An email: “indian daughter in-law is servant?”

Sharing an email from an Indian daughter in law’s young sister, who is worried that this is the future that awaits her too.

indian daughter in-law is servant?

My elder sister done love marriage. Both family are not very happy, but my parents support my didi because they believe in freedom. My parents are not happy because they  know groom’s family, his mother is so orthodox and my parents  know she never understand didi.
She is doctor and open minded girl, we both are grow-up like boy our parents never treat us as we are girls so no ‘don’t do that and don’t do this‘. I don’t have any brother.
Starting from their engagement her in-law have created problem. After marriage it is very difficult to handle her mother-in-law. We think that this marriage will not work and at that time her in-law want baby, we are not ready because still didi can’t adjust with her in-law. (didi – older sister)
In this year I think I have to face all this in my future. If you are well educated, equally like  the groom, then why after marriage you have to follow your in-law you have to give first priority to groom’s mother, relatives, and then your parents?
Why the life is so difficult for a girl?
In first year of her marriage her mother-in-law told she will do didi’s delivery at her home but now she told we do nothing you have to arrange all. She always wants to be grandmother but don’t want to take any responsibility. (IHM: I think this means bearing the cost of the medical expenses and functions and gifts after the grand child’s birth)
I don’t understand in india after marriage girl is servant who do job, has to handle home, to be mother, take responsibility. But being father a boy just do earning nothing else.
Her mother-in-law can invite her family members many time but not think for daughter-in-law. Just being DIL you have to take care of every people but not for you and your parents.
I always hear “a boy’s parents take care of boy that way you get groom so DIL have to take care for them”. So girl’s parents do  nothing for their daughter? They don’t take care to make her daughter doctor? (girl is not doctor from her birth) and a girl leave her parents her family it is nothing like new. It is rivaz (custom).
And after marriage a boy leave family then DIL responsible for it.  She is consider to be a bad DIL and so on. I can’t understand this difference same girl has to leave her family then she is good but if his husband leave his family then girl is not good?

96 thoughts on “An email: “indian daughter in-law is servant?”

  1. Don’t do anything you don’t want. Be yourself. Why worry yourself to death over something you are so opposed to? And by the way, if you are so worried, find a man you love and respect and ensure you live with him before you get married. And a big no-no for a third, fourth or fifth person in the relationship, meaning live in your own home, not in your husband’s parents’ home.

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    • // find a man you love and respect and ensure you live with him before you get married. //

      And if the man decides not to marry you after the live-in relationship of few months then you can always file a case/ FIR against the man for raping you. This is the norm nowadays.. even in today’s newspaper there is such a news item.

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      • Why should she file a case? She seems to want equal rights. I would recommend that if the man does not marry her, she should just move on with her life. Love will happen again in due course.

        And it is not a ‘norm’. There have been cases, but first, the number of live-in couples in this country is very few to constitute anything close to ‘norm’. And second, not all breakups make a police case. The law, of course, needs to be changed, but there is nothing of the norm about this.

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      • Fem, Good advice!

        Prabhat,
        Women who feel deceived have recourse to the law, and if they want to file cases then that is their prerogative. I’m offended by your sanctimonious judgement on women – like women have it easy, they can always file a case! Do you know the woman in the newspaper or are you just generalizing? If you are just generalizing, then I have a long “general” list of the norm on “what men do”. If you think that women “forcing” men into marriage or filing cases to do so is the norm, I’m not sure if we live in the same world. The norm is closer to what LW describes, women have to raise their voices and disagree just to be treated equally.

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        • @Amodini
          Does the law has similar safeguards for men in similar situation where he may feel deceived? Can a man say that he was seduced by his live-in partner?.. NO WAY. And don’t you think that consensual sex is being termed as rape charge in a failed live-in relationship by the girl and/or her parents?
          And let me tell you that this is what men are being cautioned against. It is a sick idea to try out live-in relationship keeping matrimony in mind. NO, live-in relationship is not bad in itself if it is not linked to marriage.
          Most of the failed live-in relationships are turning into a rape case. The live-in relationship is not an equal-partnership relation – by any angle be it legal or social or biological.
          I am wondering that Fem is so quick in advising to the girl for live-in relationship. It sounds that the live-in realtionship is walk-in and walk-out solution for a girl but this is certainly not so easy for boy – he may walk-in but obviously walk-out may lead to jail. Should not we make it walk-in and walk-out for both boys and girls?

          My comment is for those who think that live-in reationship is easy solution of many social ills, I am pointing that it is not.
          The girl has seen two marriages / married couples from very close quarter- one is her parents’ and the other is her sister’s..and she can at least feel that every case/ situation is unique and no need to generalize it.

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        • Prabhat Sinha –

          Live in Relationships: The man gets a temporary disposable wife?
          https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/live-in-relationships-the-man-gets-a-temporary-disposable-wife/

          Live-in relationships in general are inherently advantageous to men and disadvantageous to women?
          https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/live-in-relationships-in-general-are-inherently-advantageous-to-men-and-disadvantageous-to-women/

          Why exactly do we disapprove of Live-in relationships and Premarital sex?
          https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/why-exactly-do-we-disapprove-of-live-in-relationships-and-premarital-sex/

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        • @Prabhat Sinha,

          Live in relationships are by no means walk in, walk out relationships. Couples who live together are usually deeply committed. While it is undeniable that men face problems, the point at issue here is discrimination against women. If you think I am going to advise this poor woman to have an arranged marriage and put up with everyone’s restrictions, you can’t be wronger. If you feel men are disadvantaged in a live-in relationship, you can discourage them from entering one. In this person’s case, it is the right advise to give, and I am giving it. And anyway, I would be interested to hear how you would address her concerns?

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      • Unfortunately I have to (even if partially) agree with Prabhat’s point. The system of declaring breakup of long-standing live-in relationship as rape is there to protect women from cunning partners who never had any intention of eventually marrying them but were just out to have a good time.

        But some women can and do use this system to get back at their ex-live-in partners. And this is where I have to agree with Prabhat…… his way of putting forward his point was very wrong though, as if all even who get into live-in relationships are manipulative and just want to blackmail men into marrying them and that is why his comment has merited a thumbs down from me albeit it being partially correct.

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        • I don’t think women need protection from cunning partners, same as men don’t need protection from cunning partners. What about men who get married to have a good time and once married, spend all their time with friends, or even having affairs? That seems to be both socially and legally acceptable. The rape clause is childish and makes children of women and must be removed. Consensual sex between adults can never be rape, even if one partner cheated.

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        • I think women who agree to have sex only when promised marriage do have the option of suing the man for ‘cheating’ if he refuses to keep the promise – calling ‘cheating’ rape trivialises rapes.

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        • I don’t think marriage and sex should be equalised at any point. Cheating is not a crime. Men who cheat in a marriage leave the way open for a divorce, but it is not called rape or anything else. Similarly, men who cheat in a live-in relationship must not be charged with cheating just because they changed their minds. We are all humans, we fall in love, fall out of love. It is not right to say men shouldn’t have the option of falling out of love, just because they promised to marry. I don’t find it equal. What we need is for women to be able to handle the situation maturely and carry on with their lives instead of babying them with cheating and rape laws.

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        • @Swarup
          I repeat “It is a sick idea to try out live-in relationship keeping matrimony in mind.”
          The very sense of cheating (any partner can always claim this) originates from this only.

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        • A man who promises to marry a woman, has consensual sex with her and then doesn’t marry her is guilty of being a jerk. Not a criminal.

          This whole issue arises from the misconception that the woman’s “life is ruined”. Why is it ruined? She’s alive, healthy, and yes – had sex (the horror). Sure she may have been deceived, but the only harm done is emotional – a broken heart. And the government can’t protect people from that.

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        • Fem,
          Cheating , as such is a crime. But Cheating by a man in live in relationship cannot be equated to rape. If a woman cheats, the too it is still cheating and not to be justified by ‘honor murders’ which jilted men do.

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      • @Prabhat,
        I agree with you. Sleeping with a woman or having sex with her with the promise of future marriage is wrong, but not exactly criminal. I don’t see what involving a court can do. Or for that matter calling it ‘rape’.
        This law is yet another example of the institutions belief that a ‘good’ woman who has given her virginity up before marriage must have been practically tricked and goaded into it.

        Anyway to this OP I would say, take your time to find a man. Wait till you are more mature and have a good idea of what you want. In India, you have to look at the whole family, not just the guy.Find someone who will stand by your side- remember your spouse should ideally play a part in establishing your ties with the in-laws.

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        • @Indian Homemaker

          Live in Relationships: The man gets a temporary disposable wife?
          And the woman gets a temporary disposable husband.

          Live-in relationships in general are inherently advantageous to men and disadvantageous to women?
          And women still choose to enter them.
          *scratches head*

          Why exactly do we disapprove of Live-in relationships and Premarital sex?
          And why do some people decide to engage in them, anything to do with freedom of choice perhaps?

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        • i don’t understand why people are calling plain cheating not a crime. It is trickery,breaking of commitment and trust. If it was a marriage there is a legal consequence of divorce ! If a girl agrees to a live in and then sex just on the basis of love and commitment then breaking of that very trust could be liable for prosecution. If i go to buy a TV and if iam cheated by a smooth talking dealer , i want to be compensated. Its cheating. How is it different in a contract where emotions,trust and love and sometimes even money is involved ?

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        • It is completely different from buying a telly. Firstly, a romantic relationship is an understanding between two people that depends on human emotions. Emotions are transient and can change at any time, and while I may think today that I will marry someone, I may very reasonably change my mind after living with them. The only reason the TV analogy can come in is if we treat sex as a commodity that a woman gives to a man in exchange for up-keep and financial support, rather than something two people share for mutual enjoyment. That attitude is fundamentally incompatible with a gender equal marriage/relationship.

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  2. There are a lot of issues that are related here:
    1.Why should girls be raised like a boy? I have a huge issue with this notion of haari beti ko hamne bete jaise bada kiay hai or beti hamare bete jaisi hai.
    She does not need to be like someone else,she is a person in her own right and fully capable of being an individual without diluting her gender .
    it is time to bring up our sons to be more gender-sensitized so that they can easily empathize with women,consider participating in household duties and child rearing as their responsibility and remember to respect women always.
    2.We think we empower our women by education and work alone,thats not true. Their independence has to be from the mindsets that pull them back,they need to know their rights and they need to first believe that are as good as a man can be in every which way.
    3.Even when a woman is not highly educated or working outside her home she deserves all respect as a daughter-in-law /wife.
    4.A woman has every right to demand equal participation from all able family members in household duties.She is not an unpaid slave.
    5.It is a woman’s prerogative to decide when she wants to have a child and the number of children she wants and if her spouse or in-laws force her to have one when she doesn’t want one or there is pressure for gender selection and producing a son,she must protest,and all friends and family must support this protest.

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    • Completely agree. I think in the context of the OP’s social milieu, it is considered a huge compliment to say to a girl-‘we have raised you like a boy’.Of course, WE can see it as problematic, but the OP is proud of this fact- it is proof that her parents treated her right:)

      I think your second point is also worth noting. There are plenty of educated but unempowered women- the women in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia-are a prime example.
      In India, a lot of middle class women,are encouraged to pursue education like nobody’s business till they are in our early twenties. The by-products of such an education( free thinking, male friends, interaction with more liberal peers) are frowned upon!

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      • Yes I agree.We want our girls to be educated but not work if her husband or his family disapprove,we “let” our women work but they can’t claim the money as solely their own.we respect them as mothers( at least the pretense of it) but we decide when she has kids,how many and of what gender.

        As a poet/writer,single child of parents from a small town,who had a love marriage win another caste I am considered quite a rebel but only recently I realized that my retired principal mom thinks her in-laws and my father did her a favor by “allowing” to her work.

        So I guess a part of the problem is also how we women perceive ourselves,and in our pursuit to be equal at times we overlook our own prejudices about us and women around us.How many women support a woman in family/friends going through domestic violence or a bad divorce?How many of us would REALLY have the same standards for our daughters and sons? How many of us would not frown upon a sister /daughter who asks for her share in an ancestral property?How many of us would accept our children and the spouses of our children without trying to make them adjust?

        I as a parent ponder on those questions and I hope a lot of friends here like you do to.

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  3. My advice is simple. You are educated and capable of earning for yourself and standing on your own two feet. So you have two options.

    The first option is to get married whichever way it happens – arranged, you find someone yourself, you like someone and get your parents to organize things ….., whatever. But make sure that you have enough time to get to know the man and his family well before you say “yes”. Insist on this, no matter what. Take a few months. You might face opposition or people may not be willing to give you that much time. If that is the case and they are in such a rush, show them the door. Having said that, I would like to tell you one more thing. No matter how much time you spend with a person before marriage, there is no guarantee that the person will not change after marriage. He could well be putting up a facade before marriage just to hook you and once the papers are signed, then he may show his true colours. I am not saying it is always like this, but just informing you of all possibilities.

    The second option would be not to get married. I don’t know what your personality is. Some people would not like the idea of being alone. So this option may not be palatable to them. If you are a person who can consider the possibility, do so. There are many women I see these days who are working, independent, single and happy. There is no guarantee that one is not lonely in a marriage. A person can be very, very lonely even in a marriage and that would be far worse than being single and lonely. I might be wrong or there might be many who disagree with me but I always maintain that if being single has to mean being unhappy (though I firmly believe it does not have to), then it is far better to be that than married and unhappy.

    Getting married involves a whole lot of adjustments and compromises. Unfortunately till date, the majority of compromises still need to be made by the woman. Marriage as it is today is tailor made to suit the convenience of the man and his family. So if you are a thinking woman who boils at the unfairness of it all, then you need to think.

    Besides the fact that you are two daughters with no brothers will mean that some day you may need to be there for your parents. You will have to consider whether you would be able to do so without any restrictions if you are married. If you are 100% sure that your partner will not interfere with your supporting your parents or taking care of them (I wonder if anyone can be so sure), then you are on the right track.

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  4. @Prabhat Sinha, I completely agree with you on your contention that a live in relationship is supposed to be an equal one between two consenting adults and both man and woman should have an equal right to walk in or walk out, that being the definition of a “live-in” partnership.

    However, we do not have any statistics on the number of live in couples in this country, the number of such relationships which have culminated in marriage, the number which have been terminated by either the man or the woman, the number of cases terminated by the man which have ended up as rape cases in court etc. In the absence of such information, to generalize on the basis of sporadic news items that every woman whose live in relationship has been terminated by her partner accuses him of rape is inaccurate and unfair.

    I am sure when Fem suggests the girl to give live-in relationship a try (I am neither supporting nor decrying her suggestion), she is not advocating her to go ahead and accuse any man with whom she cohabits of rape. That is just not the intention of advice.

    So while your concern about the unfair laws is very valid, it is quite irrelevant to this particular piece of advice.

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    • @swatiaiyer – Please don’t resort to lack of statistics. Do we have statistics of marital rape?
      My point is NOT limited to the unfair law.. it is pointing to the manipulative thought of treating/ declaring live-in relationship as (the only) precursor of the (most likely) HAPPY marriage as if other 2 forms of marriages (love and arranged) have surely lead to an unhappy marriage. you may note that the sister had a love marriage.
      All kind of statistics would suggest one thing for sure – Problem in any marriage is not linked to how you get married.
      Marriage and live-in relationship are 2 very different things. Don’t get married to live-in and don’t live-in for getting married.
      Get married for a “life long” companionship (to and from your partner).. yes even in the era of very high divorce rate.

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      • “Marriage and live-in relationship are 2 very different things. Don’t get married to live-in and don’t live-in for getting married.”

        Not really – Both are, or rather, should be two deeply committed people carving out a life together. I am not saying never get married, but if the OP wants to be sure she won’t be treated as a slave AFTER marriage, she can try living in with the partner first, then get married if he treats her with respect. After all, marriage is just a live-in relationship with a legal paper.

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      • @anonymous, I am totally confused by your reply. I fail now to understand what you are saying. All I said was just because a few women whose live in relationships failed cried rape, does not mean that all women in live relationships do so. So now you turn round and talk of lack of statistics of marital rape. Yes, there is a lack of statistics. There are complaints of marital rape. But do we therefore declare that all case of marital sex amount to marital rape?

        No one is saying that arranged or love marriages have to be unhappy. That would be crazy. But it is akin to gambling – simply because of the relatively short period one gets to know the other party and the limited scope of such knowledge. For example personal habits of a person can be known only when one knows a person closely for a while. Whether you get irritated with the way a person digs his nose or picks at his teeth is not something you are likely to get to know in either of these cases. That is because a person can be on his/her best behaviour for a short while.

        However in case of a live in relationship which involves living under the same roof and being exposed to the other person’s habits and idiosyncracies, the chances are that a person who can’t tolerate may choose to walk out. Having said this, I do not personally think this could be any less painful than a divorce because both are still human beings and a certain amount of emotions will necessarily be involved. Hence, except for rituals and legal formalities, I do not think there is very much basic difference between marriage and live in relationship in human terms. Whether a marriage or live in relationship succeeds really depends on the individuals concerned. Marriage is no guarantee of companionship. Living under one roof with a legally wedded husband/wife all your life with in-laws and relatives from both sides added to the melee is no indicator of the happiness or companionship quotient.

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    • Agree completely. Nowhere did Fem advice her to charge the guy with rape. That’s like saying advising someone to marry is implicitly advising them to burn the bride. Not really!

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      • @carvaka – I am appalled to see the comparison of bride burning with consented physical relationship.
        Yeah – the very idea of live-in realtionship does imply that even consensual sex can be termed as rape. It sucks.
        I disagree 100% with IHM where she says – “I think women who agree to have sex only when promised marriage do have the option of suing the man for ‘cheating’ if he refuses to keep the promise – calling ‘cheating’ rape trivialises rapes.”

        I agree with Fem 100% where she/ he says – “I don’t think marriage and sex should be equalised at any point. Cheating is not a crime. Men who cheat in a marriage leave the way open for a divorce, but it is not called rape or anything else. Similarly, men who cheat in a live-in relationship must not be charged with cheating just because they changed their minds. We are all humans, we fall in love, fall out of love. It is not right to say men shouldn’t have the option of falling out of love, just because they promised to marry. I don’t find it equal. What we need is for women to be able to handle the situation maturely and carry on with their lives instead of babying them with cheating and rape laws.”

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        • Thanks for agreeing. But ehat do you mean by “the very idea of live-in realtionship does imply that even consensual sex can be termed as rape.” It is no such thing. It’s a relationship, and cannot imply rape. Rape cases are only made out if there is a case filed, and I am not sure that a couple in love would even want to do that. But yes, the law sucks. That doesn’t mean live-ins are worse.

          And while I am at it, let me explain myself. One reason I advocate live-ins are because then the in-laws would not stick their noses in. It is nowhere near easy to walk out of a failed relationship, but fact remains that life would be easier without the so-called necessity of staying with the in-laws and putting up with their customs. And in the context of our culture, such a move will also show future in-laws that they can’t take you for a ride. Most people are nice, only customs and society makes them bad. They will accept things if it is already shown to them. A good beginning is a job half done.

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        • @ Prabhat, I agree 100% with Fem too. I don’t think a break-up is rape. I was in fact in a live in relationship for many years. A very happy one. I happened to marry the guy but if I hadn’t, I would not call it rape by any means. You said “calling ‘cheating’ rape trivialises rapes.”, I fully agree.

          I did not compare bride burning with a consented physical relationship. Rather, I was saying that you extended Fem’s advise of live-in relationships into an atypically bad outcome, i.e. the woman abusing the relationship. That was not part of her advice, so I am puzzled by your implication.

          To show why this implication is illogical, I provided the analogy of advising marriage and then someone extended it to an atypically bad outcome, like bride burning. Advising marriage does not automatically mean condoning bride burning and advising a live-in does not automatically mean condoning false/ statutory rape charges. I don’t agree that this was implied by Fem.

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  5. The great Indian ‘family system’ is being ruthlessly exploited by self-serving men and their families. Only when people value daughters as much as sons, and stop tolerating injustice against daughters, will things have any hope of looking up.

    Before anything else, I would like to ask why your sister is tolerating such shoddy behavior from her in laws? If she is educated and capable of supporting herself, and your parents have brought you up without discrimination, why can she not assert herself or (if that doesn’t work) leave this unfortunate situation? What is holding her back? Isn’t it better to be happily single than miserably married?

    As far as wives having to live with the husband’s parents is concerned, here are my views on this matter … http://e-pinion.blogspot.in/2012/06/in-law-dilemma.html .. do read.

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    • I think part of the problem could be the fact that it was a ‘love’ marriage.
      Her own parents disapprove of the marriage.
      She might feel that cannot turn back now, when she has fought to be married to this man.She made a decision (and in her mind) she thinks she has no choice but to stick it out.
      I had a friend who was engaged to a man she had dated. Her parents were initially taken aback that she wanted a ‘love marriage’, but came around after a lot of convincing.Even before the wedding, her future MIL began to verbally abuse and belittle her. She now had a tough time convincing her parents that she wanted to break it off.
      Again, reluctant parents-they ‘log kya kahenge’ syndrome- but they had to support her -they knew this guy would never stand up and stop his mother-and they did.
      Sometimes, it’s harder to break it off when you’ve fought so hard for it, that’s all.
      I hope the older sister finds a way to be happy too.

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      • Love marriages are so difficult to achieve that once in love, the entire focus is on how to marry rather than assessing compatibility, living situations or other, more important, considerations.

        I have seen cases where the girl’s family is happy to ‘take her back’ (although a doctor, in this case, can very well support herself), but the girl is stuck in some romantic notion of duty. Also many girls feel all marriages are like this and they can’t have better. Both restrictions are just in our minds and prove false in real life.

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        • Please replace ‘girls’ with ‘women’.. ugh.. just creeps in. Annoying, but not surprising with so many girls treated like women and women like girls.

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        • Yes, I tend to have to remind myself to use the words ‘man’ and ‘woman’- girls and boys comes so much more naturally to me while talking about young Indian people.🙂

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        • I think the problem is also that love and romantic relationships are too idealized in India (I blame bollywood). People in India confuse infactuation with love. My ex-boyfriend (he was from India) told me he loved me after knowing me for a week and my reply was you “how, you dont even really know me yet”?

          They think love can overcome everything-difference in beliefs, values, opinions, dreams, lifestyle etc….

          They get so consumed with the idea of love and marriage that they dont think about anything else.

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    • Ash, unfortunately, middle-class women are stuck between a rock and a very hard place.

      This past year, I’ve witnessed the the slow implosion of two of my friends’ marriages.

      Both couples are still “together” but both my friends are only in the marriage because they cannot live with the stigma of divorce.

      I have watched their love for their husbands being replaced with the grim acknowledgement that these men will never reciprocate in equal measure, because “they’re men” and can get away with unfair behavior.

      Both my friends have chosen to emigrate in the desperate hope that two continents and two oceans will weaken the stranglehold that their in-laws have over their husbands.

      Its heartbreaking to watch both of them valiantly struggle with their in-laws; so they’re treated with something approaching human decency.

      Our family system is not structured to provide for the woman’s happiness and well-being. It’s designed to ensure that the man’s family receives a lifelong punching bag and all-purpose dogsbody, because
      they are “ladkewale” and are entitled to the free labour, money and services a DIL provides.

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      • But Biwo, with all respect, why should educated independent women satisfy this sense of entitlement? If they knew of the in-laws’ intentions before marriage and these were deal breakers, they could choose not to marry unless the men make changes, no? Or if they didn’t know and found out post-marriage, they can still choose to leave the marriage now and set up on their own, no?

        You did say they don’t want the stigma, but the stigma comes from the same society that makes the system of proving ladkewalas with a punching bag. If they don’t like the system, then why must they care about society’s approval? They’re not happy now but they may end up being happier with the stigma. Or perhaps one of the guys or their family might get that they can’t keep pushing her and back off. If you keep giving, people will take.

        If we’re not financially dependant on the guy, don’t we hold some responsibility of ensuring we don’t take shit from anyone, rather than only expecting others not give us shit?

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        • Carvaka, I agree. I left a bad arranged marriage that I was stupid enough to enter into. My friends also married men who made all the right noises about equality and freedom, and later threw their up hands when the ILs invaded the marriage.

          Its very difficult for any woman to exactly predict how her in-laws will behave after the marriage has been solemnised (unless she was in a live-in and closely acquainted with future ILs). The man HAS to step up and show up for the ILs to back off. I know first-hand how difficult it is to demand respect from hostile ILs when the husband is firmly ensconced in the parental bosom.

          Its difficult for most Indian men to walk the talk. When confronted with a tearful mother who says “Beta kuch nahin, bas aise hi”, the avarage Indian man forgets all the gender equality he thinks he wants and turns on his wife, the cause of those precious maternal tears.

          Also, life as a divorced woman is not easy in India. There is subtle stigmatisation and shunning in the most educated and liberal of families.

          Most women in troubled marriages that I’ve personally encountered aren’t willing to live as a social pariah and so choose a bad marriage over life as a divorcee. Unless you’ve experienced shunning and ostracisation, its difficult to understand how pernicious an emotion social shame is.

          It takes me days of mental steeling to attend a family wedding. The looks, the whispers and the pitying smiles are more potent than an unkind word uttered to your face.

          So its not my place to judge these women. Many women want an equal marriage but find that they cannot change the thinking and attitudes of an entire family. So they make their peace, move away and retreat to fight another day.🙂

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        • @ biwo

          Just the way it is impossible for a guy or his family to predict the true nature and intentions of a woman (& her family) he is going to get married to.

          She may pretend to be all sweet and nice just the way he is before marriage but bare her true face which lies behind her seemingly pretentious facade. (and before anyone deliberately intends to misinterpret my statements, I am in no way referring to a shy, demure, submissive, eager-to-please woman who is supposed to give in to the ‘expectations’ of her husband/his family, if at all there exist any and even if they exist, they are as reasonable as the ones the wife has from her husband/his family)

          A wife who keeps a tab on the number of times the guy (the husband) hugs his brother because she feels that it only her right to be embraced by the guy now that he is married to her or the sweet words that he shares with his darling sister and thus picks up fights with her husband or his family everytime she sees this ‘unexpected’ happening, is right in doing so.

          No, It’s not an assumption that I make and there are many wives who do that. (display the behaviour as stated above)

          Gender equality doesn’t mean that the guy has to put up with such behaviour of his wife, no matter how evil her intentions are & shouldn’t walk out on her but the wife has all the right to walk out on him (& abuse his family too) under similar circumstances.

          And, yes, women who feel its their birthright to be waited on by their boyfriends/husbands – asking/expecting them to open car doors for them and carry their load of shopping bags in a mall for them (because they simply love a man in a shining armour who displays quixotic chivalry; gender equality anyone?) but as soon as those ‘guys’ extend the same affection to their mothers/sisters (& they have a right to do so; I think it would be foolish to even debate that here), they (the women in question here) seem to be stung by the green-eyed bug.
          But, that’s acceptable, because all the guys are bound to put up with their wives/gfs no matter what; but women aren’t.

          Moreover, we are being expected to sympathasize with such wives/women here – case of a culprit playing the victim.

          Please give us a break.

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        • Married men and women have a right to spend reasonable time away from their spouse… Raghav, may I request you to take a look at this post,

          A woman is not a woman’s worst enemy. Patriarchy is.

          “The men expect to be the top priority in their spouse’s life but they are told she should not be their top priority or she might take them away from their parents. (But they are also told she must leave her parents, friends and family for them.) This naturally makes them take the women a little for granted. This makes the women insecure again.”

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        • @ biwo, I agree it’s not our place to judge people going through such difficult choices. I also fully imagine that spineless partners would make the whole situation much worse. I just wonder if there really is any way out of such situations without accepting that the society won’t approve and moving past it.

          @ Raghav, so is your point is that just as men can turn out to be bad partners, women can turn out to be bad partners too? If so, that’s fair enough. But why did you feel the need to say “Moreover, we are being expected to sympathasize with such wives/women here”?? Where exactly does it say in the post that the wife in this case counts the number of times her husband hugs his brother or objects the man carrying shopping bags for his mother/ sister? How exactly did you come to the conclusion that here, she is the culprit?? Your prejudices are baffling.

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        • @ carvaka

          Oh my my! What was in it that baffled you. My reply was in response to biwo’s comment and not to this particular post (this particular DIL) here.

          I stated it is impossible for husbands too (just like the wives) to the predict the true nature of their would-be wives’ (& their wives’ families).
          I gave a few examples of real life situations so that I could get the reader’s opinions.

          Now, how are those prejudices?

          Aren’t comments like ‘in-laws look out for DILs as free maids’ as one person here commented much to the liking of many other people, a prejudice?

          Moreover, I was questioning the principle of ‘gender equality’ in marriage put forth here and how far can it be stretched?

          Women have a right to walk out and deny the curtailment of their freedom and abuse of their rights. Fair and good.

          Then, do men also have the same right to do so – if for instance – his family members are abused by his wife or
          does ‘gender equality in marriage’ mean that he has to keep up with his wife’s abusive behavior (at any cost) towards his own family just because post-marriage, they are to be considered a unit and the parents/sibling are outsiders?

          Does this definition allow the wife and give her the complete right to abuse the man’s family?
          (we have time and again discussed that unfair treatment of the wife/her family at the hands of the husband/his family is wrong and who wouldn’t agree to it)

          And, talking about the DILs being free maids’ theory being forwarded here, the real-life examples of several wealthy families comes to my mind wherein the wives/DILs daily routine include all-expenses paid trips (by the in-laws) to spas & salons for luxurious and over-the-top expensive treatments & massages, luncheons at glitzy hotels, shopping at luxury boutiques thereafter, being driven around chauffeur-driven sedans and the ‘hectic’ day ends at one of the several happening parties in the town.

          If you think I drew a leaf out of some high flying celeb’s calendar, think again and take a look around.

          To top it all, all the expenses are paid by the in-laws. They (those DILs/wives) don’t have to work outside nor inside and they are more than pleased with their lives.

          So, there’s more to this world than you know.🙂

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        • While I completely agree with you Carvaka on all of the above, I can understand the struggle that Biwo describes. You said, “Be good for yourself, rather than the society.” This is very good advice, especially if the society is out to get women. However, it is human nature to crave a sense of belonging and acceptance. It’s part of our brain chemistry, a result of our evolution. We are often caught between trying to do what makes us happy and not wanting to be alone. Therefore the solution I think is to actively seek and find people who are like minded, supportive, and will reinforce your decision to do whatever it is that makes you happy (getting a divorce out of an unhappy marriage, etc.) . Even if there is one person in this world who will stand by you, the path to personal freedom becomes easier. Maybe some people can do this alone. Not everyone can. And it’s okay to need support – it doesn’t make us weak, it just makes us human.

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      • Both couples are still “together” but both my friends are only in the marriage because they cannot live with the stigma of divorce.

        I have watched their love for their husbands being replaced with the grim acknowledgement that these men will never reciprocate in equal measure, because “they’re men” and can get away with unfair behavior.

        Your first sentence gives answer to the puzzling second sentence. Those men can get away because these women can’t live as divorcees. The “ladkewale” don’t get the punching bag for life it’s the girl who turns into a willing punching bag, now whose fault is this? I could understand if these were some uneducated poor women who depend on their husband providing food and shelter for survival but an educated woman, who can feed herself, can earn for herself, who has the resources of traveling to and settling in a different continent complains about men getting away with unfair behavior then she should look in the weakness of her mind for the answers.

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        • Umm Anonymous Coward, its usually not a good idea to judge the actions of strangers.🙂

          On a more serious note, yes, most women want equality but aren’t prepared to stick their necks out for it. That has been my experience but I still refuse to judge such women.

          Not all of us want to lead revolutionary lives and tread a lone, solitary path. Such people also deserve to have their choices respected. That’s how gender oppression works — each woman “chooses” to make “tiny” compromises in her personal life. Taken as a whole, these “individual compromises” become the warp and weft that create biased cultural practises and attitudes

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        • @biwo
          Your reply reminded me of a Chinese proverb
          Strong souls have willpower, weak ones only desires.

          If you think women are kept behind men, then some women will have to take lead and show the path to other women, they will have to tread alone as a leader, until that happens, enjoy the current situation.😛

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  6. I think it’s amazing and promises an enormous amount of hope for the future that girls like the OP are thinking about these things deeply and at least questioning if not outright rejecting the status quo. Educated girls like the OPs sister should at the very outset discuss and make it clear to their prospective life partner, irrespective of whether the marriage is arranged or choice, that after marriage they will live separately. When either parents or in laws need help, whether monetary or otherwise they will of course provide it. And if a situation came when due to old age or otherwise parents/in laws cannot manage by themselves maybe then living together would be an option.

    This is what I did. And inspite of that faces issues especially the financial kind. But you have to be brave OP to go against the flow. Stand up for what you think is right. That takes courage.

    But a live in relationship is neither necessary nor advisable as it can’t anyway provide you a foolproof method of guaranteeing a successful marriage. This is my opinion of course. Just that I feel it’s an impractical way of trying to weigh the potential of a relationship. And a woman has a lot to lose if it fails, even just in terms if peace of mind

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  7. Parents providing education, opportunities and support to their daughters is the first step to empowerment. The second (and crucial) step is the woman herself realising that she has the power to reject social expectations and control her own life.

    ‘Love marriages’ are such a big deal in India, that couples spend all their energy on getting permissions and none on discussing whether they are on the same page about ‘marriage’. What his and her responsibilities will be, where they will live, etc. If you two are on the same page, the MIL’s attitude is almost irrelevant. If the MIL has so much power over you, then your primary relationship is with her, not your husband, which is a rather skewed marriage.

    She is doctor and open minded girl, we both are grow-up like boy our parents never treat us as we are girls so no ‘don’t do that and don’t do this‘.

    We must realise that with education and jobs, we also acquire the responsibility and choice of deciding how to live our lives, even within a biased society. If you don’t like the living arrangements of the family you’re going into, talk about them before you marry. If you are not happy with it, the marriage can wait. If you can support yourself/ your parents, you can ignore the ‘get married and stay married’ social requirement.

    On a tangent, there’s nothing lower about being treated like a girl if one is not a sexist environment, the problem is with the attitude of other people, not with being a girl. Taking pride in saying ‘tu meri beti nahi, beta hai’ implied the deficiency wrongly on being a girl itself.

    I don’t have any brother.

    Me neither and it makes no difference at all because I actively refuse to accept differential treatment. You have this choice too. If you don’t demand equal treatment, you won’t get it.

    If you are well educated.. then why after marriage you have to follow your in-law you have to give first priority to groom’s mother, relatives, and then your parents?.. I don’t understand in india after marriage girl is servant..

    You don’t have to be or do any of those things. Some people would like you to believe that you do, because it serves them well. You can decide that you want an equal marriage where if you both work, you will also split the household duties in half. This is entirely possible, such marriages exist and work perfectly well. You can choose to marry a man who already lives independently and has similar views to you, even if it takes longer. You have a choice.

    I can’t understand this difference same girl has to leave her family then she is good but if his husband leave his family then girl is not good?

    If you (rightly) question the wisdom of the system, there is no point in trying to be good by it’s standards. It doesn’t matter what anyone things is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as long as you find a partner with compatible views. Be good for yourself, rather than the society.

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    • While I completely agree with you Carvaka on all of the above, I can understand the struggle that Biwo describes. You said, “Be good for yourself, rather than the society.” This is very good advice, especially if the society is out to get women. However, it is human nature to crave a sense of belonging and acceptance. It’s part of our brain chemistry, a result of our evolution. We are often caught between trying to do what makes us happy and not wanting to be alone. Therefore the solution I think is to actively seek and find people who are like minded, supportive, and will reinforce your decision to do whatever it is that makes you happy (getting a divorce out of an unhappy marriage, etc.) . Even if there is one person in this world who will stand by you, the path to personal freedom becomes easier. Maybe some people can do this alone. Not everyone can. And it’s okay to need support – it doesn’t make us weak, it just makes us human.

      Like

      • Priya, I understand the struggle biwo describes too. I also love your advice of finding like minded people to seek support with and agree with you entirely.

        By saying that they do not have to conform to soceity, that I don’t myself either, I’m hoping that they see there are like minded people out there. That there is another way of doing things. I don’t mean to came across as judgemental, not my intention at all. Rather, I want to give courage and boldness to women who can actually help themselves, if they resolve to.

        I feel like sometimes people need to hear that they are in fact in control of their lives. Otherwise it’s too easy to slip from ‘why do women’s lives have to be like this?’ to ‘women’s lives have to be like this’. I think a lot of what holds us back is in our minds. Fear is powerful. The letter writer’s family, for example, sounds like they would support the women’s choices. Needing support does not make us weak. We must take initiative to change our own lives and find the support we need.

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        • There’s a lot of like minded people like us here on this blog. I wish they were in my neighborhood🙂 The former is nice but the latter would’ve been wonderful!

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  8. A live-in relationship is as little a guarantee for happiness as a marriage. However, it always – ALWAYS – depends on the two people participating in it. You can have a live-in relationship where both partners are equal – as it was in mine – and you can have a marriage where one partner is dominant and the other submissive. It’s all about the two people, not about a signed paper stating you are married. In Europe we call a live-in relationship “marriage on probation” since the couple has to face everyday life with each other and I think everyone here agrees that this is a very different situation from mere dating. You get to see the edges in your partner’s character much more closely and can make an informed choice whether he or she is the right person to spend your life with. (Also, but in this case we are luckier than other countries, live-in relationships and marriages are treated equally when it comes to taxes and children.)

    I personally had a very successful live-in relationship and married my boyfriend eventually. I feel my live-in relationship prepared me very well for married life since we had to find compromises when we disagreed, find solutions when bills had to be paid and work out who does what in the household. Once that all was settled and had proved to work out, I felt perfectly comfortable in marrying my boyfriend. So far I have not had any bad surprises with him. Instead we have learned to be a great team and to solve problems together. Including teaming up against the extended family when they try to push us in a certain direction.

    However, I am well aware that in many places in India live-in relationships are frowned upon and so I understand why some people think the woman has much to lose when it fails. Here it isn’t a problem. If it fails, alright, then it wasn’t meant to be. Society would never interfere and claim the woman is really bad off now – that sounds like “spoiled goods” to me and therefore rather offensive – or that the man raped her merely because he didn’t marry her – that sounds like the middle ages to me and even more offensive. It’s about the choice of two grown-up people. It can fail but it does not necessarily have to. Just like marriage.

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  9. Not only is DIL treated as a servant in the Indian family, she’s supposed to consider herself lucky she isn’t treated worse.
    I’m an American physician married to an Indian & my husband’s family did this to me.
    My MIL wasn’t the problem- my SIL’s ( in their 40’s & 50’s) & nieces & nephews (in their teens & 20’s) tried pulling the ‘choti bahu’ crap on me.
    First I thought they just hated ME then I figured out that DIL’s status was ‘house slave’ & ATM- nothing personal, that’s just the way it is.
    (I thought this only still happened in poor families in India, NOT.)
    Didn’t work out too well for the SIL’s, nieces & nephews involved- my FIL told them all to apologize & cut it out or leave the family compound.
    Those that didn’t apologize & cut out the behavior aren’t allowed in the family compound when I’m there nor are they allowed to speak to me.
    So there is HOPE!!!
    I have a girlfriend in Delhi though, she is Indian & a Harvard educated physician- she recently had a ‘love marriage’ & is required by her in-laws to hand over her entire paycheck to them- wonder how long that’s going to last?

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    • “I have a girlfriend in Delhi though, she is Indian & a Harvard educated physician- she recently had a ‘love marriage’ & is required by her in-laws to hand over her entire paycheck to them- wonder how long that’s going to last?”

      This is precisely the problem. Education and earning a paycheck mean squat if you cannot leverage it to live life on your own terms. To rationalise your inaction as ‘love’ or ‘duty’ is even worse- an educated woman at least has the notional choice to put an end to unfair practice , when a lot of women don’t.
      I’d like to see a day when educated Indian women pro-actively stop taking the crap dished out them, you cannot go on blaming the system when you’re already holding the get-out-of-jail-free card.

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    • I am sorry this may sound like a rude comment, but honestly if this is how your friend lives her life, I would say a Harvard degree was wasted on her. Women need to grow a spine and stand up for themselves at the very least when financially possible. Someone with a Harvard degree has zero excuse for taking any crap from in-laws. Women were never happily handed over equal rights on a silver platter, not even in the US. There were women back then who stood up, fought and did not give a damn when others told them to go home and shut up.

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      • I agree AnnonDiva. I have no sympathy for this these women. they are educated and have options. They can choose not to listen to their in laws but choose not to. I’ll save my sympathy for the young women living in poverty with no education or job who is financially dependent on her husband and doesnt have any options.

        Where I am from women fought for the rights and freedom we enjoyed today. They didnt sit around on laptops whining about their mother-in-laws, they went out and did somethig about it. This women is a doctor probably earning a huge amount of money. She is financially indpendent. She is not relying on these people to feed her or cloth her. She needs to take stand.

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  10. to the email writer –
    Your sister had the courage to find and pick her mate then she also has to accept she picked a not so fine speciman. She needs to stand up and say NO.
    Her MIL cannot decide where she should deliver etc., likewise your sister should not expect her mil to spend money and perform inordinately usless functions either.

    “Starting from their engagement her in-law have created problem.”
    — Stop the engagement adn set expectations traight with her would be-spouse …if he walks away from their relationship then so be it.

    ” After marriage it is very difficult to handle her mother-in-law. We think that this marriage will not work and at that time her in-law want baby, we are not ready because still didi can’t adjust with her in-law.””
    — her MIL is an adult doesnt need to be handled, ignored most likely.
    — why are you all involved in deciding when it is the right time for your sister to have a baby, by you all i mean her MIL, her mom et all.
    — why does adjusting with her MIL be a prequalification, or do you mean she cant adjust with her husband — that i agree would preclude one from having a baby.

    I’m sorry i find some girls today incredibly naieve. you fall in love with the first man that comes you way , the man in question falls in love with the first girl who responds and for some reason both can fall in love without parents help but then revert back to mama’s babies… immature comes to mind.

    I had a love marriage and one that happened with no parents approval or attendence. the one thing we had was trust ineach other and absolute 100% support for the well being of the other. NO ONE COMES between your marriage. NO ONE.
    In indian marriages the family is always supposed to be a cohesive unit , you marry the family but that doesnt mean you are married to each and every one in the family. prioritize ..
    both men and women need to learn this, not listen all the time to mummy adn daddy and behave like idiots.

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  11. @emailer
    Posters above me must have given you some very good suggestions, let me put my two cents in. Marriage regardless of whether arranged or love will always have a certain risk which can’t be eliminated, but you can try to minimize it. For example your sister, did she take your parents’ concern seriously? Did she double check about the groom’s family and their behavior before marrying him? It becomes ever more important if she’s going to live with her in laws. And no, no one should expect you to take care of your in laws but make sure you make it clear to groom and his family before marriage.

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  12. 1. I’m glad OP is asking these questions, and questioning the the status quo – that will (hopefully) go a long way in ensuring that she can make an informed decision in her own case.

    2. While I don’t think that live-in relationships necessarily are the best indicator of life after marriage, logic would dictate that having lived with a person for some time, you would know enough about them to make a sound decision regarding marriage, if you are so inclined. However, if a person (man or woman) can put o an act during a dating relationship, they may quite possibly continue to do so in a live-in relationship, and so this would not be a guarantee either (in terms of predicting post-marriage behaviour). As such, I guess its a gamble either way.

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  13. Nice to see that you girls are educated and successful. Yes, the Indian family system is biased against women, but since you are educated girls, you do have the capability to determine your own fate. Responding to your questions here –

    “We think that this marriage will not work and at that time her in-law want baby, we are not ready because still didi can’t adjust with her in-law. (didi – older sister)”
    – Your sister and her husband need to decide if this marriage will work or not. Everyone else needs to stay out of this.

    “If you are well educated, equally like the groom, then why after marriage you have to follow your in-law you have to give first priority to groom’s mother, relatives, and then your parents?”
    – You don’t have to. Who says you have to? Who cares what these ‘other people’ think? You do the right thing.

    “I always hear “a boy’s parents take care of boy that way you get groom so DIL have to take care for them”. So girl’s parents do nothing for their daughter? ”
    – You sound like you know this is not true, in your own case, this is not true. Don’t try to convince anyone on this. There’s no need to justify. Do what you believe in. When you get married, continue to treat your parents with equal respect. But make sure you marry a guy who gets this.

    “And after marriage a boy leave family then DIL responsible for it. She is consider to be a bad DIL and so on.”
    – If she’s considered ‘bad’ for wanting her own home, then so be it. Who cares about others’ opinions if she and her husband are happy in their own home? By the way, being in your own home is a NECESSARY condition for the marriage to have a decent foundation. It doesn’t matter how nice the in-laws are – living under the same roof will make people fight.

    “Why the life is so difficult for a girl?”
    – Life is truly difficult for an Indian girl who is not educated, who hasn’t been given the opportunity to learn any survival skills. For you and your sister, life ‘feels’ difficult – because you are surrounded by these negative people. The truth is, for those of us who are middle class/privileged/educated, fear is only in our mind. It’s not real. Danger is real but fear is not. Even though we are educated, we all raised with this ‘fear’ – fear of these elders who have nothing but their own interests at heart. You should overcome this fear and know that there are so many capable women out there making their own decisions and living complete lives and creating their own destinies.

    Find yourself a good job, surround yourself with sensible friends. All the best to you, hoping you will meet and marry someone who respects you as a person.

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  14. It’s natural to have that fear because in India there’s a terrible mindset that is completely blind to the equal rights of women. However, I would say that you shouldn’t worry about your future too much seeing how your sis has to cope. The great thing is that you know these ‘practices’ are wrong – that’s the first step. The second step is to protest against something you think is wrong. I don’t mean go out on the street and protest, but by using your life as an example, make a strong statement.
    I think as women, we always worry about what others will think if we do something. Worry about the people you care about, if you have to, but leave the rest out of your mind. Sometimes people you care about don’t know right from wrong – and if they don’t – don’t let it change who you are.
    Find a guy who understands you – this is easier said than done. But if you think you have found someone compatible, make it clear to him that you have some ideals in life – tell him about your ideas about the role of women – tell him everything that has ever crossed your mind about these things. Discussion is the first step to understanding. If you don’t discuss these things before you’re deep in a relationship, you will never know what kind of situation you can end up in post-marriage. This discussion will help you on two levels – first you can assess the kind of person he is and if he accepts and understands your desire for equality, or if he rebuffs your thoughts. It also clears air between you two so that in future if something happens, you cannot be blamed because you had already made your thoughts clear. And if he doesn’t respect your opinions, or doesn’t believe in the equality you want, then you might not have a very fulfilling relationship. In that case, don’t be afraid to walk out. It’s better to be single than to be in a relationship where respect is a one-way thing. It’s highly possible to be deeply in love with someone when you do not have the same thoughts. Sometimes it calls for understanding and compromise – but it doesn’t mean only one person should do all the compromising (like it happens in India). However, I don’t think asking for equality has any relation with compromise. We’re all supposed to be equal and it’s not like your significant other would be doing you a favour if he agreed to be equal with you. It’s something that should happen in the first place, without discussion.
    Many people have mentioned it on this thread, I’ll just add to it. If you believe strongly in something, don’t be afraid to do it. If you’re unhappy, change things around you. I say the same for your sister. I think if she is being pressurised by her in-laws, she should protest. She doesn’t have to shout out and scream and stuff but she can always approach them and tell them she feels like she isn’t treated the way she should. If she is scared to tell her in-laws this, she can tell your brother-in-law in the best way possible (without accusing anyone). If he really understands her, he will convey the right message to his parents.
    But my point is – don’t be scared of the future because of examples like this. No one can ask you to do something you don’t want to do – and know that fully well. No one can force you to respect your parents less after marriage (what the heck – don’t fall for all these ‘pati parmeshwar’ and in-laws who are now parents kind of stuff). Do what you know is right. Everything else is secondary.

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  15. @ IHM

    My comment here – in reply to Carvaka has been posted but it still hasn’t appeared.
    Kindly make sure that it makes an appearance here soon.

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  16. @ carvaka

    Oh my my! What was in it that baffled you. My reply was in response to biwo’s comment and not to this particular post (this particular DIL) here.

    I stated it is impossible for husbands too (just like the wives) to the predict the true nature of their would-be wives’ (& their wives’ families).
    I gave a few examples of real life situations so that I could get the reader’s opinions.

    Now, how are those prejudices?

    Aren’t comments like ‘in-laws look out for DILs as free maids’ as one person here commented much to the liking of many other people, a prejudice?

    Moreover, I was questioning the principle of ‘gender equality’ in marriage put forth here and how far can it be stretched?

    Women have a right to walk out and deny the curtailment of their freedom and abuse of their rights. Fair and good.

    Then, do men also have the same right to do so – if for instance – his family members are abused by his wife or
    does ‘gender equality in marriage’ mean that he has to keep up with his wife’s abusive behavior (at any cost) towards his own family just because post-marriage, they are to be considered a unit and the parents/sibling are outsiders?

    Does this definition allow the wife and give her the complete right to abuse the man’s family?
    (we have time and again discussed that unfair treatment of the wife/her family at the hands of the husband/his family is wrong and who wouldn’t agree to it)

    And, talking about the DILs being free maids’ theory being forwarded here, the real-life examples of several wealthy families comes to my mind wherein the wives/DILs daily routine include all-expenses paid trips (by the in-laws) to spas & salons for luxurious and over-the-top expensive treatments & massages, luncheons at glitzy hotels, shopping at luxury boutiques thereafter, being driven around chauffeur-driven sedans and the ‘hectic’ day ends at one of the several happening parties in the town.

    If you think I drew a leaf out of some high flying celeb’s calendar, think again and take a look around.

    To top it all, all the expenses are paid by the in-laws. They (those DILs/wives) don’t have to work outside nor inside and they are more than pleased with their lives.

    So, there’s more to this world than you know. 🙂

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    • “I stated it is impossible for husbands too (just like the wives) to the predict the true nature of their would-be wives’ (& their wives’ families).”
      I agreed with that, I believe I said that’s fair.

      “Aren’t comments like ‘in-laws look out for DILs as free maids’ as one person here commented much to the liking of many other people, a prejudice?”
      No, because those comments are speaking in context of this email, and of people in this situation. You generalised from completely different situations to this one, saying ‘we are being expected to sympathasize with such wives/women here’. What did you mean by ‘here’ when no one described women doing any of what you said -not the letter writer and not biwo? It was irrelevant to the discussion.
      When you are incapable of viewing a situation as it actually is, I can only infer it is due to your prejudices.

      “Moreover, I was questioning the principle of ‘gender equality’ in marriage put forth here and how far can it be stretched?”
      All the way, if you are actually speaking of equality.

      “Women have a right to walk out and deny the curtailment of their freedom and abuse of their rights. Then, do men also have the same right to do so”
      Of course they do. Anyone not happy in their marriage and facing abuse of any kind has the right to walk out of it.

      “does ‘gender equality in marriage’ mean that he has to keep up with his wife’s abusive behavior (at any cost) towards his own family just because post-marriage, they are to be considered a unit and the parents/sibling are outsiders?”
      Again, if either partner feels that something is unacceptable or abusive to them, they can leave. Why are you implying that someone suggested that a man does not have the right to do so?
      It is besides the point that I may not agree with your definition of abuse, maybe you think watching tv and eating a pizza is abusive and I don’t. I would still say that if something feels abusive to you, you don’t have to put up with it.

      Does this definition allow the wife and give her the complete right to abuse the man’s family?
      (we have time and again discussed that unfair treatment of the wife/her family at the hands of the husband/his family is wrong and who wouldn’t agree to it)

      Who said wives have the right to abuse? I don’t see what your point of disagreement is! Again, I am baffled.

      And, talking about the DILs being free maids’ theory being forwarded here, the real-life examples of several wealthy families comes to my mind wherein the wives/DILs daily routine include all-expenses paid trips (by the in-laws) to spas & salons
      Right, but those women did not write us a letter and we were not discussing their situation. Obviously, not all DILs are free maids. I am not. I have a good life that I can afford myself (yes, shockingly not all women are dependant) and if you read my comments, you will see that I have very egalitarian husband, in-laws and parents. That still doesn’t change the issues of the letter writer! If you think the majority of women in India face no sexism in daily life, please explain our skewed sex ratio to me.

      So, there’s more to this world than you know.
      Of course. Do you think there is nothing more to this world than what you know?

      Like

    • @ Raghav
      To your question if the man has right to walk out if his wife abuses his family members I say that it must be vry strange situation. I mean one person abusing so many in a family. Let’s us consider she is abusing the family members then why don,t the abused walk out, that is family members. Why don’t we hear of girls parents being abused by son in law? Because they are suppose to keep a distance. So why don’t all in laws keep distance to avoid so call abuse by the woman.

      Like

      • @ the purple sheep

        Well, may be because many sons-in-law know their limits of decency and not the other way around.

        Many husbands (& not just their families) also suffer abuse at the hands of their wives.

        I am surprised that how can one ever justify abuse when it meted out for the DIL/wife.

        Talking about distance, the hubby’s family knows how to keep a distance from the DIL/wife but don’t expect them to keep it from their son & brother (the hubby) especially when he himself doesn’t want that so-called distance.

        Why didn’t the woman decide that before marrying the guy – didn’t she know if it would be nuclear/joint family set-up/

        or did she enter a joint-family thinking that should would ‘play’ victim once she gets married and then put the entire blame on the family & the husband too (in case he realizes her ulterior motives)

        Like

        • It’s not because son in law knows his limit but because of limited interaction between them. Woman’s parents giving any advice to the couple is considered interference. So they generally have no say in day to day life of their daughter and son in law.

          Abuse is abuse no matter who the abuser is. You don’t have to be surprised that people justify the abuse if the abuser is wife. Regardless of the abuser the abused has a right to walk out. If the woman is abused she should walk out of the marriage, if the husband is abused he should walk out and if the in laws are abused they should walk out . No where anyone has supported abuse by the wife. Can u mention the comment?

          You are saying husband’s family knows how to keep distance from dil but not from son. Isn’t it double standards. They need to see their son and dil as a unit. And after marriage husband’s family is hs wife and their children. His and his wife’s parents/siblings are extended family. If he cannot prioritise he has no business getting married. Your saying husband’s family always knows to keep distance from dil is not the case with email writer where they are interfering even in her reproductive decisions.

          About the woman getting into joint family and expecting a nuclear set up. I don’t know where that point came from. Neither did I mention it nor the email writer. What ulterior motives are you talking about? Do you know the email writer personally to comment on her ulterior motives?

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        • I am not talking about this particular DIL’s motives but about those of many others that others harbor such motives just like generalized comments are being here drawn about the husbands’ families based on this particular mail like I POINT WAS THAT D-I-L IS ALWAYS TREATED LIKE A FREE MAID.

          Then someone said “I too have seen that’.

          Just because the husband’s stay away from the wife’s families and vice versa (only in a joint family set-up), that doesn’t mean the DIL has the right to abuse their husband’s families because husband’s families do embrace DILs but if they only want to stab the in-laws in return; then such behaviour can never be justified.

          People are generalizing here how all/most of the in-laws hate their DILs and that’s very wrong.

          I don’t understand this one unit definition of man & wife in a marriage and how others (the family) are outsiders.

          I never will accept because it consider it to be very wrong and cruel.

          Like

    • //If you think I drew a leaf out of some high flying celeb’s calendar, think again and take a look around.//

      Thought again and took a look around. Didn’t find a single match.

      Like

  17. @ Raghav

    I don’t understand why are you again why are you pointing out that abuse of in laws by women is not justified when we all agree that abuse by ANYONE is not justified.

    You cannot come to terms with husband and wife as unit and consider it cruelty? Cruelty to whom? The husband’s parents / siblings or the wife’s?

    Like

    • @ the purple sheep

      What do you mean I can’t come to terms with husband & wife as a unit (& others are outsiders) as it it is some reality that I must accept just because a few agree to it.

      It’s cruel to everyone including the wife’s parents; the only difference being that in a joint family set-up, it’s certainly a lot more cruel to the husband’s family. I don’t understand this definition of marriage which excludes them.

      Marriage is an extension of the existing family and not an end of the former relationships. This is how I see it.

      And, if the husband’s family is abused at the hands of the wife/DIL, then the husband would also walk out on her because their abuse is his abuse (& insult) too.
      Women who think that they can take the husband’s family for a ride shouldn’t expect the husband’s support either because they are his family and any self-respecting man won’t tolerate it.

      What do you mean that the in-laws can walk out on her if they have been abused by the wife?
      Why wouldn’t the husband walk out on her too? He would too; is he expected to forget his family not that he is married.

      This is one of the problems I have with this idea of the husband & wife being treated as an unit being forwarded here and no one should comes in between because we make an assumption that the hubby is expected to put up with the torture his wife inflicts on his family & do nothing about it because the sanctity of this so-called ‘unit’ should override the welfare and the concerns of others related to him. (the family)

      And, yes the wife is free by all means to move out unaccompanied by her husband (& this is when she is one who torments the family); oh she is definitely not alone while she makes her move for she would have her suitcases filled with big, fat alimony (given the biased divorce laws here).

      Like

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