No second chances for an Indian daughter.

Nirupama Pathak 23, a Delhi based journalist was found dead in her parents’ home in Koderma, Jharkhand.

Her mother said she was electrocuted while cleaning the ceiling fan. Later she said Nirupama hung herself from the fan and left a suicide note (no rope found say police). The police was not informed until 18 hours after the death.

According to the medical report, Nirupama could have been smothered with a pillow and she was 10-12 weeks pregnant (Her fiance says he wasn’t aware).

The police thinks this could be a case of Honor Killing.

Knowing how Indians view premarital pregnancy as a blow to their culture, nothing can be ruled out.

Suicide is seen as the appropriate, unwritten penalty for a premarital pregnancy in our society.

It is possible that the Nirupama took her own life if her fiance refused to marry her.

Our society does not acknowledge a heart break as traumatic because heart breaks are a result of premarital relationships and we do not believe in premarital relationships.

Did Nirupama need emotional support?

Maybe an abortion, some time, some counseling,  a hope for a second chance in life and a much needed hug could have saved her life?

It is possible that the mother tried to show a suicide as an electrocution. Suicide by an unmarried girl is seen with suspicion.

1. An unmarried young woman can kill herself for not doing well in exams. Such suicides are not dishonorable and are excused with sympathy for the parents.

2. A married young woman can hang herself. Most unfortunate but perfectly honorable. Better than walking out of a bad marriage anyway.

3. An unmarried young woman might commit suicide for any reason, but the parent’s peer group would wonder if it has ‘something to do with a boy’. A man in a girl’s life is considered most dishonorable.

Good Indian Girls are not supposed to interact with men and here she interacted enough to fall in love, maybe sleep with and maybe get pregnant. The parents’ peer group would find the time to analyze how they ‘never suspected’ or ‘always suspected‘ that she was ‘that‘ kind of girl.

Most Indians are conditioned to be intimidated by malicious  gossip. So if she did commit suicide, even in their grief Nirupama’s parents could want it to look like an electrocution.

While some suicides are dishonorable, premarital pregnancies and inter caste marriages are even more dishonorable. So it is possible that they drove her to kill herself.

And if she was too reluctant to kill herself, it is also possible that her mother did smother her with a pillow hoping to pass off her death as suicide.

Nirupama Pathak’s parents had options.

1. If the couple wanted to get married – they could give them their blessings.

In a country where thousands of girls are killed in, being forced to go back or are dying-everyday in bad marriages – how could the parents not be delighted to see their daughter find happiness and love?

Indian parents have amazing confidence (often sadly misplaced) in their own abilities in finding perfect matches for their adult children.

Did they fear her choice was wrong? She was 23. They should have respected her decision. The Supreme Court does.

2. What if her fiance was not willing to marry her?

Many would see that as the worst possible calamity to fall on an Indian daughter’s parents. A Bollywood father would  hang himself from a ceiling fan or throw the girl out. Where do Indian family values go when a daughter needs them?

Read more about our attitudes when it comes to daughters, on Kislay’s blog. [click here].

They could have advised her to have an abortion. If they were afraid of the doctor ‘talking about it’, they could have come to Delhi where Nirupama worked.

3. What if the girl did not want marriage or abortion?

She would have been well within her rights to choose that.

If they couldn’t handle that, they could have told her to live her life her way and cut off all ties with her. That’s an honorable, face-saving thing to do in our society. Their all important peer group (biradari/samaaj/community) would have respected them for it.

Where then did death, suicide or killing come into this?

Do parents who can’t make the best of an unfortunate situation and at least stand by an unhappy child – still believe that they deserve to have children?

Important Note: Anyone heard of Priyabhanshu Ranjan?

90 thoughts on “No second chances for an Indian daughter.

    • I agree Allytude… I say second chances kind of sarcastically, and kind of as an appeal to anybody who thinks what she did was against our culture. As in, even if what she did was seen as wrong, doesn’t she deserve to live and make a fresh start?
      😐

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  1. Yup, Indian daughters are like cattle, to be bought and sold, if they are murdered or commit suicide, what else is it but bali (sacrifice) at the altar of family honour.

    Praan jaye par baap ki izzat na jaye. The parents were liberal, they did not kill the girl when she was a fetus. They even educated her and “allowed” her to work. They gave her life – and they took it away. Jai Ho!

    Sorry, but such things get me in a nasty mood.

    Me – The news made me very sad too. Here was a smart girl with a good career ahead… all she needed was support at a sensitive time.

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    • “The parents were liberal, they did not kill the girl when she was a fetus. They even educated her and “allowed” her to work” ……..that’s right, families who seem to be normal have this attitude that they are being ‘so nice” to their daughters and sisters and all these things are privileges for these girls. One wrong step and all these gets taken away with the lectures of “You don’t know how girls are treated in other homes, consider yourself lucky”

      Me – Oh yes, I have heard a friend say “I saw these thirteen year olds alone on the terrace… and I told my daughter, I have placed so much trust in you, never treated you less than your brother, don’t bring shame on me.” The girl should be grateful she is treated no less than her brother. The bother is not asked to ‘not bring shame’ on the family’s spotless name. his is one of the two girls who told my daughter she was lucky to have ‘fair rules’ in her house 😐 Such things really, really sadden me.

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  2. An errant thought while reading your post, don’t you think we couldn’t care less with the number unnatural deaths this country ‘faces’ every day? What is just another life, in this highly fertile population of crores… One dies, ten replaces…. So, no one gives a damn!
    Me – I agree Guria, we really don’t care. When I read this news I remembered other girls I heard of dying like this… one case I will always remember is about three sisters who hung themselves, on the same day and died together. Soon afterwards three other sisters did that same thing. (Both in UP). It left me feeling depressed. This can’t be found by googling because this happened in 1980s. And although we keep track of every political and cricket statistics, this kind of information is very difficult to find.

    Back to what you wrote, girls are born to look good and be the mother of the legitimate child to further the glory of her married family… Other than that she just brings shame to her father…. Heard this somewhere: A bride’s father is always the one with the head hung

    A highly educated teacher had once laughingly told us, a class full of school-going boys and girls, Girls are like the female Anophele mosquito (one that cause malaria), before marriage they suck on the blood of their father, and after marriage the blood of their husbands.

    I left his reputed tuitions from the next day… Couldn’t learn any subject from a man with that ideology.
    Wanted to be a boy for along time… then I realized the duplicity in it. Being a girl, and wanting to bring the change that is not got to start with the men, but the oppressed women who first have to learn their Worth and then to talk and hit back.

    I probably veered off completely, but read many of your posts together that culminated in this comment. 😛

    Me – You did the right thing Guria! A man who could say this needs to be questioned! Did he have any daughters? I hope not!

    I always feel if I was a man I would have still written about and felt the same things… men can make a lot of difference, but women know what they go through first hand.

    And I so agree with you, we must first learn our worth and then refuse to take any bullying or exploitation.

    Thanks for your comment, I am so glad you could feel that anger you felt against that tuition teacher. Proud of you Guria.

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    • Would you believe that man, teacher no less, had one daughter (elder) and a son. We used to have early Sunday-morning tuitions and would see the kids leaving their home for their tutions… I used to think what his wife and daughter think of him? Do they know what he tells his students about men and women? Year before last, almost five years after I’d left his tuition I heard a very sad news from a friend, that his son had died from a sudden brain tumor, a genetic defect. Though saddened about the kid I used to see every Sunday, yawning and going to tuitions had died, I did think it was ironical that his daughter (with similar genes?) lived. You can call me heartless, or cruel but I did think that day, that there was a Gd after all, and yes, we do pay for our actions and words in this very life.

      In a way I was glad for his words that day, they made a head clearer and the path ahead distinct. Instead of falling into a trap of feeling worthless it made me hold my head high, and prove that I, we can be better than most, that we are more worthy than many!

      Thanks for your words IHM, somehow your blogs let me be me, something that i’m not even in my own blog.

      Me – Hugs Guria!!! I feel so good that you held your head high and realised that you are worth more than many. Of course you are!

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  3. It is sad that an educated woman had to die because her parents were not able to support her. She was an adult and had the right to make her own decisions. It is time parents realized that their adult children are capable of living their life and making their own decisions. How many more unmarried pregnant women will have to be killed before our society comes out of its sick thinking?

    Was Priyabhanshu Ranjan her fiance?

    Me – Yes Shilpa he’s her fiance! And he is not being judged like she is – you should read what a commenter said about her elsewhere, girlsguidetosurvival shared it in her comment here,

    https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/no-second-chances-for-an-indian-daughter/#comment-25323

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  4. I just finished a long personal email to one of our common readers and a post was on its way. But I am glad you posted this. I’ll take this discussion into another direction that is eauqlly part of women’s agency and their choices.

    What did Anupama or who ever killed her get??? Remains the question. An attempt to cover the dirty secret, the unmentionable that is now posted all over not just their home town but the whole nation is talking about and some of us taking it to the international audience. Didn’t she or who ever did it to her watch Kamla ki Maut? There are great many warning signs of a suicide did nobody see it coming through or they did not want to acknowledge them.

    May be we all know murder has no foresigns. I’ll chip in later but for now I want to take an opportunity to draw attention to Suicide Warning Signs @ http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/suicide/ and Watch Kamla Ki Maut.

    Congratulations for a wonderful post…

    Peace,

    Desi Girl

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  5. No second chances even in death.

    An unqualified doctor , part of a 3 member team, performed autopsy on Nirupama’s body . The foetus and viscera were not preserved. The foetus would have identified the father.

    Having destroyed evidence, they now lodge an FIR against Priyabhanshu Ranjan, in Delhi.

    While her parents and Ranjan fight it out, and resurrect their so called prestige, a young life has been literally smothered and suffocated to death.

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  6. Marital violence, murders and suicides are happening at the drop of the hat. Look what happened to Khushboo for advocating safe premarital sex? You know what I think is the problem with the Supreme Court and its super-sounding verdicts? It’s a legal, political, bureaucratic highground that doesn’t percolate down to reality as fast as it makes it the headlines…

    Once again, respect for championing the cause for women in your strong words..

    as a daughter, however, i would ask you to refrain from generalisations. While a great majority of Indian parents still feel the girl child a burden, i feel there are still parents who are broadminded and fiercely supportive. This set of people, even if they might be in minority, should also get highlighted on your blog..

    Me – You are right Gauri. And I have a young daughter, I am a daughter too and I know many other parents who are shocked by such attitudes. Today a dear friend said, “And here we would do anything to keep someone alive…”

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  7. She did have many options. I feel really sad when I hear such news. People view life so differently. There are so many people on this Earth who are in much pathetic conditions than Nirupama and they fight for their life. There is no situation so bad that you have to take away your life. Life is so precious. Hope people realize it soon!

    Me – On 9th morning there is news of two more murders for similar reasons.

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  8. What’s wrong if committed suicide or for that matter even if she was killed. She deserved to be died because she did something her parents (or the society around her parents) didn’t approve of. Of course, there’s no need to look for the man who got her pregnant. He’s a man. He doesn’t count an izzat of the family.

    The reputation (?) of a family is of course much more important than the life of a girl.

    Why didn’t she took the permission of everyone else before getting pregnant?

    It’s completely fine if there is incest, marital rapes, dragging marriages, domestic violence, etc. going in our own homes as far as no one else knows. But, how can a girl decide herself who she should get intimate with?

    Me – This really saddened me Haresh. Just the thought of what she must have gone through… how can we give so much importance to who a girl sleeps with that we take her life! All because she was born in the wrong family, in the wrong culture, in the wrong country…

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  9. And, by the way, the title “No second chances for an Indian daughter.” looks a bit misleading to me… as if she is given a chance but spoil it. And, the parents/society doesn’t ‘give’ a girl one more ‘chance’. ( Please let me know if I’m missing something 🙂 )

    She ISN’T given a chance. It’s her rights.

    A good article from you, as always. Your articles almost always touch me inside 🙂

    Me – Allytude pointed out the same thing Haresh! And I totally agree. I am amazed to hear young people – specially men (who do not face this like women do) – able to understand this. And to be bold in their criticism of what is so clearly wrong. Thanks!!!!

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    • Haresh,

      Yes, it is definitely a right but it is treated as a privilege bestowed by the benefactors- family and communities. Here read this:

      Parents sent Nirupama to Delhi for study not for love or sex. Where these people moral value gone when both kept Physical relationship. How they expect their parent will act sensibly when they got to know, there daughter became pregnant before marriage.

      Women’s sexuality is the property of families and communities or women are just asexual beings who become sexual only within the marriage. An arranged shag/rape between strangers (some arranged marriage) is more acceptable than sex between consenting adults. I guess they killed the defying daughter and were not aware of her pregnancy, the secret just spilled out after her death.

      Gist some other comments:

      The guy got her pregnant so he should be held accountable. As if contraception never fails in this ideal world.

      “How one specially a girl can forget the love and respect provided by all family members during her whole past life, when she makes a ‘mistake’ due to which whole family can’t lift heads! Due to which whole family losses social respect at once! And this her ‘mistake’ provides a chance to laugh or pass a cunning smile to anyone for all her family members! This ‘mistake’ results in social death for a whole family and that innocent girl is dam-sure responsible for this social murder of 2-10-20 real innocent persons. Isn’t?”

      http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?ucpg=3&cp-documentid=3884704#uc2Lst

      I guess they forgot about the Nal Damyanti and Dushayant Shakuntla may be they were not Indian. May be they were west influenced couples.

      A life is lost and moral brigade is up in arms I wont we surpisized if Khaps join in and issue fatwas…

      Peace,

      Desi Girl

      Me – Thanks for sharing this link and these comments. I am disgusted but not at all surprised. I have seen people, even women talk like this… ‘her family can’t lift heads’ because they believe the girl is their honor – and they have done her a favour by giving birth to her… let me check the link…

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      • @GGS, thanks for the link which provided a little more detailed information about the case.

        A daughter is actually a property of parents. They own her. How can she have an independent life?

        Me – Haresh two more young couples met similar fate in the news today. We simply assume that a girl has no sense and anybody who claims to love her can only intend to exploit her – and that is seen as worse than death 😐

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    • @IHM, please don’t embarrass me by thanking 🙂 I mean, it’s unfortunate that not many people think the way we do. I just try to think and act as rationally as possible 🙂 And, just like many of us, getting rid of irrational and senseless ideologies and customs is my goal too.

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  10. it is terribly, terribly sad – but I`m hoping that these incidents form an exception rather than the norm. They do, right? Majority of the parents out there are responsible parents who believe in intelligent parenting rather than policing their children around, right? I sure hope so, atleast!

    Me – Yes Piper thankfully most parents are not like this. Most parents are sensible.
    But the number of girls dying at all ages is more than the number of boys. And young women married or unmarried form the second largest group of people who commit suicide.

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  11. She didn’t need a second chance. She was 23 and earning, that makes her very capable of bringing up the baby by herself if she wanted to have the baby. If she was married then she would have continued with the pregnancy most probably irrespective of whether she recieved support of her family or not in raising the baby. She would have been considered responsible enough to make that decision.

    Just because she wasn’t married, that’s the end of life for her ? We, Indian parents have a lot of growing up to do.

    I have a daughter too and I always try to put myself in such parents shoes and think hypothetically and always come to the conclusion that I may not be happy about my daughter getting pregnant without being in a stable relationship or may be marriage, but if that happens anyway..would I ever kill her for that or pressurise her so much that she takes her own life ? NO WAY ! How can any parent be so worried about their honour in the society that they are willing to kill a person to preserve it is beyond me. If its such a big issue, why can’t they go for abortion rather than taking the daughter’s life ?

    Last time I heard abortion was legal in India unless its a sex-selective abortion. Is that still true or is it completely illegal now ?

    Me – Exactly the way I feel. I have a daughter too and I know I would have gone out of my way to make sure she is not traumatised or she isn’t contemplating something drastic… You must see a comment an Anon made on another post, a sarcastic comment implying that mothers would learn a lesson when their own daughters come home and say they are pregnant. That’s supposed to be the worst possible horror for a mother. Well anything is a horror if it is made one. Parenting is not easy – and abortion is legal in India. (Married women abort female fetuses and many families risk women’s lives and healths by using abortion like contraception.) Can’t imagine why would someone not see that as the easiest option? Loved your comment.

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  12. Oh, and thanks for Kislay’s blog link. Fantastic post coming from a man. Glad to know that a man can also be so aware of what a woman faces everyday – his wife/girlfriend/mum/sister/friends who are women, would be so proud of him. Ka pai Kislay ( that’s Maori for ‘well done’ ).

    2Bs mommy

    Me – I wonder if those men who do not agree are being honest or do they really think women have it easy… after all they are worshiped like goddesses.

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  13. Shocking that such things happen in THIS Age of advancement..people are still soooo narrow minded!! As is evident from all your posts, IHM, it is still a man’s world.

    Me – Pal I think it’s a world of people who can think for themselves, verses people who put customs/culture/traditions/peer pressure above common sense. Why did Nirupama even think that death was an option??? She had a great career ahead and she would have got over the pain of a betrayal… (I feel she committed suicide).

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  14. A shocking and a very sad incident.

    People are more worried about protecting their ‘honor’ which is judged by the ‘never loyal’ members of the community. People who have no constructive work up their sleeves but to indulge in idle gossip without giving a thought to the possible circumstances in which a well educated young girl lost her life, killing an unborn child in the mishap should never be allowed the liberty to decide fates for us /our loved ones.

    Life might never give second chances, but it’s our responsibility to seek options, which are always countless in every scenario.

    Me – CB I feel angry with her family, because she was amongst them when she died – they should have seen how upset she was, and it’s much worse if they are responsible for her death in any way 😐

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  15. How sad when a family feels that their collective honour rests on their daughter’s chastity.
    If they feel that she owes it to them, then don’t they owe her their unconditional support too? Isn’t that one of the first things a parent does … catch a child who’s going to fall?

    Me – You must read this comment to see how deep is our conditioning when it comes to our collective honors….

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  16. I don’t know what to say…The whole situation is so sad…I wonder if everybody is happy, now that the blemish has gone away…Are the parents mourning her?

    Me – The senselessness of the whole thing Sraboney… 😦 But we do not know how she died, it could have been a suicide.

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  17. Most parents have children for selfish reasons. Most don’t realise that they owe much more to the child than the child owes them back…education, liberation, unconditional love and support, protection and acceptance of choices even if they are not acceptable by society.

    One of my friends was kept at home and her studies suspended for 6 months because “she was going around with a boy”. The whole premise of these parents is that they’ve done the girl so many favours like letting her live, study, work etc, that she better not put her foot even an inch out of line.

    This was sick. Hope the mother and child come back to haunt the parents. Hope they have a wonderful time living with their precious society and community, there is much more solace of course to have unrelated people ‘approving’ of you, than a daughter (0r son) happy and alive in whatever circumstances.

    Me – I have seen this attitude too Starsinmyeyes. Even the girl might feel she deserves this if she is has had no opportunity to see how girls in other parts of the world manage to live and breath freely… but then she would be told about how bad that culture is and how many divorces they have! She is reminded how lucky she is to be born in a country that treats her like their honor and likens her birth to arrival of goddess Lakshmi.

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  18. At times one feels being born a woman anywhere in the world is a curse…I mean, why do men have it easier ? When will be treated as humans? It is so sad !

    Me – Indy some parents find violence and killing as the only solution to any problems – they have no concept of looking for alternatives. And worse is burdening one pair of young shoulders with a family’s collective honor. How tribal can we get? These things make me so sad… just that girl’s bad luck that she was born in such a family – if she was born in America, or in a family with strong values she would have lived…

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  19. Why cant her mother think of options available to save a life, instead of closing on one ????

    This attitude of the society to talk ill of pre-marital relationships or that of the affected person to end the life, if nothing works out – all these need tremendous change.

    So sad to hear her story.

    Me – Bollywood movies are so full scenes of a girl running to jump off a cliff because she is no longer ‘pure’ – as if that is all there is to this person 😐

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  20. Bush called war against terror as “Task that never ends” biblically.

    Here in India , our “war against violence against women” is our “Task that never ends”….hopefully we are gonna end this one day.

    Great post as always.

    Thanks.

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  21. You know IHM, that is the price one pays of being a daughter to a traditional Indian family. And we have a rich legacy of tradition, conventions, customs, heritage, and what have you, but the most horrific of the same when it comes to the daughters, dont we?
    Much as we want our children, we also want them to be a certain, certain way, and will not tolerate a “blemish” upon the “family” if one of them were to be different, or go off on a tangent, and give into their own personal pleasures or ambitions.
    Sorry. Did I say “children”? I must change that. Daughters. I meant daughters. She is indeed a precious part of their selves, one that must never but never do anything, but anything that would cause “talk”, bring disrepute. The son. Oh, that is a different matter altogether. I mean, he’s going to be a Man, right? And he will dictate, soon. Decide. And do whatever, and be bailed out each time he commits any kind of whatever. Period.

    But, all the same, it is indeed such a tragedy, when one realizes that the world, here, may never be safe for a daughter;

    I mean, if her parents who should be concerned for her safety are the ones who ensure that she is “safe” from harming them, what have we come to?

    Have been reading the comments, and had to nod my head in agreement with most of them. Have we not heard of Nala and Damayanti, of Shakuntala? We revel in those classics but cannot even think of a repeat, with our daughters!

    Very very pertinent questions asked here, IHM. Bravo for that! As always.

    Me – Usha I think Indians are the most selfish parents in the world. We want children for what they can do for us.
    Many of us think we are doing our daughters a favour by letting them live, so they better repay by never really living 😐

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  22. **sigh** I don’t know what more to say IHM..And well maybe thatz why we need better sex education programs. Anyway,they are going to try it out,so be on safer side and get killed ..

    “An unqualified doctor , part of a 3 member team, performed autopsy on Nirupama’s body . The foetus and viscera were not preserved. The foetus would have identified the father.

    Having destroyed evidence, they now lodge an FIR against Priyabhanshu Ranjan, in Delhi.”

    This is fishy..

    Me – How could they destroy the most important evidence !! We will never know the truth…

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  23. This is unbelievable…the parents were forward enough to educate their daughter, send her to another city to stay alone, but when marriage comes, they go back to the previous century.

    The girl is well educated and the boy too! They could have got married – registered marriage, if they thought that the parents won’t agree for their marriage. But as soon as the decision of the daughter was revealed, this drastic decision must have been taken by the parents.

    The girl and the boy could have taken precaution if they had thought that extra-marital affair was not wrong. We are still not that forward to have children illegally. The child has to go to school and then mingle with their relatives and friends – people might ‘talk’ in front of the child. The child didn’t ask for it, isn’t it? Here, I am not talking about son or daughter, but about the birth of an illegal child. Nirupama and her boyfriend should have aborted the child if they were not shrewd enough to be careful.

    Still, the parents should have insisted on aborting the child and not murdering her. Nirupama and Ranjan had the option to get married irrespective of their parents’ approval in due course. Can the parents or their relatives ever be happy in their lives in the future?

    Me – Sandhya I feel if they wanted they could have got married, if they haven’t, could it be because the boy backed out? Since she was pregnant one would expected them to get married immediately…

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    • If the boy had backed out after knowing that she was pregnant, the boy should not be left alone by their mutual friends. He has no right to lead a normal life after all he was also a reason for the girl’s murder.

      If the DNA test of the foetus could not be done, then the boy can say anything! Now, the foetus is not there.

      Maybe I am backward, but the girls should not get pregnant if they don’t have the guts to bring up the child alone, if they are pushed to do so. It is not easy to bring up a child which will be healthy, physically and mentally under the circumstances.

      Sorry, I am a bit upset. I am not able to believe that educated girls are so dumb.

      Like you said in so many posts of yours, the girls/children should feel free to express their problems with the parents. The parents should make them feel free to talk to them. Otherwise they should not have children. Dirty people.

      Me – I agree, the girl could have used so many options of contraception available now. Maybe contraception failed and she thought they were going to get married soon so decided against abortion? I also feel it might be easier to raise a child when both the parents are doing it Sandhya… nothing old fashioned about it, I think it is practical to take precautions and responsibility for one’s actions.
      IIMC is a prestigious institute, she must have been a smart girl to get admission there, why would someone so smart be so impractical? Maybe her parents were very different in thinking and they could not accept her way of thinking and her choice of husband 😐

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      • Sandhya,

        It is so easy to point fingures. The whole question is about a woman’s agency and agency of adult children, especuially female children. If the deceased and the guy wanted they could have got married under special marriage act TRUE. May be the girl wanted her parents to bless their union. May be she was hopeful her parents who brought up with so much love and affection will support her. May be she wanted them to be part of her life even after she married a person of her choice or even had the baby.

        “…the girls should not get pregnant if they don’t have the guts to bring up the child alone…”

        A girl can bring up the child all by herself if other people, the custodians of the so called culture and morality brigades leave her alone. Young widows with children often thrown out by in-laws bring up children all by themselves. Some people have enough time on their hands to gossip and discriminate and then say the world is cruel and doesn’t let a single woman live alone. And others have no courage to support women who make such choices so they prefer keeping quite and assisting this brutal system.

        “… birth of an illegal child…” How can a child be illegal? Just because the parents did not meet your requirements of so called marital certification the child becomes illegal or illegitimate. If people just mind their own business and keep out of other’s business I guess lot of problems in the world will be resolved.

        Indian in NZ,

        “…why can’t they go for abortion rather than taking the daughter’s life ?”

        Why are parents to decide for the adult children, especially female children. May be this young woman did not want an abortion due to her personal believes. May be she thought it was a right time in her life to have a baby or family… May be what ever she was thinking…

        I keep wondering, when we Indians are going to let adult women decide for their lives and be responsible for their lives? Some people are killing women to escape future dowries, collective shame and preserve the honor etc. and others are raping the women to dishonor the enemy communities and especially enemy men by raping women associated to them. Identity politics are being played on the women bodies and no body is talking about a woman’s right to her own body.

        It really baffles me how people are debating the parents right to kill the daughter or their options and none is talking about the agency of adult women and their right to choose what ever they want to do with their bodies and lives.

        Peace,

        Desi Girl

        Like

        • @Desi girl: I agree with you. You missed this line from my comment: “She was 23 and earning, that makes her very capable of bringing up the baby by herself if she wanted to have the baby.”

          I am all for adult women’s or men’s rights to choose what they want to do with their lives. I later involved parents in my comment because I believe that the parents are to be blamed to a certain extent even if she commited suicide. This is India we are talking about, if it was a western country, the government comes forward to help a single mother even if parents don’t. No one would have even raised an eyebrow if Nirupama lived here, you don’t even need to provide the father’s name on the birth certificate if you don’t want to. Since she lived in India, I believe that if parents would have offered a strong support to their daughter at a time when she was obviously so distressed, she would have been alive.

          Its really tragic that such deaths are happening in India when there are so many alternatives people can opt for..

          Like

        • Hats off ‘girlsguidetosurvival’!! if only every one of us is as CLEAR, as understanding, as sensible, and as empathetic as you are…..

          Thank you too, IHM.. for this post.:)

          Like

  24. You have said it allll IHM ..”theres no second chance for a woman”…that’s it, beond this theres no truth!! pain and womanhood are synonyms, no matter how much we progress…

    Me – Dew not all parents make these mistakes. I think most parents would have been horrified but then they would have taken action to support their child. She would have been called a kullachchini and kulta but she would not have been killed. And there is every chance that she would have been married at the earliest.

    Like

    • agreed. Not all parents…but majority of them IHM,

      all they care is not even their daughter’s happiness but the society’s remarks…”What would they say?” factor, shame etc etc… I think may be 1 percent of parents would understand, support and councel and be with their child against all odds.

      Rest..well..sigh!!!

      Heartbreaks for many would be just like that…only the ones who go through can understand.

      Me – Dew I feel, anybody would stand by our side when we are right and strong, true friendship, love or parenting is when we stand by a child through her difficult times. And there is no doubt that Nirupama was alone in her unhappiest moments… 😐

      Like

      • anybody would stand by our side when we are right and strong

        I doubt it.

        Here People stand by the person who is having majority with him/her.

        or is powerful by any means(majority is also a sort of power only).

        If this case get media attention then only Any one can expect a sort of activity from Police and supporting law and order.

        and/ or ELSE be prepared to write one more such post shortly.

        Me – I agree… they would support the one who has majority by her/his side… she was isolated so they must abandon her too 😦

        Like

  25. I am 22 and i know quite a lot of my friends who hide almost their entire life from their parents. Why ?

    Only because the parents are just not ready to accept that the world of their children is far different from the world that they lived in. They cannot accept the fact that these children are adults , women who are young , and hence susceptible to the mistakes and heart-aches. And when they do commit the mistakes , they know their parents simply cannot take it and will either disown them or give them so much torture on top the suffering they already have that they get driven to suicide.

    Only if the parents were around to help them , a little open hearted , a little more considerate and willing to understand , maybe a 22 year old would not try to slash her wrist , or take an over-dose of sleeping pills , or try to jump from the third floor of the hostel building.

    Its seriously time that the parents widened their horizons a bit..

    Me – I absolutely agree Gymnast. Even if the parents do not like their children’s world, they can at least value their children enough to make an effort to let them live. We live in a horribly confused, hypocritical world with terrible double standards. Nirupama was independent, she should have married the guy she loved – unless he refused to marry her- in that case she could still have had an abortion and bravely moved on. There is life after a broken relationship and a premarital pregnancy.

    Like

  26. You know what IHM, every single (female) friend of mine and I myself have gone through the trauma of being at the receiving end of parent’s emotional blackmail when we wanted to marry men of our own choice (who obviously did not belong to our own caste/community/ religion). Some of us even had our marriages without our parents. One had a death threat issued to the boy. One was forced to break up. All of us were given “duhayees” of reputation. “We let you study, go out, work. We placed so much faith on you. And this is what we get in return? How can you do this to us.” All of us heard that!

    Quite a few boys also got that, but somehow their families were more accepting than the girls.

    Like

  27. I remember an interview of actress Barbara Mori where she was asked abt having a child out of wedlock and she said in Mexico it wasnt such a big deal, and she herself was a single mom. When asked why she supported it, she was like why shud being tied down to a single man in marriage be the reason for her to have a child?

    I m not encouraging premarital pregnancy by any chance, but perhaps the lack of stigma wud have perhaps saved the lives of many young women 😐

    Like

    • Hi ….

      I’d just like to add here that being a single mom is not an issue . But , sadly, the west doesn’t judge its effect on the child. A child never having known the other parent might not care, but a child needs both its mother and father for its well being

      A person can have many partners, but a child has only one mother and only one father.

      Me – Deepa the concept of ‘normal family’ is very subjective.

      When couples started living in nuclear families it was felt that kids in nuclear families don’t grow up well, many feel children in joint families get neglected, some say single mothers’ can’t manage child rearing, some say grand parents spoil children. I have seen children who grow up in a happy environment grow up happy and well adjusted.
      A nuclear family where nobody has the time for a child, a joint family where everybody expects the child to obey, an unhappy and bitter single parent, grand parents who have not moved with times – might raise unhappy children. But I know of grandparents who have done a fab job too, including in cases of a single mother and one widowed father.

      The idea of a normal family is a very modern concept, just like women as full time ‘homemakers’.

      Traditionally children grew up with almost no involvement from fathers – sometimes even the mothers worked in fields and the children were raised by the older female siblings.

      Like

      • What good is a family where one or both parents are non stop abusing each other or children? Female children of abused mothers grow up learning to be victims and male children of violent fathers become abusers when they grow up. Thus exposure to models of aggression in intimate relationships leads to breading abusers and victims.

        So what kind of family are we talking about here 🙂 .

        Jayseelan L., Shuba Kumar, Nithya Neelkatan, Abraham Peedicayil, Rajamohanam Pillai and Nata Duvvury. “Physical Spousal violence Against Women in India: Some Risk factors.” Journal of Biosocial Sciences 39 (2007) 657-70.

        Uttekar, Bella Patel, M.E. Khan, Nayan Kumar, Sandhya Barge and Hemlata Sadhwani. “Experience of Family Violence: Reflections From Adolescents in Uttar Pradesh, India.” Bott Ed. 159-61. Bott can be refered in one of the comments in the previous post on IHM.

        …A girl who probably slept with her fiance or someone else…She stole her parents’ trust as well as her own conscience.

        “Is there a pact that Thou shall not get laid before thou are wedded…”

        I am WONDERING: Do people ever become adults and able to make their own decisions or they just remain children of their parents and targets of social censure?

        Peace,

        Desi Girl

        Like

        • Hey Desi Girl,

          Regarding “Is there a pact that Thou shall not get laid before thou are wedded…” …

          The reason why sex before marriage was banned or lectured against was because if the marriage takes place to another person, there is always a chance of comparison .. which is a perfect recipe for ruining any marriage.

          There is no pact against getting laid before getting wedded, but it is all in one’s conscience ….

          Like

  28. It is so sad the way our culture, patience , etc are being wrongly deciphered and misused these days .

    The ancient seers prohibited women from interacting from men with a view of her own safety – both for her own physical and mental well being. Women were not so free or well educated then, and they didn’t want women to get attached to someone who was not good for her, and ruin her life.

    I fully feel that parents are a very right judge when it comes to marriage especially because in most cases, they are able to judge with maturity whereas the daughter might be carried off in her own world of romantic notions. Parents look beyond just the boy … they look at his family background, his character, his parents’ character, etc .. all of which are also essential for a marriage to survive.

    The fact that Ms. Nirupama couldn’t have approached someone is really sad. In a way, abortion would have been a better choice. Better to abort than to bear a child and have the innocent child bear the brunt of elders’ malicious gossip. However, that is not the point here.

    It is sad that honour killings are still taking part. Especially the last news report from U.P.

    There is a saying in the book/movie ‘Kite Runner’ : The biggest sin is theft, all other sins are just a variation of theft.

    On that idea, I feel what happened was the collective sin from many quarters –

    1. A girl who probably slept with her fiance or someone else, got pregnant , and didnt have the courage to face it — She stole her parents’ trust as well as her own conscience

    2. The man above who probably refused to accept her — The worst sin which requires no explaining. The theft of trust and belief

    3. The parents who cared more for society than their own daughter – the theft of a parents’ duty (of course, the parents never asked her to sleep with someone in the first place)

    4. And above all, the girl herself –The stealing of a life, the stealinf of the peace of mind of people around her.

    If her conscience hadn’t bothered her, there was nothing wrong in having sex before marriage. And once she did, she should have faced the consequence. Easy for me to say .. but that is how life is .. you always pay for what you do, no matter whether good or bad … Actions have repurcussions.

    Like

    • Women are adults – not children, innocent and naive, who must be protected from all the evils of the world.
      Most women and men today work on the presumption that all ‘adults’ must be treated like ‘adults’.

      Come on! I’d HATE to have my parents running around after me, making sure not a single bit of my precious skin shows. And the poor guys! They’re being treated like animals! How would you feel if everyone around you behaved like they thought you were going to pounce on the nearest guy/ girl any minute!!

      Everyone learns from mistakes, or guidance to prevent these mistakes from being made.
      NOT force.
      “they didn’t want women to get attached to someone who was not good for her, and ruin her life” I’m sure everyone’s capable of getting over ‘attachments’. and what irritates me is the presumption that her life will be ‘ruined’ by such an attachment. Too strong a word?

      These ‘romantic notions’ that all girls are said to hold dear to their hearts are something that can be dispelled (if they MUST be) by a decent dose of ‘life’ which most parents are bent on making sure their daughters DON’T get (her modesty, chastity, collective-property-virginity, family honour.)
      AND.
      If the girl is not mature enough to choose a LIFE PARTNER (for gods sake, it’s not a dance partner that parents can just choose, and then if the dance goes bad, or the choreography is wrong, just say “oops sorry! we’ll put up a better show next time!!”) then WHY is she even being made to get married!?!?

      Of course, but why not just let the GIRL choose? I’m sure, with proper ‘guidance’ she would be fully capable of choosing a right new ‘family’ for herself. After all, in this day and age, who marries the boy????? It’s the MIL and the rest of the family a girl gets married to after all!!! It’s the in-laws whose children she has to bear, and it’s the in-laws she has to share her ‘new-life’ with. NOT the boy, oh no!
      And oh the horror if the marriage doesn’t survive!!! :O

      On that idea, I feel what happened was the collective sin from many quarters –

      1. A girl who probably slept with her fiance or someone else, got pregnant , and didnt have the courage to face it — She stole her parents’ trust as well as her own conscience.

      How did she “STEAL her parents trust”????? It’s her body, it’s her mind, it’s her choice, and it’s HER virginity. Not the collective property of her family (near and distant) and society. And i’m sure, with a ‘proper upbringing’ and ‘good conscience’ she would be fully capable of making a decision to sleep with someone.

      2. The man above who probably refused to accept her — The worst sin which requires no explaining. The theft of trust and belief

      Agreed.

      3. The parents who cared more for society than their own daughter – the theft of a parents’ duty (of course, the parents never asked her to sleep with someone in the first place)

      Why do the parents have to ‘ask’ or ‘not ask’??? It’s a very personal decision, a 23 year old ADULT is fully capable of making.

      4. And above all, the girl herself –The stealing of a life, the stealing of the peace of mind of people around her.

      Heh. Exactly my point! It would save a lot of people a headache if they just minded their own business!! God!

      Actions have repercussions. She couldn’t take them (allegedly).
      No need for the parents and/ or society to ensure that every girl who commits ‘sin’ to make sure she feels the repercussions.
      Makes me sick.

      Like

  29. I know it is tough for parents to blindly support what is against their way of life. But once that has happened, either they shut their children out completely or stick by their children …. killing is not justified anywhere

    Me – I agree Deepa. She was 23 they could have cut all ties with her… though even that would have amounted to pushing her to kill herself…
    And what if it was a son?

    Like

  30. Very sad indeed, a young life crushed, found no solace when she was alive, and now that she has gone…their is no dignity being given to her either……The parents feel she did not live by the values they gave her…but did they by smothering her {?}…..

    Giving her the education they wanted her to have, they forgot education is not all from books…it is also from life

    …Valuing everything else, but not the child they got into this world….
    Complex attitudes, complex life and no wonder a complex ending……

    I truly wonder why do parents like these give wings to their children to broaden their horizon, when they themselves are stuck in the thought process of the dark ages……..one does not have a family to be alone in time of need, every problem[?]has a solution, if one is truly keen on finding one. How can the world be safe place, when one is not safe within ones own family ?

    Will we ever know the truth..

    Me – Touched by your comment Poonam – that is how I felt. This really made me feel so sad…

    Like

  31. I find it very very tragic that a family which was “modern” enough to allow the girl to be so well-educated thought it necessary to kill her. If ‘honour’ is more important than the wel-being of your child…then what kind of parental/ family unit is this?

    Like

  32. I really dont understand how some parents can kill their own children! I mean, do they really love their children or it just about loving themselves. Crazy world we live in !

    Like

  33. One of the very interesting things I have seen in the comments section here is that some people think it is acceptable for parents to control their adult children’s sexuality. Is it one of our much touted “Indian values” or is it a form of infantalizing that is just very creepy with a lot of strange undertones. Somehow the idea that it is in the parent’s rights to control whom their daughter is romantically involved with( and indeed son too, we are rather non-discriminatory in this regard) seems acceptable. She is old enough to work, to vote, to travel by herself, live in Delhi, and in a year can buy alcohol on herself- but not old enough to have a say in who is in her life. Why is it ok for her parents to interfere in that? And certainly if they found someone for her, she would be old enough to produce kids with that person- the only thing they need to protect her from is making decisions regarding that person. Isn’t that interesting?

    Like

  34. We are still living in a Medieval milieu. We have been educated only to the extent of having a Degree. We do not know the meaning of what we read in the study books. We are religious only to the extent of chanting mantras and singing artis. We do not know the meaning of what we chant. We love our children only to the extent they are an extension of our ego. The moment they cease to be such we react.
    India is a country with great traditions and culture. Are you listening Nirupama?

    Me – In India of today some of us are trying to get away with murder in the name of honor and tradition… Khap Panchyats are the same. But Vivek, I do wonder if this is a murder… it could be suicide because the fiance said he was not aware that she was pregnant and it seems his parents were against the marriage too.

    Like

  35. It is so sad, IHM. The saddest thing is that the parents seem to prefer her dead to supporting her. The society seems to be far more important that one’s own child’s happiness..

    The most scary part is that women seem to be killed in so many ways – she is never safe – right from the time she is a fetus.

    Like

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  37. Remember that making love or having sex is something to be thought of with careful consideration. It is an emotional decision too.

    Sweetheart there is something called the morning after pill. Also a regular pill that you can be on throughout the year. Also a pill that you can take to terminate the pregnancy if it happens, in consultation with a doctor. It is all your choice. Absolutely upto you.

    You can choose to have the baby too if that is what you want.

    Oh wait IHM!
    This conversation is imaginary!

    We, in our pavitra land do not have pre marital sex AT ALL! (or indeed any other kind the elders would have us believe)

    SEX???? 😯

    What IS that?

    No really! WHAT IS IT?
    Our population just continues to grow mysteriously .
    Sex?
    No Sir! Nothing doing! We dont know what you are talking about.

    And if that which -does- not -exist results in that which -must not-be-talked-about…well then we have an easy solution.

    Snuff out a life! Two lives actually.

    There you have it.

    The secret stays safe.

    Like

    • Well written Indyeah. Hard hitting and absolutely true.

      ‘The secret stays safe’ gave me goose bumps… and we hear of young women taking their own lives much more than we should have to… 😐

      Like

  38. Reminds me of a girl in our neighborhood(when I was growing up) who was found dead one morning, nobody knew how she died, some said she hung herself, some said her dad killed her in anger over an argument about love affair. The family was rich and hushed up the case, but never saw the parents and the brother with happiness again. A life lost due to societal pressures. It is high time we understood what exactly is happiness, whether it is from seeing your dear ones happy or the neighbor or the society happy. I wish we in India became a little bit more selfish in that regard to put our children’s happiness first as opposed to societal conformance.

    Like

    • Lakshmi we have all heard of such deaths while growing up because they are very common. There was a young girl in my painting class – who was going to get married soon – she was learning oil painting to take some paintings to her in laws place, one day she attended the class as usual, next day she didn’t come – she had hanged herself.

      The most horrible ever was when three sisters hanged themselves and died together. And soon after wards three more sisters hanged themselves the same way – (this was in early 1980s in UP). I don’t think anybody was arrested – and can’t imagine if their families lived a normal life afterwards…

      Like

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