Archive | June 9, 2008

Pro-Men Indian Customs

Today is Jamai Shashthi i.e. Son-in-law day. Its a day in Bengali tradition; held every year in the Bengali month of Jaishtha; when the “Jamai” is treated with the best of the delicacies. The son-in-law is invited well in advance for the occasion. And when the daughter & son-in-law arrive, a few rituals are performed. The son-in-law also gets gifts from the mother-in-law. Basically a day to celebrate one’s son-in-law.
This got me thinking that why don’t we have a day to celebrate daughter-in-laws in India? A son-in-law who has taken away the daughter, sometimes even taking money to do that and maybe even mistreats one’s daughter is invited and showered with gifts!! And one burns the daughter-in-law if she has brought insufficient dowry!! Why don’t we celebrate the girl who has left her parents to be a daughter to the new family too and to look after one’s son and bear his child, who by the way carries your family name not hers. She even gives up her identity by adopting her husband’s surname and is not able to look after her own parents often. But she is not appreciated or celebrated with one special day just in her name. Most thankless relation I say! I demand a “Bahu” i.e. Daughter-in-law day! When I become one I too want to get gifts and eat my favorite dishes on that day. If he (my future hubby) gets it I want it too. So there!

Taking this further, why are there so many symbols an Indian girl has to wear to show she’s married? To declare she is someone else’s property or taken or back off to everyone?? There’s red bindi

sindoor or vermilion to be worn on forehead,
mangalsutra (a necklace made of black beads and gold),
a bichiya or toe ring
and red churis or bangles!!!
I mean there should be no doubt left of an Indian women’s marital status in Indian society!!!
But what about our men? No, they don’t wear anything which may indicate their marital status except maybe their pot-bellies when in middle age!! Why this discrimination? This is one of the things I like about Christianity that they have wedding bands for both husband and wife.
Atleast one can accuse one’s husband in case he has an affair and the girl thinks he is single that “why did u take off your wedding band?” In Indian society there is no option at all!! Totally unfair I say!! What if I make my husband wear a ring with my name engraved on it ? Nice idea, eh?

Last but not the least, the tradition of Karwa Chauth and Vat Savitri Vrat which are different types of fasts Indian women are supposed to keep for the long life of their husbands and marital harmony!!! I suppose keeping them will solve problems of those women who are physically abused by drunk husbands? And a fast will ensure long life? Then why isn’t there such a fast for the husbands to keep? Do they want their wives to die early? The desire for life long companionship and efforts to achieve that, even if religious in nature, should be on both sides of the sacred bond of marriage.
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