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Why Your Daughter’s Marriage Shouldn’t Be Your Biggest Dream For Her

“When are you going to start saving? Don’t forget there’s a girl growing up in the house..”, countless wives have been reminding their husbands in Indian households and sometimes on TV screens. Parents in the country place too much emphasis on marriage. And if you’re a girl, this gets doubled. The moment the doctor announces the gender, the planning starts, the saving starts. And more importantly, the worrying.

Because of the pervasive dowry system that devours most families by attaching itself to destructive notions of what constitute status, honor and respect, this directly affects the family’s management of financial resources and how girls are brought up. An unmarried daughter becomes a burden to be removed which in turn subjects her to differential treatment. Giving your daughter’s marriage utmost importance means everything you do for her is ultimately influenced by this concern. You either don’t educate her beyond a basic level because you don’t have enough money to spend on both (and clearly you’ve decided marriage is to be given the bigger priority), or you educate her (often according to your own wishes rather than hers) with the prospect of fetching a well qualified groom so that she can be ‘sent off’ to a ‘respectable’ home.

 Studio portrait of three children wearing jewellery, at Madras in Tamil Nadu, taken in c. 1870 The young girl on the left is wearing the half-sari which is the traditional dress of adolescent girls in the South Indian states. The girl in the centre of the photograph is wearing the jewelled head-dress traditionally worn at marriage ceremonies or at 'rites of passage' ceremonies performed when a girl reaches puberty. source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Group_of_Tamil_girls.jpg

Studio portrait of three children wearing jewellery, at Madras in Tamil Nadu, taken in c. 1870 The young girl on the left is wearing the half-sari which is the traditional dress of adolescent girls in the South Indian states. The girl in the centre of the photograph is wearing the jewelled head-dress traditionally worn at marriage ceremonies or at ‘rites of passage’ ceremonies performed when a girl reaches puberty.
source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/

Placing emphasis on marriage means raising girls in a manner primarily aimed at moulding them into a societal expectation of what an ideal bride or wife should be like, instead of fostering and encouraging individual characteristics. And in a patriarchal society, these demands are never free of misogyny. The perfect wife looks like Aishwarya Rai, talks like Mother Teresa and is willing to be submissive like Sita. She is unambitious, unassertive, unaware or not demanding of her rights, and has been blessed with extra invisible hands to successfully manage all household work and (increasingly) also a job without the slightest complaints. Girls then are taught from a young age to value their looks more than their talents and skills, to place their career aspirations or financial independence secondary to the need for being married at the ‘right’ time and having kids, and to perpetuate this vicious cycle through their own daughters, all the while carrying a burden of living up to the good girl myth so as to not ‘invite’ rape, lest they become used goods. Because rape is something that is given to us when we “ask for it”, and the unit of measurement of a woman’s worth is virginity. Right?

Imposing one’s dreams on another human being and wanting them to strictly fulfill them for you is a pretty selfish expectation and even a messed up form of ‘love’ (which is how people usually like to rationalize it). This stems from the perception that holds children as properties of parents and in particular, a woman’s identity only in relation to a man. It’s somewhat similar to indoctrinating kids into the parents’ religion at an impressionable age and closing the doors of curiosity, only even more violating. While one may be able to completely break free from religious beliefs at least on a mental level, the social costs of leaving an unsuccessful marriage in a patriarchal culture are many, especially if you’re a woman. Being a father-in-law or a grandmother is a privilege, not a right. But having the freedom to decide whether we want to give our parents that privilege is a right no one should be denied, because the decisions involved would first and foremost affect ourselves.

Not to mention the oppression it puts out for women who don’t fit into the supposed standards. Lesbian women, disabled women, trans/queer women, those wishing to stay single or those who want to have a partner but not get married. Women with physical disabilities constantly deal with ableist attitudes that infantilise them or treat them as less of a woman. Imagine the look of horror on the father’s face when he tells his daughter they’re going to start looking for a suitable match and her response is, “I hope she will let me keep my job.” Thankfully, we have an effective homophobic climate in place to avoid any such awkward situations. It’s simple, we just force them into repressing their sexuality and entering an arranged heterosexual relationship!

Marriage is not the ultimate purpose of a female life. I’ll say that again, it really isn’t. It’s only a part of it, and a choice some women wish to make while some women don’t. The important thing is they should have the liberty to do so without being coerced or emotionally blackmailed. This has absolutely nothing to do with their ‘worth’ as a person. Meaning, purpose and fulfillment in life can be found in a billion ways and if your daughter wants to include marriage at some point in that list, fine. If not, that should be fine as well. Give her education, good morals, encourage her to pursue her passions, let her celebrate her sexuality and uniqueness. The rest should be up to her. After all, if it is your daughter’s welfare that you wish for, then start by placing the control of her future in her own hands.

Comments

  1. says

    I find this fascinating, because all of the Indian women I’ve been acquainted with have been incredibly strong, vibrant, independent women. Fierce, even (in a good way). In professional circles, I don’t think I’ve ever met a “dud”. They have all been extremely competent.

    That may be confirmation bias on my part, but I don’t think so. Maybe because my experience is with women who have emigrated from India? I see the 1% who have fought their way out of the “dowry” system?

    Whenever I think “it’s hard to believe in this day and age” that so-and-so still exists, I remind myself of the troubled parts of the world where girls are considered a threat to society merely by going to school.

  2. minxatlarge says

    Well you know, even Sita sings the blues:

    http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/

    Medium Synopsis:
    Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by email. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Set to the 1920’s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as “the Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told.”

  3. don't wish to use my name says

    Brilliant article. :)
    Agree with everything.
    Since women are never allowed to take decisions- a lot of them are incapable of even thinking about situations, deciding what is right and wrong for them. Hence, women tend to be more conservative than men in societies like ours- they are just not aware of their rights. They have no concept that women can break free of this cycle in which they ought to do various things and “respect” men.
    I find it horrible that our society frowns upon women taking care of themselves or their wishes in even the slightest way. They are “allowed” to spend money on beauty products because that fits well in the patriarchal society, and also benefits mainly men. (Also encourages jealousy, bitterness, anger in women who are not “pretty” by societie’s standards.) But more seriously- I have seen that people get offended if a female decides to take care of her health. She has to be forced to do it. Why? Because women NEED to be sacrifising. If they show even slightest individuatlity and show that htey are human, they are deemed selfish. And not a “good woman.”

    Real women are apparently always selfless and have no desire but to serve others!!!!!! To quote: “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.” ? Cheris Kramarae

  4. sahana says

    Brilliant message! Totally agree. Hats off Anita J. It becomes very difficult in our society for parents to accept such things easily even if the child is a responsible type.

    If the girl has any dreams for future, she is told, “After marriage if your husband is ok with it then do it but not before marriage”.

    Why does a woman always have to be dependent on the men for her identity-from her father’s name to her husband’s name and then even when she has a child, the child is known by the father’s name.

    I have always wondered seeing women to are tortured by their in laws or husband suffer in silence and these same women have a lot of brains when it comes to playing politics with the other women or emotionally blackmailing their kids or beating them up to vent their frustration. I women really stand up for themselves no one would dare to take them for granted.

    I really wish we would have an equal world some day free of bias.

  5. CaitieCat says

    A well-argued point, thanks for the interesting and informative post, a timely reminder of my own privilege. Really enjoying the articles from your group so far, this was top-notch.

  6. shobha says

    Thanks for the article.
    The pressure on the parents-especially the mother-is astounding
    A mother can be seen as not a loving mother because she is not forcing her daughter to marry the nearest dud.
    But lets look at some interesting features around:on a radio show in 93.5Fm a RJ proudly gives out statistics of 52 percent of the men giving their salaries to their wives to manage it. He then asks for responses-and man after man ( if you can call them that) proudly responded on how their wives gave the money to them and then asked for pocket money for her needs.what they didnt realize was how shameless they sounded .
    Every message in the society is to put down a woman who is strong- with the result we have women w ho refuse to use their head and then pay a heavy price.

  7. says

    Saldy, if I ever show this to my mother, she won’t even be minutely affected by it. It would be wishful thinking if I hope that my mother would be okay with me being gay, not wanting to get married, etc. Their mind sets are too strongly rooted. Hopefully our generation as parents can be more supportive and liberal towards the girls of our society.

  8. Ania says

    From when I come from this kind of preasure doesn’t exist. Today only the further family makes “marriage jokes” and ask weather or not you are going to find a suitable husband.
    But this case gets my voice everytime! Good luck for them.

  9. Opinicus says

    This is beautiful. I wish my parents could read this. They think they’ll go to hell if they don’t marry me off at the right age. -_-

  10. esaroha says

    Great article, Anita! You rightly mentioned that parents view children as property [or means of fulfilling dreams]. And it both daughters and sons who become a victim of this. Unfortunately, daughters disproportionately more :(

  11. Shivangi says

    A very well written article. I met a friend the other day who wanted to get married soon just so she could finally have “freedom” as her parents don’t allow her to wear what she wants or go out with friends. But she hopes things change for her when she gets married. Its really sad when girls feel trapped in their own lives. I feel lucky to have great parents who have taught me to make my own decisions and never made me feel like a burden or anything less than the best thing to happen to them.

  12. Prema P says

    A nice eye-opener article for the conservative parents. Thank God.. As a mother of 23 year old daughter I never Forced her to assume stereotyped roles. I only encourage her to think before taking any crucial decision and to convince me. An ideal mother- daughter relationship. I am proud indeed. Thanks for educating the literate but practically uneducated parents.

  13. Vrushali says

    Wow, really wow. I am exactly in the same situation in my life. All my parents & every1 around talks is d same. It seems less important of what I want from life right now & marriage is the only thing that is my aim for being on this planet. And there have been n number of times when I told my Mom that marriage is not the ultimate aim or something that will ensure that I will be happy in my life but happiness is in what I find my passion, my hobbies, my career & ambitions. The worst part is it rarely matters to them if the guy cares @ u, but he should be well earning & from the cast to portray good image in society. I have seen girls who just want to marry bcoz parents are pushing, or they wanted to go out their city and see/ try traveling or few adventures and parents tell them do after your marriage. And most of the time here in such cases when parents look for a guy they never check if cares about these things. And all her life she ends up adjusting n later cribbing about how her life is. But never raise a finger to change because “What will society say”.

  14. Smitha says

    @Kevin- That’s because most of us don’t grow up this way. I am sick of such articles which portray Indian women as victims. I am a 30 year old Indian woman living in US, having a beautiful family and a successful career in the US. I grew up in a lower middle class South Indian family with 2 brothers.
    The reason why you find the Indian women vibrant and fierce is because of the fact that we are brought with very high self esteem. We are not judged on our weight. looks etc. I was rewarded for smartness, the nerdiest kids in school were the “cool ones”, we didn’t face bullying in school. I am not just talking about myself here, I am talking about all the girls I grew up with. I didn’t have to fight my way out of the anything to be here in the US. My parents gave me a good education (even though they didn’t have the money for it), sent me to the US to do my Masters, and gave me the support every time. Yes, as parents, they were always concerned of when I was getting married and I think that is perfectly valid.

  15. Chaminie Nanayakkara says

    Wow, a brilliant article, I wish my Mother could understand this ..if I ever get married, I want it to be for love, not for anything else, not for security, protection , financial stability, tradition.. No. Thank you for writing this, at least some people understand, this proves that there are people who approve the way I’m thinking about it, love and regard, Cham, 22.

  16. Devika Shetty says

    @Smitha: Umm being judged on your academic capabilities is umm ‘judging’. And let’s not forget that all important Indian obsession with fair skin and svelte waists. Indians are an extremely judgmental and difficult bunch of people. Just ask the next dark skinned, plump, physically disabled Indian woman you meet.

  17. says

    @ Aiswarya –

    A friend of mine whose parents are Bengali, Muslim, and quite conservative, recently finally reconciled with his father – 12 years after coming out, and just after getting married to his boyfriend. I’m not saying it will never happen for you, I’m just saying that people do change – don’t give up hope.

    This is an excellent article.

  18. says

    as per Indian culture a woman is regarded as a goddess. But when parents come to knw tat their future baby is daughter, many thinks to abort it…!! a man needs a girl friend, lover, wife and obviously a mother bt its very awful to knw tat he dont need a girl childd.. isn’t it ridiculous?? wat if v r girls?? aren’t v human beings..?? behind a every successful man, there is a woman.. then y cant a man support a woman??? even if u cant encourage girls, pleas don’t discourage them.. they can make their life fruitfull and even other’s live a heaven.. leave us on our way..

  19. says

    Each and every word is true to its core. Its a piece which every individual should go through, especially those parents who are trapped in the societal curbs and firstly all the ladies and woman out their who have lost their very identity due to the society.

  20. chinnu says

    i truly agree with ur article…also a woman (or man) should hav the freedom to get married to his/her like…not the person selected by their parents.

  21. Lakshmi says

    It is a very well-written article, and no doubt still relevant for many girls in India even today. I’m an Indian woman, in my mid-thirties, am single, have a steady job, live alone, and am happy. My parents aren’t trying to get rid of me, they never told me I couldn’t have the education I wanted, never told me I couldn’t wear a certain kind of dress. The only reason they’ve asked me to get married is because they think it will be good to have someone watch out for me when they’re gone. When it comes to the society at large, I totally agree with the views you’ve expressed – take the example of a random car dealer. When he saw my age, he immediately assumed I’m married. ‘Your husband’s name, ma’am?’ is a standard question I have to contend with. When I say ‘Not married’, people look me up and down, trying to determine (I think) if there’s a physical cause for the sickness of me being single.

    @Smitha I do not think this article is targetted at women who are leading successful lives abroad. It is for parents who still think getting their girl-child married off (for whatever reasons) is the single most important thing in life.

  22. krishna says

    Argumental article written well from one point of view , ie from Childrens point .The problem is not only for daughters alone , it is also for Boys too . If i go and say my mom that , i am a gay and i want to get married to boy or i dont want to get married at all , her heart will literally stop .

    But let us think about this from a fathers angle .. Parents have every right to concern about their children ,including their marriage . Bcox they have seen a lot more than what there children have . Being a conservative country like India , it is difficult to get a match for there children as there age increases .. I have a cousin who i can take as an example . His dream was to go to US/UK, roam around and enjoy a bit ..And he went to Europe , spent his time there from age 27 to 30 . His parents were continuously asking at that age to get married and which he said a big No . They did not have any choice but to listen to him . He came back at 31 , decided to get married then ..I know how his search went and is going yet ..He is 34 and he gets same answer where ever he goes ..U R AGED . We are not in Western Countries where late relations or dating is an option . My Colleague next to me might complain to the management if i just ask her for a Simple Date (kicking me , so saying No would be a better option).

    So wouldn’t it be wise for him to have listened to his parents OR the parents should be wise enough to let children to what ever they wish ..I seriously dont have a correct answer for that .

    Marriage is not the ultimate purpose for any ones life . But parents do know one thing “It is pretty tough to be alone after some age ” . I have spoken with few people who are not married even at the age of 50 and they are repenting nw which they can never correct .. No parents would want there children to feel that Pain or do that Mistake . If they allow there children do they a mistake which can’t be corrected later , then where exactly is parents love there .

    As for me , Girls ( or Boys) should be educated , should stand on there legs ie earn for themselves for few years atleast . Fathers should leave them to do some silly mistakes … As for marriage , The argument goes on .

  23. Raminder says

    its such a fantastic write up.. speaks the mind and heart of every woman.. except that no woman has had the courage to admit this openly.. due to the fear of being branded as high headed career oriented woman

  24. D P Banerjee says

    Read the article.but have we grown you in the common mould?We have always encouraged you to soar high,our only concern is your health and security:we have never interfered with your tastes and dreams ,In our society marriage is an unavoidable.instrument of security. you are intelligent and should agree with this observation.Did marriage interfere with the pursuits of Madam Curie or Margaret Thatcher? D P B

  25. Anita J says

    @Krishna: This is not from the children’s point of view, it’s from the Individual’s. Saying that we are a conservative country is being apologetic and not an excuse for the oppression. It is precisely this mindset that has to change. If a parent won’t accept his/her gay child, it’s because we have created a homophobic culture that demonises gay people and puts societal pressure on parents to reject them. But it doesn’t mean that can’t or shouldn’t change.

    “I have spoken with few people who are not married even at the age of 50 and they are repenting nw which they can never correct .. No parents would want there children to feel that Pain or do that Mistake . If they allow there children do they a mistake which can’t be corrected later , then where exactly is parents love there .”
    Please note that nowhere in the article have I said people SHOULDN’T marry. All I said is that one shoudn’t be brought up with that as the sole aim or be forced into it. The reason they are repenting has a lot to do with our society treating middle-aged people as ”non-marriage material” and the cultural fixation on youthness or the problem of ‘ageism’ to be precise..

  26. Shree says

    Wow..!! Kudos to you .. You just read the minds of hundreds of young women in India.. Since many off us feel the same way maybe generations to come will not go through what we are ..! Hope the things will change for good.,

  27. Sunetra says

    Brilliant article..rightly said! But i do have to say, my parents did not succumb to the societal pressures. My sister and I were given ample freedom to pursue our passions, study as much as we wanted and we both continue to do so. While the financial pressures had been perceived but we never had to sacrifice our choices in life.
    However, I must say that I am currently married into an orthodox family that has the typical demands of a daughter-in-law viz., should not be “too much” educated, should not be ambitious but must bring home a parallel income, should indulge in any spending even if she contributes to 50% of the income, should not work late hrs., has to devote time to the kitchen etc. etc.
    I guess the mentality of the parents of a girl child are largely due to the thinking of such “educated” people who thinks being parents to a son gives them the right to enslave girls! It is a vicious circle!

  28. Manisha says

    Its an eye-opening article for many indians.. well written!!… keep writing more

  29. Sharadha says

    i love this article undoubtedly… but i would not say the parents’ concern to get their “daughter” married to be wrong.. infact parents are concerned even about the son’s marriage as well. we must also look into the burden that is put on a guy’s head in the name of marriage. a guy is expected to earn not only for himself but also for his family. he s not given any choice when it comes to education. al he has to do is settle himself in a high income fetching job. our society not jus believes in the fact that women have an emotional responsibility to family but for men they have the FINANCIAL responsibility. well that means as the members of the society that is centered on FAMILY values MEN and WOMEN are vested with responsibilities. as ages went there are a lot of people who have not been responsible to their family in turn the society as well.. we have come across MEN being idle and WOMEN shattering the harmony in families. Today’s situation favors Women as we find the new notion of Patriarchy Coloring these valuable system to be annoying. there is nothing wrong in exchanging the responsibilities or sharing them or even finding them meaningless. every parent feel themselves Responsible to bring their children up based on the values they followed. If one finds it wrong in the later stage no one stops anyone. if a girl can feel that she is not to be tied in the shackles of the idea of marriage she has every right to break the Relationship that stops her from reaching the Goals. All she must have is the courage and clarity of thought to break it. we are not FLOWERS to wither off in a day we are given an average of 70years in which parents hold our hands only till 20. we are given more than double the time to think and act. only if u heed to the hurdles u are going to stop if u really wish to pursue ur dreams even if u r married even if u are uneducated u can still make ur own way. its better to make oneself ready for such a leap rather than complaining about what parents or society does for us. we must always first see whether we make full use of our capabilities and resources available. again i say.. “NO ONE/ NOTHING CAN STOP YOU IF U THINK U SHOULD NOT BE STOPPED”

  30. Ramya says

    I can proudly say that I have been raised by a father who wanted both his daughters to get educated and stand on their feet, we have been taught to be independent . I am so proud to be my fathers daughter. I would love to see some age old customs & traditions change in India before I die!! Women should be taught never to depreciate themselves.

    Thank you for this article.

  31. sindhu says

    Firstly.. this issue is not just for women.. it can be for any individual..

    parents should allow their children to make mistakes agreed.. but not to an extent where it’s gonna be a life full of regrets.. in many instances, teens or early twenty somethings think there should be freedom to do whatever they want only to realise later that life is not what they percieve.. making a decision to not marry or embrace your sexuality is very pathbreaking.. but once you start confronting the difficulties that life brings along with it. you wish you had been wise early on..

    agreed the sole purpose of any human (be it girl or boy) is not marriage.. but like rightly mentioned by you in your comments, this has got more to do with societal pressures and we as a society being more open and welcome to all sorts of people.. if one can be strong with all decisions that they make then there’s no issue.. but that happens only in an ideal world :)

    again.. if one can be strong to live life like what they want.. in other words break societal pressures.. they shouldn’t worry too much about parental pressures..

  32. sindhu says

    disclaimer: i’m a girl who exactly had the same views as in the article couple of years back.. now i’m happily married to the love of my life who is not even from the same religion.. though my parents were against my wish initially, i was able to succesfully convince them and make them see that i really am making the right choice..

    The truth is any parent wants the best for their child.. it’s mostly the difficulties that their child might be facing due to their unconvetional choices, that they worry about :)

  33. Rekha says

    Thanks for such encouraging words.It boost both parents as well as the girl. Society has not changed. Only thing is girls are now becoming financially independent but that to its helping guys to fulfill their needs.

  34. Neha Bakshi says

    Dear Anita,

    The brilliancy of this article cannot be overstated. You have managed to put every disappointment, frustration that a girl/women born in this country has or will ever have. Indian Society is so dogmatic in its belief of women being a subservient gender that they are not even aware that there is anything wrong with it. Each and every individual belonging to any possible gender is born with these values or a belief system where a woman’s purpose of life is to serve and die without any complaints and no one is ashamed of holding such a belief.

    We as a society are really rotten as far as gender sensitivity and individual respect is concerned. And the pace at which things are being realised will take us another century to say that “India as a society knows what it is to respect women for who they are”

  35. prasanna says

    the problem is with patriarcial mindset of people.even though a girl is highly educated,self sufficient,she has to go in the path shown by parents or any other man who is called her”husband.why cant a woman lead the life of her choice ?even if a girl marries a man of her choice our system recognises the children with caste of the person whome she choose.lets hope for a gender sensitive society.
    .

  36. prasanna says

    rigidity of cast system dates back to 600bc and further strengthening day by day….

  37. roona says

    what you have said is very much true in the larger picture…… But from where i come we were given enough freedom to make our own decisions, to me, to my cousins….. And i feel really great that there were no dowry taken or given even for my parents marriage, this may be because I’m from the north-eastern part of the country….. However it is sad that dowry which was not so prevalent here in earlier days is becoming a common part of marriage these days….. And I totally agree with you that marriage should not be the ultimate purpose of a girl’s life and guys too. Even guys were being pressurized for marriage, this I see everytime i visit my grandmaa, she will be asking my mom to convince my uncle to get married, she even says that as the eldest daughter in law now it’s your responsibility to get your brother in law married…..

  38. says

    Poignant and well written this piece transcends the Indian culture it expresses. The bride mania that grips my home country every late spring nears oppressiveness, I can’t imagine that being your whole life!

  39. EvilEyes says

    ” you educate her (often according to your own wishes rather than hers) with the prospect of fetching a well qualified groom so that she can be ‘sent off’ to a ‘respectable’ home.” …. What exactly happening in families calling themselves liberal and despite having highly educated parent.

  40. Kirti Pabrekar - Patil says

    This is indeed very well written. Thank fully for me, my father has not been a typical parent and has given me wings and thought me how to fly!! :)

  41. Veena Verma says

    Very well and precisely written. Like they say ‘you have hit the bull’s eye’

    Just needed a little favour from the publisher . My parents can’t understand this level of English. So even if I read it out to them it will be futile. Reading it out to then is not even an option. i sound rebellious to then. Can you also publish a Hindi translation to this blog.

    I am an entrepreneur at the age of 26. Where everyone else is proud of my achievements and work style, my parents and family are worried if I will ever get a guy meeting my expectations.
    The one I got showed he was broad minded but turned out that he comes from the same old school of thought where he wants a wife and not a life partner.

    I am surely positive that I will find the right guy cause that clan exists. But it’s getting difficult for me to convince my parents on this thought. This proposal was finalised and was about to he sealed with an engagement which I am calling off. I really need this blog to reach them. Please can you do me this favour.

  42. Dr. Poldas says

    Excellent article! Your views, especially in the last paragraph are absolutely correct! They should become the guidelines for each and every female in the country as well as world. It would be worthwhile to write more such articles to bring about a change in the society. I am a father of two lovely daughters and I wish that they follow these guidelines. They have my support!

  43. says

    You hit the nail on the head. Growing up in an Indian Society it is more often about conforming to societal norms that actually living a life free of oppression and expectations. The only expectations that matter are MINE. As a person whose mum keep asking her the same question again and again, I just shared this with her. Thank You :).

  44. Kriti says

    I’ve heard many people talk about it. None have been able to put it this way. It’s moving.

  45. Raj says

    Mind blowing article! Hopefully, the current generation could together change the way we treat our girls. As human beings, we owe ourselves at least the right to live life on our own terms.

  46. says

    An article worth reading. I hope the modern day husbands and fathers understand what their wives and daughters/daughter in laws want in their life and aspire and help them in doing what they want and not force them to act as per the male wish.

  47. Vikas says

    This article comprehend several frustrations lamented by common people in the media. However, I agree that the daughter or women per se should be given freedom; but we need to understand that women and men are made differently, not only physically but also mentally. I do not understand why people can not understand this simple thing. If we see the female of any other species, we can find that they are the anchor of “Family” and they have their chores decided. Those animals are not “learned” like this author, but they understand the value of female. On the similar way, women must be treasured for her stamina, caring nature and her ability to adjust with all the environment. Just by not marrying we are perpetuating an idea which will be detrimental in longer term. The need is to educate the society about the importance of women.
    Every parent want that their child must get the best out of the society, they want their daughter to study as much as she can. But, it is the same demanding society which treat daughters of other differently. We have to change that outlook of ourselves, rather than redefining the womanhood.

  48. durkhaima (@durkhaima) says

    Hey Vikas, Animals also kill other animals, animals also roam around with no actual purpose but to eat, excrete and make more babies.. that’s it.. they have their place in the universe and we have ours. Who has instilled this idea that women are primarily of “caring nature” and have “the abiity to adjust with all environment”. Nature? How many things that nature intended do we do ?
    We as human beings are suppose to figure out our lives, explore and learn what we are made of, what desires we have and what we should do with this life .. we cannot keep doing something because that’s how it has been done! Also doesn’t mean we should ignore what we inherently feel is right. We should have opportunity to educate ourselves, and be free .. most of all to make a choice … and not be told that we don’t understand a “simple” thing …. Women are not free and neither men if we keep imposing marriage because they are suppose to be married by a certain age. Let me ask you this , this article also addresses, trans-genders, lesbians, gays … how does your hypothesis just fit into those lives? Mine does… it’s to be free enough to figure out our lives … and it doesn’t make sense to get pressured into things by our own families … yes the gov’t and the world at large will take forever to change but our families, at least them, we can plead for them to understand that as women and men.

  49. jhum says

    It is indeed true to have future in hand. Thanks to my mom who always trusted me and stood by me for all my decision and of course letting me follow my heart.

  50. says

    Like the Indian Railways, mind set of Indians about girl child must change from narrow gauge to broad gauge and should not predecide even before child birth that beta means engineer and beti means doctor as depicted in the movie 3 Idiots a film adopted from the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat well known bestselling author and alumnus of IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad – Read More in http://www.prlog.org/12159951-sangam-university-vc-speaks-on-save-girl-child-theme-mewar-chamber-of-commerce-industry-bhilwara.html

  51. Vinay says

    Well written Anita ji. I notice a lot of this in my family and hope to do my bit in making things better in the near future

  52. Smiti says

    There was not a single statement in your blog I disagree with. This article is perfection!

    @Kevin and @Smitha: The statement that majority of the women in the country do not go through this is very wrong. For most of my friends, this is the scenario. This is a general mentality which has been coming down from generations to generations and although some parents have adapted to a more modern perspective, their percentage is still minor. For a girl, the highest preference is given to marriage. And this is not just true for girls, in a lot of families a similar pressure is put on boys as well, although that is much more rare. I have friends whose parents freaked out on doing MBAs because they will get ‘too-qualified’ to get a guy. I also have friends whose parents are open about relationships, but pressurize their daughters to marry the first guy they like before spending enough time with him to decide whether he is the right person or not. Not to forget about those friends who got degrees just to get a rich guy, get married and become a house wife.

    I am not against marriage, I am married myself. But that was my own decision, my parents did not force me to. If at all, they advised me to wait. I was lucky in that sense, but in the past 25 years, I have seen very very few parents who think like mine. Also, the reason you do not see women in the states having the same fate is because only those women go abroad whose parents are not marriage-minded. Again, I speak this from experience since I am settled in the states myself. I came to graduate, got a job, fell in love and decided to get married, which is the case with most working Indian women here. That is why you might end up thinking that people ranting about women-rights is BS. Guess what, its not. Just because you do not experience it doesnt make it a minority. You would be surprised how many women leave their jobs in India, come to the states to get married and live here as a housewife (yep, I have seen a lot of such cases too, most of them being my neighbours and wives of Indian co-workers).

  53. Revloution says

    I agree tom everything you said in the article. At the sime time, to a decent extent the Indian girls are way more conservative than women in other countries. of course, this is coming from how they are raised and also the environmental effect. But, atleast we have reached a stage where almost all women have education (atleast primary). My point is the girls/women cant blame the system for more time. I guess its time to be courage and do waht they like.. Thats how a society changes right?

  54. amit says

    Well marriage is a social phenomenon of our society.It differs from place to place,state to state and so on. There are societies DOWRYs till continue,some where castism,some where some thing.But what is the harm if a daughter is given to choose her life partner of her own.Let her talk at length with her prospect for their future including carrier of both and family life.But all things have their time limit.One has to plan accordingly wheather son or daughter.The subject you have started is certainly is Eye opener to many parents.

  55. geetanjali malik says

    Hi Anita,
    I think this is one of the best blog i hv ever written. And this is smthng probably every damn girl can relate to.. Kudos and Thanx for this one.. :)

  56. Preeti bhargawa says

    This article is brilliantly written, it feels like it has given words to many thoughts propelling in females of this generation. Beautifully articulated, this one article ungolds many fears, many pains in a girls mind. I personally wish there should be more and more right ups like this so that this world can learn atleast 25% of it.

  57. swati says

    perhaps…… after reading this my parents might understand and give me some more time to let me achieve my dreams….

  58. Richa Ritwika says

    Felt like someone has penned down thoughts which occur to my mind about marriage. I must say very well written thoughts.

  59. AKN says

    @ Anitha – Very well written article and I can see it happening in my own life.
    @ krishna – Hey your cousin’s profile sounds interesting. I am 34, went to US for higher studies, came back right after my master’s when i was 27,because i wanted to come back, took up teaching as teaching and research is my passion, got married the traditional way when I was 29 and 3 years later walked out of the un-fulfilling marriage and moved into full time research. The legal formalities of separation are complete, emotionally I have moved on and am looking for a partner for life. Can I get in touch with your cousin?

    @ Anitha – Even at the age of 30+ after a lot of defiance, fights, attempts for patch up and what not in one side and partial success in career choices on other side, my mom thinks true value of me is only when I am married and should pursue my dreams only if that unknown Mr. X who will end up to be my husband agrees to it. Mr. X’s dreams should be my dreams and that is the fate of an indian woman. And my mom is a teacher and a very good one in many aspects except in.. It saddens me thinking what role model for her students especially girl students because the students she teaches are mostly from poor background in a village in AP. And for what pain she is going through about her perception of what is good for her daughter, I try to look at it from her perspective and be compassionate to her.. And the fight between a mom and daughter as to whats important for a woman and what her role is about goes on…

  60. kamal says

    sorry for my ignorance, but can you explain what “celebrate her sexuality” means in detail?
    Thanks

  61. Sapna says

    Great article Anita!!! Living here in America, you think parents are more broad minded and want more for their daughters. But, it is not true. I lived with a strict father who did not let me do anything. He was an educated man so he let me go to college but he treated my sister, my mom and myself so badly. He was constantly talking about “girls running away with boys” and gave us no freedom to do anything. My sister and I never even thought about “running away with boys” but we were always treated as if we were going to do that. My life was hell growing up because all his family treated us like second class citizens as well. I was much smarter than all my male cousins but I still had to make “roti” for them and serve them because I was a girl. Why do we have to live the lives of servitude and frustration? Many of my cousins were married off even before they realized what they wanted in life.
    I promised myself that I would never marry someone like my Dad. I am lucky I found a wonderful man. Ofcourse, my Dad stopped talking to me when I got married to a guy who is not of the same caste. Only after marriage did I get freedom to go anywhere on my own. I could think for myself and make my own decisions. Why didn’t I have the right to my own thoughts and feelings in my own home with my parents? It has taken me years to overcome my fears and gain confidence in myself. People are saying that a lot has changed in India. I recently spoke to my Uncle and Aunt on my cousin’s behalf. She wants to come to the US for higher studies. My educated uncle and aunt replied, “Our duty is to get her married, then it is up to her husband if he wants her to continue her studies”. If educated people in India have this mindset, then I can just imagine what the girls are going through in India.

    Please keep writing articles like this and maybe it will open some minds.

  62. Paavani Sachdeva says

    I read in one of the comments earlier, treat a daughter like you would a son. I’m sorry, if you feel bad, but treat your daughter LIKE your child. Being a son does not set a standard for personal freedoms or liberty. Another issue that is prevailing today is the problem of thinking. A well educated worldly wise father still aspires to marry his daughters off before he retires from his job. And trust me this has nothing to do with education/lack of love/ or any such drivel. It is that misplaced sense of responsibility, that once married off, the “burden” is off your shoulders. Your daughter, thanks to your efforts has a good education, a passion for the field she is in, earns well enough to support herself, and is an individual bundle of joy. WHY on earth can she not make the decision to get married, or not !? And simply saying, “this is the way it is always done” or ” because we are old-fashioned and this is what we desire” only goes to show, that for all the world you have seen and experienced, you are still trapped in sexist thinking, disguised as “tradition”. It is terribly frustrating to say the least.

  63. divya says

    The idea of free thinking can be developed in society to a great extent by parents..

    They should preach as well as practice these ideas so that children will start thinking independently and at the same time does not feel insecure..Only when a child sees his father considering his mother as equal, and mother having the confidence and intelligence to raise her opinions freely, the child would feel it as a social norm..Ofcourse society interaction and TV advertisements would cause him to doubt this, but then parents can direct them carefully saying that not whole society thinks alike and let him realize the motives behind these differences…

    I personally grew up in a family like this, and during my adolescent years i used to feel confused whether i should take care of my looks or the so- called girly characteristics..because the whole society outside was inline with certain norms and i felt why am i thinking different,.. not able to adjust..why am i a rebel..i even used to feel my parents are not very sociable(ofcourse i realise now thats totally wrong) and why cant my mother talk to me about girly stuff rather than newspaper things..

    But thats just a passing phase,once u meet or read people who think alike, u feel really confident or rather proud as most of those would be great personalities..
    Free thinking might cause some mistakes, whereas following the conservative ways would give a minimum guarantee..Thats when you wish someone to be there to support you during you low times/failures..The fear of failure or loneliness is what prevents many from free thinking..

  64. Vignesh says

    I really appreciate you Anita J, for this mind-blowing article towards Women… :)

    And I wish to share small suggestions here, pls don’t mind..

    We should not stop only by writting articles or speaking on that, we should also take some action towards Women’s rights & their wishes for them individually..

    They are also human being, not only men.. i will always support women, because they’re mostly suffering too much bcoz of MEN..

    Womens too, want to live as their wish but the societies & parents are restricting them not to be selfish.. its not being selfish, its just their wish & dreams in the life..

    Surely i will contribute my support Anita J, if you take further action in the future… :)

    Once again, thanks a lot for your wonderful article..

  65. Preethi says

    I could not agree more! A girl has right to choose her partner if and when she feels she is ready!! its a must that she equips herself completely educationally and financially so she gleams and commands respect..

    We are talking about breaking age old thinking and sowing seeds for new refreshing reasonable thoughts into the minds of general public.. It is going to be a Himalayan task for even people to take this matter or thought seriously.

    An AWARENESS program has to be brought about where young generation and their parents can be a part of so they see what is important to their Children..

  66. subramanian says

    In Indian culture the children can decide to be a brahmachari /brahmacharini or grahastha after having a detail look into their physical needs, mental needs and emotional needs. But the ultimate aim should be mukthi. If you choose to be brahmachari you revere everything as god and pursue Mukthi with highest standards of character. If you choose to be grahastha, then every work you do should be towards attaining mukthi. Grahastha needs a committed atmosphere, created by marriage to pursue mukthi. Hence all the dharma created with an aim on future generation. If don’t provide an committed atmosphere then upheavals in psychological area could not be prevented which will affect the society. We need to maintain a peaceful society to attain mukthi. If you consciously destroy all your identities then only mukthi will become possibility. Identifying with the body and mind is a major limitation.

  67. Dr. Singh says

    I appreciate your writing the article but I guess the opinion just goes on to depict women as victims which they are definitely not. At no stage in today’s world are women thought to be lesser than men (parental and matrimonial homes included). With due respect I guess this article does not depict the picture of today’s woman and is rather regressive. At least in todays urban world women are neither victims nor are they deprived, however aberrations exist everywhere.

  68. durkhaima (@durkhaima) says

    @Dr. Singh you said “At least in todays urban world women are neither victims nor are they deprived, however aberrations exist everywhere”

    Can you give an example of an “aberration” ? And just checking that you read the comments above you where people have given real life examples of the fact that you deny that ” At no stage in today’s world are women thought to be lesser than men (parental and matrimonial homes included)”

    Just want to bring your attention to the fact that what you are describing is far from the truth.

  69. Pushpa Koneri says

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    As much as I enjoyed reading your views on females in India and worries about their getting married, I however was not able to relate to your article. I am sorry that you are going through this with your family and completely understand your pain. Hope things work out great for you..

    I do agree that India is a very Patriarchal society in the way it functions but we have come a long long way with our attitude towards women and their goals in life. I almost felt as if this article is way to generalizing and do not take into account the progressive thinking of certain percentage of parents and how they have always encouraged their kids and every woman in their family to live their dreams. Its a smaller percentage but still a significant one.

    Personally, I would focus on this small yet significant progressive thinking and ensure that I do the same to my kids.

    Best wishes to you and warm regards!

    Pushpa

  70. CaitieCat says

    A useful concept to some folk here might be the aphorism that “If it’s not about you, don’t make it about you.” That is, yes, there are undoubtedly a large number of parents in India who hold progressive views. With 1.25 billion people, even a small percentage means a large number.

    But this article isn’t talking to those people, or about them. And judging from the comments above, there are plenty of people who are experiencing exactly this problem. So…if it’s not about you, don’t make it about you.

    It is, however, an excellent clarion call to examine the situation, and maybe determine whether or not you’re seeing sexim on a widespread basis, and what to maybe do about it. Don’t criticize the article or its author for not covering every angle of every problem; there’s a specific thing she wrote about. If the situation you’re thinking of doesn’t fit into what she’s talking about, then it’s unrelated.

  71. Pushpa Koneri says

    Dear CatieCat,

    I appreciate your comment and respect your feelings. I don’t think any body is criticizing the article or the author. I atleast did not see that anywhere other than your comment. Its an open forum and people are expressing their views and opinion in amicably and professional way but as you rightly said, “an unrelated comment can be ignored” so will I :)

  72. Radi says

    Boy howdy, do I ever remember the intense pressure on both my older sister and I to just quietly say “yes” like well-trained little Stepford girls (ready to morph into Stepford wives).

    My older relatives’ favorite go-to argument was: “millions of girls get married every year – what makes YOU so special that you won’t get married? Do you think those millions of girls are fools?” Note “girls”, not “women” – they may be old enough to be married, but they are still “girls” while the men are referred to as “boys”. As though a marriage certificate magically transforms them from children into adults.

    And each time my answer was: “They are doing what they think is right for them (or what their parents think is right for them, and they have abdicated their thought centers to their parents and family elders). I am ME, and I am not ok with that. I need to know and trust a person before I can commit to them for even a day, much less potentially my whole life. YOU won’t be living my life, I will – and I would much rather live with MY own mistakes than YOURS on my behalf.”

    Depending on my level of exasperation, the paragraph above would be either softened or harshened, but without losing that basic HELL NO I WON’T GET MARRIED JUST BECAUSE OTHERS ARE.

    The worst part was that people would blame my mother for “losing control over her children” or “not bringing up her children right” or crap like that – and it was my mother who had to put up with gossipy relatives, friends, neighbors and pretty much everyone else who thought they ought to have a say in OUR lives. This even now, after it’s been almost 20 years since I flew the coop, because I am still not married and will likely never be.

    My poor sis went through almost 10 years of steadily saying “NO” to each proposed “relation” as they call it – and went through the extremely degrading process of “seeing the girl” as it is called. The groom’s family would come and inspect her like she was a horse or something, and if THEY approved, THEN the prospective groom would come along and gawk at her, and each time, she’d have to prostate herself not just to the older relatives, but to the prospective groom as well, sing a song (usually a classical song) or play a musical instrument, and pretend that she made the snacks set out before the visitors, and sit there demurely (demonstrating her deference, and prowess in the arts and culinary fields) . Meanwhile the elders bickered over how much “the girl” would be given in terms of jewelry, trousseau and other things at the wedding, and in one jaw-droppingly out-and-out greedy instance, how much money the family would be willing to give the groom’s family – dowry, in other words – because “tradition”. And never mind the insult of being referred to only as “the girl”, not even by her name, while they were talking about her in her presence. SHE didn’t get any input in the process, except to say YEA or NAY.

    Anyway, each time she said “NO”, or usually “HELL NO”, there was a predictable outcry from relatives about how prideful she was, and she didn’t need to get to know the “boy” right away, because there would be all the time in the world after the marriage… oy oy oy. And on the occasion that the prospective groom said “NO”, the recriminations would start about sis being too tall, too fat, too dark, too scowly, unwilling to wear a saree for the occasion, and so on.

    I never wanted to go through that, and diligently, and silently, worked towards getting out while my family’s attention was focused on my sister. I managed to squeak by – thankfully, my plans were already finalized before the family realized I would be leaving to go halfway across the globe, all alone and -gasp- unmarried! And they couldn’t push to get ME married off because my older sister still wasn’t. *phew*

    Eventually, about a year after I flew the coop, my sister did too, only not so far away. She went to Singapore, met the man who has now been my brother-in-law for 10 years, and moved to the UK. But man oh man, the consternation in the family when she brought home a white man and -informed- them that she was marrying him :D I wish I could have seen their faces! All except my mother’s – I had to work hard to calm her down, but she eventually accepted that my sis was a capable adult and that mom should trust that she’d brought up her oldest to be a good person, and to trust in sis’s judgement. I also was the first to meet b-i-l in person, and was able to calm my family’s fears of “b-b-b-but he’s not even an Indian, or of Indian descent – he’s a WHITE man!” and the ever-present bigotry against white people/Westerners in India, that they have affairs all the time, are unfaithful and divorce at the drop of a hat… Once my mother accepted that b-i-l was a good person, that he obviously adored sis, and she adored him right back, I told her to just ignore whatever people said, even her own brothers, and push back against their bigotry in whatever fashion she found easiest (which was really hard for her – she is very non-confrontational and HATES family discord).

  73. Toby Joseph says

    I’m a male, and I speak on behalf of dads, eventhough I don’t have any kids of my own yet.

    Yes, fathers constantly worry about getting their daughters married off to good homes. That is because he genuinely wants the best for his girl children. Let us say teenagers out of school had the freedom to choose what they wanted to study further. And if they chose to study an unconventional course like Music instead of a professional course like Engineering, what happens next? They inevitably end up being in lesser-paying careers. Would that result in satisfaction and happiness when you find that you can’t afford the finer things in life? Like taking the bus in the lashing rains of Mumbai instead of travelling in the cosy confines of a car? Expect your dad to pick up the tab all the time? He is getting old, nearing retirement, and won’t be able to provide for you all the time. People get old and die. In case you are not married, who is going to take care of you when your parents are no more and your job doesn’t pay enough to take care of the bills? Isn’t that ‘being concerned with your welfare?’

    Now you see why you are groomed with a view to marriage. Pay attention to their looks? Yes, but this is because men are visual creatures(I think I speak on behalf of most men when I say that they would want to come home at the end of a stressful day – and it is hard, providing for a family in such a competitive world – to a pretty face that will cheer them up, not a snarling face that looks at you with the unsaid question ‘Did you forget the milk again?’), not to ‘invite rape’.

    I would love to hear from females who are one hundred percent financially independent, who don’t have their dads or their husbands supporting them in any way, not even by way of a single rupee. Idealism is always detached from the ground realities. Money is the root of all evil. Don’t blame dads for genuinely being concerned with the welfare of their girl children.

  74. DeepakAnand says

    can’t miss the irony… a mother, a women herself, ensures her daughter(s) marriage plan takes precedence. Rather than developing/moulding her daughter’s careers/individuality, she herself prepares her daughter towards the aisle instead of the boardroom….

  75. Rishabh says

    A very important article. Many families in India still hold the same orthodox belief. Perhaps the message reaches and should reach to many such people living in rural India where this thinking holds holds a strong base.

  76. Sai says

    Biggest dream in anyone’s life could hardly be fulfilled at most once. And, for parents, marriage of their children would probably be the biggest dream is because they do not expect or wish for a second marriage of their children. No matter how much one is educated by reading engg or medical or arts, etc.. books, but only the elders can teach us more about life since they have experienced it before us.

    So, choice is yours to either take a short cut for success by listening to parents and get their advices for a better future and also save your valuable time of your life (or) experience everything by yourself only to realize that you did a mistake by not listening to elders in time and loose valuable time in life… I bet, hardly < 2 % of ppl on this earth could succeed in life by experiencing things by themselves and majority would either follow others or do not know what they are doing until end of their life… If you think you have the potential to handle things by yourselves with hard work, you can try the second option but you also need to know that certain things in life have to happen at certain age else you would have to face the consequences later in the life… So, do not blame parents for thinking for you and instead try to convince them to give you an opportunity up to an age to fulfill your desires and after that it would be your pay back time to parents to fulfill their wish. I believe that good parents will always support their children irrespective of their financial background.

    Always remember that we do not have life on this earth without parents and it is sometimes not wrong to compromise to satisfy their wish ! With their blessings, you can easily pursue any future endeavors in life.

  77. says

    Anita, thank you for writing this, it will open many eyes across the nation and beyond, I have tweeted this in my network across the social landscape

    Hope you are tracking how many people are reading it everyday

    May this article be read by every Indian household

    Gratitude,

    Mehul

  78. Revathi says

    All i wish to say that daughter’s marriage is the life time ambition of a parent, as we, parents are more concerned about the future of her more than a son. Because, we, the mankind are living in a society which is still a male dominated one and the role of a life partner is the most important one, which decides the rest of her life. why there exists the system of marriage universally? All of us know it is the right way to identify the father and mother of a child, thus fixing the responsible also, to raise the child. This is the basic foundation for a good and cultured society. When coming to the point of time of marriage, 23-25 years is the right time, which gives sufficient time and energy for the enjoyment of life as well as to raise her child before 30 years. I can foresee that, comments may arise whether raising a child itself is necessary and whether it should be the whole ambition of one’s life, my answer is only when u become a mother u can experience the love and joy which a child can give, and u can understand the meaning of your life, raising your kid with all goodness and a loving and lovable human being. So, young women, enjoy your role as a daughter, achieve your academic goals, build your career, choose a life partner with or without the help of your parents, set your family as an ideal one, all the best.

  79. Surbhi says

    I do not agree with most of this article – except maybe with the Title.

    The article is extremely one sided. If girls are raised to become good wives and house makers then even boys of the same household are raised to become good husbands, financial heads and family supporters. They are as much trained to become grow up and become responsible elders who can get a good job, earn a living and support wife, children, old parents and younger siblings especially sisters who have got married and moved into different households. They are ingrained to carry the torch of their families name and place in the society.

    Essentially, there are Indian families which still believe in the traditional social structure where they see the primary role of a woman as a care giver and emotional anchor of the family and the role of the man as the financial anchor of the family. I don’t see any reason why as a society we need to forcefully abandon this structure unless by personal choice. After all not only India but the entire world has survived on this structure for centuries!

    If parents believe in this structure it’s only fair that they wish to raise their children- both boys and girls- according to their beliefs. If however, these boys and girls once becoming thinking adults wish to discard the traditional structure, then they may do so.

  80. Snigdha says

    Hats off.. very well written.. hope more n more people read this and change their thinking… looking forward for more such articles.. :)

  81. Jyothi says

    Very well written. I can relate to a lot of what is mentioned here both as a girl and as a parent.
    But what I find every encouraging is that my generation who has a undergone a lot of this treatment is trying hard to break this vicious circle for their daughters, especially the ones who have a single girl child.

  82. Preeti says

    This is something I’ve been literally saying for years!!!! Could not find someone who thought the same way figuratively and literally!!

  83. Antony says

    @Sai @Revathi I salute your points. Both of you have jotted down the exact points i had in mind as a reply for this blog. Family and affection have been the nucleus of our society. It is not wrong to sacrifice your career-oriented mindset or fun-loving attitude for the sake of family. After-all, family is worth such sacrifices. If you feel it is not worth, then it is not a family at all.. Sorry if i have offended somebody.

  84. Aastha Aggarwal says

    Amazing…!!! You mentioned all the pain and feelings of a girl in this article…!!
    Hats off to you…!!

  85. sheetal says

    Hi Anita, I have read this article and my colleagues too. We are thinking if we can translate this article for our magazine Tanishka. It is a women magazine run by Sakal Group of Publication in Pune. So we want to communicate with you regarding this. Can we get any contact no. or e-mail ID of yours?

    Sheetal Bhangre.
    Unique Features, Pune.

  86. Anita J says

    @Veena Verma, @Sheetal,

    I have emailed you regarding the translation. Kindly check your inboxes.

    Best.

  87. Nikhil says

    Your article is bang on target in perceiving the obsession of Indian parents to get their girls married off.It should also be noted that Indian society measures the success of the parents of the girl exclusively by the economic and social status of the groom to whom their daughter was married off to,provided it was arranged(and not love marriage),and definitely not inter-caste and God forbid should she marry a guy from different religion or Dalit.
    Kudos to the author

  88. Crystal George-Liu says

    @Toby Joseph,

    “I would love to hear from females who are one hundred percent financially independent, who don’t have their dads or their husbands supporting them in any way, not even by way of a single rupee. Idealism is always detached from the ground realities. Money is the root of all evil. Don’t blame dads for genuinely being concerned with the welfare of their girl children.”

    That would be me. I was financially independent since I was 22. My parents don’t support me, instead I support them, and my husband and I support each other. I’m not even a doctor/engineer like the typical Indian. I work in finance and make almost 95K/yr and now live with my Chinese descent husband and baby daughter in a cozy home and have a nice car. Though I make a lot of money, I don’t have many luxuries because don’t care for them. I don’t have that sense in greed in me. Am happy with what I achieved and have no regrets. My parents are not very conservative and encouraged me and perhaps helped me realized financial difficulties of life when young, but they always let me pursued my dreams and my wishes, and when marriage came around, yes they wanted me to marry, but were not adamant on who the person is. I met and known my Chinese husband for 7 years, and when we decided to marry, both our families were supportive. I know you are malayalee, I am too and yes I am thankful my family is not the typical malayalee family, rather they are open to anything if they know it’ll be success. My parents may be criticized for what they did because most Indians still have that backwards mentality, but they don’t care. The way they raised my brother and I is the reason why our family is very tight knit, compared to other families who believe in this ridiculous thinking and are shattering.

  89. Toby Joseph says

    @ Crystal George-Liu
    I thank you for replying to my comment. For a brief period of time there, I actually thought I had killed the debate by pointing out a fundamental fact that many naysayers conveniently chose to ignore. But it is nice to hear your story, and I salute you. You carry the true spirit of womanhood within you, and I wish others were more like you, to be able to come to the understanding that men are not the enemy, but one of the two sexes that make up the human race to which females also belong, and that what is needed is co-operation, not competition.

    You said it – love is the answer. Being in a loving family such as yours, your parents loved you (and I am cent percent positive that they still do) enough to let you choose your own career, and you made it big in the world. Congratulations.
    I have a feeling you re located in a Western country, if not the US(going by the way you spelled ‘criticize’, with a z and not an s as they would do in the UK or Europe, but that could also very well have been the auto-correct on this page), and also by the fact that you met your Chinese husband and have supportive parents & I’m sure that you are aware that things work differently in India, where women are still not treated as equal to men, where scant respect is paid to their dignity and where they are gangraped, a country where women are afraid to venture out after dark, but we will let this minor detail slide :) For the moment, that shouldn’t take anything away from your success story. Celebrate womanhood.

    I don’t know how you figured out the fact that I’m a Malayalee (did you figure that all out from my name or was it the male chauvinist tone of my comment that gave me away, lol?). Either way, it speaks volumes about your ingenuity and resourcefulness, something that every woman should be proud to have. God bless you, Crystal George-Liu.

  90. Nidhi says

    What a great article Anita !
    I’d like you to congratulate for being able to put forth such neat array of thoughts that ought to be known to a majority of people in India.

  91. Divyanka says

    My mother is an effing bastard too. apparently there’s some fucked up fictional ‘marriage’ gonna be happening to me. LMFAO. Right. So I’ll be wearing ugly pieces of jewelry fr some ugly person, and I can do nothing about it.

    I don’t live in India. This is the 21st century. Ain’t NO ONE telling me I have to go get naked.

  92. Brinda says

    Hi Anita,

    I really appreciate what you have written but unfortunately this goes to only those people who are already forward thinking and open minded. Unfortunately the real mothers of India are busy watching Saas bahu serials which promote exactly the opposite.

    I will tell you the pains I am going through because of this tradition. Despite being an IIM graduate I am forced to go through everything that you have written in the above article.

    My parents force me to wear a Saree and stand in front of the boys’ families and act like Sita. If I instead wear a normal chudidar and talk confidently they scold me and emotionally blackmail me which ends up in a fight. Also my skin color is dark. Most families who come to “see” me just go away and never call us back. They dont even care to know how I am as a person. I find this extremely insulting but no matter what I say or feel I am expected to stand in front of them like a prostitute every time a new family comes.

    I try my best to make my parents understand but I am not able to take their emotional blackmail and this is making me suicidal. I am earning very well and travelling the world but my life is in the pits because of this issue and I am not able to find a solution to it.

  93. Paavani Sachdeva says

    Hi Brinda !

    I am very surprised and sad to read your comment.. I am younger than you, but I have just one thing to say to you. As you mentioned you are earning well and comfortable in your job and you seem to be a pleasant person. I’m really sorry to say this of your parents, but I think it is time that you should assert yourself and break free of these ridiculous traditions which we call the Indian culture. Maybe try making your parents understand, that any so called well to do “boy” that they think is an eligible match for you, or the families that come to see you and go away because you are dark skinned, trust me lady, you are much much better off not being a part of any such shallow family. And as far as being suicidal is concerned, it’s your LIFE, yeah your parents are the reason you’re alive, but don’t let them be the reason of your death. It’s a beautiful world.. Don’t give up, something or someone is waiting for you.. All the best ! Love and wishes.. :-)

  94. AKN says

    Hi Brinda,
    I am sad reading your comment and I am not surprised. Read my comment above. I have been through everything what you wrote and am still facing the thing of having to subdue myself to be acceptable in marriage market. I have friends who have succumbed to this and friends who have stayed confident and pushed themselves through and it is not a one day thing.

    Anita, Is there any way that our contact information be exchanged? It always helps to have a peer group. Brinda be in touch if you think that would help you push yourself through. But donot give up, not for your own sake but for the sake of those women who are in similar situations and wish to break free but donot know whom to look up to for inspiration. Gift yourself some hope and dreams and others too.

  95. Anita J says

    @Brinda,
    It pains to hear you had to go through this. I agree with what Pavaani said, if you have the option (which seems like you do since you are working and control your finances), be assertive. Lots of women aren’t in a position to do that but when its possible, that’s what shouuld be done. Emotional blackmail is the easiest and most effective method to control someone but once you identify, don’t feel guilty for resisting it..

    @AKN,
    Its a good idea. I’d be delighted to keep contact and help in any way possible. Here’s my email: [email protected]
    Do inbox.

    Many thanks to everyone else for sharing your experiences and valuable inputs… :) I’m sorry I couldn’t reply more often. Reading your responses strengthens my resolve (as well as many others’) and shows how much work still needs to be done before we can ”stop being so serious”.

  96. isabel says

    hi,
    The article is so well written for both parents and children to analyse and realize. However, their mentality of marriage as aim in life is so deep rooted in their minds that its difficult to remove from them. its so funny in many ways.. they are only worried of marriage and not worried of their relationship with their god. they dont realize that their relationship with God is more important than anything else. instead they start paying the pandits to do pooja for their children to get married. they think that God can be bought by money. how sad it is to see them in this desparation. God must be disappointed with us looking at us. if we continue to live like this and die one day we will definitely go to hell.. turn into a dog..pig.. etc.

  97. Kanchan Kapoor says

    Nice article Anita.

    Time is changing now. I was checking Tamil Matrimony a day back, There girls are mentioning there thought & views. Girls living independently, they are deciding now whom to marry.

    Keep on writing such a nice articles which will bring some enlightenment. :)

  98. shradha says

    Anita,

    Very well written. Though it is still relevant, happy that love marriages are defying this.

    Eager to read more from u..

    Cheers,
    Shradha

  99. madhu says

    Hi Anitha,
    Best one!!! Especially the last paragraph explains everything!! Really a good work!!
    To be frank am also going through this phase in my life right now.
    Though am working and i have confidence on myself am unable to make my parents think that they should also take my point in marriage.
    I wish to live a life without marriage which is not possible in country like India.
    Can i share this article in facebook?

  100. Shruti says

    This is a great article. Very well written and you ve really hit the nail on the head.

    On a side note, why dont you put a like option on ur article for readers who do not want to personally appreciate you :)

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