A married woman does not have the freedom to spend on her parents and will have to request and hope for her husband’s permission to do so.

“Why shouldn’t we be allowed to continue to love and take care of our parents after marriage?”

Legally, all Indian children – sons and daughters, are required to take care of their elderly parents.

This comment by Sara gives an idea of what actually happens in traditional patriarchal families.

Story of a daughter trying to take care of her parents.

No. Daughters VERY much WANT & LOVE to take care of their parents, since they are more emotionally attached to their parents than their brothers are. But  the husband & in-laws oppose this – they want all of their DIL’s resources (money, work) solely for themselves. A married woman does not have the freedom to spend on her parents & will have to request & hope for her husband’s permission to do so. Sad part is that parents themselves teach this to daughters saying “take care of your marriage – don’t ever cross your husband or inlaws, staying married is the most important” blah blah.

My mother is a widow & I am the only daughter. Inspite of this my mother tried to instill the above said “values” (yikes!!) into me. Somehow thank God my brain completely repelled it – she was such a loving, caring, sacrificing mom, and I simply couldn’t stand the thought of orphaning her because of some stupid “cultural” “values” or any other BS. When I finished my education & started working, she was even suggesting that she can join an old age home (it was under construction then) which was being built by a missionary after getting me married since it was “inappropriate” to “interfere” in a daughter’s husband’s wish (Daughter’s wish is to take care, but that doesn’t figure anywhere). It was APPALLING to say the very very least.

When proposals came, I was frank that I would like to keep my physically fragile (and very docile and soft) mom staying with me. But this sounded like asking for the moon for almost all the suitors. Only 2 families had agreed – I rejected the first one as they kept changing their talks suspiciously and also because I would have to resign my job & relocate. I got married to the second one who was in the same city. Later that turned to be a nightmarish marriage that lasted 5 months, during which he wanted my mom to turn over ALL her saving to him, and also wanted me to give him all my salary, since that is the “norm” and I’m even more obliged because he has “so very graciously consented to allow a wife’s mother to stay under his roof – something which, according to him, even the biggest fool on earth wouldn’t have allowed.”

To cut a long story short, after five months of violence (I mean hitting, punching, slapping & death threats, not just verbal/emotional violence), one sudden morning it took a radical turn, and I had to either slip out & run away from that house or get killed. During the few precious moments I got, I whispered to my mom that he is going to kill me & I’m running away & “stand in the hall near the exit door, and keep the door unlatched, run away if he tries to hurt you or if he is moving towards the door”, and ran for my life with my office badge & bag hoping he won’t kill my mom. By God’s grace a lot of friends helped me & God Himself helped my mom. We are alive now.

Now, that’s the story of a daughter trying to take care of her parents.

Another colleague is an only daughter. Her husband was acting ok for a few years – till she helped him pay off all his educational loans. After all his loans were done, he showed his real colors. Her husband’s words were not much different – he hit her & when her father questioned it, he said “I should have put you folks in your places right from the start. It is my biggest mistake letting you guys in my house. You don’t deserve to stay here.” (If this is how a wife’s father is treated, don’t even imagine how her mother would have been treated if he was not around.)

Not just that, as school kids, me & my friends would occasionally talk about this injustice – Why shouldn’t we be allowed to continue to love and take care of our parents after marriage? Of course, we were kids & we never got any solution for this. We just felt it as grievous injustice against women. (But even our moms shut us up if we asked them about this.. that left us confused & clueless).

Only one of my friends had her mom’s mom staying with them (and that too it was only after her mom’s dad passed away), and her dad used to taunt her mom & grandmom over it. Her mom was a lecturer & was earning more than her dad (who kept switching between jobs & miscellaneous businesses) – 20 years back!

It was a “good family” as per the standards then – which means parents never fight in front of kids (no matter what bruising/bleeding/war-of-words goes on behind the kids backs). Inspite of this, the taunts were noticeable by the child. Imagine what would have gone in between her mom & dad which she did not know then!

Of ALL the friends I ever made since the age of five till I completed schooling (not many close friends in college.. and not much time to chat about this stuff.. but I believe my college-mates would be the same too), only one girl had the view that girls are meant to completely detach from parents & bind with their marital families. ALL the rest were typical loving girls, lovingly bonded to their parents and wanted to take care of them post-marriage too. This includes only-daughter girls, girls who had only sisters, and girls who had brothers too (a few in this category didn’t feel so fiercely like the others.. that probably would have been because of “cultural value” drilling done by the parents.. but still, they sure wouldn’t turn their backs on their parents when they needed them..).

Note: Posting from my mobile. Will add Related Posts and links as soon as possible.

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An email from the Accused Guy: ‘I would request all to respond once again after reading the other side of it.’

Sharing a comment from The Accused Guy where he attempts to give ‘the other side’ of the story. 

The comment was made in response to this email: “He became more distant and sometime would verbally abuse me, call me names and then slapping and wrist twisting started happening.”

Please note,

1. The ‘only son’ in the email is not ‘only child’. 

2. The ‘only son’ is raised to understand that he would provide for his parents. (Which is why we Indians pray, fast, bless, sex select etc).

3. The only son’s parents in this email are expected to provide for the other adult child, the married daughter (possibly to ensure that she is treated well by her in laws and hence Stays Married).

4. The average male child does not question this, though sometimes he might expect his wife to demand from her parents what his parents do for his sister. This seems to transfer the victimisation to the daughter in law. 

This is not questioned or seen as evil although this is the biggest reason for India’s Skewed Gender Ratio.  

5. Violence, physical and verbal, in the email, is being tolerated as a part of conflict resolution. 

6. Indian women (and men) feel they must marry the first person they are in a relationship with.

In case of a break up, men risk being accused of ‘using’ the woman [Link]. Women risk being accused to having been used (and hence dishonoured and no longer marriageable).

And here’s the comment from AccusedGuy.

After reading the blog post, I would have reacted the same way as everyone. But this is what one sided stories do. So I would request all to respond once again after reading the other side of it.

Which is as following:

Me and “XYZ” were together for around 6 years before marriage. We first expressed our love for each other during college days. Of course I was in love with her because I hadn’t seen anyone so innocent and pure of heart. Hence our relationship started.
Start of relation was very bubbly-bubbly as every relation is but with time I observed that that innocence started to disappear (Only for me) and I was bombarded with jealousy, insecurities and expectations. This was first time relationship experience for both of us and being naïve about it, we left things on time to improve.
Things didn’t improve even after a couple of years of relationship (Mostly distance relationship during college projects), I decided to talk to “XYZ”. But before any kind of relevant talk, I was immediately tagged as “someone who used her for a couple of years with no intentions of marriage” (which was automatically assumed since we were in “relationship”).  I tried to talk to her that cheating her was never the intention but continuing a relationship which is full of issues is also a mistake. But she never agreed to split and assured that she’ll do everything to correct her limitations and I didn’t want her to hurt her like that so we continued our relationship.
After college, we took our jobs. She was in Gurgaon and me in Noida. We met occasionally on weekends and spent 3 years like this (having major fights all the while). One fight got so worse that we decided to take a break for a couple of weeks from each other and re-think our relation. After that time we sat together and I communicated to her that we shouldn’t be together because we can’t resolve our issues. She again disagreed and told me that she’ll make all the adjustments but insisted on maintaining the relationship.
After that it’s correct that I had feelings for some other girl. But “XYZ” was aware of that before marriage. We talked about this and I assured her that no external factor will come between us (I have maintained that always and have fulfilled that to this date) but I still maintained that getting married was a bad idea because we can’t resolve our issues. But again I was accused that I wasted her six years and now was simply ditching her for some other girl.

So we got married.

After marriage everything changed.
“I’ll do everything to correct my issues” changed to “you push me for everything”…
“Lets resolve our issues” changed to “my parents will talk to you on this issue”…
“let’s stay together” changed to “we should split up” …

Parent’s issue:
Before marriage I told “XYZ” that since I am the only son to take care of my diabetic parents, they’ll come live with us. And “XYZ” seemed fairly OK with that. After marriage, before my parents were to visit us, I asked “XYZ” if she has any concerns then I’ll love to address them but she didn’t discuss anything that night… But a few days she started saying that she talked to some of her friends and she’ll like to discuss some issues.

Conversation was as following:
XYZ: Who’ll pay for their expenses?
Me: Since I am only son, there’s no segregation of money. So it doesn’t matter who pays. Even if it does, I’ll be happy to pay for my parents stay and eatables.
XYZ: What if parents leave some part of their wealth to your sister?
Me: Then it’ll be their wish. But I can still pay for their stay and eatables.
XYZ: fine. What’ll happen to us? Our alone time?
Me: We come back from office at around ~7 PM. we can join them till dinner time.. after ~9 PM we can have our alone time till we sleep (usually ~11 PM).
XYZ: fine. But I want to control kitchen my way.
Me: Sure, adjust with mum till she’s here after that you can resort to your ways again.

When parents came, she was friendly for a day or two but then she started ignoring them. Didn’t go to their room until I asked her to come along or didn’t left our room till it was exact office time during morning. I found this odd and asked if she has any issues with them. Her reply was “It takes time for me to accept and love people. So don’t push me till it happens itself”. To me, it wasn’t lack of love it was more about lack of respect that she chose to ignore my parents. [IHM:Link] That became one of our constant issues even after my parents left. Things kept getting severe on this front every time my parents visited afterwards.

I never asked/pushed her to do “Seva” of my parents and I did expect her to atleast respect my parents enough to acknowledge their presence.

Physical Abuse issue:
I’ll not defend myself here because I believe under no circumstance it should be a resort. But I’ll just add complete picture to this.
We were never good at resolving our issues and mostly it would turn into loud arguments and heated shouting. One time during such shouting I slapped her. But the moment I hit her, I realized what I had done and said sorry to her. Next day too I felt so bad that I called up mother and confessed that I slapped my wife and I was really sorry for that.
XYZ didn’t take it lightly and accused me of physical abuse. She made it a family issue and finally I apologized to her mother also for same.

In our subsequent fights, she started hitting me(Not on face but all over various body parts in her fury). I pointed that out to her that is this not physical abuse. Her response was “come on you are a guy, “itna lagta be hai tumhe??”.
First time I twisted her arm, she took a jadu and beat me with it. After her anger dissolved she said “Come on, deere se tou mara tha”
Another time, during the argument I made a gesture of raising hand and she scratched skin out of my arm. Later she said “itna bi ni lga tumhe”.

And yeah Kut*a, haram**ada were commonly used to address me during these fights.

Bangalore:
A couple of days before I was to travel to Bangalore, we had a fight. But on last day, we put that behind us and hugged. I asked her to join me as soon as she can so that we can settle our new life their together.
4-5 days later I reached Bangalore, it was her birthday so I called her and wished her (No call from her prior to that). During another call later that day we again had an argument. Next day I called her and her response was “pls stop interfering with my life and leave me alone” So I didn’t call her after that. She had medical issues, she left for her home town (without telling me).

Now it’s been around 50 days..

Related Posts:

An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?

Display of respect to those in power, in Indian culture.

‘I am not really sure why is it the duty of a new bride to adjust no matter what you feel?’

“I have met a lot of Indian guys who say their parents have done a lot for them so they can’t leave them now…”

“I will never live in a joint family, it has its roots in patriarchy and benefits only men.”

An email from Pakistan: “There is a feeling among my parents that I don’t want to spend on them.”

Loving husbands who spend day and night to create harmony in Patriarchal Joint Families.

“My husband would tell me to stay with my in laws for some more time and that he didn’t want any discussions.”

An email: I am 18 year old male from a traditional (read:backward) Indian family.

The Men in Our Lives – Priya

From the modern, Indian woman to Shravan Kumar.

‘Last month, my sister’s husband picked a fight with her as he felt she was not doing enough for his parents.’

“I have no other option than to move in with my very orthodox in laws. I need tips to not get hurt.”

‘How can we change the socialization of boys and the definitions of manhood that lead to these current outcomes?’

Of how men’s masculinities are connected to their wives taking their names.

27 ways in which Patriarchy harms men.

So why do some men compare and compete with other men?

What do men need liberation from?

Not touching feet after a year of marriage is disrespect to MIL?

“Practically, what can an introvert DIL do to communicate that she means no disrespect by wanting her own time?”

Relationships – Making Someone Happy – By Priya

An email: ‘He made it clear to them he will not marry me without their support. He will not leave them behind… ever.’

And here’s what seems to complicate it further…

An email: “He told my MIL that he doesn’t like me. I knew he was depressed so I tried to console him.”

Please note the difference between the support/response that a married Indian son and a married Indian daughter get from their families.

One set of parents wants their child to Stay Married no matter what (they expect nothing more), while the other expects to control their child’s life, and marriage (and possibly finances).

Traditional patriarchal norms justify, romanticise and facilitate abuse,  and make it difficult for abuse victims to notice that they are being abused. 

Not surprisingly, Indian women seem to believe they need to Stay Married much more than Indian men do. And more men seem to feel they need to control their wives, no matter how unhappy it makes them, and their relationship as a couple.

Sharing an email. 

Dear IHM,

I’m desperately in need of guidance with the issues I have in my marriage and this is my story:

I got married almost a year ago and my husband works in USA. So after my marriage I spent only a week with my MIL but a week was more than enough for her to create problems. There were issues with dowry, my attitude, customs which my parents didn’t follow, etc etc. Me and my husband didn’t even go on our honeymoon because my MIL wanted us to spend time with her. There were too many issues already and not wanting to create new problems I asked my husband to cancel our honeymoon plan. In that one week, she called my parents daily complaining that I didn’t explain to her about the weight of each piece of jewellery which my parents gave me. Also, she expected me to leave my jewellery in their house [From an Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter.] and tried to communicate it to me in a political way (which I didn’t understand as politics is never my area of expertise ).

She instructed my parents that whenever we leave to USA/come back to India we have to go/come from their house (Airport is a 30 minute drive from my parents’ house and my In Laws’ place is a three hour drive) and I can be at my parents’ house only for a few days.  A lot more added up and there was too much tension when we finally left for USA. My MIL lies a lot and it’s so frequent that 1 out of 10 of her statements would be a lie. Anyone can easily find out that she is lying but my husband justified that that’s how his mother is and she won’t change. He helped a lot by supporting me emotionally so I was happy that he atleast understood the problem.

After we came to USA, we started our own life and things were good at the beginning. We had our arguments and fights but we worked on it and were happy. We talk to our MIL in Skype once a week. Initially my husband was a little angry with her saying that she created so many problems for unnecessary reasons. She tackled him by saying that she is facing medical issues and that she has gone through so much trouble to raise him. Eventually my husband started talking to her. She used to find fault with whatever I do, the food I prepared, the dress I wore, the way I spoke. Nothing was good enough for her son. After three months into my marriage, my husband went through a minor surgery in his leg. On the first day after his surgery, we skyped to my MIL and the first statement which she said looking at me was that I should comb my hair, dress well, wash my face and be fresh all the time. For God’s sake, it was11 pm and I had admitted my husband in the hospital that morning and there was so much work that had to be done before I brought him home. Also, this is not a TV serial to wear all jewels and make up even when I sleep. My husband’s immediate response was to tell me that his mom is right. My MIL wouldn’t have known how much work I did from the morning but I expected my husband to know better. I took care of him very well but the following days became a nightmare.

He became very demanding asking me to follow whatever he commands and I felt like I was walking on egg shells. I thought that going through the surgery was stressful for him and I did whatever he asked me to do. My MIL was talking to my husband daily since he was at home. On the first day when he spoke to my MIL he told her that she had found him a really good wife but just two days later he told my MIL that he doesn’t like me. I knew he was depressed so I tried to console him but my MIL used this as an opportunity and started slandering me. I was sitting next to my husband in front our laptop and she started shouting at me saying that I didn’t know how great she was and used this time to tell me how my parents didn’t give dowry as her son so much worthy, how I didn’t give my jewels to her and told my husband that she will make sure I behave appropriately. My husband demanded me to apologize to her and I did that too but I’m not sure why I apologized. My MIL used to give ideas to my husband about what food to eat and I had to follow the schedule.Once I didn’t have enough ingredients to cook a particular food which my MIL suggested and so I was asked by my husband to walk to the store in October’s cold night. That was the final straw and I couldn’t take more than that. I called my parents and cried explaining the situation. They couldn’t help me much other than consoling me. All these drama continued for few weeks.

My husband resumed his work and situation became little better. My MIL gave lots of ideas to my husband saying that she wakes up early in the morning and does so much work at home. This led to my husband insisting I do the same. Every evening my husband comes from office and starts questioning me on what I did the whole day and even if he finds a small mistake he would start scolding me saying I’m idle at home. He expects me to be a perfectionist so I cook perfect meals, clean and wash but he never stops complaining. My MIL insists on coming to USA saying that she wants to stay with us for awhile and would teach me how to take care of the family. So whenever my husband finds a fault with me, he would say that if MIL is with us she would teach me everything. I feel alone and depressed. I keep myself busy by involving in painting and volunteering in a few organisations but my husband always commented that there is no point in all that because I failed to impress my MIL and him.

Now I’m facing new problems. Even if we have a little argument my husband goes on without talking for weeks. Whenever I tried to convince him he asked me to promise that I would be 100% obedient to him. It felt weird when he asked me of such a thing. My mom is also a working woman so she had a totally different attitude towards life. She insisted I be independent and had always told me that I should think and decide on my own. My husband’s concept of 100% obedience makes me feel oppressed. To solve the immediate crisis, I said yes to him but not even in my dreams I expected him to implement it. He gives me orders for even washing clothes, cleaning the house etc etc . He told me straightaway that he doesn’t want me to give any suggestions for him and wants whatever he expects to be done. He finds fault even in the smallest of chores I do and I’m not supposed to voice my opinion about anything. I tried my best to do whatever he says and I clean everything I could get my hands on. But he never stopped complaining and says that I’m not an ideal wife. He often says that he doesn’t like me anymore. He eats the food I prepare, uses the dresses I wash but he doesn’t talk to me. I find this is a recurring pattern nowadays. He doesn’t talk for weeks together and not talking to one another is very common in their family. My MIL doesn’t talk to any of her sisters, brothers and she doesn’t talk to her IL’s family also. Also, she dominates my FIL totally and he is treated like trash.She gives ideas to my SIL also and their family is facing similar issues. I tried talking to my husband saying that we can solve our differences only by communicating it to each other but he says that there is nothing to talk about and his expectation is for me to do whatever he commands.

I don’t know how to handle all the lies my MIL says and my husband’s reaction to it. Please share your views and suggest how do I handle this situation.

Related Post:

Recognizing Emotional Abuse

The Men in Our Lives

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

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

From an Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter.

To an Anonymous DIL

An email: My principal fear is my wife is not going to be able to love my parents as much as I do.

“I thought the situation will improve but now my husband started behaving like a remote-controlled device of his mother.”

Is it possible to make a man see his wife as a partner, if he has been socially conditioned to see her as someone who is supposed to obey and serve him?

An email from a Newly Wed Wife. “Now they don’t like me.”

An email: “just for a few days of fights and torture in a month, how can I leave this life?”

“A Hindu woman derives immense pleasure in sacrifice for her husband. The white man will never ever understand this.”

Please watch Dum Laga Ke Haisha – where a man is asked to Please adjust and save his marriage.

Simple methods, recommended to anybody else, coping with any other kind of abuse, are forbidden to Indian daughters in law. Forbidden by whom?

“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.”

‘Daughters growing older, their egos becoming bigger, their attitudes and behavior becoming more boorish..’

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

Are Happily Married Daughters a status symbol in India?

“He has decided that we will stop trying to have a child now as he wants things to improve between his mother and I.”

I could not sing after my marriage and I am really sad about it, but women have to ‘adjust’ to see their family happy…

An email: “But my parents, fearing the society and their reputation begged him to take me back.”

Wrong, for the right reasons by Ritu Lalit

Have you read this very readable book about a young woman who couldn’t live with a cheating spouse and decided to go back to her parents’ home?

It’s real and begins with all that prevents Indian women from walking out of abusive marriages, and goes on, grippingly, to what might follow if they are left with no options.

Since it is real, how can it not include male child preference and all that it entails, and yet, what had to be a traumatic experience is dealt with delightful humour and amazing positivity. And it’s set in India – the characters felt familiar.

Wrong, for the right reasons by Ritu Lalit

I read it in one go, cancelling a meeting with friends.

I disagreed with the stereotyping…

‘I admire men; they come pre-installed with a Get-Set-Go machine in their mind unlike us women who have to first freak out, cry, vent and then get going.’

But Ritu Lalit kind of makes up for the stereotyping with an honest and frank look at the society. And with plenty of humour.

‘Give us a bad woman driver who rams into a divider that sat in the middle of a road, minding its own business and we will dine out on that story for years.  If, God forbid, we witness a wardrobe malfunction, we’ll declare a national holiday’

“Mama’s upbringing had been stern and it had ingrained in me the tendency of being bullied.”

“Strange how compliments can dictate our tastes, we are a needy species.”

Some reviews on goodreads.com

 

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

Roughly translates to: Our daughter has good values and despite becoming a minister, she remains the footwear of her husband’s feet. 

Indian paraya dhan’s parents who could view them as role models and be proud of them – continue to justify and make excuses for the paraya dhan’s success. It would seem it is against Indian sanskaar for Indian daughters in law and wives (or married Indian daughters) to be seen as ‘successful’.

For such parents, Happily married daughters, who are ‘pampered’ or ‘approved of’ by the damaad ji (son in law) remain the role models and continue to be viewed as the ultimate status symbols. The society celebrates their position (equivalent to the footwear of their spouse?) with rituals, which are generally forbidden to single, divorced or widowed women (who don’t have any feet to place themselves at?)

For this mindset, success in single women is tolerated because they have sacrificed the joys of serving their Lord and Master (and his extended family) for worldly success. Women in abusive marriages are frequently told they are better off than single women who have no feet, to serve as Juttees. The same idea expects women to choose between having a family or having a career. 

What could make a parent of an Indian daughter say their paraya dhan’s rightful position is at the bottom of the family hierarchy? Do they believe this?

1. Or, are they being tactful and they feel this would make it easier for the Pati Parmeshwar to accept the paon ki juttee’s success? 

2. Maybe it is a reminder to other women in the community – so that  they don’t get any ideas about equality, success, human rights or empowerment? 

3. Maybe it is an assurance to the neighbours’ third cousins (or anybody else who might judge and comment) that they have given her good sanskaar, and ‘the juttee’ would not attempt to view herself as human?

It seems many parents of Indian daughters believe that they do not have the option of loving and respecting their daughters.

Is it surprising then that Haryana parents avoid having daughters?

Is it possible to change anything until this mindset is challenged and changed?   – IHM

Shared by Abhishek Oza.

http://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/punjab-and-haryana/other-cities-of-punjab/haryana/kavita-jain-takes-oath-as-new-haryana-cabinet-minister/articleshow/44952390.cms

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

Kavita Jain’s husband Rajeev is facing charges for unaccounted income. Yet Kavita’s mother Kamlesh is proud that Kavita always behaves like Rajeev’s “paanv ki jooti” (literally: footwear).ie. She finds her place below her hubby’s feet, even after being a minister. For Kamlesh, this is a sign of Kavita’s “sankaar”.
Kamlesh is neither ashamed of a son-in-law like Rajeev, nor proud of a minister daughter. She is just proud that some “sanskaar” forces a minister to be a “paanv ki jooti” (in Kamlesh’s own words.), and feels more so that such a “sanskaar” is shown by her own daughter!
– By Abhishek Oza.
Related Posts:

What is that one thing that can change an Indian girl child’s life?

I think that one thing is her parents seeing her as their child and not as her future in laws’s daughter-in-law (Paraya Dhan).

Everything changes when a paraya dhan becomes her parents’ child. Her happiness, her future, her comfort, her health, her safety… and eventually her rights and  freedoms also become important enough to fight for.

Once the family values her, so will the society.

Do you agree?

But how do the parents begin to do that?

By realising that Getting Married and Staying Married need not be the only way for a girl child to ‘settle down’.

And what’s the first step for that to happen?

Education ofcourse.

Which is why I am supporting #​Selfies4School by Breakthrough.

Nation Against Early Marriage

What happens when a girl child goes to school?

1. The girl child gets to be a child that she is. She gets a break from housework and taking care of younger siblings. The school might also provide nutrition and opportunities for physical activities.

2. Makes it possible for a girl child to begin to see that there is more to her life than Getting Married and Staying Married.

3. Schooling also makes it possible/easier for her parents to delay a girl child’s marriage.

One huge plus in all this is that most Indians value Education and Success.

#Selfies4School

According to a UNICEF report, India has 47% of the world’s child brides – although we have festivals where we ‘worship’ girl children. 🙄

‘Breakthrough is hoping that #Selfies4School will help ignite conversations in the drawing rooms of professionals and the educated classes.’

Igniting conversations is a powerful step in the right direction I think, because without conversation there is Silence.

How do you like the campaign mascot – Uma with her dupatta flying like a cape 😀

Uma Selfies4School

Take a look at this video – in Hindi.

Related Posts:

“See – UNICEF has figured it out. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out.”

Teenage Pregnancies – not our culture…

His sister is 26 and has two kids, the older one is 8! Another sister, around 18 is also married.

The life and times of another Indian Homemaker.

19 Rape Facts that Khaps, Cops and Chautala should know.

When life ends at twelve.

So how did you go to school?

Jharkhand woman gives kidney to husband as dowry, kills self after six months

A comment in a previous post wondered,

‘After all, no one can be FORCED to give a dowry. The people giving dowry do so by their own free will.’ The comment also compared dowry to gift.

But dowry (the way it is today in India) is more like ransom than gift. And it is not really seen as a choice by most of those who give or demand it.

What is seen as a choice is whether or not to have or to raise a girl child (sex selection, abandoning a baby girl, infanticide etc).

The radical option of raising a daughter as an equal citizen (with as many opportunities to seek and find happiness as anybody else) is beginning to be seen as a choice only now.

A paraya dhan‘s parents were (are?) considered irresponsible if they didn’t start worrying about her marriage as soon as she was born. And the first concern was not who she would marry, but her Dowry.

In fact, girl children even today are often not seen as children but as future daughters in law.

Which is why, the kind of education permitted, career choices, what they are allowed to wear, see, read, learn, earn, spend, save, eat or drink, the kind of social life permitted – all this was (is) decided with only one objective in mind – the future in laws’ approval.

Why did this approval matter?

Because there was (is) another rule – the father of an Indian paraya dhan must ‘give her away’ in kanayadan.

So traditionally a daughter’s parents had no option. If a daughter was born, she had to be raised as a paraya dhan, and had to be married off (by a certain age) with whatever dowry her future life partner’s parents agreed to accept after negotiations.

Before Dowry was made illegal, it was seen as a male child’s parents’ fair and assured entitlement. (Didn’t they raise him with their sweat and blood?)

Indian paraya dhan‘s parents acknowledged this.

There were justifications: The in laws ‘look after’ the ‘girl’, and dowry was a payment/compensation. Some saw it as her share (inheritance)- though the in laws/spouse owned and controlled it.

Dowry being made illegal has started changing the society’s attitude towards dowry.

Just like criminalising sex-selection has changed the way people talk about (many still think the same way) about having daughters. It also made it easier for parents to invest in their daughters’ self reliance instead of saving for their dowry (other factors also favoured these changes)

So, soon one heard magnanimous announcements about how much better than dowry was it to ‘bring’ a working (earning) daughter in law.

The law also lead to dowry related harassment being recognised as a specific kind of a very common crime/abuse.

Sadly the change is coming very slow. I personally know of women who have lost their lives to dowry related abuse. And dowry deaths are always connected with another social rule:  that women must save their marriages. We glorify women who give up happiness to stay married to men who do not respect them. See what this mindset lead to, 

[Link shared by Siddhesh]

Jharkhand woman gives kidney to husband as dowry, kills self after six months

HAZARIBAGH: A woman set herself on fire allegedly due to harassment by her in-laws despite donating one of her kidneys to her husband as a part of a dowry deal about six months ago in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district.

 

Six months ago her husband Sudama Giri fell sick after his kidneys failed. His mother gave Devi a written undertaking that they would treat her well and stop asking for another Rs 25,000 as dowry from her father if she donated one of her kidneys to Giri. 

 

Why did she agree to give her kidney in exchange of dowry? She was buying peace, and she could not imagine a happy life outside this miserable and abusive marriage.

As it is abuse victims find it difficult to walk out, then if they find no support from family or society… there must have been so much loneliness.

How did she feel when the abuse continued even after she donated her kidney?  And why did she think that abuse would stop if she suffered just a little more and made just one more sacrifice?

Wish there were media campaigns that spoke about abuse, that help victims recognise it, and that warned against wasting time trying to ‘win over’ an abuser’s respect.

And I wish women were encouraged to value their personal safety and happiness.

Three social rules that have begun to change and these changes can save many lives. If these rules continue to be defied there would be no dowry and sex selection.

1. Women must Get Married, preferably by a certain ‘marriageable’ age.

2. Women must save their marriages/relationships at the cost of personal happiness.

3.Women should see self reliance as an option and marriage as the sole purpose goal in their lives.

“My husband says he can’t go against his family. My father says study but not without your FIL’s permission.”

Sharing an email. For all those who think women, as adults, should be able to fight back and walk out and live lives of their choices – please give some practical, workable suggestions here.

How do young victims survive in families where everything that concerns women’s happiness (wishes, freedoms, lives, dreams, self reliance and rights) is not taken seriously?

What do you think would her FIL, father and husband say if we were to question their control over her life? 

What are the chances that she would give up? 

What could help keep her going?

Can this be legally challenged? Is this cruelty (legally)? 

In a culture that sees control as tradition, would these family members be seen as wrong?

Do we need a law against Semi Forced Marriages? And another law against women being denied education till the age of 21?

What kind of family values permit families that survive because some of the members see no way to get out? Why do some of us feel that keeping spouse/family members in dependence earns their respect 😦 

Here’s the email:

I am all alone. Nobody understands me. I want to study. My FIL says, today she is talking about studying, tomorrow she will ask to work. I will not give permission. My husband says he can’t go against his family, he cannot revolt. My father says study but not without your FIL’s permission. Nobody supports me. I have become totally alone/isolated. Somebody understand me. I want to be somebody. I want to be happy. Somebody listen to me. Atleast you listen. I don’t like it in my marital home. I don’t like to wear sari… I want to wear suit. FIL says he has no problem but what would the people in the samaj/society say. Husband also does not support. I have to follow (nibhana) so many rites and customs which have no meaning. Husband says if you start earning I will be ashamed of my being a man. … and when his OPD is not enough and pay for the rent of the clinic from my savings, then he is not ashamed. I have been saving from my childhood. When my mood is good my husband loves me very much, but when my mood is not good, then instead of pacifying/consoling me he starts getting angry with me. I have to forget my own unhappiness and pacify him. Then he tells me when you cry then I do not like it, you should always smile…   Arre bhai, when I am not happy then how can I force myself to smile? … I will cry no? I am not able to understand anything. I think I will find peace if I die.   But I don’t want to die, I want to live happily.   What should I do, I don’t understand.   Please talk to me.   Somebody understand me.

 

UPDATED TO ADD:

In response to my email:

I am 24. I am from a very small town in Rajasthan. My marital home is in a small village. I have done BA and M Sc in Computer Science. In a small village there is no career with a Computer Science…. that’s why I want to do a B Ed…. I want to go in teaching line.
I can understand English, but just not comfortable in writing or speaking in English.
My husband is not a bad person… but he has been raised in a village so he is not so broad minded… he is afraid of he society…. so fare as I have understood him… I feel he is afraid of bing labelled a JKG. But he can do anything to be labelled a SHRAVAN KUMAR.

You will be surprised to know that the dream of doing the B Ed was shown to me by my husband… I am at my parents’ home at the moment… Just two days ago I have filled the form for PTET… before filling the form I had spoken to my husband… then he had said no problem, you fill the form… then he spoke to my FIL about this and he blew up… he started saying that, “This is not possible… today she is talking about studying, tomorrow will talk about working… if I wanted to bring a job wali bahu then there was the proposal (rishta) of Bank Manager… I might as well have finalised that rishta for you.”

Then my husband called me and said, “Where was the hurry to fill the form? Now Papa is saying no… atleast you should have asked him once. …now I don’t know, I can’t do anything in this matter… ”

When I went home and told my parents, then they started saying, “When he (FIL) is saying no then this is not possible… not possible without his permission…” After that my dad started convincing me that I should not be stubborn … he started giving me examples of other women …my sisters in law (brothers’ wives’) examples…. take a look at her, she is so educated but still manages house hold… ..blah blah blah…
O god!!
I don’t understand why are people so afraid of the society… I had learnt in school that samaaj (society) is a support system… but my samaaj has made living difficult for me…

 

I don’t want to lose my husband… because he is good at heart… his only weakness is he does not have a mind of his own …he doesn’t have any views of his own, just the FIL’s opinions are his opinion. … what should I do, I am in a dilemma….

* * *

Here’s the original email in Hindi:

Me akeli hu. Mujhe koi nahi samajhta. Me padhna chahti hu. Mere FIL kahte h ye aaj padhayi krne ka bol rahi h…kal job karne ka bolegi..me to izazat nahi doonga. Pati bolte h ghar walo k khilaf nahi ja sakta…bagaawat nahi kar sakta. Papa bolte h padho lekin FIL ki permission k bina nahi. Koi mujhe support nahi karta h. Me bilkul akeli ho gayi hu. Koi to mujhe samjho . Me kuch banana chahti hu. Me khush rahna chahti hu. Koi to meri baat suno. Aap to suno. Mujhe sasural me kuch bhi accha nahi lagta. Mujhe saari pahanana accha nahi lagta…me suit pahana chahti hu FIL kahte h mujhe dikkat nahi h samaz k log kya kahenge. Pati bhi support nahi karte. Mujhe itne ulte seedhe riti riwaz nibhane padte h zinka koi matalab bhi nahi hota h. Pati ese to bolte h ki agar tum kamane jaogi to mere mard hone p sharm aayegi mujhe…aur jab kabhi inki OPD kam hoti h to clinic ka kiraya me apni savings me se deti hu tab inko sharm nahi aati. Me to bachapan se saving karti aayi hu. Jab mera mood accha hota h tab to pati mujhe bahut pyar karte h. Lekin jab mera mood kharab hota h to mujhe khush karne ki zagah ulta khud gussa karne lag jaate h…mujhe khud hi apna dhukh bhool k unko manana padta h…phir mujhe kahte h k tum roti ho to mujhe accha nahi lagta h …tum hamesha hasti raha karo… Are bhai me khush hu hi nahi to zabardasti kaise hass sakti hu…rona to mujhe aayega hi na. Mujhe kuch samajh nahi aa raha h. Sochti hu mar jati hu to shaanti mil jayegi. Per me marna nahi chahti me khushi khushi jeena chahti hu. Me kya karoo mujhe samajh nahi aa raha h. Plz mujhse baat karo na. Koi to mujhe samajho na.

UPDATED TO ADD THE SECOND PART:

Me 24 saal ki hu.
Me rajasthan k bahut chote se shahar se hu.
Mera sasural ek chote se village me h.
Mene B.A. Kiya h…aur computer sciense me M.Sc. kiya h…chote village me computer sciense me koi career nahi h….isliye me B.ed. karna chahti hu…teaching line me jaana chahti hu.
I can understand english but just not comfertable in writing or speaking in english.
Mere pati bure insaan nahi h..lekin gaon m pale bade h isliye itne broad minded nahi h…wo samaz se bahut darte h..jahan tak me unhe samajh payi hu..mujhe lagta h k unhe dar h k kahi unhe JKG ka khitab nahi mil jaye…ye unki nazar me bahut hi sharm ki baat hogi…lekin wo SHRAVAN KUMAR ka khitab paane k liye kuch bhi kar sakte h.
Aap ko ye jaan k aashcharya hoga k B.ed. karne ka sapna bhi mujhe mere pati ne dikhaya…me abhi apne mayake me hu…abhi do din pahle mene PTET ka form bhara h…form bharne se pahle pati se baat bhi ki thi..tab vo bole k koi dikkat nahi h tum form bhar do…fir unhone mere FIL se is baare me baat ki to wo bhadak gaye…kahne lage k “ye to sambhav nahi h..aaj padayi ka bol rahi h..kal ko job k liye bolegi…agar mujhe job wali bahu hi laani thi to tumhare liye to bank manager ka rishta aaya tha..me wo hi kar leta”…uske baad pati ne mujhe phone karke kaha k “tumhe itni kya jaldi thi form bharne ki…abhi papa mana kar rahe h ..unse pooch to leti ek baar..ab mujhe nahi pata…me is maamle me kuch nahi kar sakta”.
Ghar jaake mene apne mummy papa ko bataya to vo kahne lage k “jab vo (FIL) mana kar rahe h to ye sambhav nahi..unki permission k bina to nahi ho sakta…”..uske baad se mere papa mujhe hi covince karne me lage huye h ki me apni zid chod du..mujhe doosro k example dete h …meri bhabhiyo k example dete h…use dekho itti padhi likhi hoke bhi ghar sambhalti h…blah blah blah…
O god!!
Mujhe ye nahi samajh m aata k log samaz se itna kyu darte h…mene to school me seekha tha k samaz ek support system hota h…lekin mere samaz ne to mera jeena mushkil kar diya h…
Me mere pati ko khona nahi chahti …kyu ki vo dil k bahut acche h…bus kami yehi h k unki khud ki koi soch nahi h…unke khud k koi vichar nahi..bus jo FIL k vichar vahi unke vichar…kya karu badi duvidha me hu.

 

Related Posts:
“Now I just think of marriage as contract to go serve some stranger family. He made it clear that I could have ended in a much worse situation.”

An email from a Newly Wed Wife. “Now they don’t like me.”

“This would help people realize that happy Indian families like this also exist.”

Daughter-in-law should not be treated as domestic help, says Supreme Court

An email: “indian daughter in-law is servant?”

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

From the modern, Indian woman to Shravan Kumar.

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

If we did not have the option of banning sex selection, how do you think would we deal with the skewed gender ratio? Do you think maybe then we would be forced take an honest and serious look at why Indian families do not want to have and to raise girl children? 

Sharing this email from freebird.

Hi IHM,

Here are some thoughts and I wanted your perspective:

I have seen TATA – Jaago Re episode on female foeticide where it was suggested that there should be a law against aborting girl-child. I disagree with it firstly on ethical grounds, that this law differentiates between the life of a girl-child and a male-child. And secondly, I believe that forcing parents to have unwanted children would only result in the children suffering throughout. I sometimes wonder if people who treat female foeticide as an isolated issue see women as human beings or are only worried that future generation men will not have enough slaves to marry (and f*** with). I don’t see the point of forcing parents to give birth to unwanted girl children, if the parents are going to abandon them/ sell them to a brothel/ ‘marry them off’ before even they reach adulthood: basically if parents are going to deprive them of human rights anyway. If the objective is to produce more girl children so that more men can be served, without taking into account that girls/women are human beings with their own wishes, aims, aspirations and dreams which don’t necessarily align with serving her husband (or even having a husband), I can hardly empathize with this attitude. I think if we as a country/society cannot give women freedom and dignity which are rightfully theirs, we have no right to ask for more women to be bornIt’s like masters allowing slaves to reproduce so that their children will in turn become slaves. I am not saying we shouldn’t have campaigns against female feoticide, but everyone of those should mention that all human rights apply to girl children apart from being just born. These campaigns cannot isolate gender inequality from female foeticide.

Related Posts:

Skewed sex ratio is not caused by sex selective abortions.

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

How illegal bans on Valentine’s day and birthday parties are connected with dowry deaths and sex selection.

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

Response to “Koi Baap Apni Beti Ko Kab Jaane Se Rok Paya Hai”

Can we blame everything on patriarchy?

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?

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

Response to “Koi Baap Apni Beti Ko Kab Jaane Se Rok Paya Hai”

Anil Singhal shared this – we still receive these forwards.

If it wasn’t for this mindset, there would be no skewed gender ratio, sex selection and male child preference.

“DEDICATED TO ALL GIRLS… ”

DAUGHTER TO FATHER::

Mujhe Itnaa Pyaaar Naa Do papa,
Kal Jane Ye Mujhe Naseeb Na Ho
Ye Jo Maatha Chuuma Karte Ho,
Kal Iss Par Shikkan Azeeb Na Ho

(Rough translation: Don’t give me so much love papa, tomorrow I may not be destined to such love. This kiss on my forehead that you plant, May it not be replaced by worry lines in future)
Mein Jab Bhi Roti Hoon papa,
Tum Aansun Poncha Karte Ho (When I cry papa, you wipe my tears)
Mujhey Itni Door Na Chhor Aana,
Mein Roun Or Tum Qareeb Na Ho (Don’t abandon me so far away, that I cry and you are not close by)
Mere Naaz Uthaate Ho papa,
Mujhe Laad Ladate Ho papa (you pamper me)
Meri Chotti-2 Khwahish Parr,
Tum Jaan Lootate Ho papa (You fulfill my little desires)
Kal Aisaa Naa Ho Ek Nagri Meinn,
Mein Tanha Tum Ko Yaad Karun (It should not happen that in future I miss you in some city, all alone)
Aur Ro Ro Kar Fariyaaad Karun, (and cry and plead…)
Aey Bhagwan Mere papa Saa Koi Pyaaar Jataane Wala Ho (Oh God let there be someone loving and caring like my papa)
Mere Naaz Uthane Wala Ho .(someone to pamper me)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Descent Reply Of FATHER…..!!
Jo Soch Rahi Ho Tum Beti Wo Sab To Ek Maya Hai (What you are thinking daughter is all an illusion)
Koi Baap Apni Beti Ko Kab Jaane Se Rok Paya Hai (Has any father ever managed to stop his daughter from going away? i.e. to her in laws’ house)
Sach Kahte Hai Duniyaan Wale
Beti To Dhann Parayaa Hai (What the world says is true, a daughter is a paraya dhan  i.e. somebody’s property, not her parents’ wealth)
Gharr Gharr Ki Yahin Kahaani Hai
Duniyaan Ki Ye Reet Puraani Hai (This is the story of every home, it is the world’s old tradition)
Har Baap Nibhaaata Aaya Hai
Tere Baap Ne Bhi Nibhani Hai…….. (Every father has honored this tradition, and your father has to respect it too)

* * *

What if we responded to such forwards with some progressive and feminist thoughts?

Here is an attempt – would love to read yours, in any language, with translation.

Yeh sab batein ab hooin bahut puraani hai
Beta shaadi ke alawaa bhi zindgani hai.
Tum dhan naheen aulad ho
Apne pairon par khade hoker,
choolo aasman
Mein hoon har pal tumhare saath
Khush ya dukhi, sahi ya galat, din ya raat
Jab yaad aye tab mobile uthaana
Ya dil chahe to  flight book karke khud chalee aana 🙂

___________________________________________

Rough Translation:

All these are things of past
My child, there is life beyond getting married and staying married.
You are my child, not my dhan
Stand on your own two feet.
Reach for the skies.
I am with you, always.
Happy or sad, right or wrong, day or night.
Pick your mobile when you need to talk, Or if you feel like, just book a flight and come over 🙂

Related Posts:

“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”

Paraya dhan and her limited rights.

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

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

When a newly married Indian woman gives up her career, what else does she give up?

How important is it for a girl to get married?

When a daughter refuses to go back.

“See – UNICEF has figured it out. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out.”

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?

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?

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.”

When a daughter refuses to go back…