who invented this marriage thingy!!

    now-a-days i shy away from calling my parents or in that case any relatives back home.. know y? all i get to here is “beta! u r getting old.. plz get married!!” and heavens i didnt know being a 22 yr old , i was turning into an old hag already…

    now to the marriage part… my parents have already started this guy-seeing-girl thingy without my consent..and one dimwit had the guts to ask my sister’s hand coz she has “more fair skin”.. the dark minion, he was earning lesser than me… Heights!!

    my mom says “beta we are getting older.. we want to see u happily married and settled”.. married okay? did i hear happy???

    wen my brother has the rights to get married to the girl of his choice , y dont i get the same??? y have to be the nice homely demure girl wearing saree, jasmine in my long hair and nodding to watever happens and get married to nod to another forever??

    this friend of mine got engaged with a guy.. she called off the marriage wen she heard the guy saying he wants get married to a virgin.. she was one but she called it off coz according to her “he is and ll remain a MCP”

    and yeah!! abt that security part!! i have enuf investments,get paid higher than my bro, have paid off my papa’s loans and have a beautiful apartment in my name.. did i hear anyone saying guys are my trump card to secure life!! puhleeze…

    ermm did i digress off the topic.. think i got aggressive..

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  35. Dear IHM,

    I am a 24 yr old newly wedded girl. got married 4 months ago and moved to the UK with my husband. i know this is a problem every indian DIL faces and I guess I am falling in to it too. my family is very liberal and they do not really believe in following all the customs that the entire world harps on. My inlaws on the other hand are super duper orthodox and for them every custom under the Sun is important no matter how inconvenient it is for the other person. My MIL like any son’s mother thinks that I am the luckiest girl on earth because her son decided to marry me. because her son is in the UK and he is the only one in their family to be living abroad, whereas in my family, every second person is in some part of the word other than India so to me its not a big deal at all! in fact i refused to marry this guy because he is not in India but since everyone in my family insisted that they know this guy very well and I got convinced after speaking to him a zillion times that he is genuinely good at heart. Now my MIL has a typical characteristic trait of pointing out everything. Even if you miss a small safety pin that was supposed to be given to her or her daughter from my parents’ side, she does not waste a single moment in pointing it out and making it obvious that she is unhappy because the “custom” has been broken. Her daughter is the world to her. I am the world to my parents too but she is a little weird. During the entire wedding, she was not anywhere near us. Kept insisting my SIL stays with us all the time coz she is the daughter of the house. And made sure my SIL and her husband were served everything properly. She does not care if anyone else is not properly taken care of, but with her daughter no chance! So much that once they had their invitations ready, they sent it to my SIL first got her approval and then bothered to send it to my husband coz his approval was not necessarily important though he was the groom.

    Somehow, the wedding went on very well with the help and support of a lot of family and friends. Now when I was moving to the UK, I’d left all my jewelry, silver and gifts at my parents’ place. Somehow I was not very comfortable leaving them with my inlaws coz my MIL tries to find fault with everything she sees. In some piece she will think the design is not good or she will say that we should never buy gold at a jewelry shop but make sure we get it made by a goldsmith etc etc. So since I would not be around, I did not want my mom to listen to all her nagging everytime she met my inlaws. Even though my mom asked my MIL if she wants her to get all the gifts and all and leave it here. I did not want her to ask about the gold though.

    My question # 1: Is it not my choice about what I want to do with my things? Do I have to seek my MIL’s permission for everything I do to “my” stuff? Each and every piece of that jewelry has been bought by my parents. None of it is what my inlaws gave me. The stuff they gave me is with me here. But do I have to take her permission before deciding what I want to keep with me and what I don’t? My parents will definitely not need my jewelry. They have enof of their own.

    Now coming to it, she has spoken to a common friend of my family and his family recently. She has very conveniently told him that she has no idea what I have done with all the silver items(including 2 sets of thali and glass gifted by my parents) I had and all my jewelry. She tried to convey that she thinks I have given even the thalis and all to my parents and they are happily living on it. The thalis and glasses are as a matter of fact with me and with her proper knowledge coz she was pissed off when I said I want to take them with me. My whole point was I did not see any sense in keeping them safe at home when we could make proper use of it everyday over here. )

    Question # 2 – Is it right on her part to speak like this about me and my parents in front of a third person? Is she not kind of insulting me and my parents?

    Now the more interesting part, my SIL’s husband does not have any family of his own. His parents passed away years ago and his elder brother and all are only for the sake of being there. So all that my SIL had are at her parents’ place. So she has a valid reason to leave everything with her parents. Now for everything my MIL has one excuse that since my parents dont know all these customs, she is trying to tell them the customs.

    I had no intentions of having any ill feeling towards my in laws but this is making me very very sad. I wept all of yesterday and as soon as my husband came home, he realised something is wrong with me. He managed to get me spill out everything(and i am cursing myself for it), spoke to his mom, my mom and tried to convince me that his mom is only trying to tell us the customs and all. He is otherwise very understanding. he knows how his mom has a very weird character and tells me the same thing but when it comes to this particular issue, he says it was a casual talk between my MIL and that common friend and he took the liberty to call up my parents and speak to them about it. What I dont understand is if this ‘casual talk’ was a month ago, why did that man call my parents now and speak to them? I am a new DIL and so I am not supposed to question anyone. All I am supposed to do is keep quiet and see my parents being nagged every now and then because they did not some custom about a piece of haldi or a saree that was supposed to be given.

    Question # 4 – Is that all my parents are supposed to do all the time? Keep giving things to me and my husband? They do give us a lot but is there no break to it? Do they have keep giving us gifts all their life? They have already done enof for us, is it not our turn to make sure they have everything they need and care for their wellbeing(including his parents). Is a piece of jewelry and a set of clothes the only way to show they love us and care for us?

    Question #5 – My parents still dont have an account of how much they might have spent for my wedding coz his parents wanted a grand ceremony because they were not taking any dowry. I’d already told my parents that I dont mind staying single all my life but I don’t want them to pay a single penny as dowry. I am beautiful, educated, had a very very good job and I am self sufficient in all ways. There is no need for someone like me to get married by giving dowry etc. My husband also was very particular that he did not want anything as dowry. So since there was no dowry in question they wanted the event to be a grand one. My parents wanted the same thing and so they made sure everything was remarkably exotic much against my wishes coz I dont see the whole point in spending so much money on something which lasts just a day or 2. Is a simple ceremony not worth enof to get married?

    I am soo disappointed now that I can’t express it in words. I wanted a family where human values are more important than customs. Thankfully, to my husband all that matters is human values and feelings but I am very disappointed by his parents coz I realised that for them customs play a higher role than human values.

    I wanted to spill it all out coz I am just not able to take it anymore. I am a regular reader of ur blog and all I could think of was you when my mind went completely blank.

    Please help me.

    From
    Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter.

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    • Move out of that house with your husband while you still can. If you take this sort of nonsense right from the start, you’d probably end up taking it all the time. Like seriously.

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  36. Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter I was thinking maybe this should be published as a post … it’s such a typical situation!
    At 24, and when you are married, you should be left alone and not suffocated with such controls!

    I am amazed women achieve so much despite such cruel and horrible circumstances. Just be brave, remember that you are absolutely justified in wanting to be free of such controls, and you are NOT WRONG in expecting your parents to be treated with respect and basic decency. Malicious gossip against a DIL’s family is not something a girl can be expected to respect. And what you do with your jewelery is upto you, even if you do sell it or give it away she can only express an opinion – no matter what our conditioning tells us, it is wrong to to try to control other adults lives. She is also trying to control her adult and married son’s life.

    The sons grow up and are conditioned to believe that since mothers only want what is best for them, it is fine if they also want to monitor their entire lives!

    This is why Joint Family and patriarchy are so wrong.

    And don’t feel guilty if common sense tells you she is wrong, just because somebody is older or a spouse’s parents they do not automatically become right.

    Expecting your parents to keep spending is wrong, discussing them with anybody is outrageous, discussing you is equally immature and cruel, and I think if we really cares for our son’s happiness, we better respect his spouse … your MIL does not seem to realise that no man can be really happy if his wife is treated like this.

    Don’t feel guilty – you are ight, and tell your parents to be stronger, I always say, Strong parents have happy daughters.

    Don’t gie in to controls, keep your jewelery where ever you prefer to keep, and definitely, quite definitely not with your MIL, not even if it mean s a lot to her, or if it makes her feel you love her like your mother, or to please your husband, keep it pleasant but be firm.

    And tell your mom in law or husband that even if this is done in every next house, you do not like such indulgences in petty gossiping, and will find it difficult to respect your mom in law if she (and he also) show the same respect to your parents.
    No harmony is possible unless their is justice. Bitterness and opression can not bring peace. Be tactful, please remain polite and respectful, keep your cool …. but do not accept such treatment.

    I wish you (or any human) didn’t have to go through this, but since you have to …

    Also ask your husband to remember you also have the same feelings, how would he like to be treated EXACTLY the same way by your parents? If parents love their children they better be nice to their spouses too…

    He cannot keep speaking to his mom on your behalf – she will start calling him a JKG. he just has to very clearly let her see that he will not allow his family to treat his wife shabbily, when a husband stands by his wife, nobody from his family bothers her.
    Also please read -some links in the next comment.

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  37. @Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter, Of course human values are more important than any customs … in fact the only purpose of all customs is to bring us together and make us happy, ‘customs’ by themselves are of no other value, don’t get bogged by all these thing that you forget that these are the best years of your life, remind your husband also.
    I fear sometimes elders use customs to show they know more or know better … I feel bad for them, maybe they feel you know more in some other ways so at least her they can show some superiority .

    Also newer customs should be brought in by newer generation … we must change with times, so should the customs.
    You will be fine, be brave … hugs, God bless, IHM

    Like

    • IHM, This topic that has been raised by Anonymous, needs a separate post in itself so other girls can relate to it too and get a few pointers to stand up. It’s high time they need to stand up. I have no respect for mothers who who think their daughter is the world and their daughter in law is a servant. If you cannot treat two girls in your family with the respect they deserve, then they shouldn’t be permitted to get their sons married. Unbelievable that India has put men on the moon and our mother in laws even after migrating to London are still living in the 15th century! Utter crap!

      IHM, please do a post on this comment of her’s and your answers so it can be there on your blog for always. Some readers might just miss these comments otherwise.

      Me- Okay Ramit let me take a look and see if I can do it today.

      Like

  38. Nice article and perfectly captures the scenario. I fully agree with you views

    Parents need to understand few things but the question is who and how will you pass this perspective to them.

    Being a male, I hope to face lesser problems but still they exist. I hope I will be talking with them and making them realize this when ever my turn comes up.

    I also posted some thing on this issue. Would like to share with you.
    http://pitamah.blogspot.com/2008/04/dowry-system-in-india.html

    Like

  39. I feel like adding something to this that has been a worrying concern for me.
    In Indian Society , I have been seeing that after marriage , a daughter does not remain as a daughter any more. She becomes someone’s wife more. Why they need to adjust their needs and desires according to the
    circumstances and tradition. When I see my mother I think ,Should she not have an equal say in everything that relates to her parents . When I see this I felt betrayed on part of my mother.
    A parent who raise their daughter with so much affection ,can’t think of separation from daughter after her marriage.They just got pissed off or you can say “carried away” by our tradition.
    I as a brother have this kinda feeling for my sister.I still worry, will she forget me after her marriage? Or then Someone else than me matters more in her life.This is reality now.Everyone skips this as a part of natural happenings in ones life.But I feel quite strong about it.For that reason I wish to know from you girls what stops you from continuing that kind of unshakeable relationships with your family members after your marriage.
    I think girls of present age should address this question of mine.In above blog and comments from the reading what I have felt that you wants to be more individualistic rather than social.
    I as a man, have a simple perception about man and woman that while former tries to think rationally in every kind of situation, latter proceeds on the way that is guided by their emotions.Their heart precedes their minds , and I have a great respect for that.
    For me this is not the dumbness on her part it is an intelligence that only she is capable of.
    From the blogs and present day thinking of the girl I think that they think that they are quite oppressed because they always think of others and not of themselves.This is the woman nature.They in any kind of situation always thinks for the welfare of others , be it their son or husband or father or anyone.They always have this kind of feeling that everyone should be happy.Their happiness comes second to her.I think this is more feminine.This is what present girls are thinking in a reverse way.They think that this kind of social thinking is a result of oppression and they try to shift to more manly thinking which is more selfish and rational.If you are saying this would be the empowerment on the part of girls,then perhaps will have to redefine this word for me,as this is just a degradation of womanly feelings.And we all are becoming quite evident of this in the present society.

    If I have offended anyone , than I am extremely sorry.

    Like

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  42. My comment is for Ms Anonymous. First of all, I can truly empathize with you – 24years old, alone in a foreign country with stuff like this eating you up.
    1. Remember that you can take full control of your life, and it is up to you to do so.
    2. Build up a strong relationship with your husband and that does not come with bad mouthing his sister and mother. It will put him on the defensive.
    3. Take steps to protect yourself from a smear campaign. This should and must include winning praise from people from your in-laws clan, building your stature in the family. Once you succeed, no one will be able to harm your standing.
    4. Be financially strong and work towards it.
    5. Using tears, feminine wiles, manipulation, schematic plans is totally allowed.
    6. Failing would mean that you have to start again. So think up your steps with a cool mind.
    All the best

    Like

  43. hi IHM, i think the heading could have been more apt..like how impoprtant is for parents to shed the resposnibility of getting their kids married….

    though what you have mentioned mostly applies to females, let me tell you even us ( males) it affects sometimes….i settled late in life, means landed in a job at later yrs which will make me sell in the marriage market….hmm i had lotof pressure to get married because my brothers are waiting in queue..hmm

    yes what you have said is very apt….but it cant be changed overnite….

    Like

  44. my parents are still undergoing this debate with me🙂

    they are torn between wanting to marry me off according to society, and yet listen to my words about finding the right person first instead of getting married for the sake of being married.
    fortunately for me, my side has won so far🙂 and my parents have been fortunately very sensible abt it..

    Like

  45. Pingback: From an Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter. « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  46. Hi there! Blog-hopped through TGB’s blog. I totally agree…instead of forcing a girl on some random guy…ask what she wants. They wouldnt do the same to their son, would they??

    Me – Welcome Shalini🙂 Nowadays it is easily possible for parents to let their daughters have a choice… and if they still don’t use these options then I wonder if all they care for is to get rid of what they consider a responsibility.

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  47. Pingback: Is any fear rational? « The Age of Aquarius

  48. Hi,
    I’ve been going through your blog archives and so far have liked all posts. Mostly because they strike a chord. This one probably the most.

    I’m not saying my parents are “orthodox” – they gave me a great education and encouraged me to make a career but always there was this implied brain-washing (for lack of a better word) that my life will be complete only after I get married. When I look back, a lot of my decisions were made either rebelling against this or keeping it in mind. i.e, rarely was it not in the thought process. So much for being a modern woman.
    I recently came across Kelly Cutrone’s book – If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You and this excerpt just hit home –
    “Is it possible the voices you’ve been listening to from birth may not have been your own? Can you separate the voices of your parents, your teachers, your friends, the media from the voice of yourself?
    So many mothers say they want their daughters to be independent, but what they REALLY hope is that they’ll find a well-compensated banker or lawyer and settle down between the ages of 25 and 28 in That Town, to raise babies, do the grocery shopping and work out in relative comfort for the rest of their lives. They raise us to think they want us to have careers, and they send us to college, but even they don’t really believe women can be autonomous and take care of themselves.”

    At the same time, it’s easy to blame one’s parents for everything. I definitely could’ve stood up to them if I truly wanted to be independent. I could’ve chosen not to think/worry/obsess about when I would get married but I didn’t. So I say 90% of the fault lies within me.
    Sure, a lifetime of explicit/implicit conditioning will take toll but what of all the books I read? Couldn’t I have formed my own opinions ? Couldn’t I have “become a feminist”?

    Anyway, this is all rambling with no action.
    (You can probably tell I don’t like myself much)

    Me – I admire your wish to be fair to your parents and to take responsibility for yourself – I feel all parents are as much influenced by the conditioning as their children are. Also I recently learnt of Bechdel’s Test – and found almost all our books, movies all media teach us the same things – try this test on your favorite books and you will see why the entire universe wants women to get married and stay married🙂
    The movie/book just has to pass these three simple questions:-

    #1 It has to have at least two women in it.

    #2 Who talk to each other

    #3 About something besides a man.

    I was shocked to see how small is the number of books and movies that show that a woman can have a life without being a wife/girl friend/or a female relative to a man.

    Like

  49. Pingback: Indian family values are good for Indian daughters? « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  50. I totally agree with you IHM. I wish my parents felt the same. They didn’t obsess about my marriage so much before but as I started approaching “marriageable age”, I think my mom hasn’t thought of anything except just that. It’s the only thing on her mind 24/7 and all the relatives and general society asking about my marriage all the time that irks me to no end.
    You’re right, it’s as if we women are born to just get married one day and have kids. Is there no other meaning to our lives? Can’t a girl do anything worthwhile except catching the right guy (read, a guy belonging to the same caste, community and what not, from a decent family, earning well etc etc)?
    A girl’s marriage becomes an issue of nothing short of national importance and discussed socially, publicly and zealously. Why won’t our society leave an unmarried girl alone? Why do they think it is their filial duty to get her married?
    I sincerely hope articles such as yours open some eyes. I for one am sending this link to my parents🙂.

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  69. The girl child are given toys like kitchen set or dolls to play with..from that very tender age they are brainwashed to be the so-called sanskari bahu rather than being an individual.

    Like

  70. I feel that Indian women would be a lot happier if the importance of staying married would be reduced, at least. I can understand the desire to have grandchildren, but I don’t get why Indian parents don’t happily take their daugthers, and maybe granddaughters back if the spouse and inlaws are violent towards the daugther and/or her female child. (I only know about that from books, but apparently it is quite epidemic?) Indian women are nowadays just as capable of earning money for a family as men are, so it makes no sense to hold on to traditional goals like marriage.

    I have recently been playing this browser game: http://de.ars-regendi.com/rid97193/ where you can rule a country of your own, and I totally did get rid of marriage as an institution in that country. (Which means that there are no laws on marriage at all. People can still do ceremonies and stuff all they want, but the law doesn’t make a difference between unmarried and married couples). In my opinion, this is what all countries should do as soon as they have laws in place that are sufficient to replace marriage laws as social security system.

    Marriage laws make sense only insofar as they protect women from the consequences of male egoism, but since we can nowadays prove beyond doubt who has fathered a child and therefore is to be held financially accountable, we do not really need such things anymore. Marriage has always been a cage for women, but while it may have been a golden cage in former times, it is now just a cage.

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