I am so happy to see Deepika and Ranveer smiling and laughing during their wedding day. I never saw any bride laughs on that day. Since my childhood I have been witnessing brides are sad and grooms are glad. It is true for a bride no matter how rich she is, how beautiful or educated she is, she is sad. No matter what her political and religious beliefs are, she is sad. Brides are sad because they are moving to uncertainty. Subcontinent’s most marriages are unfortunately arranged marriages. And almost all men, irrespective of their religion, they demand or expect dowry. Even though Muslim men need to pay ‘mahr’ or money to bride, still it is common that they ask for dowry from girls’ family. We know how women are tortured even killed by their in-laws if they are not capable of paying dowry. Misogynistic patriarchal culture is so deep-rooted here that it is almost impossible to make people treat women as equal human beings. It was a part of Bengali ritual that men had to tell their mothers while going to a bride’s house to marry her that ‘I am going to bring a slave for you’. Bengali men may not say it nowadays, but they mean it. They marry so that wives can serve them and their parents and siblings. A bride moves to groom’s house, and she is forced to adapt with a bunch of strangers and accept everyone as her most closest relatives and start cooking and doing all household chores. They are just unpaid maids. Men are glad during the wedding day because they get dowry money, as well as a slave for the house, a free cook, a free cleaning lady, a free caretaker,a free gardener, a free nurse, a sex slave, and a free child-bearing machine. Women are hundreds in one. They have to. Otherwise, they are not ‘good women’. If women are not ‘good women’, society will definitely make women’s life hell. Women are forced to accept all anti-women societal systems.
So, in our society, not many couples want female babies. Because females are a burden. Collecting dowry money for daughters marriage is quite challenging for poor or lower middle-class families. I wonder how popular the dowry system is that no law can make it go.
We now know that there are hundreds of reasons for women to cry during their wedding day. They go to a house of uncertainty. They do not know how the man would behave, whether she would be a victim of bride burning or domestic violence. They do not know they would be cut into pieces and put in the refrigerator. They do not know whether they would be strangled to death or beaten to death. This is so common among all classes and castes and creeds in the subcontinent.
The truth, marriage cannot make life secure. If anything can make women’s lives secure and safe, that is financial independence. Dependent women have insecurity, inferiority complex, and many other issues. Patriarchy has been telling women to be dependent on fathers when young, on husbands when grown up, on sons when old. When would women start to reject the anti-women guideline of patriarchy?
Deepika is an independent woman. Deepika and Ranveer are in love. They are not victims of arranged marriage. They know each other well, they are friends, and they want to become husband and wife, they have become. They fulfill their wishes. They are happy marrying each other. Deepika would not need to be dependent on her father or husband. She is neither a slave of her husband nor a slave of her in-laws. She has her own house. She will never allow any domestic violence because financial independence has made her stronger than millions of women who are not allowed to earn their own money or if earn, are forced to give all they earn to husbands. Women’s money does not belong to women. Money always belongs to men no matter who earned it. People believe that women are considered lesser humans, so they can earn but they do not know how to spend money.
Deepika is happy, Priyanka also is. But many Bollywood actresses were not happy. Some of them committed suicide. Deepika is loved by Ranveer. Both are gorgeous and talented. I want women to wipe their tears and laugh on their wedding day. I want them to laugh like Deepika, I want to see women happy like Deepika. I want they say NO to arranged marriages, NO to financial dependency, NO to dowry, NO to domestic violence, NO to marital rape, NO to patriarchy, NO to misogyny.
Deepika and Ranveer will make love. But unfortunately, most women in the subcontinent have to be passive on the bed. Men do not like to see women equally active during sexual acts. It is men who do sex, as they believe sex is for the enjoyment of men, and men only. Women are supposed to dedicate their body for the sexual pleasure of their husbands, whenever husbands desire. Many women are victims of marital rape. I do not know why marital rape is not considered a crime anywhere in the subcontinent. Many women still do not know what orgasm is. The male orgasm is important, not the female orgasm. In some societies, female genital organs are mutilated so that they can not enjoy orgasm.
It is enough for the traditional joint family. Man and woman should start living in their own home from day 1 after marriage. Living with in-laws is really weird. No woman with dignity and honour would move to husband’s parent’s house to live for the rest of her life. Men do not go to live with his in-laws, women also should not go to live with her in-laws. Women do not need to be submissive only because society wants them to be submissive. And they do not need to sacrifice their lives for husbands and husbands’ relatives. Women have their own life and they should decide what to do with that life. They deserve to be happy. Most women are indoctrinated in patriarchy that they sincerely believe that a woman’s happiness is in her husband’s happiness.
Women need to learn how to enjoy everything life offers to them. Her own identity is more important than her identity as a wife, or a mother. She must not give up her own surname in order to take husband’s surname. I wish Deepika would not turn to be Deepika Singh. I wish she would remain as Deepika Padukone exactly the way Ranveer would remain as Ranveer Singh.
Husband and wife should be respected as individuals. They should stay together as long as love exists. If there is no love, it is horrible to live as a couple under the same roof. Nothing is better than divorce if love is not there anymore. It is also weird to live with someone without love for the sake of children. Children get depressed and disturbed when they see no love between their parents. If women are independent, they would not hesitate to divorce abusive husbands or the husbands they love no more.
I hope Deepika and Ranveer become the ideal happy couple. Neither of them needs to give up their identity or their job for the marriage.