Where would you begin understanding, questioning and challenging when,
1. Not giving dowry needs to be explained,
2. Violence is not seen as non negotiable,
3. House arresting an adult is seen as an option,
4. Choice marriage is termed as ‘eloping’ (or ladkee ghar se bhaag gayee),
5. Choice marriages and divorce are both seen as bringing shame to the family,
6. Not wanting to live with in laws (only by women) is seen as selfish,
7. But when they live with the in laws, they are blamed for increasing expenses like electricity bills
8.They are expected to earn but not keep, invest, save or spend what they earn.
9.But parents of sons expect a share (or full control) in what the couple earns.
And most importantly, when
10. Caste is an issue for a daughter’s parents, not misogyny in the prospective groom’s family.
How common is this?
Sharing an email. Bold emphasis mine.
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Good afternoon IHM,
I am a 24 year old girl from India, currently living in the UK with my husband. Earlier last week I searched on Google about ‘Divorce in India’ and landed on your blog. From Last one week I have gone through each and every post written on state of Indian women in India, particularly the ones about daughter-in-laws.
When I was 18, I met my current husband. Like most other Indian parents my mom was very upset as my boyfriend was from different caste and discussed with my brother, maternal uncle and maternal grandfather. My phone was confiscated and was under house arrest for few weeks. I literally begged to let me marry my then boyfriend.
My boyfriends parents came to my house, but I was scared to take any stand. And then they (my current in-laws and husband) kept taunting me that I am incapable of taking any stand. And I must say I was totally blind in love or ignorant, I ignored most of the relationship No’s as recently mentioned by A Twenty Something
on your blog.
After four months, I decided to elope and get married. My boyfriend’s father were fully involved in getting us married. After wedding my husband was immediately sent back to the UK by his brother and father. Meanwhile my family proposed to get us married in the normal way to get society’s approval.
My family asked them about dowry demands and they kept saying no. Despite openly saying no my mother-in law had eye on getting loads of dowry, as she kept suggesting. But never said in front of my father-in-law. He also kept demanding a lohe- ka- tukda (car), but always in humor. As I felt guilty of eloping and getting married and was always against dowry, I didn’t convey these to my mother. Also my husband seemed supportive of me.
My MIL expected me to do all the house chores, and kept taunting me, insulted my family on certain occasions. I decided to ignore, as everyone told me about her nature. During reception though my mother gave clothes to me and my husband, but nothing which can be termed dowry, as I married against their will. And my mother didn’t liked my in laws also, so she decided to keep that money for any future troubles in my life.
My husband came for two weeks for the receptions. He left and I lived with my in-laws for two more months. During which my MIL taunted me on everything from electricity bills to phone bills blaming me that everything increased since I came to live. I couldn’t watch TV as she watched her daily soaps from morning 9 to evening 5. I couldn’t use internet as that increased their bills. I couldn’t even fill Sudoku or crossword in the newspaper as it was my in laws right (or whatever). I couldn’t go out to meet my friends or invite them over. They were always grumpy. I wasn’t earning then and was busy sorting my passport and VISA. My MIL taunted my SIL and me saying if she had married both her sons into her community she would have got loads of gold jewellery.
After coming to the UK I was unemployed for 6 months. My in laws have a rule of sons and DILs calling them everyday. Everyday they would ask him about my job (and never me) and kept telling him things like it might be difficult for him to manage alone etc. That never instigated my husband to fight with me. He was always supportive. I got a job. For six month he had complete control of my salary. My in laws always asked him about our financial details and taunted we are earning a lot. My FIL would convert that salary into INR but we were earning and spending it in GBP. My FIL also kept taunting my husband that he at that age has to work and sons are not able to take care, though no one asked him to do so.
Every time I went out and wanted to buy anything for myself my husband would say you spend too much. So after six months I decided I will keep my salary and transfer household expenses and part of joint savings to my husbands account. Though he initially denied and kept saying it will spoil the relationship, I was adamant because his parents have tortured me enough for money, I didn’t wanted to go through that again. He agreed though but may be he got bitter inside and divided savings as well.
When we went to India after a few months, when I was at my mother’s place and he bought land without informing me, on his mother’s name. He also told our financial arrangements to in laws who were upset and I was told that I should give all my salary to him and then he should give me pocket money to meet my expenses.
I was also given advice by my MIL that ‘aurat to dab k rehna chahiye‘ to which my FIL and husband agreed. When I asked my husband why he didn’t involve me in purchase of land he said, “You have divided our finances and made a dividing line in this relation. You shouldn’t be concerned where I spend this money and on whose name.”
I have always told him about my in laws humiliation towards me and my family. And my husband says he cannot say anything to them. After reading your blog I realised he is a Shravan Kumar, and scared to be termed JKG by his parents, who have that mentality.
There are numerous restrictions on the daughter-in laws like, no mehendi on any occasion, calling in-laws daily (otherwise they can go to the extent of insulting and abusing me and my family). Not wearing black and endless orthodox nonsense, not staying long with my mother, my family not doing enough to please in laws etc. My mother hates them so much that she doesn’t even want to talk to them despite living less than a mile away.
From last 3-4 months my relationship with my husband has only gone worse to the extent we both are thinking of Divorce. Despite of differences with my in-laws I never asked my husband to stay away from them or whatever.
I think my husband has got no stand on anything, can’t differentiate between right or wrong and will never take a stand for me even if his parents insult me. But will always be quick to ask me to stop talking to my family if they insult him. His reply on asking why his parents insult my family is when two families get in a relation thoda upar neeche hota hai (some highs and lows can happen). I asked what if yeh thoda neeche (the same lows) was from my family’s end to which he obviously has no reply.
I am so over this relationship I regret my decision of getting married into this family and also thinking of divorce. My husband has been groomed to treat women like jutis and its deep seated. He sees his father as an ideal who is similar and has been controlling my MIL from many years. My MIL is a bitter and greedy woman and never had cordial relations with anybody except my husband.
I have shared everything with my mother and she supports me. She has always asked me to stay quiet where needed but stand by if something is wrong. I think I have brought shame to her and my family once by eloping. If I divorce than they will have to go through it again. I am also not sure if talking with husband will solve this as he is very rigid about understanding where his parents are wrong. Also he has been brought up with the same chauvinist mentality. I have started hating him for not being able to take a stand. He has never been violent towards me except for once where I made it quite clear if he beat me again I will leave him or call the police.
In your blog I have seen there are many other cases like me. I wish I was more sensible at the age of 22 before eloping and spoiling my life.
Another Confused Wife