“But, my only motive in life has been my daughter’s happiness which is now in your hands. I beg you, please keep her happy”

What do you think of this speech by a dad? Is this speech likely to inspire much needed confidence in the daughter, does it convey that she can look upon her dad, and her family, as a support system? If not, then how does this daughter benefit from having a ‘family’?

Do you believe anybody who feels this way about daughters could genuinely consider himself ‘lucky enough to father a daughter’ and for all the love they feel for their girl child – would they, if they could choose, want to have daughters?

This dad clearly seems to believe that the parents of sons have some special rights and parents of a daughter can only ‘beg’ for her happiness. What then could make them want to have daughters? A sense of duty to the son’s parents? (as in, the society needs girl- children or else who would the sons marry)?

Then, should people have and raise girl children, out of a sense of ‘duty’ as a ‘social responsibility’? Does it make such parents, or the society, value those children as equal people – or do these children remain future daughters in law and wives for them and for the society? How does it affect the lives of those whose sole purpose for being born and raised is to be married off at the right age to someone who is being begged to keep them happy?

How likely are any parents to want to have a child if they also believe that this child’s life and happiness lies in the hands of other people and all they can do is beg for her happiness?

This is one of the many ways in which Patriarchy affects men.  Patriarchy gives tradition the power to overrule common sense, parental love and basic human values.

Sangitha Krishnamurthi shared this link, with this question: ‘Can we begin with any lower expectation?’

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=424835987628847&set=a.141810862598029.25259.141806592598456&type=1

23,695 people like this.
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A DAD’S SPEECH AT HIS DAUGHTER’S WEDDING

I thought I would start my speech by addressing you as the “new” family of my daughter. But I think it would be inappropriate because now that she is married, you are “the family” for her. Believe me; I don’t have a problem with that. I, in fact, want my daughter to have “you” as her priority now. Its time for us to take a backseat in her life. We would happily accept it but would surely request one thing- please keep her happy!

I am more than sure that you will keep her very happy. She will perhaps be happier than what she used to be here. But like all fathers, I obsess over my daughter’s happiness which is making me say this over and over again- please keep her happy!

She never was and will never be a burden for me. She is in fact the reason why I breathe and smile. I am getting her married because this is what the law of nature demands. I am helpless in the face of our culture and therefore sending her to your home. She was the happiness of my home and will now light up your home. I am giving my world to you. Please make sure it remains beautiful. I am giving away my princess to you. Please make sure she stays as a queen. I have raised her with my sweat and blood and now she is wonderfully perfect. For all the care, love, beauty and warmth my daughter will bring into your lives, I just want her happiness in return—please keep her happy!

If at times you think that my daughter has said or done something wrong, feel free to scold her. But handle her with love. She is very fragile. If at times she feels low, be with her. She just needs a little bit of your attention. If at times she feels sick, show her some care. It’s the medicine that works best for her. If at times she fails to fulfill a responsibility, feel free to chastise her. But empathize with her. She is still learning. Do understand her—please keep her happy!

I don’t mind if I don’t get to see her for months. I don’t mind if I am not able to talk to her on a daily basis. I would be more than happy if she doesn’t remember me much. But, my only motive in life has been my daughter’s happiness which is now in your hands. I beg you, please keep her happy.

Dear son-in-law, these words may not mean much to you now but if you are lucky enough to father a daughter someday, you will appreciate them better when you will find every beat of your heart shouting – “please keep her happy”!

— Dedicated to all fathers

Related Posts:

So what could make even the average, selfish, money-minded Indian family welcome baby girls?

“I am glad that my parents never thought of raising us as ‘future daughters-in-law’.”

An email from an Indian father: I want to place on record my own story as a warning to anyone…

Do you think this video can make Indian parents want to have daughters?

Another email. When an Indian daughter-in-law has no brothers.

Are Happily Married Daughters a status symbol in India?

The interference of parents in the married life of their daughters…

Indian family values are good for Indian daughters?

Difficult daughters, easy sons?

When a daughter refuses to go back…

What do you think of this mother, and this family?

“This man is openly threatening his daughter and is instigating others to burn alive their daughters.”

“Hoping god grants more wisdom to your parents to make you understand things and train you to be a good indian wife.”

53 thoughts on ““But, my only motive in life has been my daughter’s happiness which is now in your hands. I beg you, please keep her happy”

  1. Wao, that is like offering a sitting duck to the tribe of hunters.

    “For all the care, love, beauty and warmth my daughter will bring into your lives, I just want her happiness in return—please keep her happy!”

    What if the other party decides the care, love, beauty and warmth does not meet their benchmark then what alternative plan this father has?
    Unless parents of daughters stop begging and mortgaging the happiness of their daughters to the whims and fancies of groom and his family in order to marry her and keep her married this nonsense will continue.

    My daughter is joining your family to initiate a householder’s life she’ll learn and make mistakes as any human being treat her as you will treat another adult with respect and empathy because she is an adult don’t infantalize her, daddy.

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

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  2. Wow!!! I am so happy you brought up this speech for discussion. Have been watching it floating around for a while now. I saw it on the walls of two of my friends and a lot of comments along the lines of “how touching”, “oh, I remember how my dad cried …..”

    I could not help wondering how people do not boil at the basic injustice of this speech, how they do not see the patriarchy shining through an attitude when we all fight for equal rights.

    This was my reply. I am just quoting it so I don’t have to type it all over again.

    Wouldn’t it be a wonderful day when no father of a daughter has to beg his son-in-law or ILs to be kind to her – because she stands tall on her own two feet as an individual, equal in all respects to her husband and is treated well and respected not as an act of kindness but as a basic human right?

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  3. Nonsense. The daughter is being treated like a child and worse, a piece of cherished property – ‘scold her, chastise her’. WHY? Who is anyone else to scold an adult?

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    • I suspect that the father who made this speech is the type who, if his daughter arrived on his doorstep covered with bruises, would tell her, “please adjust, beta”.

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  4. The number of comments there about missing their dad, loving their dad and the number of likes! People are actually in tears in sympathy with the father. My tears were more on the lines of tearing/throwing something – we have such a long ways to go when this parades as love!

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    • My thoughts exactly!
      I wonder if this dad really ‘loves’ his daughter. Slavery is abolished, but reading this speech I though the father was asking his son in law to treat his daughter a little better than a slave.
      And I don’t understand why women need to seek permission to be in touch with their parents after marriage? Why is that considered a special privilege?

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  5. I have to say, if my father ever spouted a speech like that, that would be the last I spoke to him. Your daughter does not cease to be your daughter just because she has married somebody. The familial bond you’ve cultivated with her for twenty plus years don’t simply disappear in the blink of an eyelid after she signs that marriage registry. She does not stop being your family just because she has now acquired new additions in her life. Her family expands.

    Instead of standing by their daughter, the girl they’ve apparently raised, when times go rough, they’re putting her well-being in the hands of strangers. What’s the point of having family then, if you won’t stick by them? What’s the point of having children if you don’t support them when their life is rough? This reeks of abandonment by the father. He’s not looking out for his daughter. He’s sitting here assuming that he’s tossed her out to the wolves, and is now begging for mercy, all the while without lifting a single finger to help her when she’s “feeling low” or “feeling sick”. Why have a kid at all? The entire speech is just a glossed up way to say that he’s now unloaded his “burden” into the hands of others. His happiness is no longer his responsibility–and apparently, he doesn’t even mind that. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose.

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    • You have said it, if my father gave this speech at my wedding I would cringe, fume in anger and take a few shots of whiskey to keep my cool (see good Indian girl, so can’t make a drama in front of 1000 guests). How can Indian people not see the utter hypocrisy in this bullshit speech? It is dripping with patriarchy and treating an adult woman as a child who needs to be chastised and scolded. I would stop talking to my father if this is what he thought of me, there is no sentimentality or father-daughter love/devotion evident from these words in my opinion. It just shows that daughter is essentially a liability to be offloaded ASAP. No wonder we have the skewed gender ratio because Indian culture utterly romanticizes treating daughter/women as a mere commodity and not a fully fledged human being.

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      • How do women not see it as transfer of property? “I am giving my daughter away” – you give away things you own. Owning a human has a name – slavery. I am bound to everyone by love, no more, no less.

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        • “How do women not see it as a transfer of property?”

          This is something I will never understand. It happens out west too, where the general tradition during weddings is that the father of the bride walks her down the aisle and “gives her away”. Nobody ever questions this. People think it’s “sweet”, and that one shouldn’t look too much into it–but come on! You don’t “give away” human beings, you’d have to own them for that. And the idea of ownership over another human, especially a daughter or a wife, and this idea of a “transfer” of property…when you think about it, it’s actually pretty sick.

          It reminds me one time of a TV show I watched, where the girl was walked down the aisle by her father. When the priest asked, “Who gives this woman away?” her father stepped up and said, “Nobody gives her away. She gives herself freely, with my blessing.” I wish this was the general idea. I like the idea of parents supporting their child, walking with them to help them take the final step toward something potentially wonderful. But the concept of ownership that’s tied together with it ruins it all.

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  6. This takes me back many years when I was a young woman soon to be married. My Dad glared at my fiance and demanded, “Will you make my daughter happy?” Without batting an eye, my fiance responded, “I will treat your daughter as my equal with love and respect and see to it that she has the opportunity to be happy. Whether she is happy or not will be her choice.” I remember the look of stunned confusion on Dad’s face, followed by, “Just so. Just so.”

    The first test came when I told him that I wanted us to have our own house, not live with his parents. He replied, “I don’t know if we can afford a house right away. Would our own apartment be OK for a while?” His mother objected, but we never did live with his family. He wasn’t perfect, but then, neither was I and we were both happy most of the time.

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        • “Princesses can’t fend for themselves, they’re cared for and protected and adored”

          I wouldn’t necessarily say that. I mean, I was raised as Princess too, I suppose, but this wasn’t said in order to protect or shelter me. It was a means to cultivate my self-esteem, as in, “[I’m] equal to royalty”, and hence can achieve anything in this world.

          Besides, who says that “princesses” can’t survive, think, persist and make decisions?😛 Princess Diana was one, and she grew up and learned how to survive. Jhansi ki Rani was probably a princess too at some point. Queen Elizabeth, when she was a princess, volunteered to drive ambulances during WW2.

          If you’re aiming to say that someone was raised in a sheltered, cushioned environment, then it’s better to say exactly that, rather than to use “princess” in a somewhat derogatory manner…it’s a little insulting to all the real ones out there who are nothing like how you’ve described.🙂

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  7. What annoys me a lot is that the Daughter is referred to as a third person in the entire speech even though she is right there. While the intent of this speech is to trigger emotions, it looks like a dialogue between two people who are exchanging commodity (pardon my words). Remove the word ‘Daughter’ and put ‘Car’ inside it or maybe use any other object, its still the same.

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  8. I could not stop rolling my eyes. All this sentimental stuff is passed off as love and makes so many people emotional on FB. I do not even believe they stopped to read it or thought through it. This romanticizing of patriarchal practices is a huge issue among urban Indian people.

    Papa ka pyaar dikta hai par patriarchy nahi
    Sentiment dikta hai par inequality nahi.
    Shaadi dikta hai par “forced to marry due to society” nahi
    Aurat dikti hai par Insaan ki tarah nahi.

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    • What’s most disturbing to me is that it’s often women who are sharing this stuff. They’re not uneducated either, a good number of them are professionals. It has often puzzled me that Indian people can often solve some knotty scientific or technical problem with no difficulty whatsoever, but then the same people can’t make logical inferences or understand basic cause-and-effect when it comes to social issues. Maybe Indians need a more rigorous education in the humanities, or maybe the school system should teach critical thinking explicitly.

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      • ” It has often puzzled me that Indian people can often solve some knotty scientific or technical problem with no difficulty whatsoever, but then the same people can’t make logical inferences or understand basic cause-and-effect when it comes to social issues.”

        This isn’t just specific to Indians, but the vast majority of humanity. The only answer I can come up with is that people don’t want to think too hard about things they can’t easily see the benefits of. Solving scientific or technical problems have easily accessible rewards. Thinking about societal ills and the correlation between mere words and deeply ingrained prejudices is difficult, and above all, extremely uncomfortable for a lot of people. People don’t want to confront themselves, because doing that would mean that they are identifying the ways in which their mentalities are flawed–and humans would rather go through life believing that they’re good people with good intentions no matter how problematic their beliefs.

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  9. In the meantime, the daughter is just sitting there taking this crap. She’s treated as a passive non entity both by her father as well as the in-laws. “Keep her happy”. What bullshit. Instead he should say “I hope my daughter seizes her happiness with both hands. And if you get in her way, god help you!”

    P.S: You’ve sold your daughter into marriage to satisfy your “cultural” expectations. You do not love your daughter. Or at least I will never wish your kind of “love” on my worst enemy.

    P.P.S: The daughter seems to have just gone along with this. The father is the shepherd, she’s the sheep and the in laws are what? The wolves?

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  10. ‘Keep her happy’ always bothers me. Why not bring her up with all the tools she needs to ‘keep’ herself happy (education, confidence etc)? Who is the father to ‘sacrifice’ her to the in-laws and ‘take a back-seat’? Is she not a sentient person who can decide her priorities and actions for herself? Ugh!

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  11. The title of this post made me recollect this incident,

    The first time I got a slap from my ex H, I shouted, if my dad comes to know about this, he will kill you….

    When I told my dad about this, my dad cried in front of my ex H and said, please don’t hit her.

    That day I realized my hero of 24 years is actually just a mere “Indian Dad”

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  12. So many daughters seemed to love this speech on FB. Apparently, they relate to it. I just don’t see why women have fond memories of their father infantilizing them to the level of a 5 year old that needs constant caring. I have fond memories of when my father told my boyfriend’s family that he won’t get me married until I finished my Masters, had a job and was generally self sufficient. I have fond memories of when my father told me that he’d support me no matter how many degrees I wanted to pursue or whatever career I wanted to take up. I have a phenomenal marriage. But that can never take away from the fact that my birth family is my own. They are my flesh and blood. My in laws are great people and I share a relationship full of respect and love with them, but they are just that – in laws.

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  13. I think i would tell my dad to stop after the first few lines and respectfully tell him, i dont need anyone to make me happy, treat me as an equal yes, the rest i can deal with myself.

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  14. Please watch this sweet and funny giving away speech

    Even though I don’t agree with the concept of ‘giving away’ one’s daughter, this dad sees his daughter as a complete human being – an adult that he is proud of.
    IHM, how many Indian dads have this view of their daughters? How many of them will fully recognize and accept and celebrate her choice of a life partner the way this dad does?

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  15. Honestly, this “speech” sounds like a conscientious dog-owner finding a home for the litter that his dogs have had.

    In fact, I know a dog-owner who thinks JUST like the dad in the picture. That’s how we got our second pup – her “mom”, who was my mother’s colleague, tearfully dropped her off at our home when the originally intended owners turned up with a cardboard box (without even a towel to cushion it) in the back seat of their car, to transport the puppy across cities. Since our first pup was “treated like a queen” (in her words), the only surviving pup of her litter got dropped off at our place without notice, along with some Cerelac and cheese. My mother was hesitant to say “No, sorry, we don’t want another dog” to her tearful colleague, and we were delighted to have the little furball (now hellion)

    I can just imagine her (my mother’s colleague, not her pup) saying these lines –

    “I have raised her with my sweat and blood and now she is wonderfully perfect. For all the care, love, beauty and warmth my puppy will bring into your lives, I just want her happiness in return—please keep her happy!”

    “If at times you think that my puppy has said(barked?) or done something wrong, feel free to scold her. But handle her with love. She is very fragile. If at times she feels low, be with her. She just needs a little bit of your attention. If at times she feels sick, show her some care. It’s the medicine that works best for her. If at times she fails to fulfill a responsibility(fetch!), feel free to chastise her. But empathize with her. She is still learning. Do understand her—please keep her happy!”

    Sigh. When will people understand that women have a functioning brain, and are agents of free will? I cannot get over the hordes of women who have “liked” this stupid drivel on fb.

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  16. I echo previous comments – were my dad to ever spout such nonsense to anyone, ‘begging for my happiness’, I would disown him! My happiness is my responsibility, not someone else’s. I’ve ranted previously to friends about the concept of ‘giving away’, but this post takes the cake.

    The dad says, “I am getting her married”, yeah, no, SHE is the one who should be making the decision to get married.

    He gives the husband free reign to ‘chastise her’, ‘scold her’, etc. but ‘show her love’, because ‘she is fragile’. If this isn’t infantalizing, I don’t know what is!

    I wrote a post a while ago about the concept of ‘girls’ married families being their only family after the wedding’, and how nonsensical it was to presume that the people you share your childhood (and maybe blood, maybe not) with suddenly become strangers because you put on a ring/mangalsutra/sign a piece of paper. Its sickening.

    Also, ‘she is wonderfully perfect’? Really? because that’s kind of impossible. She may be a great person, she may be smart, kind, gentle, ambitious etc., but she may also be lazy, impatient, or quick to anger. JUST LIKE THE REST OF US! She has flaws, and anyone she is spending the rest of her life with should not be told that she is ‘perfect’ – because she isn’t. None of us are. She’s as flawed as teh rest of us.

    ‘I don’t mind if I don’t get to see her for months. I don’t mind if I am not able to talk to her on a daily basis. I would be more than happy if she doesn’t remember me much.’
    ^ I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this. He pretends like its all about her happiness, but really, this ‘dad’ is a selfish, weak, and overall insensitive prat who doesn’t understand the basic idea that his daughter is not an object he is giving away, but rather a living, breathing, person capable of making her own decisions.

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  17. Hi IHM,
    The number of likes this post has received is not entirely surprising since most women i have interacted with themselves at some level enjoy being infantilized by their father/ boyfriend/ husband. These women are educated and independent (at least financially) but love being the darling daughters who are obedient and preparing to be the ideal daughter-in-law. They are actually happy because either they don’t know any better or don’t want to know. The ‘becoming a part of the system’ education has been so strong that they don’t see when the line between plain pampering and controlling got erased. Also, i fail to understand why marriage is a bigger deal for women than men.Why are girls always stereotyped as dreaming of being a bride while guys seldom are shown as dreaming of becoming grooms? The above words, its beyond my dreams to even imagine one of the lines being said by a guys’s mom/dad at his wedding.

    By the way, I love reading your blog. It has become like a safe zone for me. And thank you for that.

    Like

    • Yes! This dad thinks he’s being oh-so-sentimental by spouting this nonsense. I wonder if he even realizes that he’s weakening his own daughter’s morale while handing over ownership to another family :S

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  18. Nowhere in the letter is any mention made of what the daughter wants. There is a man emotionally going blah blah about her and requesting (sic) that she be kept happy, telling her ‘new’ family about her, her needs, what to do with her etc. But no one is bothered to find out what that daughter thinks or has to say. Disgusted by this show of transfer of ownership.

    Like

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