Somewhere in the blogosphere –
“… girls were considered a burden..but today times are changing…but having said that i will say that I feel pleasure in traditional giving to my daughter’s in laws..to me its my gratitude to them for loving, respecting and looking after my daughter, because my daughter lives with them, not their son with me, so its they who spend on her and look after her.”
A lot of Indians will find nothing wrong with this statement. Not even with ‘…they who spend on her and look after her.‘ [One person works hard and makes himself financially secure. Another person works hard but remains dependent.]
Not even with,
‘because my daughter lives with them, not their son with me’. (Why not?)
We feel grateful to a paraya dhan‘s in laws for ‘looking after‘ her and we try to keep them happy. Dowry and gifts for a woman’s in laws are rarely mutual. It’s dangerous to assume that gifts and dowry can buy happiness or safety for woman.
Won’t it be simpler to let the girl be self reliant? Not just financially but also in her attitude.
No, because yesterday an acquaintance complained, “Independence makes girls selfish, they don’t like to live in Joint Families.“
I would have thought selfishness should make them want a system that is said to be good for them.
It seems the system does not suit all it’s members – so some member must be forced to accept it, in the name of custom, tradition, family values, honor, their destiny, sacrifice or love.
The Joint Family System is convenient for parents of male children. It is also the biggest reason why all Indian parents pray, fast, bless, abort or kill for a budhape ka sahara*.
We even steal, or secretly replace our female babies with male babies in hospitals.
We openly express sympathy when a girl child is born.
We also believe that 50% of all equal adults in India (and their children and grandchildren) belong to their spouse’s family. From the moment they are born they are prepared for being able to survive, adjust and accept a life that they may or may not want. Any objection to living with their spouse’s families is seen as being selfish – and no sin can be bigger for a woman, because the essence of a woman lies in her eagerness to ‘sacrifice‘.
All paraya dhans are expected to give up their identity when they marry. They can also be restrained from using this new identity if they separate from the spouse. [Thanks for the link Mr Gopinath.]
Murtaza Khan understands these double standards very well it seems. He believes that the ‘lady who opts for marrying outside the state (Jammu and Kashmir) must lose citizenship of the state.“
I was relieved to note that the Jammu and Kashmir assembly witnessed an uproar… as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) member Murtaza Khan introduced …the controversial Permanent Resident Disqualification Bill. [Link]
(Jammu and Kashmir enjoys special status under Article 370 of the Indian constitution. Only residents of the state can acquire immovable property, study in professional institutions and get government jobs. [link])
Paraya dhan – The term is used for girl-children in India. Traditionally a girl-child is seen as a liability, because her parents must train her from babyhood to live with and serve her spouse’s family. paraya’ – not one’s own, ‘dhan’ – property, wealth.
Budhape ka sahara – a male child – seen as a support in the old age. Also called budhape ki lathi – meaning a senior citizen’s walking stick.