Indian women and their Easy Wealth.

Here’s a comment from one of the previous posts:

Why the hell would a husband part with his property..ask her father to give it to her from his ancestral property..let her fight with her mother, brothers and sisters for easy wealth. Why burden the poor husband?

Easy wealth.

Inheritance (for women) is easy wealth.

Then what kind of wealth is well earned and deserved by Indian women?

Dowry: No. One it is illegal and two, it is given to the spouse or his family, not to the woman.

Inheritance: Only greedy, selfish, uncaring [etc] women refuse to sign away their inheritance for their brothers.

Earning/career/job: Maybe Permitted or Expected or Forbidden. And who has the authority to Permit, Forbid or Expect?

Generally a girl child’s parents try to estimate what the future in laws and spouse would want, and decide accordingly. In the 1960s only ‘teachers and doctors’ were approved as convenient options for future-daughters-in-law. Today jobs that require travel and night-shifts have been found to inconvenience the future-in-laws and spouse.

So not only are Indian daughters raised to be daughters in law and then frequently married off before they start earning (or made to stop earning), but they are also denied inheritance either because a dowry has to be given to the in laws they did not choose or because ‘she will get her husband’s wealth anyway’. Generally the future spouse and in laws know this and expect no less. They would do the same for their sisters and daughters. 

But why is a daughters’ marriage seen as more important than her happiness and self reliance?

Because marriage is seen as security, and self reliance for women as impossible. Living alone is not an option – it’s not safe for women in India to live alone. (These  rules relax a little for widows, who must learn to live alone and never remarry)

The parents feel an Indian woman can only be secure if she has a roof over her head and a family of her own to look after her, specially in her old age. They worry that her brothers might refuse to let her stay in their  house (which the sisters have been disinherited from). So she must be nice to her brothers, because they are also the ones who send regular gifts to her in laws to ensure she is treated well.  

So she must keep her brothers happy so they keep her in laws happy.

Does this work well? What if the in laws/spouse don’t want her or what if her brother doesn’t care? What if she is unhappy in her marriage? That’s not convenient for the brother (who generally has a life of his own), so she is asked to please-adjust and save her marriage. Sometimes she might commit suicide or be killed, and the parents might never learn what actually happened. Or she might get divorced but without a job, alimony or child support. Or she might come back to her natal home as a widow.

That’s the security that the tradition of disinheritance and dependance provides. Time, skills and energy are invested in preparing for a future [link] that works only if the woman Gets married and Stays married, no matter how unhappily. 

Also note, while she is expected to give up or ‘adjust her earning opportunities’, and bear children, doing so is not recognised as contribution. Do read some of the comments in response to  this post, like here, here, here and here. And they aren’t alone: Of Housewives, Beggars and Prostitutes.

So why do married women who are not earning deserve to be seen as contributing?

Let me quote SB:

What about opportunity cost? If she worked or continued to work after marriage, she would have accumulated a certain amount of work experience. By being a homemaker, she would be more or less unemployable if she’s been out of the job market for many years.

What about the wealth she might have accumulated if she had been paid for her work? I plan my expenses, savings and investments out of my salary. If I am not paid, I cannot do that. (I pay my maid more than food, clothing, shelter, medical expenses.)

What about legal tenant rights? If the wife had been a tenant, she could not be evicted as simply as she would be in the case of a divorce.

What about compensation for job-related injuries in case she is injured during childbirth or “in the kitchen”?

What about PF and other retirement benefits which a full time job would provide?

What about the cost of relocation, transfer, travel in case she moves with her husband several times during their life?

The marriage contract does not state anywhere that a homemaker should be a slave. It doesn’t state anything about division of labour, wealth, or any other assets. The marriage contract is actually based on an assumption of decency. Something which is probably lacking if people view homemakers as employees. A homemaker is not an employee of her husband or family. She is actually opting out of the job market for the sake of fulfilling certain duties. That is what she should be compensated for. Not just for the work she’s done as a mother, cook, housekeeper, and caretaker.

The one way gender neutral laws would be really neutral in this system is if parents (and society) stopped seeing girl children as future daughters in law, and if it was required for everybody to earn and live away from home for one year before they could be ‘married off’, only with their written consent. Fair inheritance would probably automatically follow then. 

Note: Paraya dhan – means ‘the daughter in law of somebody else’ or ‘wealth of somebody else’.

Paraya – not mine, Dhan – possession, wealth

121 thoughts on “Indian women and their Easy Wealth.

  1. I feel that every thing that one earns during ones life time should be ones proerty during life time and then it automatically should go to “state” . Neither the son nor the daughter should be future heir . self reliance will help in two ways , one it will stop parents from being fearful of who will take care of them in old age . most parents keep bantering about their wealth so that kids can take care of them and most kids do it for the sake of wealth only .
    secondly once kids know that there will be nothing to inherit they will learn to work and eat rather then look forward to accumalated wealth .

    as a woman i endorse this view

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    • Thumbs down. As a matter of fact, this is exactly why communism failed in the USSR. You’ll be repeating history if you do this.

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      • It’s not happening anyway, that was just a passing thought.

        Would it help if Indian parents started viewing their daughters as individuals and not as future daughters in law to be trained to be sent to their own homes?

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      • True. Everybody in power becomes corrupt over a period of time even if the measure started out as a good thing. Power should not be concentrated with a small minority

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    • “I feel that every thing that one earns during ones life time should be ones property during life time and then it automatically should go to “state”. ”

      I am sorry but I fail to see how this a good idea.

      If people were ‘forced’ to leave wealth to the state (a monothilic and often inept entity) as opposed to their own flesh-and-blood , there would be very little incentive to save and create wealth!

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      • Thumbs down, please do some reading.

        History has shown this is a terrible, terrible idea. This is the very fundamental problem of communism. Wealth creation is no longer a goal and you are essentially middle-class for life. In China, you toil for 30 years to build a house, that only belongs to you as long as you are alive. The house is leased to you for life. Are you happy with that?

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      • I like what you said. If there is no wealth to build or to be left over for future generation then I’ll never ever work hard or be as ambitious as I am. I’ll never even slightly try to work after I’ve earned enough to fulfill my needs even if I’m capable of contributing. I’ll rather earn less or optimally just as so my day to day needs are fulfilled. I hate the government and always will, so much so that I’ll never leave a single penny for the state after I’m gone.

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    • so all those who are doing thumbs down believe that parents wealth should come to them ?? why when it was not earned by them why should they get it . why not be radical and stop this system of handing down the wealth and making slaves .

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      • It’s not so much about ‘come to them’, it’s more about ‘go to the state’. It’s dangerous for the state to have that kind of unfettered access to private wealth. Imagine if the Indian Government suddenly passed a law saying what you’re saying as well-people would flee.
        Wanting to accumulate wealth and leave it to your spouse/parents/siblings/kids- it’s a natural impulse.

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        • Accumlated wealth is the biggest problem once people know they can’t pass this wealth to any one they would learn tolive eqally without gender or anyother divide

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        • Then what is the hue and cry about legal rights of daughters , parents want to give it to their sons not daughters. Then let them peacefully give to their sons . Let things go as they are going . If some parent feels they need to give it to daughter fine . We need to earn our own bread and butter ,live with what we earn and in old age we need to be moving into state run homes and not be dependent on our children

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        • @Rachna – Let parents give it to their sons if they want to. But are they giving it to sons because they do not love their daughters or they are giving it to their sons for social reasons – budape ka sahara, seeing daughters as burden, that daughters are paraya dhan.

          If society makes people value one gender as less comapred to another, then we should be questioning it.

          And from my experience, most Indians do not have a will. The moment they die, all the sons take over the property and kick the sisters out and do not give them a share. Many brothes insist on the parents giving a dowry at their sisters wedding, so that they can deny the sister her inheritance. Most women will not fight this. So, the entire system is unfair to women

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    • True but with our government and corrupt politicians and poor efficiency I am not interested in giving a penny of my money to the state.

      Secondly, if the state is the future heir, there should be a proper pension system, efficient healthcare and efficient systems in place to take care of its citizens. So this is a great idea but i doubt our country is ready for this.

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  2. The Indian Family system is one complex science.We have such stereotyped mindsets that are totally irrelevant to today’s lifestyle. We are in a confused state as to who belongs where. The old style of the son and the DIL taking the assets and the liabilities,domestic and financial responsibilities of the parents as well as the wealth ,the daughters given dowry as a small amount of the parents’ money etc made can look fair on the onset. But this system assumes an ideal state of things .The ‘stree dhan’ going to the daughter and not her inlaws, the son-DIL taking care of the parents needs,the DIL wishing to shoulder the inlaw responsibility etc.
    The new marriage does not work like this. We need laws that are relevant to today’s world.
    Irrespective of gender,both the ancestoral and the earned property have to be given, proportional to the elder care provided by each kid. Neither the paraya dhan nor the budhape ka sahara concepts have any meaning. The moral obligation of the daughter to sign away her share for fear of being termed greedy,the burden on the DIL to be a caregiver to the inlaws ,the perception that the parents cant be taken care by the daughter as she belongs to someone else,all these are evils which have to be negated by the laws in a solid-loophole free way

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    • “can look fair on the onset”

      It cannot look fair if you consider parents who only have daughters. It makes no difference if the streedhan went to daughters and not in-laws.. parents of girls are still screwed over. This makes daughters a great disadvantage and needs every person to have a son to be looked after. Ergo, female infanticide and fetocide.

      I keep repeating this, because I keep seeing explanations of the ‘positives’ of the indian system or how it used to work fine. Let’s not forget that it is only designed to work for parents of boys, even at it’s best.

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        • I think it’s quite the other way around because it allows the daughter’s parents to shift the economic responsibility (the daughter’s financial requirements and her offspring later on – agreed, that the offspring belongs to the husband too but not him alone) easily through marriage & wash their hands off their daughter in terms of financial responsibility.

          Now, you may think it isn’t the parents duty to provide for their adult children but then none of these women object the life-long luxuries showered on them using the husband’s parents’ money, they rather enjoy it.

          Atleasty that’s the case with affluent families with businesses.

          The husband’s affluent family’s money (which very much belongs to the his father & mother) is spent on providing for the DIL too – luxury holidays & stays, expensive jewellery, investments in form of FDs etc & every other requirement.
          And, in many of such cases, she doesn’t need to offer any services to win over these prizes since there are cooks & help readily available at hand.

          And, even if, she works & does a job, her salary of mere Rs. 80,000-90,000 PER MONTH (that she keeps for herself) isn’t enough to provide for all the luxuries that her in-laws bless her with.

          And, no, she isn’t expected to offer any equivalent service – for there are enough cooks & help available at hand to serve like a queen.

          Sometimes, parents & girls from middle class families look for husbands from rich families as they know their lives would be magically transformed once they get a husband from an extremely rich family – her dreams would be instantly fulfilled and no, don’t include that the marriage has been sold to her on whatever covers.

          This overnight transformation into a princess simply by marriage to a rich man is very real & I have observed that in several families.

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        • // the economic responsibility (the daughter’s financial requirements and her offspring later on – agreed, that the offspring belongs to the husband too but not him alone)//

          The fact that an adult is viewed as a financial responsibility is the problem. Why does the society support this system? Which is why nobody should marry until they are self reliant.

          And why would anybody other than the parents (like the maternal grand parents) take financial responsibility for the child? The system that creates such scenarios doesn’t even allow this child to have the maternal grand parents’ name without the wife having to fight for it.

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        • Statistics would reveal that a very small population of India can be called “rich” and so the supposed situation even if it is true is true for a small proportion of the masses.
          On the contrary it is seen that the more affluent a boy or his family the more dowry is demanded and rarely rich families let their sons marry poor girls who live on their meager salaries.
          Even if being Middle class is considered such a big drawback by many it is the truth for majority of the population.Discussions like these I presume are about the majority situations and not a handful RICH randoms.

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      • Let’s stop pretending that there was ever a time we can look back at and sigh fondly and say, those were the days.
        Indian families were screwed up then, they just didn’t know it. Or they did, but it was ‘working’ for some- so very little was done about it. In any case it was an ‘ideal’ system.
        They are slowly getting less and less screwed up now.

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        • “They are slowly getting less and less screwed up now”. Really? Is it? I think they are slowly getting more and more screwed up now a days.

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    • This is for GautamS,

      You say,
      //The husband’s affluent family’s money (which very much belongs to the his father & mother) is spent on providing for the DIL too – luxury holidays & stays, expensive jewellery//

      His father & mother. The mother was a DIL at some point , so at what point do you consider that she has earned a ‘right’ to these ‘luxuries’?

      I am not at all suggesting that DIL’s have a ‘right’ to their in laws wealth. But I dont understand why any ‘luxuries’ that may be given volutanarily ‘in-laws’ is a problem. Is the DIL demanding any of this? Does society/tradition/culture ask for this? If the in-laws, do they have to face any consequences? It is not comparable to dowry , or streedhan which is demanded, expected, asked for subtly and non so subtly!

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        • I agree with you Tashu. Entitled is a loaded word and it seems to a few that only one gender is entitled and so are HIS parents and family the “other” is supposed to be at the receiving end and in such a scenario why not talk about a lot of men also marrying girls for their wealth/salaries/dowry/lifelong gifts for him and his family.

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        • You know there is no incentive in marrying a rich family for women . The luxuries you are talking about are on the face .Let me explain you with an example.

          A well to do guy marries a girl from middle class family .boys parents shower their love in the form of very expensive jewelry and clothes for their DIL ( which she will take along with her during wedding so an asset for boy’s family). Girls parents are told to just take care of guests and give clothes and jewels to boy’s family which is one time big expense and will never add up to their assets nor daughters assets . Now i will call all this beneficial for women if a women has all the right on jewels given to her . If she can go out and sell them and go for higher education or buy a house on her name or just take expensive holidays . This belong to her to wear and show off as status symbol for in laws . If need be boy or his family will sell them for business or other investment later but girl will never be able to .
          I have also noticed that luxury holidays and clothes are all part of what In laws want . They don’t mind their DIL to buy 50 k worth designer Saree but all hell is let lose if chose to wear a dress worth 2k . She can spend time in 5 star in Switzerland with husband and his family but cannot visit her parents who stay 20 km away . Then you make her believe that she wants all those jewels , Swiss holiday and 50K worth designer saree when she actually wants to be in a 2k dress at her parents home after she has done her MBA (which she paid for after selling those jewels ).
          I do know some women who rather prefer rich husband than to work and earn own money and to pretend all their lives to be someone they are not.

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    • Well people do pay others to do ‘housework’ and ‘childcare’, and as seen in every country in the world, the economic value of these tasks is low. That is a fact of life.

      That doesn’t mean that it’s easy work. It’s definitely a LOT of hard work.
      Unfortunately, however, the ‘price’ affixed to a job in a free economy is related more to demand v/s supply and the level of skill involved in performing that job, not to the actual amount of work involved.
      And- to put it bluntly-the skill sets of homemakers can be found in abundance in the rest of society, unlike the skill sets of a chartered account , or a pilot. So, no, maybe seeing how much women’s work is valued isn’t the best idea-it will come in as a rude shock.

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      • And just to complete the thought I was having here- the ‘value’ of a homemaker comes from precisely those things to which a definite price tag which cannot be attached- providing moral support,organisational skills ,handling the rest of the family, providing input and solutions, budgeting. In the workplace, these are considered ‘managerial’ skills and a good organisation will work towards all employees having some of these skills, even if they aren’t the manager themselves.
        It is on the basis of these intangible skills/qualities that the right to an equal share in the marital assets should be demanded. To do it on the basis of “work” put in is self-defeating, and I’ve already elaborated why.

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      • Better would be if all Indian women decide to stop marrying and producing kids….and taking care of themselves, their own needs, their own future, build up their own financial net worth and not give a damn about some “would -have-been” in laws/out-laws and all their family problems like elder care, social obligations, housekeeping, cooking etc. India would be a better place for our women to live in, without marriage. She would only have to look after herself…cooking for one person, cleaning for one…or leave such work unattended and eat in the office mess. What say girls? Which woman in her right senses would want the “goodies” doled out by some rich in-laws. They can keep the goodies for themselves and hire a few maids with it to do their chores which they can always keep grumbling about.

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  3. “The municipality will also pay mothers to stay home and provide “home daycare” for the first three years, if she desires, with occasional visits from a careworker to see that the environment is appropriate.” from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Finland

    The reason I post this here is because I am impressed at how the Finns taught themselves to think differently about households and parenting. This shift in thought has wide-ranging implications, not just for the education of children but also for their economic and emotional welfare of their mothers.

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    • I certainly agree. Lets make local governments in India pay women to stay at home and have babies. That sounds like a truly fantastic idea! If there is one thing India needs, it is more people having more and more babies. It is not like we already have 1.2 billion people, no?

      It always stuns me how many people on feminist forums are living in dreamland.

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      • Less sarcasm and more comprehension, Sumit.

        What India desperately needs is better post-natal healthcare for mother and child. Stable family finances can only promote healthcare options. I also like the idea of the government-sponsored maternity packages for all. I understand in our setup that is just begging for a scam, but it is this kind of thinking that we need.

        You might enjoy reading the article I linked here, actually. It has some insights on educational policies that worked for the Finns, which reminded me of some of our own traditional gurukul practices.

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        • “I also like the idea of government-sponsored maternity packages for all”.
          Done and done.
          Google Janani Suraksha Yojana.
          Also, many states have “welcome kits” for mums who deliver in government hospitals with items for the baby and the mother.
          I’ve seen the impact of these schemes in Northern Karnataka, but it’s still early days to decide if it has been a “success”.

          Obviously, these schemes help women mostly in rural and urban areas who are deprived enough to need it.
          Expecting the government to provide hand-outs to middle class women, however, is ridiculous. The government has a pro-contraception policy(and rightly so!),not a pro-reproduction one.

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        • Desidaaru, there is a reason I said “packages for all” — as a country we need to start thinking of ourselves as one and planning accordingly. All new mothers need guidance and when I gave birth I was as lost as any other woman despite all my relatively privileged middle class background. Such schemes can be great equalisers and affect our mindsets positively, if we let them. When I read about the Finnish maternity packages one thing that impressed me was how women from all backgrounds bonded over what they received. It’s not just about me using the box I receive, it’s also about my maid receiving the very same package and us knowing that we both got and used the same things. The maternity box is a part of a much wider approach to mother-and-child care that offers daycare, creches, home help etc. The box scheme from what I read has been in place several decades so they are finally able to evaluate what has worked and what hasn’t and the package changes every year to reflect the latest understanding of childcare.

          Expecting the government to provide hand-outs to middle class women, however, is ridiculous.
          To every woman, no matter her economic status. And many middle class women do need help especially when they have children who for reasons of inheritance or gender are not welcome in the family. Equating a basic state service like this with handouts is possibly why a scheme like this will never be accepted by us as a country.

          The government has a pro-contraception policy(and rightly so!),not a pro-reproduction one.
          This is pro-mother and pro-child thinking, not pro-reproduction.

          —————————————————————————————————–

          Lastly — this is a request is to everybody who comments on my posts — I am happy to explain why I’m saying what I’m saying and it’s obviously fine if you don’t agree but please read what I write before you write a response. I am careful in my choice of words and mean exactly what I say.

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        • Well, as far as I’m aware, everyone is eligible for the maternity kit as long as they give birth in the government hospital, but how many women on the blog would be willing to do that?

          Finland is a socialist state, with high taxation and a welfare system that does much to eliminate socio-economic disparities.In such a milieu it is possible to have universal freebies for all.
          Our country, with a tax-paying fraction of 3% , and a birth rate many times that of Finland, cannot be expected to give citizens things for free that they can already afford. There is a finite amount of wealth, and subsidies must be given to those for whom the absence of the subsidy will mean a fall in the quality of life.

          The aim of the scheme/kit is to help the poorest of Indian women have a SAFE birth and post-partal experience, not women like you and me. The objective is to reduce maternal and infant mortality,and persuade women to choose births institutions-not create mommy bonding.

          Pardon me if I’m getting it wrong, but it seems to me that you’re suggesting that both you and your maid- (who will receive vastly different levels of care antenatally and in labour)- deserve something “in common” at the end of it all? Why?
          I think that is unfair. Maybe the day our maids have access to the kinds of hospitals and doctors that we do, we can discuss giving ourselves these kits.
          Until then, the best we can do is hope these schemes work. And pay taxes.

          I am sorry if I’m coming off as touchy on this issue- but I am someone who’s been scarred by working in government hospital obstetrics. It is truly heartbreaking see what pregnancy and childbirth mean to many of our compatriots and I wouldn’t dare venturing any comparision with my own life or situation- it would be insulting to the women I’ve seen in there.

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        • I didn’t say we “deserved” a package, you know. I said knowing that we get and use the same basic things would be something of a life lesson to us both. (And a much needed one for us both too.)

          I am trying to understand what we can work towards, if you get me? Equality is an idea. What are the tangible aspects of equal healthcare (or education) for all that we should be trying to reach? That kind of thing. The articles on Finland gave me some thoughts but I never suggested we import their policies into our our own. They changed the mindset of their country; I wondered if perhaps we can too, to suit us and our needs.

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        • The socialised model of healthcare -(paid for through taxes, providing the same services to all, irrespective of tax contributions or socio-economic status)- was pretty much the idea back in 1947.

          So you could say India tried to be Finland-way back in the day- and failed miserably.What you see today are the dysfunctional relics of something that was intended to be the equality model you refer to.

          Not sure if we can go back and start from scratch, that ship has sailed. The easiest solution now is to find/provide decent health insurance to the underprivileged. Also, maternity services in India do get a lot of ‘visibility’ in funding circles-like the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation , for example.

          Apologies to IHM for derailing the discussion🙂

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        • Support from government at taxpayer expense is not an example of self reliance or empowerment.

          You, in fact, LOVE traditional gender roles. You love chivalry, you love to be taken care of. Its just that you want to replace the man with the government. Think about it.

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      • Tax money is taken by force by government. Democracy means that government came to power against the wishes of a substantial minority. In our fractured democracy, elected governments come to power with less than 1/3rd of votes. That’s 2/3rd of us who are being ruled by people they
        did not want. And if you voted for the government, you may well disagree with several of its policies.

        You see the moral problem? The vast majority faces “taxation without representation”.

        This means we should keep the use of tax money to an absolute minimum: To keep rule of law, national defense, enforce voluntary contracts, protect right to life and liberty.

        But of course, if you understood the role of government, you wouldn’t be out here praising the socialist Finnish nanny state. Sponging off government dole is impersonal but it is still sponging.

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        • I know Sue, not all minds are capable of handling liberty. Many use a crutch: a man, a government. Your ideology is to “help” women by treating them as helpless infants. In order to grow up as a nation, we need to come out of this infant mentality of crying for Mommy government each time we fall. Crops fail: govt must pay compensation to farmers. Women are mistreated: put them on govt dole. These are not solutions.

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        • We need ‘de-reservaton’.

          If women had the freedom to choose what they did with their lives, who they lived with, slept with, had children with and when, and if they were as free to travel anywhere in the country and work at any hours as anybody else, and if they were free to decide if they wanted to use their uterus to carry their husband’s family names forward, and lots more. That would be de-reserving freedom, which as of now is reserved for Indian men.

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        • IHM — This is just to let you know that I won’t be replying to Sumit. I don’t as a general rule feed his kind of conversation. For the rest, like you, I find I am learning too. This conversation is fascinating.

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        • I think it is unfair to call a healthcare model that ensures the safety, health and well-being of both mother and child a sponge-off deal. I have personally experienced this system and it made me realize that if we had such a system in place in India, we wouldn’t have such high female infanticide, we wouldn’t have families ‘sacrificing’ their entire life savings or devoting everything towards the wedding of a child/ children.
          We do have a deeply sexist society where child bearing and rearing is considered to be only the woman’s responsibility. Having the government support young families just so every child is well-fed, looked after and educated might seem utopian in the Indian context, but it is a future to work towards nonetheless.
          At the end of the day, the well-being of the child is always central in these societies which you seem to assume women are just sponging off of. It provides much needed support, guidance and doesn’t make having children feel like a life-long burden.
          I do not want to comment on what you believe the governments role is or about taxes. But about the rest, I think it is only but too easy to ridicule a system that ensures equality and quality of life and which I am assuming from your comments you haven’t personally experienced.

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    • Desidaaru, I just saw your last response. What exactly would you consider decent health insurance for the underprivileged? Given the work experience you’ve described, I am interested in your perspective.

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    • Desidaaru, I should have explained, my father worked in insurance in the last years before his retirement. Because of his personal background, he did a lot of fieldwork in explaining governement-subsidised insurance schemes (the Rs 30 ones that came up some years ago?) and obviously he also took note of the claims and scams. I had his anecdotes in my head when I asked for your suggestions because I don’t personally know of a single underprivileged woman who has actually tried or if she tried been able to claim insurance benefits. Either they stay away from private hospitals because of ingrained fear/distrust or when they do approach them they are asked for money any way. I think of more governmental agency in the matter because even the underprivileged pay taxes every single day of their lives, we all do, and I don’t think we get enough value for our money. I figure since you’ve worked in the field yourself you must have seen things that did work or had thoughts on how to fix those that didn’t work.

      IHM —🙂 See, this is why I stay away from your comments. These subjects are so intertwined, so far-ranging, I keep having a lot to say. My apologies for going on and on!

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  4. I found this post quite confusing and far from the usually well-informed, well-articulated IHM posts🙂

    First, there are too many generalisations – and these generalisations are made with a certain disapproving tone, under the assumed premise of modern third-generation feminism, economic precepts of cost, etc, etc. There’s nothing wrong in making such comparisons, though the implied assumptions (as against stated assumptions) hold more potential for misunderstanding and confusion rather than clarity. I would like to share some of my concerns here.

    First, the concepts of “paraya dhan”, “stree dhan”, etc. are specifically Hindu – and not broad-stroke “Indian”. The practice of dowry is not limited to Hindus, but financial support provided to women at the time of marriage varies pretty widely across communities – and this is where the post becomes confusing. For example, the money and materials given to a Hindu woman by her family at the time of marriage is considered “stree dhan” – something that is expected to be like an insurance coverage should bad times come. Similarly, the money and materials she receives from the in-laws are also seen as “stree-dhan” and she is the rightful owner of these things. The reason behind arrogating “stree-dhan” to the woman – according to the Manu Samhita (at least) is an effort to stall the emergence of “selling” girls in the family as was observed amongst contemporary Assyrian traders where marriages required the groom’s family to pay the girl’s family a certain sum of money as part of the marital arrangement. Manu does well here, I’d say, in enabling women to own property – a right that apparently advanced nations such as Britain did not allow until the 1920s.

    That is one of the reasons why traditionally a father would insist on marrying off his daughters before dividing the property amongst his sons – and in well-to-do families the daughter usually received a fair share of the family property. That is also the reason why – several centuries after the Manu Samhita was written – the burning of “satis” became a lucrative business in wealthy families where they’re expected to make financial gains after the death of the wealthy widow. (Although, as an FYI to readers, I would like to mention that “sati” is not mandated by Hindu shastras and its emergence as a practice coincides with the Islamic invasions from the north-west when large numbers of women were killed, raped, or taken as slaves. “Sati” and “Jauhar” emerged as the only “honourable” way of withstanding and escaping the might of the invaders.)

    Indian laws pertaining to Hindu marriages incorporate a mix of traditional shastras and English common laws. The traditional shastra-mandated sharing of property is included though divergence from the shastras come in the matter of divorces – because the very concept of divorce doesn’t exist in a Vedic marriage although men have the right (under certain grounds) to marry a second time, while the first wife is alive and present. (I don’t want to sound too pedantic, hence skipping the grounds).

    The problem that our present lawmakers face is twofold: One, the traditionally accepted gender roles and rights are changing and hence the law has to be amended to keep pace with it. Second, malpractices such as dowry, raising women with a sense of inferiority (as a financial burden), not giving girls access to education and self-reliance, etc. dominates large sections of society – and these practices, though considered normative by many sections of misinformed people, are actually unlawful by the precepts of the shastras as well as the Indian laws.

    The many new regulations around dowry, property laws, etc. are brought about to counter the social bias prevalent against girls and women – and, to be fair, I’d say these are very good efforts in empowering women especially in a context where laws are cunningly subverted to strip women of inheritance from both sides of the family. However, I always support implementation rather than merely passing a law. As a married woman with educated people all around me, I know just how deep certain prejudices go, and no amount of bill-passing will ever change mindsets. Change in mindsets can be brought from the very places where they are bulit – schools, temples, sat sanghs, festivals.

    The opening comment of this post “Why the hell would a husband part with his property…” can at best be called stupid, and betrays a half-educated mindset that has not ingested legal and social provisions of either east or west.

    Disclaimers: 1) My knowledge of other communities is not as good – and hence I refrained from critiquing practices prevalent in communities other than Hindus. 2) Readers may correct me if I’m wrong somewhere.

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    • Basically, the post conveys, that we do not find it convenient to allow women to become self reliant or to acquire wealth.

      1. I did not mention stree dhan, only Paraya Dhan.

      Paraya means ‘not mine’ and dhan translates to wealth, property etc – in general it applies to all Indian daughters though maybe Hindu parents are more obsessed with putra prapti (desire for a male child).

      2. //I would like to mention that “sati” is not mandated by Hindu shastras and its emergence as a practice coincides with the Islamic invasions from the north-west//

      Widow burning was prevalent well before it was glorified as “honorable” jauhar.

      “On one fateful day, Pandu desired Madri and the memory of the curse briefly eluded him. As he pulled Madri into his embrace death striked Pandu immediately. Madri, filled with remorse, went sati on Pandu’s funeral pyre.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madri

      3. About Manu Smriti –

      Some Gems from Manusmriti. https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/some-gems-from-manusmriti/

      More here, http://nirmukta.com/2011/08/27/the-status-of-women-as-depicted-by-manu-in-the-manusmriti/

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      • It’s always better to read the text before the interpretations. Therefore here’s a link to the annotated English Manu Samhita:

        http://ia700409.us.archive.org/2/items/cu31924023014941/cu31924023014941.pdf

        When you reference other’s interpretations of a text and exclude the text itself, you are limiting yourself and others into accepting a single, monolithic perspective of a vast and problematic text.

        As for Madri’s life and “sati” status represented in the Mahabharata, we need to be aware of classical instances of sati – historical or literary – that symbolize a rare and fearsome ritual underscoring the power and willfulness of women, rather than unquestioningly accept it as symbol of degrading women. Let’s not forget that Kunti – Pandu’s other wife – did not immolate herself upon his death, and no one forced Madri to do so either; neither did thousands of widowed women who searched for their dead in the battlegrounds during the great fight mount the funeral pyres of their dead husbands.

        The key element here is the perception and frequency of “sati” – In Madri’s case it’s an event; in medieval times it was a ritual repeated many times over for cruel reasons.

        Of course, the entire moral premise of “sati” is deeply problematic – to put it simply: Is it acceptable to uphold traditions of self-sacrifice and self-destruction especially with regards to women? i.e. to ask if a self-sacrificing woman is somehow better than a non-sacrificing woman?

        Third generation feminism leaves the matter to the woman’s choice in context with her culture, rather than have others opine what is or isn’t right for a woman to do.

        In critiquing sati, one needs to consider the differences in the practice of self-immolation (or self-destruction) in ancient and medieval to modern times. There are many research papers that document the role of Brahmins (including the travelogues of Bernier and Tavernier) in interpreting shastras and “dissuading” women from committing sati (in ancient times, including the case of Madri) which gradually gave way to “persuading” women in self-destruction (in medieval times). Like I said before, there is no mandate in any shastra that urges women to commit Sati.

        I would suggest a reading of Professor Coomaraswamy’s essay on Sati (can’t seem to find the text online) in this respect. Prof Coomaraswamy raises valid questions about eulogising and aggrandising secular causes for self-destruction (Think Irom Sharmila – don’t we all feel for her?) and vilifying non-secular causes for similar behaviour. Of course, we would say that it’s better to banish all instances of willful self-destruction than have even a single case of murder committed on the pretext of “Sati”.

        Now am asking myself why I’m going on and on about sati🙂 Lest people think that I somehow approve of sati, let me clarify that my objective in this dissertation is to try and problematise the apparently given premise of IHM and many commentators that much of India’s social ills lie in the Hindu religion itself. My attempt is to separate Indianness from the Hindu religion and identity. While there are many ills that are indeed rooted in this religion, there are several good things too.

        Our judiciary takes both into cognisance and I think they’ve not done a bad job so far.

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        • //my objective in this dissertation is to try and problematise the apparently given premise of IHM and many commentators that much of India’s social ills lie in the Hindu religion itself. My attempt is to separate Indianness from the Hindu religion and identity. While there are many ills that are indeed rooted in this religion, there are several good things too.//

          I did not mention any religion or manusmriti in this post, both have been discussed in other posts,

          1. How do women benefit from religion?

          2. Some Gems from Manusmriti.

          3. Religion Makes Us Kind and Good!?

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        • “In critiquing sati, one needs to consider the differences in the practice of self-immolation (or self-destruction) in ancient and medieval to modern times. ”

          Much more importantly one needs to understand why women, even ‘willingly’, would want to immolate themselves when widowed.. considering that men never felt the need to do this. Choice is great but if there a trend of a large number of people choosing a path that is harmful to them, then we must look at what exactly is creating that choice. There are often social constructs designed to present that choice as the most/ only socially acceptable one.

          The equivalence with Irom Sharmila is a false one because it is not representative of a trend of self destructive behaviour shown only by one gender. It is rather an individual protest. Sati was a trend of women, only women, being burnt alive (willingly or not). Not similar at all, as far as I am concerned.

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    • I would be wary of quoting Manu and cherry-picking parts of the Manu Smriti to prove that he had women’s interests at heart.
      There is no shastra that says that a woman is equal to a man in any way. The ones that seem slightly pro-women arise from a condescending ethos that saw women as weak and “not fit for independant life” – again, that’s MY quote from the Manu Smriti.

      I see every marriage in every Hindu community as a potential platform to bring about reform in modern-day Hinduism. Infact, as far as religious events go, most Hindus attend weddings, multiple times a year, if nothing else. If every educated person (who also usually have higher ‘status’ in their community) had a simple wedding stressing on the equality between the bride and groom , keeping material exchanges out or to a bare minimum, it could be a powerful message that daughters and sons are essentially the same.

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    • According to M.N. Srinivas the grandfather of Indian Sociology, caste cuts Indian society beyond the limits of religion. The religions that have no concept of caste anywhere in the world have it here in India, you’ll find Brahmin Catholic and a Pundit muslim who reads namaz five times a day. The Hindu gender practices and rules of commensality and connubility are almost similar in the cultural fabric of this country be it any religion practiced on this land.
      Muslims have a concept of dower (mehar) but dowry is practiced with more zeal and excusing the mehar (the wife excuses her mehar of a lesser or token amount so as to stay in the marriage) is exactly like sister’s signing of their right to parental property.
      To say that all evil befell on Indian women with the so called Muslim invasion, it is the reclamation tale of nationalist cultural elite who wanted to gloat in the glory of golden age of ancient India, he was trying to find a black cat in a dark room that was never there. The period of later Samritis (500 A.D. -1000A.D.), later Gupta period, it is then Manu Smriti is created by then caste women were already circumscribed to home and veil and no property rights except “stri dhan,” lower caste women had more mobility and freedoms, they worked in trades and fields and also made decisions to stay in marriage of not. Sati had already made in roads by then lower caste women could not afford the luxury of burning themselves if it was a choice as they had to work, breed and raise slaves for the system that dehumanized them.

      As you cherry picked Manu’s words is no different than what you accused @IHM of. What happened to Manu’s treatise on Shudras? You cannot just separate caste from gender and now class they go hand in glove.

      About knowledge about other communities, we all know what Koran give detailed account of property rights of women be it man’s mother, sister, daughter or granddaughter, even if it is paltry corresponding to the man’s father, brother, son and grandson. But it was still expounded.

      Sex ratio thanks to our gender ethos is same in all religions, female fetuses are eliminated alike, dowry is a big problem. @Rinzu, where are you? Just tell what Syrian Christians ask for dowry? Sikh scripture salutes women, denounce any gender discrimination and Sikhs have the lowest sex ratio. Male primogeniture, virilocality, patrimony…. what ever is patriarchal in one faith is patriarchal in the other but each will try to get a medal how they are better than the other in treating women. So the choice is between bad and worse not good and bad.

      So where were we and why are we even discussing this, DG no longer has a clue. Carry one people. DG is done on this history lesson here.🙂
      Peace,
      Desi Girl

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  5. I guess we need it in our national budget as to what each household task done by the women can amount to.If we put a price tag on each task,then the net worth of the women can be established.
    Atleast virtually,women can know how much their effort is worth.One may question as to what if she is inefficient,can she be fired/underpaid etc. There are many men who underperform,are fired etc.Nobady questions them.He is not answerable to anyone if the wife. We can even have local family courts who can intervene if the wife is not a good ’employee’ or should she be classified as an ‘underperformer’ .I know it reads funny but it is a good thought to have

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  6. I agree IHM. There is much more a woman brings to the relationship of marriage.Leaving parents(in case of joint families the guy does’nt leave his parents),pregnancy(cant put a compensation tag on every nausea experience:))labour,childbirth,nursing,child bearing etcetc,the list is endless. Lets not even consider inlaw care.Even if the woman is financially independent and in a nuclear family,she is not absolved of all this.She clearly and distinctly contributes more than the husband.When nature has chosen her to fulfil so many additional responsibilities she has to be adequately compensated. The indirect implications of this process on her work life social life also goes unaccounted

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    • I would have to disagree here. While nature has bestowed women with the ability to bear children – something that the men can never compensate for in any way – having children is a choice. As a woman, I made that choice to have the baby with my partner full knowing that I would be doing much more work than him until the baby is born. When I have done so willingly, I cannot turn around and say that I contributed more to the marriage because even if my husband was willing, there is nothing he can do or change in this regard.

      Likewise, my husband does more domestic chores than I do. Willingly. Without ever asking me to take on more chores or voicing his discontent, he cannot say that he brings in more into the marriage.

      A woman can choose not to have children. She can choose not to move into her ILs home. She can choose not to do in-law duties. And she can choose to end the marriage if any of these are forced on her. You cannot willingly comply and then complain,

      For example, I cannot ask for more alimony just because I took care of sick ILs or lived in a joint family. Alimony needs to be calculated on the lost career potential (if career was slowed / sacrificed ) and should not depend on the chores a spouse did in a marriage,

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    • Erm, nature has chosen her for nothing more than carrying a child for 9 months and birthing it. Even that is optional, given contraception. The rest of the stuff on your list is imposed by patriarchy.

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  7. There are a lot of mistakes done in the past and present, yes we treat girls lower and Dils as pons scum, but i have a question, genuine , how many girls (pardon me, i tend to call anyone 40 and younger as girls) in this forum who read and comment are independent, can be independent and take care of themselves without anyone’s support. and if they have kids can support them themselves. I assume they are all educated, with good budhhi and dhimaag.

    Again i’m not saying don’t stay home and care for your babies etc, I’m saying if tomorrow something catastrophic happened how many can support themselves. are qualified and have the experience to support themselves? if they cannot why? why are they not working towards that? and no I don’t expect some 55 yr old to answer this, I’m mostly saying this of the enlightened younger ones coming out of the college the past 2 or more decades…
    Just a curiosity IHM,🙂 no malicious intent in this.

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    • Not being self reliant should no longer be an option. While more and more parents are understanding this, daughters are still asked to understand that if they need to give up their careers for marriage or family, they must. Because getting married is still seen as the main goal for women, remember the email from the girl who wanted to splash hot oil on her face because she was being forced to give up her education and get married? Or another one who was locked up in her house and her friend thought they were right to make sure she marries the kind of man they approved and were forcing her to give up her career?

      “Only thing I can can think of now is to take a spoon of boiling oil and put on my cheeks. I will see then who marries a girl with a burnt face”

      The Confused Friend: As her well wisher would you try to put some sense into her or would you wait for her to realize these mistakes herself?

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      • In our country, where opportunities are so few and far between, don’t you think you are overplaying the “giving up career” thing? The cutoff at Delhi University is touching 100 per cent. Have you seen the competition to get into college?

        Compared to getting into a decent college and having a good career, getting married is a piece of cake. I don’t support anyone’s choices being taken away, but please stop with the pretense that millions and millions of women are having to give up “careers” to become household slaves. For
        the average middle class Indian kid, the chance to have a career of any kind is a savage struggle.

        Lets keep it real. Any Indian middle class woman who is being raised “only to get married” is exchanging at least 25 years of savage breathless competition for an easy childhood followed by a 90% chance of lifetime economic security in marriage.

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        • //90% chance of lifetime economic security in marriage.//

          The idea of this 90% chance of lifetime economic security in marriage is what has lead to nobody wanting daughters and our skewed gender ratio. Self reliance should be seen as everybody right and responsibility and the main goal in life – not marriage ‘90% chance of lifetime economic security in marriage’.

          A self reliant citizen who has a life beyond and Getting and Staying Married is more likely to refuse dowry (because there is no deadline for getting married), walk out abusive marriages (no shame, no dependence) and refuse to kill/neglect/malnourish her girl children (knows they can have a great life).

          ‘90% chance of lifetime economic security in marriage’ can never empower a woman the way the freedom that self reliance brings can.

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        • @Sumit
          I have to smile at your comment that getting married in India is easier than getting a good education/job. That’s so true! For all the emphasis (overemphasis) on marital life in India, people can be surprisingly laissez-faire about marrying someone they’ve only met once/skyped with/seen a profile of, in an astonishingly short period of time.🙂 We are like that only, i guess🙂

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    • I would suspect most of the people who read and comment here ARE independent , and have the capacity to support themselves .
      The problem is that the people who read and comment here are not a realistic sample of young indian women .

      I am 30 , I have been financially independent for the last 9 years. My husband is younger than me, and recently took a decision to change his career to follow his heart, with a pay cut of 50% . He feels bad about the changes this has meant for my lifestyle ,but I can’t see how it matters . I love him for love , laughter and companionship he brings to my life and not his earning potential . .i am fully capable of earning money for me and him and any future kids all by myself!

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      • The thing is, people like you, your husband, my wife and me are no less “real” than anyone else. Just because we form a smaller percentage of the population than those who are not self reliant doesn’t mean that we can be walked all over by the law. And this is exactly what laws talking about “women” in general do.

        If you and your husband separate, you have the option to take his wealth, but he does not. The same is true in my situation. Now you’re a decent person, and so is my wife. But the fact remains that the power is one sided. In a divorce, neither party is thinking straight and who can predict what will happen?

        Why are laws being written that don’t take into consideration the negative impact it will have on innocent people and families to whom it’s not meant to apply to?

        Or is this just one of the “Men have had it so good for centuries, let them suffer” kind of law? I got this comment on my blog just yesterday:

        “Aw, so sad that men are suffering for a change.

        I think it is completely justified that this law is in place, even if the woman is earning more than a man. Men have enough of nature’s support in many things [physical strength, no menstrual cycle, do not need to face a near death experience for giving birth].

        I think this law really makes both genders equal.

        Thanks for the article, made my day.”

        http://www.bhagwad.com/blog/2013/rights-and-freedoms/indias-new-divorce-laws-the-dirty-secret-no-one-wants-to-talk-about.html/comment-page-1/#comment-18926

        Is this what we’ve come to now?

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        • Eww… cant believe the extent of malice in tht comment. Injustice breeds more injustice. I read ur article and like the idea of using the term ‘financially weaker’ instead of women.
          With the kind of bigoted judges we have im not comfortable with the idea of leaving it to the judge to decide.

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        • //If you and your husband separate, you have the option to take his wealth, but he does not.

          Why not? If they separate it should be 50-50, each one gets half of joint wealth .

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  8. Perfectly true…A women’s future should not be left to the mercy of her husband/inlaws etc. She should plan her life.Parents need to enable this from the beginning.Marriage without being employed should not be approved.Every individual should be responsible for creating his/her own wealth.Similarly every individual irrespective of gender should cook,clean house keep. Everyday monetary expenses should be borne by the women themselves.No option on depending on ur husband’s salary,inlaws/parents fortune.Financial self reliance of evry women should be mandatory,for their own well being in case of unfortunate situations like divorce/widowhood etc
    This shall automatically solve a lot lot of problems

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    • and men should learn how to cook , clean , help kids with home work , take care of guests , plan events to the nearest detail , remember to call ppl on birthdays and buy presents , to remind his parents to take pills , visit doctors , take dogs for pee and poo brakes , laundry etc . Also , willingly give half his inheritance to his sister and not dowry ,It will solve lot of problem .

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  9. WELCOME TO THIS BLOG🙂
    I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

    This is what it says on the face of this blog

    If writing a comment u don’t like invites a rage filled post from you IHM , i doubt it falls under ” I will defend your right to say it “, and rather falls under ” If i don’t like what you say , I will crucify your post on my blog ”

    P.S. I didn’t write that comment IHM posted on.

    But I am someone who started following this blog after reading the aforementioned statement

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    • Disagreeing with what someone says (or crucifying their post as you put it) and defending their right to say it are not mutually exclusive. All that quote means is that regardless of whether you AGREE with what someone says, everyone has the right to say whatever they want without being arrested/jailed for it. And you have that same freedom to voice your disagreement.

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    • You have used phrases like “rage filled post” and “crucify your post” to imply that somehow IHM is trying to intimidate the commenter or stifle the commenter… I’m sorry…I’m a little lost here.

      Has IHM prevented the commenter from posting his/her comments?
      Has IHM abused or threatened the commenter in any way?
      Has IHM made any derogatory remarks about the commenter?
      Has IHM said that she will not let the commenter post any more posts?

      All IHM has done is take a comment she doesn’t agree with and give a detailed explanation of why the commenter is incorrect. The commenter has every right to respond.

      This is what blogging is. If this practice gets abolished then 90% of the world’s bloggers will suddenly have a lot of free time on their hands🙂.

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      • No she has not prevented anyone from posting. If she had ever done , no one would have even ever heard of this blog, as it would have never had the credibility (* one of the reasons i follow this blog.)
        She may not have threatened/abused anyone, but she has publically Judged the commenter,( as much that’s possible in a blog ) which automatically makes sure the person will be hesitent about posting again,
        Hell anyone and everyone will think twice before posting now , if they feel the comment may aggravate IHM.
        This I feel, may amount to social suppression ( I assume its not intended from IHM )
        Hence I felt this needs to be said, and also why i feel this post goes against — “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. “

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        • Shekhar I will eventually add this to the Rules for commenting page above, but there is a reason why Comment moderation is enabled here. While everybody is free to create their own blogs and share their opinions (and I defend their right to do that), I don’t publish every comment that is submitted here. If I feel a comment is an attempt to disrupt a discussion, or is offensive or has too many links for me to go through, is a flamer, troll or a Concern troll, or is intentionally misunderstanding the post, or some other reason that I feel makes the comment inappropriate for publishing (in my opinion) then I may not publish it.

          I feel feeding the trolls is not a good idea. (DNFTT – Do not feed the trolls)

          //In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally[3][4] or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[5] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.//

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    • At first, I too feel the same. IHM didn’t accepted my one or two comments. But, I can understand one thing, she is getting too many comments, reaching 100 easily within a day. So, it’s tough for her to read all of them and if they have many links, it’s takes more time for her to read them. So, I just started publishing those comments in my blog as my opinions. So, No worries. I can always post my comments if I feel they are important. I just advice the same to you, if you are willing to take it, of course.

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  10. “The one way gender neutral laws would be really neutral in this system is if parents (and society) stopped seeing girl children as future daughters in law, ”

    It’s not feasible, possible, or desirable for the government to force people into thinking in a certain way (even if that way is good). All the government should do is to ensure that legal rights are the same, and that women can legally break away if they want to.

    It’s one thing for society to discriminate. It’s quite another thing for the law itself to discriminate. The first is not desirable, but you can’t force a certain attitude onto people. The law on the other hand is an official contract of the country. You can’t have laws that take gender into consideration.

    Also, one thing that everyone continues to ignore is that the law also applies to women who genuinely do not require this help. Perhaps it’s an unspoken assumption that such women don’t exist? That any sign of a woman being financially independent is an illusion? I don’t think this is what is being implied. I’m fairly sure that most people here know that not all men oppress their wives and not all women need help.

    So basic question – is a law meant for everyone, or just for a certain portion of the population? If the latter, why can’t the law specifically mention that?

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    • Yes, Yes and Yes. My family doesn’t require this law at all and is open to abuse. We divide property on fair terms. My dad’s sister got the largest share of the ancestral property.

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      • I agree with Bhagwad’s point completely. The only thing I’d like to add here is that while the laws are neutral the government can and should do it’s bit to educate people. E.g. if there was a mass awareness campaign that let women know that they had an equal share to property that would make it more acceptable for women to ask for their share. Or even something more basic if only there was an awareness campaign that actually let people know they should be making wills. I think there is a significant percentage of property disputes that would never arise if people just made wills and didn’t leave everything for the next generation to quarrel over.

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        • Well said. I’d also like to add that if the laws were enforced and justice swift – that would be the biggest education of them all. If people knew that torturing your DIL would get you SWIFT punishment, then that would deter them from doing it in the first place. A lot of these problems occur because laws aren’t enforced.

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    • As you’ve said earlier, it’s not really that hard to make a fair law. Both the spouses would need to pool in their marital property. The property can then be split based on a few factors like
      the duration of the marriage
      who gets custody of the children
      the reason for the divorce
      the relative financial situation of either spouse post divorce
      any physical disabilities or special needs for either of the spouses
      and a few more factors

      The only flaw I see here is that a lot of people might suddenly start filing for bankruptcy as soon as any divorce proceedings are initiated!

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    • Bingo. That’s what my point too. The society norms runaway when someone revolt. But the law, no way. You have to obey. Remember all the bad practices like sati or dowry or any other that made women suffer are nothing but laws created once upon a time. Now these poeple are doing the same thing for men, and making them suffer. That’s not acceptable.

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      • laws are being made to force men into Sati and dowry .. wow where?
        oh you m,ean laws are being made which will emppower women and they wont willingly agree to be sevaks? ah yes, i know i feel bad too, for my husband, his dad didnt have to lift a finger, went to work – had fun. came back at 5pm, didnt earn much but hey he was lord and master while his wife raised 4 kids , didnt comlpain, made hot food, kept te clothes clean and brought water up 3 flight of stairs daily for 20 yrs till the oldest took over, then at 58 he retired and is exercising his butt and demanding tea and cofee be served garam garam since the poor man has worked all his life for 8 hrs at day at a govt office you see.
        my poor huby ont he other hand is not so lucky in his choice of wife. she refuses to have more than 2 kids and only when she wants to have them, and to top it off, made him clean their dirty bums and wake up at night and now that they are teens , goes off to paint couple evening a week leaving the cooking and cleaning to him.
        i agree the men are getting their rigfhts taken away.. but what to do , such is life, sometimes your king sometimes slave🙂

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        • Social discrimination cannot be counterbalanced by legal discrimination. Social discrimination sucks – but people have no right to dictate what attitudes others will have. You have a choice to follow “society’s” rules or go your own way.

          Laws on the other hand cannot – should not – discriminate. People have no choice but to follow laws. It’s the official stance of the government. Social discrimination is just something that we have to put up with as long as one’s legal rights are not being violated. We can work to change people’s attitude via education, but that’s pretty much it.

          However, we have no good reason to “put up” with legal discrimination. It’s quite possible that these laws are unconstitutional since they violate provisions of the Constitution dealing with unfair discrimination. It’ll be up to the Supreme Court to take that judgment call if it ever comes up for hearing.

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  11. Dhan, and not Daan.. All this while I thought this expression meant “stranger charity”, as in, charity case who doesn’t belong to this family. Heh.

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  12. Can we talk about the messed up situation when it comes to the death of your spouse.

    When my aunt’s husband died, everything went to her sons and a portion went to her MIL. WTF was up with that.

    I remember learning in school that even though woman make up half of the world’s population, they only own 2% of the property. I guess india makes a huge contribution to this skewed statistic.

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    • It’s unfair, but we cannot make laws forcing people to will their property in a certain way.
      1.All we can do is a create a society where the person doing the willing doesn’t disinherit their kids based on gender. It will take generations before patriarchal thoughts/actions become less entrenched-we have to be realistic.The impulse has to be societal and lawmakers have to avoid stepping on individual freedoms(in the form of lopsided laws) in order to balance social inequality.

      2. We can make such ‘unfair’ wills open to be legally contested in family courts/ special bodies. That way the each party has a chance to explain why they believe the division is fair/unfair. In the example you gave, I feel the wife should have a right to contest this will. Don’t know if she can under existing laws.Again , goes to show how women need to be more pro-active in getting their names on property deeds, even at the risk of being seen as mercenary/materialistic.

      3. Personally feel it is stupid not to leave everything to your spouse, if their welfare is what you want,obvs. Denying the children inheritance until both parents have expired seems to be a smart thing to do- and children should tell their parents this. Too many times the dad leaves property to the son assuming that he will ‘do the needful’ towards his widow. Bad idea.

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  13. Is women really paraya dhan? No, As per the law, women has the same responsibility on her parents as her brothers. She has to take care of her age old parents. They can even file case on her, if she don’t look after them, I think.

    In the same way women can get share in the property of the parents. The property getting is as inheritance is not easy money. They have responsibilities to fulfill. Imagine a society, Where a man take care of his age old parents and women take care of hers. Isn’t it a good Idea? Instead of fighting for this all women are fighting is nuclear family.

    Parents treat girl as paraya dhan not because she leve the house, or she take lot of money as dowry. Because she don’t look back and take care of their age old parents. We can understand women did this in previous decades, as most of them don’t have that much liberty.

    IHM: //Because she don’t look back and take care of their age old parents// Actually many husbands/in laws do not like the woman to care for her own parents, because they feel she should be spending her time taking care of the husbands/his parents, we don’t have the concept of men doing the care giving. Some parents do not like their sons to marry women who have no brothers: Some simply disallow the daughter in law’s parents from visiting her, or her from visiting them. https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/another-email-when-an-indian-daughter-in-law-has-no-brothers/

    But now, It really surprises many when a women claim herself as liberated and also claim “women are a step ahead of men in every field” , and “they are better than men in all jobs”

    IHM: Nobody needs to be ahead of anyone, life is not a competition, women (or men) need not prove their strength to each other or to women/men, each goes at their own pace.

    and warn men to not disrespect them, in one moment.

    IHM – Nobody (men, women, children) should need to be ‘warned’ to not disrespect the rights of other people (women, children, men).

    But,when they get the situations like this which ask them to be what they are claiming to be, they immediately change their stance and go back to their age old “abla naari, paraya dhan” position and claim laws as per that position. A clear oppurtunist behaviour, isn’t it?

    IHM: If the rights are denied because they are being seen as ablaa naari (i.e. marry her off young and let her brothers, father, sons or husband take care of her instead of giving her self reliance and share) or paraya dhan (belongs nowhere, not parents and not in laws) then it’s okay to fight for those rights.

    It’s time for women to not to be “Modern women” and “abla naari or paraya dhan” at the same time. and claim incentives from both sides. Take responsibilities and leave some incentives they getting from vote bank politicians. That makes them true Independent women or self-reliant women.

    IHM: I feel all laws, including the all powerful prevalent Social laws need to be absolutely clear and as detailed as possible, to ensure that abuse is not possible.
    So long as there is blatant abuse of social laws, the governments will come up with bandaid laws to control the harm the culture/custom/social laws do.
    And the change can only begin with women not being told to see Getting Married (to someone who earns more, is older and belongs to the same community) and Staying Married as their goal in life.

    Some of this I have pointed out in the post, I hope you did read it.

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    • Gosh, this is a bit of a shocker. 30-year old guys like this in the US? Thank you for sharing, IHM This kind of balances my perspective about arranged marriage.

      Being a guy, I’ve only seen abnormal requests from women and their families – “do you make 15% more than my daughter”, “you should stop playing cricket for your company after marriage”, “wanted US-MS educated groom with handsome salary and car”-types people

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