In the previous posts women were being advised to claim their inheritance instead of a share from their husband’s inheritance. Why don’t women do that?
Maybe because, the way Indian sons are raised to be Shravan Kumar, Indian daughters are raised to be Paraya Dhan, the conditioning is too deeply ingrained.
Unlike Indian men (ghar ka chiraag, budhape ka sahara, Shravan Kumar) most Indian women (paraya dhan, family’s honor) believe (and they are often right) they have no automatic rights to identity, inheritance or a roof over their heads. Many Indian women don’t know that they own their uterus. What Indian women are raised to fight for, is the generosity and the good will of their brothers and in laws, who have rights.
A society that denies nutrition, education and self reliance to women, how do you think do they react to demands for their share in inheritance?
One father said, “When it’s time to go (die) then we remember only the son, so it is only fair to leave the house to the son… daughters have to go to their homes, and if we have raised them well, they will get enough there.”
Indian sons, it seems, don’t have to be raised well to ‘get enough’.
Here’s a little story I recently heard (roughly translated from Hindi).
A very nice daughter in law had three sisters and three brothers. They lost their dad and as is the custom, the three brothers asked the three sisters to sign away their share of inheritance. There was some conversation amongst the sisters who had been very good till then, they had never created trouble for their brothers till then. It looked like greed would make them consider refusing to sign.
They were not very rich, the sisters had been married without any dowries, into decent families where they had won over the wealthier in laws with their obedience and adjustments. There wasn’t much for the brothers to share [IHM: Maybe, most of it was the dowry that their wives brought].
One of the damaad (sons in law) who is respected by all and is also the wealthiest of all [IHM: It’s not a coincidence that the wealthiest was also the most respected] said, “She will sign of course.”
The other two sisters had no one to support them now even if they had any need, greed or bad intentions. The middle one did look like a trouble maker, but these girls probably realised these brothers are the ones who will bring bhaat [IHM: Bhaat is a ritual that can probably be paid-for with the sisters’ inheritance] for their daughters’s weddings, why antagonise them for greed?
[IHM: Please note, daughters’ impending weddings are always an achilles’ heels for Indian parents] And anyway the sensible girl knew what she had in her in laws house was much more than what she would have for from her
Now if the respected damaad knew that his wife could legally have a share in the house he owned and they lived in, would he have been so quick to ask her to sign away whatever little of inheritance she had? Maybe then she would not have needed his permission to claim or to give up her inheritance.
He meant to be generous perhaps, but would the generosity extend to giving the wife her rightful share in what they made together [link]? Or is it easier to be Generous than to be Equal? Because generosity can be withheld, equality is a right. And a dependent spouse who has nowhere to go is more likely to continue to adjust.
What do you think would have happened if the sisters had refused to sign? What were their options?
Here are some reactions to daughters claiming their inheritance.
Daughters are eligible for share in fathers property but are not bound to give maintenance to parents. This creates a divide between brothers and sisters. Our social ethics are breaking due to the law. Such laws encourage greed. Women are forced by in-laws to get share in her parents property.
The panchayat resolution states: “Every girl will have to part with her share of parental land and hand it over to her brothers. If she has no brother, she will give it to other family members at her parental home.
On paper daughters have property rights, if the daughters try to claim this right, they can be ostracized or killed.
3. This comment:
My mother was made to sign an affidavit giving up her claim to my grandfather’s property . By her brother. Forget legal action,she isn’t even mad/pissed about it.
4. A lot more clarity here –
A Desi girl’s guide to relationship survival: Her Marital Home: His Inherited Property