“I am trying to make a list of soooooooo many advantages a girl can have if she is born in a Western family as compared to being born in india.”

Does Patriarchy combined with Patrilocality (the wife relocating to the husband’s parents’/ancestors’ home) and Patrilineal-ity (women not being permitted to have, or to pass on, names or identity of their own) create a happy society?

Would such a society survive if its members were permitted to reject its norms? What prevents the members from rejecting these norms or diktats? Indoctrination, risk to life, violence, boycott or stigma. Or maybe they believe they benefit from the system? 

Sharing an email.

Hello indian homemaker,

I am not writing an email about my troubles right now – it’s just that I have been thinking VERY DEEPLY about something for many years now.

Having been born and brought up in India and having observed how Indian families behave, the gender stereotype, social hierarchy, gender based discrimination (in the name of culture and ‘sanskaar’) and everything that goes on in india …………… I think we are all too familiar about what goes on in India even before a girl child is born and after her birth and later when she gets married in majority of households (thankfully not all households) :- so I do not need to write much about that.

My parents were very liberal /modern/progressive in their outlook, so I guess that made me question things that others just considered to be a norm.

My mother is a gynaecologist :- so I have seen how indian families react when a girl child is born and how they react when a guy child is born. I mean to say I got the front row seat thousands of times to what I call extreme injustice bestowed upon the girl child even before she is born.

How the faces of the parents and in laws would drop the minute they hear its a girl child as if they have come to a funeral.

And their reaction when told a guy child is born :- they would be as joyous as if someone handed them Diwali, Holi, Lohdi, Eid, Christmas everything in one package on the same day.

Tonnes of sweets would be distributed, and what not.

I have lived in the West for several years. Two years in the USA and approximately 3 years in the UK.

I have observed the life of the Americans and the British up close.

It has seriously made me wonder :- how much BETTER it is, for a girl, to be born in a WESTERN family.

I feel they have their own demons they fight.

Their culture is imperfect too.

But then again, possibly sooooo much better than ours.

I am trying to make a list of soooooooo many advantages a girl can have if she is born in a Western family as compared to being born in india.

There would be tooooo many things that I may forget to write, so readers help me out! Please add what I forgot.

Indian Homemaker and other readers please give me your opinion on what you feel on this topic :-

1) Parents are as joyous if not more on getting the news that a girl is about to be born as joyous they would be on knowing that a boy child is about to be born. even the in laws without any stigma would genuinely be delighted and start buying gifts for the little princess who’s yet to arrive in this world.

2) Of course nobody would even think about female infanticide after she is born. She would be welcome in this world with tonnes of gifts and showered with love and blessings from both parents and both sets of grandparents.

3) Her upbringing would not be sacrificed for preferential treatment of her brothers. Equal amount of effort would be put into her education, all round development (soccer practice, gym classes, swimming lessons), equal nutrition, medical care. Basically not raised with any bias:- born an equal, raised an equal :- in my opinion that leads to a well balanced healthy self respecting adult with good self esteem.

4) No pressure to move in with in laws. Let’s face it we have all heard /seen stories where the daughter in law is crying her eyes out cause of whatever dynamics that go on in indian joint families.

5) If she reports sexual crimes:- its not a matter of bringing shame to the family.

6) No honor killing.

7) It is a generally accepted idea that she has a life of her own, mind of her own. She does not need to do X, Y, Z to please third cousins’ uncles’ nieces’ somebody.

The log kya kahenge crap is not the fuel that destroys her happiness.

8) She is not confined/ forced to do all the household chores if she chooses to rather all her focus and energy on her education/ career/ hobby/ anything that makes her happy and feel fulfilled in life.

9) Most partners (boyfriends/ husbands) help with household chores.

10) Most partners help with child upbringing responsibilities.

11) She is not told by her in laws after marriage, whether or not she can go to her maika, or for how long.

12) Her parents do not have to feel pressurised about dowry or marriage expenses.

13) If she is stuck in an unhappy marriage, she does not have to think about log kya kahenge when making a decision in favour of her happiness and sanity .

14) A Second Marriage is not a taboo, and she does not have to wonder about society thinking doosri shaadi ho payegi ki nahin / baatein banegi/ etc .

15) She is under no pressure to bear male offspring.

16) She can help her parents in any and every manner that she desires after her marriage (with no in laws telling her they are more important than her own parents).

I think the list goes on n on …….

Basically I am getting drawn to the western culture even with the flaws of the western culture. I am getting more and more convinced that it is million times better than our Indian culture IF YOU ARE A FEMALE.

If you are a guy, then it would not come as a shock to me that you admire/love Indian culture.

One thing I used to notice in the matrimonial ads :- most of the biodatas would say the guy and his family love Indian traditions, culture, blah blah .

It also makes me wonder, was this what Indian culture was from the beginning…….or slowly the people for whom it was advantageous to mould it to be in their favour (ladke wale)…. slowly they kept twisting things in their favour and on n on and on n on and it has come to become a very difficult culture for women to live in.

Yes, Indian Homemaker, me and other readers of this blog are working everyday to change it.

But how much mental energy is drained fighting everyday for our rights. how much peace of mind is lost everyday fighting for our rights.

How many sleepless nights feeling furious, troubled by in laws issues, blah blah blah .

I too am fighting just like indian homemaker regarding the injustice.

But nevertheless it makes me wonder:- how much easier/ better life could be if one is just born in an equal society!!

Readers and indian home maker: do tell me your thoughts and please add more points to the list I started making. I am sure there are wayyyy too many points that belong in that list!

god bless

– Mansi

Related Posts:

Indian family values are good for Indian daughters?

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

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

Marriages are sold to Indian women in a glossy cover…?

Indian brides told to reduce mobile phone use.

India leads in sexual violence, worst on gender equality: Study

The father threw the baby on the ground and tried to strangle her with his legs: No case registered.

If she was born somewhere else.

Why do Indian women like to wear western clothes?

हमारी बेटी संस्कारवान है और मंत्री बनने के बावजूद पति के पांव की जूती ही है।

“I don’t see the point of forcing parents to give birth to unwanted girl children.”

Skewed sex ratio is not caused by sex selective abortions.

Shadi ke baad ladki ki PRIORITY sasuraal ki taraf ho jaati hai?

‘I have grown up and gotten used to the fact that my parents are considered less fortunate since they did not have a son.’

‘And if you are unlucky, you will get an American daughter-in-law.’Why is it misogynistic to promise wives from Bihar to Haryana men who are not able to find wives?

These lines sum up the biggest reason for male child preference and skewed gender ratio in India.

An email: If I am around people who think that having or giving birth to sons is everything in life how should I behave?

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

Our culture doesn’t back smoking by ladies: govt tells SC

Girls retaliate this time. But will the lectures on culture ever stop?

Boys and Girls Holding Hands …

‘My question is, what do you do? What do you say when the majority thinks this way…’

Oprah, Indian Family Values and Widows of Vrindavan.

Why I Love the Western Culture.


114 thoughts on ““I am trying to make a list of soooooooo many advantages a girl can have if she is born in a Western family as compared to being born in india.”

  1. I sometimes think why God had been so biased to me for throwing me in Indian so called traditional Country/culture.

    One point which I would add is, Unlike India, none of the Western families’ Respect & Honor resides in their daughters’ hymen.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I too feel the same sometimes and wish I could run away from here. But may be if I wasnt born here I wouldn’t have known much about the horrifying affects of patriarchy and would never have decided to fight against them.!!


      • You know, the strange things is that many Indians GENUINELY don’t see how much suffering our skewed belief systems and practices cause.

        Somehow, many Indians genuinely feel that something that has endured for thousands of years MUST be good and flawless.

        It’s this thought process that keeps us imprisoned in restrictive ways of thinking, genreration after generation.

        I have been thinking very deeply about the meaning of freedom.

        As a woman, can I really claim to live in a FREE country when I lack basic freedoms like wearing what I please.

        So many married women are deprived of basic rights like visiting their parents when they please, wearing what they please and eating what they like.

        When you are imprisoned by such tight social norms, does freedom have any real meaning?


    • Haha. I feel the exact same way.

      I have spent so much of my life battling prejuduce and ill-treatment.

      When I was married, it was about fighting for basic things like being allowed to bathe at night.

      Yes, my ex-husband’s family frowned on bathing in the evening.

      As a divorced woman, I faced scorn and ostracisation because I was divorced and everyone assumes that I MUST have something REALLY wrong with me to end up divorced.

      Now that I am married again, I face disrespectful, abusive treatment from my mother-in-law.

      Some days, I just want to pray for early deliverance


      • @Neha, Indian youth is so much busy, hurt and depressed with relationships issues and freedom fights that our potential for making some achievements in innovations etc is greatly reduced.

        I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg was also put into this depression by his parents that they wont marry him with his Chinese gf coz of community issues, Would he be able to concentrate on his project and make FB.

        Liked by 2 people

        • A thousand YESES and upvotes.

          As a society, so much of our creative and intellectual energy is wasted fighting absurd and illogical social norms.

          As you said so beautifully, if Zuckerberg had spent all his creative energy convincing his parents to “accept” his Chinese girlfriend, would he have had time to create Facebook?


        • Seriously!!! I am an American girl who had an Indian fiance (I posted about a month ago on the topic here) and my ex and I sometimes spoke of this. Trying to gain his parents approval took up his entire life. His work completely sacrificed and that too, at a time when he should have been rising up in his field. Ugh.


      • @Neha, My husband’s family too had issues with me taking a bath at night.
        I remember my mother-in-law asking me if I was a baby that needs to be bathed before being put to sleep.
        My father-in-law declared that they were very liberal in-laws since they were “allowing me” to take a bath at night.
        It is fighting for these basic rights that is draining on mind and body. A freedom that is not even theirs to take in the first place is snatched away from you and then granted to you on a conditional basis.


  2. I agree with you . I would like to add in that list –
    17. She can wear whatever she wants

    Frankly I am just so sick and tired of dealing with fights everyday… I see my goals taking a back seat.. It is so bloody difficult to go on about like this .. I am just so tired…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s no pressure to remain a p”pure” virgin till marriage. Infact its expected that she would date and have a sex life after certain age.

    She would not be paraded in front of prospective in laws.She can choose her own life partner.

    She can dress as she pleases.
    A little clevage or short skirt will not endanger the “culture”

    Liked by 2 people

    • She will not be told that now that she is married, she is the property of her husband and in-laws.

      She will not be told that she MUST please her husband and in-laws, even at the cost of her mental sanity and well-being.

      She will not ever lie awake at night, wondering if there is any difference between marriage and slavery.

      I have lain awake many nights thinking if there is any difference between a wife/DIL and a slave in our great Indian Culture

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Agree with almost all your points except perhaps 9 and 10. I am not so sure “most” men help with domestic chores and children even in the West. Sure, many do, but “most” ….. Anyway, maybe that maybe a case of splitting hair over a statistic. In any case, I do agree with the rest of your points.

    I totally agree with your contention about the amount of mental and emotional energy that is drained day in and day out, just to be allowed to live a life or self-respect, dignity and equality. Sadly enough, a few years down the line of such fights, one gives up the fight just to allow some peace to reign – around oneself, even if not in the mind. So, essentially it is a life of mental and emotional strife either way – you insist on your rights, the peace around is gone; you give up your rights, you battle the demons of lost self-respect, self-worth and the peace inside your mind is gone.


    • Swatiaiyer, totally agree with you. Only I know how many sleepless nights I have had since I got married . You are absolutely right about the lost peace of mind factor either way! While all this energy and time could have been channelled for productive things like studies, education, career !
      What a waste of our previous energy and time.
      I do not know if this happens to others or not:- but in my case I feel like I do not have the ability to just hit the delete and recycle bin button and forget the unpleasant memories.
      I m human, not a computer where you just hit the delete button to delete a file. The file I am referring to are the arguments, unpleasant memories:- can’t just delete them. Hence the sleepless nights and lost peace of mind ! And what are we having to fight for ? Our human rights which god gave us when he made us, but culture is trying to put limitations , restrictions, conditions on our rights !


      • Very true. sometimes I also get so irritated when I see some parents (who has male kids) act as if their future is secure and they need not worry about women empowerment and such issues…..they are so focused on mollycoddling the sons. This is not out of jealousy I write, but the insensitivity towards other women, about whom they rarely think (do not ask me how I know that they don’t think, it seeps out in their discussion about their future plans for the sons and the would-be daughters-in-law they want, who should be the epitome of sanskar)

        I do not find any boy brought up with sanskar….they all smoke, drink, use abusive words, have least respect for the girls’ parents….is sanskar, only for the women and not the man?


    • Your message reminds me of this quote from batman “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”


  5. Oftentimes I have wondered how my life would’ve turned out if I didn’t have the hygiene issues bogging me down – safety, dignity of labor, dignity as a woman, right to true equality, etc.
    Imagine the extra mental bandwidth afforded by that much peace! Imagine what I could’ve done with that much freedom of thought!

    I have never lived abroad, but have gained some perspective about the West simply through the vast exposure that interacting with tourists and watching movies/series and having a ravenous appetite for books and writing a blog read mostly by non-Indian population gives you. And I’ll be honest, I know that the West has its own challenges that I can’t fathom dealing with.

    But all things considered, I’m with Mansi on this one. If I could move, I would move out of India and never look back.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sometimes I feel that if a girl is career-oriented, the last thing she wants to be is to stay in India!
    I don’t know what harm is it to be born as a girl..! The dowry, being submissive to in-laws, being a pativrata…. Oh my God!! Ofcourse, being loyal and a good human being is one thing, but leading a life that’s close to slavery (sorry, couldn’t use an accurate word) is quite another.

    Girls should not wear western (read: provoking) clothes, girls should be traditional, girls should give utmost respect to her husband and in-laws, girls should “adjust” if she is in a bad marriage..!
    What an injustice!
    (Phew! I am getting overly emotional now! Guess its time to stop)

    But fortunately, things started are changing. They are not as bad as they were 30 years ago. I hope things change soon and gender equality will be a reality.


    • For what it’s worth, I find wearing a sari more revealing and provocative than a shirt and trousers. I mean, the belly is on show and I have seen some ladies under-boob peaking out of the blouse.


  7. Totally agree with everyone …. I did feel I am forgetting sooo much when making the list……
    So basically every aspect of our life would b different/ easier !
    Well I remembered another one:- if a girl chooses to have a drink of few to unwind/ let her hair down :- eyebrows are not raised, it’s not assumed she’s chalu, or characterless or a slut

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spot on.
      I live abroad and I have started to hate Indian culture….i love sarees, sutis, indian food, indian festivals but when it comes to so called culture , I just hate it.
      I also hate how NRIs here who have been living here from the past 10-15 years, have started NGOs to inculcate Indian culture in their kids….and how my NRI cousin try to hide my love marriage in front of other NRIs…I am like, dude why you living abroad if you have so much of problem with love marriages. I simply hate it.
      I miss India and wanna go back, but when I think of Indian culture especially post marriage, it sucks…..it truely sucks for indian married women….even if they live away from their in-laws, they’ll always be stress and tensions…
      I so wanna go back to India but I am so damn scared of stress that I ll have to go through with my in-laws. So I am caught in web….whether to go back or not to.


      • Sometimes I think we should give every young Indian woman a place to stay here in Europe, and then see what those proud parents do with their sons.It would be interesting to see the realization dawn on their faces that hey, if you treat women like shit, maybe they don’t want to stay!


    • also, what about the saas-bahu soap operas? They are leaving huge impressions on real-life saas-bahus……sari-clad, living happily in joint family, winning everyone’s heart ……why dont they make practical life soaps…..we really need a reform in television industry.


      • Because there audience is generally the housewives or such women who love what they show. IF they show a girl eloped or married against her parents’ will and now living HAPPILY, then the grand audience wont like such serial. I know it coz my mother usually comment if watch such alien thing ” now they teach these values to the girls that run or rebel and you will be happy” and then she changes the channel.


  8. You are right in your observations !
    Here rotten apples spoil the whole community and dekha Dekhi everyone wants to follow and perpetuate unfair ,cruel practices in name of culture and tradition ! And the law and order is pathetic so it works like icing on the cake ! India might have aced economically but it is far behind in respect and right to live to half its population !
    Its sharmful that we are still fighting female infanticide, dowry deaths !We are no better than tribal jaahil communities !
    The worst part is in branded clothes,malls and Rolex watches and best brands vying for our money ,we are fast becoming deluded,lulled into thinking everything is fine !
    The civilisation which cannot respect women and let them live is doomed to perish !


    • Like Saudi Arabia, People’s pockets and bank accounts are rich, So much of luxury, best buildings,hotels etc but when it comes to women’s right, they are poorest of the poor.


      • At least, Saudi Arabia has a high female literacy rate. We do not even have that!

        We have not been able to ensure that EVERY Indian woman can at least write her own name.

        It doesn’t matter if a miniscule number of Indians work on Mangalyaan if millions still can’t sign their own name.


        • Female literacy is useless if it does not make their lives better. Please don’t compare Saudi positively to India. It’s a false comparison and very insensitive towards all those Saudi women who are given lashes in public merely for going out with a man who is not a relative. Women are not allowed legally to join a profession without their father’s or husband’s permission. They are not allowed to go to school or college. They are not allowed to leave the country. Even high-ranking princesses can be executed or imprisoned for going against the guardian’s wishes. So please, stop this.


        • Replying to Fem.

          Why is there a problem comparing Saudi Arabia’s lieracy rate with ours?

          It’s true, isn’t it? Education is a basic right. If Saudi Arabia is doing a better job providing basic literacy to women, then in that aspect, they are a better society than we are.

          Why is it a problem if they are doing a better job providing basic education and basic health/nutrition to women?

          We have constitutional rights for women that exist only on paper.

          Just because the Constitution proclaimed that Indian women were equal to men doesn’t mean that we have equal rights.

          I’m not saying that Saudi Arabia is a better society for women. I am saying that they have achieved basic human rights for women, like health and education.

          They are not struggling with a declining sex ratio, like we are.


        • A literate woman in Saudi has less freedom and opportunities for self-progress than an illiterate one in India. It’s as simple as that.

          They have plenty of free government health programmes, but all is nullified if a woman cannot consult a doctor without her owner’s permission.

          Constitutional rights in India are not just on paper. They can be implemented, though it’s an uphill struggle.

          Yes, they are not struggling with a declining sex ratio because women are not allowed the freedom of decision over their own bodies, so they cannot abort under any circumstances, except to save the mother’s life.

          Saudi has one of the worst human rights record, for both men and women. I am flabbergasted that you are saying they have achieved human rights!


      • At least, Saudi Arabia has a high female literacy rate. We do not even have that!

        We have not been able to ensure that EVERY Indian woman can at least write her own name.

        It doesn’t matter if a miniscule number of Indians work on Mangalyaan if millions still can’t sign their own name.


        • High litracy rate in saudi is as useless as giving luxury to animals in zoo….They r basically birds trapped in a golden cage…wats the use of high litracy whn they cant even peep out of their window without their master’s permission


        • Please read my comment again. I am not claiming that life for women is better across-the-board for women.

          I very specifically said that KSA has a better record in terms of basic health care and education.

          As regards having the power to choose whether a woman can abort or not, neither can an Indian woman abort a child unilaterally.

          Many pregnant women have NO control over whether they can keep or abort the foetus.

          I have educated friends who were not allowed to abort by their husband and in-laws.

          Yes, an Indian woman has this right on paper, but not in practice


      • Saudi Arabia has undamental problems ! They are Islamic state and then they wahabis who follow extreme,tribal form of sharia ! They are different then those Muslims in Iran (shias) ,Iraq, Afghanistan !
        The problem is even if Muslims follow sharia ,the interpretations by each state,sect varies so much that the end result is less rights to women !
        Even though I am a Muslim,being Indian ,I am appalled at how women are treated in Saudi Arabia largely and also in other Islamic states !


  9. Freedom. Freedom to be yourself. To explore all the possibilities you could be. The freedom to make mistakes, to improve and educate yourself. You say Indian men see an advantage in our culture, but I venture to say that those who do, Indian or otherwise, are never truly men of any worth. They are pigeon-holed little caricatures/imperfect images of their idols – deities or their own parents or whoever else they choose to ‘believe’. Cannot blame them. We are a culture yet to rise. Regardless of all the grandiose claims our scriptures make over our collective spirituality, meditation, whatever! A human being must think for himself to apply any good value for himself. Our traditional culture robs us of our very ability to think – despising it by calling it individualism and despising it more for being so. Look around and you’ll see not just women, men too robbed of their ability to think, be their true selves. I love to look for pros rather than cons. So here goes: We, as Indian women, as a very self-aware generation of Indian women, stand at the precipice of a huge opportunity to change things for the next one. I think that’s great. Sure, the fight is a tough one. Those ‘luckier’ western women have gone through it too and paved a way for us – they’ve been through the days of corsets and slavery and lack of suffrage. I am sure we are paving the way for many more to come, join us.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I have often thought about this too. The thing I felt about the most was that if I had been born in the West to (let’s be honest here) white or to a certain extent, black parents, I would not have faced so much emotional manipulation for getting married. Asians, whether it is Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis, Japanese or Saudis, are the worst in terms of culture when it comes to controlling of grown up children, especially women. I mean, I would rather be what I am than being born to Pakistani British parents! That said, when this begins to weigh me down, I just thank my stars I was not born in Afghanistan or Saudi. I also would not like to live in a country like Ireland, where something like an abortion is illegal.

    I don’t agree about men and women sharing house work and childcare equally in the Western world. The housework is still the domain of women, as is child care. There is a lot of domestic violence happening in the West too. The Western culture is also honour-based, though in a very different manner and the hold is much lesser. Basically, they have just evolved (as far as women’s rights are concerned) a little more than we have. A hundred years ago, things were just as bad in the West as in India.

    A lot of the social development in the West has come about due to social programmes, social awareness and welfare state. Gradual erosion of religious faith has also added to social progress. The World Wars completely turned the social order upside down, especially in Europe, and contributed to a different way of life. Decades of gorging on rich countries in Asia and Africa has contributed to the wealth in European countries, which they have eventually put to use in social programmes. It all did not happen overnight.

    India lags behind because of (1) Poverty. There is no way there can be equality without eradication of poverty. & (2) Population. This really affects the way things are conducted in the country, for example, legal trials, job interviews, marriages.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Fem,
      I recently moved to Dublin , Ireland . I (along with most irish women here)agree abortion laws are ridiculous here. Recently, this happened.(http://www.thejournal.ie/abortion-pills-2-1750266-Oct2014/) Savitha made it to the headlines that whole week,this inspite of her case being closed nd around 50 people named nd punished at various levels in her inquest nd amending the law to prioritise mother’s health over child’s nd adding a mental health clause. I m very hopeful , by next govt this abortion law will be done away with, that same hope i cannot bring myself to hope in India. That said, i will tell you some things i learnt after coming here.
      -. Until 40 years ago women were not part of the work force, now unemployment in women is considerably less than unemployment in men.
      -.Woman have no extra peer pressure growing up..they are provided equal opportunities to education, to welfare, to learn to ride a horse, play golf nd rugby or learn to sing etc ! i live next to a secondary school nd it a delight to watch strong young women going to leo burdocks(local chipper ) after Rugby practice in their messy buns nd bruised shins
      -. In Dublin, in a recent state survey a mere 13 percent said they would consider themselves religious and lil more 60 percent opted for ‘i don’t know’ 🙂 I haven’t met one single religious irish person as yet! sundays are not for mass anymore..they are for nursing a wicked hangover and doing laundry !

      Yes , there is a bit of sexism/racism/patriarchy left, felt in lil subtle ways, but a confrontation or passive-polite dig can make it stop. 2009 celtic tiger recession has acted as a great equaliser. I would say if you ever get a chance to live here, please do not hesitate because of the abortion laws, yes they are wrong but they do not set a precedent for a woman’s life here. its a beautiful country, great base to travel the world/ europe with Ryan air 🙂 and people here are lovely! I feel definitely more enabled nd safer here than i ever did in bangalore/India.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I know a lot about Irish culture as I once dated an Irish guy. His sister was regularly beaten up by her guy *shudders* But yes, I know there are a lot of good things about the country. I was just pointing out that even in the West, there are difficult laws that still needs to be changed.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You can have an okay life in the West if you stay away from men. You can dress how you want to, and drink alcohol, but if a man rapes you, then the police is likely to blame you, and the fact that you were drunk and showed cleavage. (And in Ireland, you won’t be able to get an abortion)
          And if you have a partner who beats you up, then people are likely to blame you for staying with him, which I guess is way better than things in India are, but I’d prefer if they put the blame where it belongs.


    • Hi, just looking at the comments here, but I wanted to add, let’s not forget how minority women in Western countries are treated. Completely different picture. I’m Western but I’m also a Black American woman, and I don’t enjoy all the benefits that the West is supposed to offer.


    • I have a Frenchman as a very good friend but his thoughts are just like an Indian man especially about women( OK ,maybe not so same ,…err like clothes women wear,women going out alone at night etc ) !
      He is a mild chauvinist !
      So I wonder if all the West is same !!


      • There are men and women (hopefully a minority) all over the world with such opinions, but that’s all there are, opinions, and not rules to be followed.


        • Why is that man your very good friend?
          Granted, it is difficult to only interact with men who are not chauvinists, but I prefer to keep such men at arm’s length, so to speak.


  11. Some additonal ponts that occurred to me:

    Widowhood is not a stigma. You don’t have to break your bangles after your husband’s death and you needn’t stop using make up and you are not considered “inauspicious” at parties and gatherings. Neither do you have to wear only wear white or ochre robes for the rest of your life.

    A widow can get remarried more easily if she wishes than in India.

    Gender equality is taken for granted. You dont’ have to fight for it in offices and organisations.

    You can travel alone with no eyebrows raised and feel much safer than you will every feel in India.

    You are not discriminated against in matters of succesion and inheritance.

    I am sure there will be many more that others will think of.
    But, there is a weak defence I can put up

    If a woman is not fated to be born in these Western countries, she is still better off being born in India rather than in Afghanistan/Iraq/Iran/Pakistan and so many other countries in West Asia and Northern Africa.



    • Theres a lot more I agree. But remember these freedoms didn’t fall in their Laos easily. Although it should have. Everyone to have and be equal should not have to be fought but those women did and won and are still fighting.
      We need to do the same and thus generation has the mental maturity, thought process and capacity to implement it. So here’s to a happy freedom fighting experience.


    • Yep,that’s why I don’t dwell too much on this :I thank my stars all the time to not have been born in present day Afghanistan, Iraq,Saudi ! Iraq,Iran,Afghanistan had glorious past like India before they were plundered, before petrol !

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I am going to apologise upfront if I am too harsh.
    I think we need to stop throwing ourselves a pity party. Get up and grab your rights, nobody is going to hand it to you on a silver platter.

    Yes, people in the US have a better life as far as individual freedoms are concerned, because they do whatever the heck they want without waiting for social approval. I have also met people from other countries where someone could go to jail for life for liberties we take for granted in India. Those people have to deal with actual legal restrictions on liberties. We on the other hand cry and wring our hands over non-legal ‘restrictions’ that can easily broken without serious consequences. Yes, there are people in India who are forced into things out of fear for their life for safety and I am not talking about them for now. And since no one is an island, there definitely are situations where someone else has control over certain parts of your life. But we end up giving them control over a lot more than what is actually required. If you are an educated, financially independent adult and you cry over how someone forced you into an unwanted marriage or how you can’t leave house after 10pm or something like that, then you are wholly responsible for your condition. There is absolutely nothing holding you back except an irrational fear that exists only inside your own head.

    I have lived in the US too for the last 3 years and am now back in India. I now accept and realise that a lot of restrictions I used to feel earlier had no concrete reality and existed only in my head. I am practically as free in India as I was in the US, just because I adjusted my prespective a little bit. All the clothes I used to wear in US to college- I now wear those same clothes to office in India in a non-metro city. I couldn’t have imagined doing the same 3 years ago. And yet nobody has said a single word about my clothes in my workplace ever (this may be highly city dependent though). And I don’t even work in a swanky modern company, I work in a Govt. research lab.

    Blaming society and India and the system and everything are just weak excuses for not getting up and taking responsibility for your own life. You can’t be a passive spectator in your life because its easy and then complain how you don’t like what you see. If you need to be ‘allowed’ with dignity or respect, you’ve already lost it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Nobody here is not taking responsibility .. Every individual here is responsible. The discussion is about how certain things are difficult here for a particular gender of human beings as compared to the west and the struggle is a huge one ..

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, of course it is difficult compared to the west at present, no denying that. It wasn’t easy for them in the past either. What I mean is that many people largely overplay these difficulties in their head and give up, which they shouldn’t. They are the ones who continue these practices. And we have an unusually high number of such people in India and that is why so many social evils (including gender issues) have propagated over generations for as long as they have.


        • you are right…but holds good for women who are fortunate enough to be grown to have independent thoughts and courage by their parents….those who are suppressed and made timid by the culture the day they are born to make them fit in the society, cannot be expected to raise their voice…that is why they turn to self pity…it is therefore much more for the empowered women to shoulder the responsibility to help the cause and parents too need to understand that they are not doing any good for their daughters and for the country too by rearing them to become good future DILs instead of good human beings!


    • I agree with you for the most part. I have made tough decisions in my own life and know and understand full well the repercussions of self-pity.

      I have been divorced against my parents’ wishes, lived alone for three years, found love again in a man who struggles with psych issues such as DP/DR (and who has been married and divorced twice and has a daughter); and married him against everyone’s advice. I do what I want and I do not back down. I am usually the first person to judge people for not standing up for what they believe in.

      But do I wish I didn’t have to face so much aggression from people who shouldn’t even be concerned with my life? Do I wish people hadn’t refused to let me rent their house just because I was divorced and therefore ‘loose’? Do I wish I didn’t have to lie about my marital status out of desperation at the 22nd house I went to? Do I wish I hadn’t spent most of my childhood worried I would somehow lose my virginity if I learned horse riding and that nobody would marry me? Do I wish my parents hadn’t felt compelled to come to my first husband’s house loaded with ‘gifts’? Do I wish I had had a gender neutral upbringing so I could focus on what I wanted to be instead of who I was, paraya dhan?
      Would I be living without any of these fears if I were in born in the West?

      The answer to all these questions is a big, resounding YES.
      And that is why this is not a pity party, but a pointing out the facts party.

      Liked by 6 people

      • So Well Said Anawnimiss.. We are discussing facts here.. Each one of us is fighting a fight. We are not mute spectators. We share here what we are facing, feeling and fighting against.

        Before coming to read on inet, I thought I was only one who is so depressed with this Indian culture, So may be its me who is at fault. But since I have found there are lot many people who think n feel the same, I got know that, its not me who is wrong. It is this narrow-minded society where I was trying to find some support for my thoughts is wrong.

        IHM’s blog is also a platform to let me n many others like me to know that they are not alone in their fight.

        Liked by 5 people

      • Kudos to you for taking those tough decisions 🙂
        I too wish we didn’t face so much resistance at every step. And after all, inspite of everything you DID take those tough decisions. A depressing majority of the people I know wouldn’t have out of fear of this resistance. Atleast half the girls I’m currently living with, are ready to give up on marrying their boyfriends fearing parental opposition. And this BEFORE they’ve even broached the topic with their family. These are well educated and financially independent girls. They would rather blame society than and sit back without putting up even a little bit of a fight. Those are the people I’m talking about. We have to break this cycle at some point.


        • Yes, we do need to break the cycle, and nobody else can do it for us. No denying that. Like I said before, I have no sympathy for people who won’t try to change their circumstances but will keep complaining about their circumstances.

          That being said, this is still not a pity party Quarkle. It’s not as if we’re sympathizing with a person who is complaining about their own personal life. We’re all simply stating the facts – the West is more sympathetic to women than India. India is better than some other countries, and those countries are better than some others. It’s like saying – Thank god I wasn’t born in Saudi, though I wish I had beeb born in the West.

          So while I agree with your general argument, I simply don’t think it fits here.


    • For what it’s worth, I completely agree with your post, but I don’t know how to say that without belittling the feelings of those who feel that they are disadvantaged for being born an Indian woman.

      I have never felt at a disadvantage for being a girl:my parents have treated me and my brother equally in everything, and sometimes I feel actually advantaged, because i don’t have to heavy lift and fix utilities and such(which I despise). I have never felt like a “paraya dhan” (I didn’t even know what it meant before I visited this blog). When I start earning I will support my parents if I am able to. And I believe there are thousand of girls who feel the way I do and grow up in families like mine,bearing in mind of course that my parents can hold quite sexist mind sets and they aren’t perfect.

      In fact I think I’m at an advantage being an indian. My parents will pay for my pricy foreign education, no questions asked:I am free to stay with them for as long as I want to, and in the event of troubles, I have an extended family I can rely on, which I am very grateful for. I don’t really know what the point of my post is. I am aware that I am very very lucky to not have experienced many of the discomforts associated with being an Indian woman that many in this blog have. But you know, not all of this applies to everyone. I certainly don’t feel that any of this applies to me, except maybe the ‘revealing clothes’ bit, and even that’s onky a slight annoyance. Which may be taken as a step in the right direction I guess?


      • I understand.

        I have many female cousins whose life trajectory has been very different from mine.

        We have comparable education. However, they married into families where they did not encounter the kind of disrespect and discrimination that I did.

        They are welcomed in their in-laws’ houses and have spouses who are supporting, mostly.

        They have positive experiences of Indian Culture.

        Where I encountered discrimination and control, they encountered love and support (bar adjustments).

        So not every Indian woman is chafing under the bit of unfair cultural norms.

        Some women actively embrace them because they have positive experiences of these norms.


      • B, from your comment it appears you are not married yet…you are lucky one to be among a few fortunate girls to have such parents…still I doubt whether your parents wont perform ‘kanyadaan’ ritual, which would be same as considering the daughter as ‘praya dhan’ without saying it loudly…also I wish you best luck to get parents in law of the same mindset!


    • Quarkle, as a woman it becomes difficult even to get out of the house to find independence if a) you are not provided an education or a good enough education to find yourself a decent job b) you are emotionally conditioned and even blackmailed since childhood c) you are scared to live alone against the wishes of your family because of physical, mental and emotional insecurity.
      It might be easy for someone like me with a professional degree to get out of the house on my own, find a job and do what I want. But what about many others who don’t? Heck many with good education don’t even have the confidence to go out on their own. We as a society need to change. We can’t just leave it in the hands of the girls to make their own fate. All of us need to speak, we need to voice our concerns and pave the path for change. I think that is how it starts, the change.


      • Agreed!!!
        and also there is not only emotional blackmail, there is demoralization as well. One is also called A LOSER, A FAILURE, and CURSED saying that “you will never ever succeed in your life.”


    • Loved your answer.

      If an individual is not willing to fight social sanctions and emotional control, well then freedom is irrelevant to such an individual.

      India has a restrictive society. People may frown on a woman drinking alcohol wearing a short skirt, but there are no legal restrictions on her doing so.

      Often, when I read emails on IHM’S blog, I wonder.

      These are often women who are educated and financially independent.

      Most times, the challenges they face do not threaten their physical safety. Mostly it’s emotional blackmail and manipulation.

      No law of the land can help you if you cannot stand up to emotional blackmail and manipulation.

      So you have a mother-in-law that demands gifts. That’s dowry harassment. Either have the courage to seek legal remedies, or have the courage to stand up to her.

      In such a situation, the individual alone can ensure that her rights are not violated.

      No one else can protect your rights better than you can.

      If you lack the courage to stand up to unfair customs and practice, then perhaps you don’t realise that freedom comes with responsibility.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Today my friend was telling me about her experience when she went to get her daughters birth certificate made. They wanted to keep both surnames -Name Mums Surname Dad’s Surname. And the official (a woman) refused saying that only dads surname is allowed. She got so pissed that they argued for atleast an hour. And they were mocked saying, ‘Are you guys even married?’ Whats it to them if they are married or not. Bullshit. But my friend is not giving up. Shes moving to the court. Again, how many have the courage & patience for this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid I’m going the face the same when I get my passport updated this time. We’ve postponed changing the martial status forever, but now that we are getting that done, the silly officials are going to put up a fight about this (as per experience shared by a colleague). I’m dreading the hours I’m going to lose and the hair that I’m going to tear out in that battle. Sigh. I *will* fight, though.


      • Agree with Wanderer.

        You don’t have to change your name to have your husband’s name on the passport.

        Anyone who tells you so is just well, &/$ing.


        • I know that we don’t need to change the name. But I’ve heard stories about the officials meddling with what is none of their business and insisting that women change their surnames (at least a couple of cases). I hope I don’t have to face those sorts of people. I’m going to go prepared with the MH court ruling that states otherwise, with the relevant text highlighted, just in case 😉


      • Why do you even need marital status or husband’s name in your passport? Is this the only country that requires this info? What do they care? Neither my Mexican nor British passport ask for any of this.


        • The Indian husband of a foreigner needs to have his wife’s name in his passport in order for the wife to get a spouse visa – per Indian laws.


        • Sruti, thanks for the info. I didn’t know it was optional to provide this info. I thought both the husband and the wife need to update their status in the passport. If it isn’t required, we’re not going to bother mentioning it.


    • Hey! my husband has both his moms name and dads name as his surname. It was one of the reasons why I thought it was a good idea marrying him. But it does takes a long time filling up forms and causes some confusion as at some places they spell both names together making it a reaally looong name. This was done some 35 years back, so I don’t see why this official has any problems with it.


  14. Hi fellow sisters/ brothers,
    The idea behind this article was not to get sucked in self pity .
    What made me write about this issue is I have heard innumerous times claiming Hamari sabhayata, sanskriti, aadarsh , culture, family values, traditions like it’s pure gold.
    And since woman of my generation thankfully don’t just accept rules / rituals merely cause they have been followed for whatever number of generations. We have a brain and we think and we analyse and we question ( n our ability to think makes us an evolved specie) .
    So I started wondering and thinking on this topic and thinking and after very long deep thinking and microscopically analysing everything for many years:- it made me question:- what EXACTLY is soooo great about our culture for women ? In other words, if you are a girl/ woman :- what EXACTLY is so great about the Indian culture?
    N hence I thought I would put this up for discussion !

    I also wondered that if a girl/ woman in India says :- ” I have analysed everything and come to the conclusion that this culture is mainly about benefitting the men or men’s family by it’s rules and regulations and I no longer wish to be part of such a culture:- would a certain section of the society say:- zyaada Padh likh kar dimaag kharaab ho Gaya hai is ladki ka”.
    It’s just a rheotorical point am making .
    Of course a certain section would say that and bad mouth the girl and her family saying ‘ Kya sanskaar diye hain maa baap ne’!!

    I m NOT saying that should matter .
    But I am just verbalising all thoughts that are going on in my mind !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I came to that conclusion the day my own family blamed me for the divorce even after knowing that my ex-husband walked out of the marriage.

      I was told that his leaving was my fault. It wouldn’t have happened if I’d been a “good wife”.

      That’s the day I saw through the whole, elaborate Indian Culture con job.

      You don’t have to announce it to people. Just live life guided by your own inner compass.

      Let your actions speak, not your words. You cannot change people who believe in the “sabhyata/parampara/Indian values” con job.

      Just live life without compromising your own ideals and principles.


  15. Totally agree with everyone. N what I m realising is it pretty much affects every aspect of our life, happiness, sanity!
    It’s a pity that some people even object to us women thinking. I was once told by an elder:-” tujhe apni marzi se sonchne ki ijazat Nahin di hai ‘

    Gosh:- totally agree with the slave remark made in the discussion :- I guess even a slave is allowed to have a thought process! ( they may not be allowed to act in their thoughts )
    These things make my blood boil !!


    • Your blood boils?
      Let me provoke you further!
      Listen to this “advice” I once heard a patriarch doling out:
      इन औरतों को ज्यादा लिफ्ट मत दो!
      सर पर चढ़कर बैठ जाएंगी!

      And another who once told me:
      अरे भाई , हमारे लिए तो औरत केवल भोगने की चीज़ है।

      An English educated acquaintance, proud of his “conquests”, as he termed them once told me, “Any body who is not my sister or mother or daughter is fair game for hunting” He proudly sported a fancy key chain which had four prominent “F”s engraved. I aked them what the four F’s meant
      He said “Find ’em, Feel ’em, F*** ’em, Forget ’em”

      I could keep your blood boiling with more quotes but most are unprintable here on this blog!



      • Ugh. I’m curious to know what your reaction was, GVji. Were you too dumbfounded to talk? I know I would be. Then again, to some people, it doesn’t make a difference how their behavior/opinion affects others.


  16. I too want to go to any Western country so that i can have 1st hand experience.

    What I believe is that crime happens everywhere whether its East or West. But everything is again about sense of security and equality.

    In West , women have fought for what todays generation is enjoying there.

    Lets hope if we fight it out , then our children both sons and daughter will have better society where everyone is treated with respect.


  17. Remembered another point :- I am not generalising and saying every in law behaves in this manner:- but there definitely are loads of in laws who think that cause they are ladke wale, girl’s family ko to jhukh ke rehna Chahiye / hain to ladki ke maa baap.
    That MOST CERTAINLY makes my blood boil .


    • Yes…they might not say it openly, but their actions speak. Like my parents calling my ILs on all festivals and occassion and they are picking up after 5-6 calls and telling my parents, “we are busy, cant talk right now” and bang the phone…..like they never made calls to my parents on occassions…..like we owed them something because they had let their son marry me…like I was a piece of trash and their son did a favour to me by marrying me…like they have PHd and I am only bachelors in engineering. ! LoL…..Hell there were of things when I was made to feel small in front of them.


  18. 18. She is brought up believing she can be whatever she wants to be.
    19. She has independent thoughts and doesn’t need constant reassurance by others.
    20. She is encouraged to make decisions even if they result in mistakes early on.
    21. She doesn’t feel she needs a male figure in her life to support / take care of her.
    22. She is encouraged to mix with the other gender since childhood. Crushes, early relationships and heartbreaks are dealt with at a younger age so when one is old enough to marry / choose a life partner, she is more equipped to deal with grown-up relationships.

    I only say this from what I observed in my husband’s family who are supposed to be an educated liberated Indian. I am Mexican so am I Western? Well, I’m not Eastern. I’m just from another developing country.

    What do you others think?


  19. The same elder who told me ” tujhe apni marzi se sonchne ki ijazat Nahin di hai” also said ” tu ladki hai na , tu ladki hai na , tu ladkon se barabari Nahin kar sakti “.
    I am quiet sure the one giving this advise was once told the same thing by her mother or grandmother and she is repeating that cycle without bothering to pause for a second and think WHY??


  20. I’ve lived outside India for a good part of the last decade. My observations:
    1. I can go out and have a drink with my all male team and not be branded a “slut”
    2. I can go buy condoms and lubricant from a packed grocery store and nobody will blink an eyelid. Similarly, my husband can go and buy me pads or tampons and nobody wraps it in a newspaper and black bag.
    3. I can wear whatever the hell I want, wherever I want and nobody gives me “your bra is showing” look.
    4. I received nothing but congratulations for having had a girl. No sympathy.

    It’s easy to say that blaming this on India is just the easy way but I’ve found that asking for basic respect and freedom to be an adult is all consuming and tiring. Yes, I’m taking the easy way out. Perhaps, I value my own happiness more than patriotism. Perhaps, I value my daughter’s ability to flourish without these stupid restrictions more than I value my homeland. But that’s just the way it is.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps your experience is different than mine but having lived in several large Indian cities, I did not enjoy the type of decency I’ve mentioned above. I can safely claim this on behalf of most of my female friends.


  21. I’m not happy or sad being born and raised in India, it is what it is. There are better places I could have been born in as a girl and worse too . We deal the hand we are dealt. Having said that although I come from a so called progressive family I had my share of fights, I disagreed on quite a few things , my dad supported me in most fights my mom in some , my friends in some and my teachers in some. But overall I’m ok. When I see the lesser fortunate I feel glad I’m ok when I see the truly free women I think I have a lot to fight on 🙂
    As I grow older I car even less what others think . I was pretty non caring even when young. Now I know for a fact blackmail doesn’t work on me. If my relatives lose respect because of my actions then too bad for theme I guess.
    Even though I don’t raise my daughters inidia, I tell her the issues, there are plenty in theUS too. In the end we have to leave this earth a little better than it was when we came. That’s all that matters.


  22. I would add – freedom to go on adventures like backpacking around Europe with other 20 somethings, discovering the world, meeting people, having fun, making mistakes, learning, making mistakes in relationships without punishment, without stigma, wearing anything you want (pants, shorts, swimwear, sleeveless) without being called unpleasant names or seen as ‘asking for trouble’, going out alone to the movies, to the coffee shop, sitting by yourself in a public place and not being bothered by random strangers, using public transportation without being grabbed, going out with male colleagues for lunch or coffee with everyone behaving like professionals and no one staring or judging, being allowed second chances and many more chances to start over in life, the list goes on and on …..
    Thank you Mansi for writing this. We must ACKNOWLEDGE who we are. Only then we can change.


  23. I think sometime we feel, “We have liberal parents, we didn’t have to go through that.” But it’s not just about parents, it’s society as a whole. For instance, in a public place, a woman can’t laugh out really loud, stretch her arms, take off her sweater, hum or sing – without people interpreting this as wanting attention or trouble. While sitting on a park bench, you can’t stretch your neck, turn your face up to the sun, close your eyes, and take a deep breath without being considered seductive (and yes there are always hanging-around Romeos in park with nothing better to do than make unpleasant comments on passing women.
    And then we get so used to these unsaid ‘rules’ and we start following them and we behave in such a constrained way in public, we stop engaging in simple human emotions. We laugh less or we smile when we want to laugh. Without realizing it, we stop holding hands or hugging the ones we love. We are less joyful. This is so fundamentally wrong.


    • laugh ?? … forget about laughing .. the only thing I do is clench my jaws, widen my eyes showing them to be bursting with anger and march past in the highest speed I can muster, yes that is how I walk when I am alone and not in a group..


  24. If I could choose, earlier on, I would have chosen to move to the west. Loads of benefits no doubt. There are issues there too but on a different level not on the basic level because of your gender.
    Being able to roam/travel freely and aimlessly
    Being able to do what I want, for a job, for a hobby, for timepass. Nobody questions
    Being able to have a drink and let my hair down
    Being able to go out at night without fearing for my safety
    Being able to choose my partner without having to fight for it with my parents
    Being able to decide when/not to have kids without having to listen to unsolicited advice from strangers
    Being able to wear what I want

    But now I have chosen not to settle down in the west for I want to contribute to the change I want to see in my country. Sure I was harassed on streets, sure I’m shit scared to go out alone at night, sure I hate that I can’t wear those “western” dresses which I’d very much like to. But I get to do my bit to enable the future generations to do all that I couldn’t.

    Ours is a beautiful country. But mostly people are indifferent to each other and have no respect for the others’ individuality and space.


  25. Mansi,

    The only thing I would like to add is the reason why the western world looks attractive. It’s because they respect individual freedom. No matter you are a male or a female. Incorporate that in our culture and Indian culture would also do fine.

    PS I am no advocate or fan of any culture. And I hate when people say about Indian culture, Live and let live should be the motto.

    Peace 🙂


    • You know what.? If you try to highlight the need for such independent thinking or non interference many of the people mistake it for selfishness, and take offence. Many people have this idea that to help others we really need to poke our nose. They fail to understand that giving space to others is also a way of support.


      • True, that’s very true. I hail from a village and hence can very much relate to it. It should be like this : one who needs help should ask for it, poking nose is not actually helping.


  26. I agree with most of the points , but for 8 and 9 not completely. In western countries it is also usual that lady does most of the house work, rather accepting a lady in workplace for high pressure roles is still a taboo. They are expected to take up low pressure jobs so that they are available to spend time with the kids, and work in house as well. The workplace revolution is the key to removing the distinction of a lady taking care of the house.

    Rest of the points I completely agree to. Even if we promote girl education and work environment, the societal attitude towards the responsibilities for homemaking will not change. This attitude , in fact, is getting passed on to the present generation as well.I still see many cases of this silent acceptance, that being a girl I am responsible for the house and the kids. Moreover, the husbands are also looked down upon if they try to compromise their career for their wife. If the girl gives in more time for her career than her husband and makes some achievements in her career, people would say, the girl deserved a better husband. Such is the hypocritic attitude of our society, wherein we promote girl empowerment , but do not want to understand the underlying intricacies of the same !!


  27. I am an American woman! I have been to India several times and to 41 other countries so far (and many of them alone may I add) 🙂 🙂

    I feel so terribly sorry for Indian women (and in some ways men…). Everything the LW said is true about our culture regarding women. I feel VERY lucky to be American in that regard. My parents love me for me no matter what I do! My mom wore a pink ribbon in her hair when she was delivering me in HOPES I was a girl! She cried from joy when I was born! I have been told I can be whoever and whatever I want. I can go where ever I want. I can do whatever I want. I can marry whomever I want………basically I am free to be an independent woman. Past generations here FOUGHT for this! I hope that you women there in India fight for this too. You will succeed if you band together like the women of the West did!

    Not only an I free, but I still respect and honor my family. I can live with them if I want, they can live with me if they/I want, and I have my other family members around. American families aren’t so torn apart as other countries may imagine we are.

    P.S. Many American men do help clean, do chores, raise children btw. Most of my friend’s husbands do this, if not all. 🙂


    • At the risk of sounding flippant,the main problem with Indian men is they don’t do enough household chores,do not clean and cook daily like a chore to fill their and their families stomachs !
      I think if start doing unpaid household chores like how women do as duty,clean up the pig sty,take care of wailing children,they will become more humble, admire women and they generally would be thankful to the women in their lives ! Ah ,I wish I find one like that !

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good to hear such optimism. But let’s not stop with positivity alone….We should work towards it, by instilling it in those who are around us. Only then it will seep into the rural population.


  28. Surely, being born an Indian woman, has more disadvantages than advantages. But then again, I am maybe swayed by the grass is green on the other side syndrome.

    Some of the people I know are desperate to leave the country. One friend of mine is specifically looking for an NRI groom- to be as far as nosy Indian relatives as possible.

    But from my observation, my NRI relatives seem stuck in a time warp and have distorted notions of Indian culture. They are far removed from what is happening in India today- the voice of youth, and more importantly, the voice of women. My cousin bhabi was a modern day Mumbaikar who got married to my cousin, an NRI. She is the more ‘modern’ thinking of the 2. In private discussions with her, she mentioned about the perspective disparity with the NRI community there. She had much more modern thinking friends and family in India. She is under tremendous pressure to live up to the distorted notions of Indian-ness out there.

    I see a lot of urban, educated parents in India bringing up their girls in a liberal manner. They are often accused of ‘westernising’ their daughter. My mom n dad always encouraged independent decision making whether it was career choices, marriage, or even my decision to delay having kids. I am fully assured of thier support in every step I take. They embody the live and let live philosophy. And I saw it with most of my girl friends’ families in school and through college. I never knew a different philosophy existed- until I got married of course 🙂

    I have quite the opposite experience with my in laws. They want consent to be taken for everything we do, overt, regular displays of respect, ‘seva’ to be done and of course- sanskaars to be followed. Sanskaar includes not watching English TV channels, cooking for family everyday, visiting my parents only twice a year during some festival for a few hours, touching thier feet and seeking blessings, every day if possible , calling on relatives every weekend for lunch/dinner and respect and entertain them, parivaar ko hamesha saath jode rakhe (stay under the same roof lifelong- doesnt matter if you disapprove of each other’s lifestyle), involving them in every decision- be it which brand atta to buy- no exaggeration! At the same time, I should hold a good ‘post’ wala job in a ‘badi’ company, bring expensive gifts for them regularly, take them out on vacations, keep thier son happy and ‘stress free’. The list is really long.

    And to think of they have lived abroad for many years. My MIL wears western clothes and even enjoys her occassional drink. To anyone making a judgment at first glance, my parents will come across as traditional, and they, as modern due to the outward displays. My experience says that modernity is nothing about outward displays, its completely about respect for the other- be it his/her views, decisions and lifestyles. There is no element of control in a free thinking individual. And Indian ‘sanskaars’ only propagate control to parents (mostly boys parents).

    I tried to be ‘sanskaari’ for the first few years, until it killed my spirit. And I was still not as ‘sanskaari’ as per them.

    But I would still not want to go out of India, now that I am aware and concious of this evil. I really want to fight these attitudes head on. I feel core Indian philosophy , at least the little Geeta that I have read talks about detachment, freedom and respect.Unfortunately the present day Indian ‘sanskaars’ talk of only its opposite.

    Sad, this contradiction is.


    • Very nicely put at the end. We spoke about detachment from so called evil of wealth, but the first question asked from the groom’s side is about dowry and the extravagant wedding preparations. The bride’s family also ( most of them) don’t bother if the guy has clean habits or not, they just marry her as far as the guy is rich or earns well. Is financial security assured here? Or is that the only indicator for a family’s happiness.


    • Living in the us, that’s one thing I noticed. Indian men cling desperately to all things “indian culture/ tradition.” I am freaked out at the thought of returning to India, which my husband insists is important as the children are not learning Indian culture here. I personally don’t care for Indian culture, I just want my kids to grow up as happy and good humans.
      I hated living in India and therefore married an NRI. But many are stuck in a time warp.


      • Sonja,
        God help you ! Now if you return ,your children will pick up half baked,superficial aspects of so called Indian culture ! Chances are most good habits will get undone here if you have sons and if you have daughters she will be confused !


        • Hey Sonya

          It’s so funny to see you write this, because many Indian parents outside India think sending children to India will be “cultured” only to see the reality that it completely changed LOL. Hey at least they will be kicked out of their time warp ! I do admit kids will learn some things “Indian”, but the mindset and traditional thinking will not work anymore, regardless where you live. Too bad for those who think it will work. What I also find is that Indians, in terms of state, caste, religion..etc think they are above everyone else. Since I’m of Kerala origin, most malayalees think malayalees are better than those who are not a malayalee (we are known for arrogance, backstabbing, manipulative behavior and hypocritical shit sadly) and treat them as inferior with such disrespect, it may be the same with tamils, bengalis..etc, and it’s very SAD to see this. At least in the West, which I agree is not much better, they at least instill the philosophy that everyone is equal and should be treated equally, which I do admit does not happen often in reality prejudices still exist..etc). And they promote individualism, meaning you do what is right for you, not what others do..which I stand big on (because it will not work for everyone doing the same ting!), and that you should embrace yourself and who you are, not try to fit in and please other people like in India. Also respect is taught in a way that it has to be shown both ways, not the fact that because you are older you have the right to slam down those younger than you (like in India). I have been told a few times I should have grown up in India to be the molded traditional girl..but to think of it..for what? I probably would not have been the person I am now. It gave me some challenges and hardships, but it made me stronger. I made my own mistakes, but learned from them and grew from them. If I was in India, I would have been locked up and brainwashed to be a robot for others’ satisfaction, realizing too late that this is not what being a woman is, and will have no idea how to fight any battles since I am brainwashed to think I am weak and vulnerable for being a girl and I am not supposed to fight back. So that’s why I guess it’s better to grow up in a modern/metro area, which India has thankfully (Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi) and live in today’s world in a good way, not live in the past 1940’s, which still many people think you must live like.

          That said, I wouldn’t hate all of Indian culture. There are some aspects I still like and enjoy and I would def encourage my future kids to embrace it as much as they can the RIGHT way (and no , not shove it down their throats way like Indian parents do, and besides it’s better to become their own selves and create their own identity than what I want for them, except that they must be good people and give respect back when deserved.)

          But like you, even though I’d love to still visit India (and not just only to Kerala anymore, but other places as well), I would never live there, until people there embrace all and respect each other regardless (then maybe I’ll consider).


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