A woman’s freedom: A family’s biggest fear.

Now, we arrive to the topic which has been a lot in debate lately: Women’s autonomy and personal rights. 

This post is briefly in reference to my earlier post: India’s Daughter: A much needed reality check.


We have all heard people talking about women’s rights. But there seems to be few misunderstandings and confusion which we all need to go in depth and talk about it. 

It seems to me that a lot of people seem to confuse between understanding women’s autonomy and putting them on a pedestal.

Lets get to the roots first: What does autonomy mean? What does empowerment mean? What does leading a free life mean? What does personal choice and rights mean?

Autonomy and personal choice means leading your life the way you want to. Even if others disapprove of it, even if others get scandalized by it. It also means taking responsibility along with the immense freedom it provides. It also means having the rights to make mistakes and learning from it. It means being treated as a human being, rather than a dispensable sub human which women in India are treated as.

No matter, how “uncultured” a woman is for having a partner(s), how “arrogant” she is for working, how “pitiable” she is considered for not being married, how “selfish” she is for not having a baby, she has a right to live the way she wants and make personal choices without the society bombarding her with questions and harassing her.

Now, some of the most problematic sentences, which people use to whitewash women’s oppression in India are like “Women are like Gods to us. We worship them” and “Respect women because they are a mother, a daughter, a sister and a wife

These are rather patronizing sentences I have seen people make. The problem with such statements is that it implies that a women should be given “respect” only if the society deems her for “respect”. She should be made to sit on a throne as a reward to conform to the social norms. She should be given “respect” only if she is a wife, a mother, a sister and a daughter. Otherwise, she is not worthy of living.

What if the woman is not a conformist? What if she refuses to blindly obey her parents and decides to take charge of her life the way she wants to? What if she doesn’t want to get married or produce children ever? What if she is making choices that the society deems inappropriate?

Will the society will harass her by saying that “she was not worthy of respect”?

Keeping our Indian society in mind, sadly, the answer is a yes!

In a patriarchal system, like India, what parents and society fear the most, is a women having autonomy over her life. Parents fear that their daughter will end up making choices which will make them embarrassed in society. Which is why parents are very worried about giving daughters any freedom (even to talk to other boys, use of internet or leave the house for education or a job) to ensure that their daughter’s marriage prospects are not ruined.

Since birth, she is considered a paraayaa dhan or someone else’s commodity.

In many families, we see that their daughters are “married off” during their teen years, by their own parents in the fear that these girls should not develop a voice of their own.

A lot of girls who are getting married in such an arranged (rather abusive) marriage system, don’t even have a clue that they are being married off to someone until the day of their wedding. Once they are married, they are forced to leave their parental home and forced to move in with her husband and his gigantic family to an unknown land.

It is almost like women are blindfolded by parents and society and thrown in the swap filled with crocodiles hoping their fate will save them. If not, their fate was bad. 

To make things worse, her parents don’t even give a shit if their daughters are abused in her husband’s home as their “responsibility” (of getting her married) is over. Even if she is working, she is forced to leave her job because of her in laws and their demanding nature, thereby, leaving her completely dependent on her husband and his family.
Then comes the baby, and she is stuck for life!

Now, the society will consider such a woman a Goddess, a woman worthy of respect, a women worthy to be put on a pedestal and the rest who are not conforming to the society, will be questioned, harassed and even assaulted in some cases.

Basically, my main message here is that to recognize the real meaning of women’s rights. Women need to be treated as a human being who should have the freedom to make personal choices (even if they embarrass their parents, relatives and society) and not be harassed and questioned by the everyone if they don’t conform to their values of a stereotypical “cultured woman”.


Men’s Rights II: The denial

This post is in reference to my previous post Men’s rights: An undisclosed topic https://perspectiveindianlife.wordpress.com/mens-rights-a-undisclosed-topic/

I have received several responses to my previous post, and I am thankful to people who appreciated me for bringing this topic to light, but many of them seem to have gotten a bit defensive about it.

I have received responses like “But my parents are not like how you portray”, “my relatives are not like how you portray”, “not fair to generalize all relatives and parents”, “educate and explain them and in a calm state of mind and they will understand”, “after all, they are our parents and care for us”, and many such responses with either seem to rationalize their behavior, or trivialize this matter.

My response to all the above points are: Read the following post carefully!

Yes, I may agree, to some extent, with the point that not all relatives are like what I had described in my previous post. But such relatives are rare EXCEPTIONS. Majority of them are like the way I had described earlier.

If they were not such rare exceptions, how do you explain the marriages of almost every man (and woman) you know by by age 30? How do you explain such low participation of women in workforce? How to explain every married couple you know, producing children, buying a car, a house, all the EMIs, and everyone seeming so stressed out about it?

Yes, I do agree that some parents may be more “liberal” than others, as they claim. But one must understand that even with “liberal” parents, they are not strong enough to resist the pressure of society and their relatives, which makes them bully their children to conform to society out of fear of their own people.

Even their definition of “liberal” is very inaccurate.

In their dictionary, the definition of “liberal” means parents “allowing their” children to step out of the house, or “allowing” them choose a spouse for themselves. But NOT liberal enough to let their children decide if they want to remain single all their life, or marry at any late age they prefer, or even play the role of a homemaker (in case of a man).

Why do parents give an ultimatum to their children to find a partner by age 30 or else force their children to marry a person of their (parents’) choice (a partner belonging to the same race, community, religion, caste)?
Why is there a deadline age to find a partner?

The most gullible response was “educate and explain them and in a calm state of mind and they will understand”.  This response makes no sense whatsoever because a human mind is like a clay in youth, which turns into a rock as age progresses.

You can use the explaining and educating method on a young person who is open to new ideas and values; while, an old person is like a rock which is so solid in its values and thinking, that it will crush (metaphorically) any young person with new ideas because old people don’t want their very life and existence to look like a joke. So, there is no repairing the previous generation. They have formed their thinking. Combined with their entitlement, there is simply no “explaining them calmly” or “educating them”.

They have become a part of the patriarchal and hierarchical system so deeply, that they will fight to protect it. Just like those agents’ role in the film, The Matrix.  All I can say is: Save your own clay-like mind from getting bruised by these people who have a rock-solid minds.

Note: Now if we think about it, this situation is quite comparable to the film The Matrix where the patriarchal system is built, for which, on the one hand, our parents, relatives (including our cousins) act like agents, who will fight to protect this system as they are so dependent on it; and on the other hand, there are those selected few people in our current generation, like Neo and Morpheus, who are trying to break free from this “system” designed to enslave everyone, and will strive to help others break free from it.

The last response disturbed me a lot and the reason for my writing this post. The response was “after all, they are our parents and care for us!”. This is probably the biggest bunch of lies told to oneself to prevent the mind from going to insanity.

This is textbook definition of “rationalization” where a man is extremely discomforted by the reality to such an extent, that he will come out with excuses so that his mind can find the current situation, much more tolerable.

Men are going in denial because their conditioning, since birth, is so deep that reality check will hurt them the most. It is almost like they will start questioning the very ground they are standing on, which can be quite traumatizing.
I understand their psychology, but that is no solution. It is almost like taking medication to suppress symptoms while not understanding the disease causing it.

The worst result is even if a man understands this mess of patriarchy, still ends up becoming a part of this mess himself due to pressure. It takes a great deal of effort and strength to assert your rights, even if harmed in the process. But not everyone is able to stand up against this patriarchal system so they end up joining it. The external forces and internal conditioning is so severe that the man has to become a part of this patriarchal system.

He ends up internalizing his pain and frustration and end up making it seem as if it was “his individual choice”. If asked, no man will admit that he has become a part of this patriarchy due to pressure (internal and external).
No man wants to admit that he is being used as a puppet by the collective ego of the society. It would be shameful for a man to even think on these lines as his patriarchal role will ensure that he never complains.

So, going in denial mode and rationalization is the only quick fix to make it less unbearable. He will end up looking it at like the “best thing that ever happened to him” and will “reform” others too, thereby continuing this vicious cycle.

Your young adult male best-friend(s) or your “chuddy buddy” who is now listening to rock music, smoking pipe, has ear studs, trying to appear “cool” and “modern” will turn to the same language as his entitled relatives 15 years from now.

You will find this very same “chuddy buddy” with his wife and kids, and questioning you about your “future plans” in a rather patronizing, self-righteous way.

His reaction will be even more shocked when he finds out that you are still single, and he will try to either shame you, or portray his life as such an “aspirational life”. lol!

After a certain point, where does one draw the line between social conditioning and personal choice?

It is going to take at least couple of generations to understand this kind of oppression and mental gymnastics a man is made to do until he is able to truly think by himself and take complete control over his life and make decisions at his own will.

To my readers, please read this article carefully so that you understand what message I am trying to convey to my audience.

Agreed this is a deep topic but the more informed we are, the more informed choices we can make and understand the real disease, not try to cure the symptom!

Men’s Rights: An undisclosed topic

Men’s rights in India is so brushed under the carpet, no one knows it even exists!

A man’s life in India is oppressive too. It is since birth this oppression begins. A different kind of oppression, a more covert kind yet a powerful kind of oppression.

Since their birth, men are taught not to cry. They are shamed if they display any emotion. Do we, as a society, realize if this emotional suppression takes place time and again, these young boys will grow up to be emotionally stunt men and their suppressed volcano-like emotions will explode at the least deserving person?

We then ask questions like why India is has a record number in spousal abuse, domestic violence and assault. We fail to connect the dots.

There was a video clipping of describing the same. The link to view the clipping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Nj99epLFqg

That is just the start of it. Indian parents perceive their son like a golden goose who will earn according to their (parents’) expectations and support them in old age. His worth depends upon his academic and professional success. If he fails to earn up to his family expectations, he will be mocked upon, yelled at, nagged upon until he is able to “earn enough” or “becomes man enough”.

Parents and relatives play the maximum toxic role in stripping away their son’s rights. Men are also deeply conditioned by parents and relatives to take care of them (and his wife) in old age and play the provider role, at the same time, women are so dis empowered thereby making them incapable to even provide for themselves.

The abuse of men is not so over-the-top, as women’s, which makes it difficult for them to recognize this abuse.

Once the man grows up, with education and a decent paying job, he is FORCED to marry a woman just so that his parents can find a free slave for themselves who can also provide dowry. He has no right to choice: Not even the right to marry the person he loves, not even the right to remain single all his life.

Note: In the UK, forced marriage is a very serious crime and parents can be arrested for upto 10 years.

It just gets worse for a man, he is BULLIED and FORCED by his parents (and parents are bullied by their relatives) to marry the girl of THEIR choice. Parents will ensure to disempower their daughter in law, make her leave her job or create situations which will make her leave her job, so that she is dependent on their son and them (his parents) for financial support.

Which explains why India has the lowest women work force participation: http://qz.com/176658/india-has-the-lowest-workforce-participation-rate-of-women-among-the-brics/

Now, even the man is burdened with supporting his over-demanding parents, his disempowered wife, and his children which he probably didn’t even want to begin with. The man is put through great deal of stress due to the financial burden of all these people. Even earning Rs. 2 lakh per month is not enough to fulfill the family’s requirement.

Both, men and women are slaves to their parents’ and their relatives’ entitlement. 

The pressure of parents on a son doesn’t end with marriage. It only begins. He is then pressured to buy a car, a house, produce children, provide them (children) fancy education, all due to the demands of his parents and relatives. 

All this puts any human in a great deal of financial stress and burden of loans as this article has mentioned: http://www.subramoney.com/2012/08/children-in-parents-ego-emi-traps/

The provider role in so inbuilt in a man that even if he tries to help his wife in the household chores, he will be shamed even for that by his parents and their clan of a thousand relatives. Also to prevent the couple from bonding. God forbid of he turns into a homemaker and his wife the breadwinner! Imagine the stigma and the shaming then!

Why doesn’t a man have the option to be the homemaker and his wife the breadwinner? Why can’t a man have the option to pursue the career of his choice? Why can’t a man marry the person he loves? Why can’t a man have the option to even remain single all his life? Why can’t a man have any autonomy over his life’s major decisions?

Are we so patriarchal that we forget the happiness of our own son?

In addition, Hindu culture has immense amount of rituals and customs which cause a great deal of financial drain (for the man), emotional drain (for the couple), only to see the 42-year-old enfeebled parents and relatives gloating in joy.

Romantic partner:  A son’s romantic partner is considered as the biggest threat to the parents’ control over their son. So, even if his parents have chosen a partner for their son, they simply cannot stand the growing bond between their son and his wife and will strive to create distance between them. They will overburden his wife with housework to such an extent that she has no time to bond with her husband. If ever the man will try to bond with his wife, he is shamed and called “joru ka gulham” or slave of his wife.

Even if the man tries to stand up for himself and his spouse against this abuse, he is either yelled at by his parents, or sent on a guilt trip. We often hear remarks by parents like “biwi kaan bhar rahi hai”  your wife is poisoning your mind.

Parents get extremely insecure that their control over their son, and his loyalty, will be divided with his wife. So, she will always be treated like an “outsider”.

Note: I am not saying that taking care of someone you care about is wrong. But given this situation, parents’ entitlement and their abusive nature, they deserve nothing short of a kick on their asses.

If the man starts abusing and assaulting his wife, are we to blame the man completely? I am NOT condoning domestic violence under any circumstances; but, we as a society, need to take responsibility of such broken men and reflect upon ourselves and not let the next generation become the victim of this cycle of abuse.

We need to encourage our men to come out of their denial and conditioning. We need to encourage our men to question their parents and even fight for their own rights. We need to free our men from the burden of this provider and patriarchal role which they are forced into. We need to educate our men of their rights, specially the right of choice, which they probably don’t know it even exists.

As I stated in my previous blog, this cycle of abuse needs to end at some point.

Also, for further reference, please read this article:

Talking about women’s rights alone is not enough when the other half is abused too.

Change begins now. Change begins from us!

Capital Punishment: Could we get any more barbaric?

Capital Punishment: We have finally become exactly who we hate!

Why do we have capital punishment? Are we God? Do we have any control over a person’s breath? How barbaric and uncivilized are we? Why does any country in the world has capital punishment? Has blood lust impaired our judgement? What if we have caught an innocent person? What if there was a error in investigation? What if the criminal was mental patient?

There are so many questions we need to ask ourselves before putting another human being on deathbed. Even for the worst possible crime, there should be life imprisonment. No country or law has any control over the breath of a human being. It is a shame on humanity that we still have this in practice. 

Keeping this situation in India, we had many cases where the country has yelled “hang him!”. There have been cases where a woman had committed suicide (for reasons unknown) and the crowd wanted to lynch her partner for no substantial cause. Whenever some person has been accused of a crime, even more so when it is a man, the population gets bloodthirsty and without giving any time for proper investigation, we hear screams like “hang him!”

We are either in slumber mode, or bloodlust mode.

Agreed that the police and judicial system are very slow and incompetent in India, but that gives no right to us to scream capital punishment for someone who has just been accused of a crime. What happened to the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”?

Even if guilty, that gives the us as citizens absolutely no right to scream for the convict’s murder. Remember, death is an easy way out. If you really want to punish someone, even if person has been convicted of a very serious crime, give them the curse of life. They must suffer through life through lifetime imprisonment. A rather moral and civilized, yet a brutal way, to punish the criminal. Indian prisons are so brutal anyway, that they will teach a lesson by themselves. lol

While screaming death penalty, we as public always assume that we are the victim. Do we ever think that tomorrow, it could be one us who is the accused or convicted? It could be someone we know: our father, our uncle, our brother, our friend, who could be accused of some crime and the public is waiting to lynch him, raising campaigns to hang him to death.

We will then hear questions from the common citizens like “Why think negative? Why do any crime to get accused? If you commit a crime, you don’t deserve to live.”

Do we realize that one can be falsely accused without committing a crime? Do we realize that one could be at the crime scene without realizing? Do we realize that the accused may be a mental patient? Do we realize that there could be a error in investigation which led to the accused?

There are several aspects of crime and investigation, and without competent police and bloodthirsty mob, chances are that it will only end up in killing the innocent and letting the real criminal walk free.

Like in the recent case of Delhi gang rape case in December 2012, the nation is screaming lynching and hanging the criminals. Do we realize that the very same people, who hold the same mindset as him, are same people that try to ban his speech, are same people that wants to hang him?

Even for the juvenile convict, the nation wants to hang him. Interestingly, had this juvenile convict not been a part of this crime, he still would have been treated as a kid. A infant rather. An infant who has no idea about the world and needs “elders” to guide him the way.

A messed up nation filled with barbarians. The same barbarians who talk about “the character and moral conduct of a woman”, the same barbarians who talk about the Nirbhaya documentary calling it a “conspiracy to defame India”. The same barbarians want to hang the convicts.

Have any of them have the guts to look his eye pop out when he is hanged?

The police too, are another set of scumbags to try to get a confession through physical assault and torture. After all, even they are appeasing the citizens. After a point, even an innocent person will breakdown and admit to a crime they may not have committed just to escape the assault and torture.

At least there is no physical assault or torture once the case reaches the courts. Yes, the judicial system in India has its own problems, like incompetency and lethargy, but still a better solution than the bloodthirsty citizens and police waiting to get their hands on anyone associated with the crime.

Unfortunately, the law and judicial system face immense pressure from the nation who are protesting and campaigning in mass numbers to hang the criminals. After all, it is the people who run the system. One can’t defy them much, even they are running wild with their uncivilized propaganda. It is a shame that even rich countries like USA have capital punishment.

Note: I am NOT in favor or justifying any crime or criminal. I am too in favor of punishing the people who commit crimes. But these things need to be approached in a civilized and practical way so that the real criminal is caught without causing further damage. Lifetime imprisonment is a rather reversible decision so that in case an innocent has been convicted, there are chances of repair. In the case of guilty, he wont be a part of society so that he wont be a threat to anyone without having blood in our hands.

Anyway, I hope people realize someday the seriousness and the flip side of capital punishment. But it is a long way to go.

Apna Bachha: This sham needs to end!

Kids! Another tool to gain status and conform.

Apna Bachha: One’s own biological child (translation)

Indians are champions at increasing families, perpetuating patriarchy, conforming, bigotry, abusing and women disempowerment.

To ensure that this attitude prevails, what better medium than kids?   lol

Women in India, even across the world, receive immense status and unquestionable appreciation for becoming the “divine” mother. Mothers are looked up upon, and a baby brings a great deal for joy and celebration. She is considered above other women as she was able to do her “sole duty as a woman”. Her empty cradle is filled with “a bundle of joy” aka a poop machine.

In India, it is even more prevalent when a couple produces a male child. They is used as an example to shame other couples for their inability, or lack of desire, to produce a baby. Women are treated like a baby producing machine to continue their husband’s family’s “lineage” which makes her “a complete woman”.
Even men are subjected to immense pressure, mockery, and humiliation if remained childless (by choice or otherwise). They are considered “not man enough” or “unable to function”.

What makes it worse, is that men are burdened with double the responsibilities of his wife and child. His income becomes the sole income to keep his wife and child alive. None of it seems fair!

In any conservative society, it is essential that women are kept disempowered so they end up producing more children (due to lack of education and freedom of choice) to continue their cultural and societal lineage thereby turning into a majority. Results, they cannot even opt out of a marriage and motherhood and she is completely dependent on the husband for financial support. This is one irreversible decision which changes a life of a couple completely.

In India, there is this extreme narcissism on the emphasis on “Apna bachha” or one’s own biological child. Couples also buy into the idea of producing their own biological child instead of considering adoption as an option (even if they okay with the idea of a daughter).

It is assumed that women have the “maternal feeling” naturally, but, no one is willing to accept the fact that there are women who do not have this “maternal feeling” or even like kids to begin with. This lack of desire for kids doesn’t NOT make them evil, cold-hearted, selfish or arrogant that society deems them to be.

Note: I personally would call such couples very responsible people as they are aware of their dislikes, are able to stand up for it, and do not buy into the whole dogma of children.

By not having children, they are saving themselves from the resentment which could build up by having children. It is very mature of them to understand and opt out of such serious responsibility, like parenting, if they are not ready for it.

I am not saying that couples who love children should not have children. All I am saying that if couples want as many children as they prefer, they should have the option to and if couples don’t want a child, they should have the right to choice, without the society shaming them!

Ironically, there are so many hungry, homeless children in India, but no one wants to adopt them.

There is a huge element of casteism, classism, bigotry and narcissism involved in desiring only one’s own biological children. No one wants to adopt the homeless child from the slums or a child from a different religion as they only want their “clean blood, lineage and genes” to be in their child.
I personally have few questions to all the couples out there (women specially) and how many can dare answer the following questions.

  • If the need for child is so inbuilt in couples, then why not shower your affection on homeless children, give them a home and a better life?
  • Are you worried about the society shaming you for being a childless couple?
  • Can you guarantee an abuse-free life for your child, given that it is India we are talking about?
  • Can you love your child unconditionally without expecting anything in return?
  • Have you done any research on how expensive children are these days?
  • What if your child is disabled? Can you support it and take care of it your entire life?
  • Are you worried about not having an answer when Sharmaji asks you about children?
  • Do you have any prior experience of raising and taking care of an infant?
  • Do you even have any experience of even taking care of a pet?
  • If the child disobeys you, are you going to subject him/her to same abusive environment that you have been raised in yourself?
  • What if something unforeseen happens to your husband, do you have any other support to take care of your child?
  • Is child a medium to solve any relationship troubles with your husband or his family? If yes, YOU ARE THE MOST UNFIT PARENT.
  • Do you have any idea how high maintenance and environment heavy toddlers are?
  • Do you just not question motherhood and simply say “Aisa hi hota hai” (this is the normal way)
  • Are you expecting to have a son and hoping he will take care your old age, and a means to obtain some family “inheritance”?

    One needs to ask oneself all the above questions as having a child is a huge responsibility. It is frightening to see couples refuse to understand the seriousness of  raising a child; the financial, emotional and even physical responsibility it takes.

Young mothers and baby images on Facebook:   Another problematic aspect of young Indian mothers. The idea that parents own their child, their child is like their property, is so inbuilt in them that will will upload every possible picture of their child on their Facebook Page.

What is the child grows up resenting its parents for making him a public show during its infancy?

After all, the child will grow up as a consenting adult (man or woman) and these things will matter to that person a lot. With the age of technology and social media, over-sharing has become even more prevalent.

Social media has given a medium for people to amplify their narcissism, attempting to make their peers jealous, by showing off the cars they drive, the house they buy, the lavish weddings, and their new born baby.

Do they realize how disrespectful it is to the child and it clearly shows that the parents own the child, just like their house, their car, their watch, their baby.

Note: If parents treat their children like property, what kind of life will they provide for their children?

We have even heard of cases like that if something had gone terribly wrong in the family, like loss of family wealth, or bad name on the family, the parents have killed their children, and then themselves in order to protect them from the “shame” that accompanies. “Honor Killings” (stated in my previous blog) also stems from the same mindset. Child abuse (as stated in my previous blogs) by Indian parents, also stems from the same mindset.

Also, another thing that appalls me, is that physical abuse of children, like beating, hitting, caning, etc. is very common in India, which would be a great matter of shock in western countries.

Even parents and young adults agree with the idea of hitting their children when they don’t obey their parents blindly.

Even worse, there are no institutions in India which protects children from their own abusive parents as the whole culture of “parents know best/ parents can never make mistakes” is so prevalent.

Even schools condone and use physical assault on kids in the name of “discipline. Even parents encourage this behavior. When we see only violence and abuse as children, we tend to normalize it and follow the same cycle of abuse.

  • Do we really want to bring more children into this country and give them the same brutal and abusive culture and atmosphere?
  • Do we really want to subject them to the miserable state of affairs and then regret later on?
  • Do you really want to live with the guilt that you were unable to provide a good life for your children?

Something we all need to reflect upon before ruining another innocent life as let’s face it, children’s rights is a bloody joke in India. 

In a more liberal society, women always have the option of having kids. They even have the right to opt out of motherhood. Use this time in building their careers. They always have an option to walk out of marriage. They have full control over their money, over their lives, over their decisions, over their own body.
Yes, there is always the fact that these liberals are very few in numbers as having children is optional and they may not feel the pressure to increase in numbers.

Liberals go with the idea that few kids, but well adjusted kids are more important than more kids, but abused kids (which happens in conservative societies).

So if you see in European countries, there are fewer children, but well-adjusted children. They have children’s protection institutions who even take on the children’s parents and can get them arrested for any misbehavior with their child. There is accountability of parents and their behavior towards their own children.

If parenthood is de-romanticized, it will give options to couples, and only those selected couples will produce kids, who will provide the best possible environment to their child.

Yes, there is also the aspect of countries wanting young workers for their economy but that is a whole new debate altogether. This post was mainly about children’s rights in a barbaric culture like India. 

Biwi ki Sunu, ya maa ki?

Biwi ki sunu, ya maa ki? 

Tans: who arguement should I support, my mother’s or my wife’s?

This is in reference to my previous post.

I hear almost every Indian man ask this question. This one question personally makes me judge his family with a lot of contempt.

But one must never blame an Indian man for asking this question. One must understand from where such thinking stems from.

Indian men are so conditioned by parents and society that parents are like Gods. You never question God. You always obey them. You love for them. You die for them. Their happiness means sacrificing one’s own. You earn for them. You support them.

But no one asks these questions which is much needed:

  • Are Indian parents worthy of “support” they keep demanding like spoiled infants?
  • Does one have to obey their order everytime?
  • Why can’t anyone question them?
  • Are they worthy of “love, care and affection” they keep demanding?
  • Can’t one see flaws in them?
  • Can’t one fight against them for their personal happiness?
  • Why is questioning parents and disobeying them a taboo?

These questions will make any Indian man so uncomfortable, that either they will change the topic, or justify their parents’ entitlement.

As I have mentioned earlier, that a woman’s life is terrible in India. She is treated like an “outsider” by everyone. The only source of feeling loved, is via her son.
She is this overbearing mother who always wants her son to be close to her. She, finally, feels a sense of control. Time and again, she will make the son realize all the “sacrifices” she has made for him which all was her mere duty, resulting in an unhealthy attachment of the son and his mother.

This Oedipus-complex-like relationship is punctured when his wife comes into the picture. His mother feels extremely insecure that the one source of support will be “stolen away” by his wife. She is dreading her son and his wife’s emotional and sexual bond as it will only result in loss of her control over her son. So for that she takes some drastic measures to regain her control.

She makes her daughter-in-law work like dogs in the kitchen, make her a slave to her demands, ensure they have no private time to spend with each other, taunt the son for being a “joru ka gulham” (slave of his wife) to constantly remind him not to forget the “bond” they share.

Now, his wife is unable to cope up with her mother-in-law’s endless, unreasonable demands. She then requests her husband to fix the situation; while, his mother is demanding him to make his wife more obedient and compliant.

Now the man is in a fix. He doesn’t know if to support his wife (who is suffering due to his mother), or his mother (who has conditioned him never to question her).

Such a situation never ends up well. If the man is not strong enough, it leads to the saas-bahu (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law) fights which we all see in TV shows here in India; or in extreme cases, a messy divorce.

Note: I understand that the man’s mother has been abused by her people but that gives no justification for interfering and ruining her son’s and DIL’s life in any circumstances. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Don’t hold other people responsible to fix your broken life.

Indian men need to confront the issue, use their own judgement, and try to solve it at a grassroot level. If need be, question their parents; or worst case, move out of such an abusive household for a better life for themsleves and their spouse. 
After all, the cycle of abuse needs to end at some point.

Arranged aka. Forced Marriage: A human rights violation

Indians are obsessed with marriages: Something which their lives revolve around, something they use as a conversation starter. 

Marriage of daughter, for some parents, is a lifetime achievement.There is immense pressure on young women, and even men, for marriage.

Parents prepare for this event since the day a child is born. They are groomed in ways (as per gender requirements) to ensure that they get the best match possible. By best, they do not mean the qualities which will make their son/daughter happy; but the qualities which will give the parents the most status and honor in society.

Life is miserable for both, young men and women in India, mainly due to the immense entitlement of the elders (parents) and their unreasonable expectations they have from young bride and grooms. They are responsible for creating this dysfunctional relationship and marriages. Here is in detail the process of marriages.

Groom: The “hunt” for a groom is probably the toughest task parents go through. Combined with this nightmare, daughters have absolutely no autonomy over their lives to choose a partner for themselves. The parents look for only one thing in a groom: Will my potential son-in-law person give them better social status? They never care about their daughter’s (even son’s) happiness.

The problem arises that such groom, who will give them better social status, are very few in number; while the women waiting to marry him, are in majority.

The groom’s parents have the upper hand and can call the shots. That is where dowry comes into play. An additional incentive to the groom for doing them a “favor” by marrying their daughter. Also, to have a better chance compared to all other families competing for him.

The groom is taught since childhood that his worth is based upon the income he earns. He is solely judged upon his academic and professional success.  The amount of money he earns, the car he drives, size of his house, family reputation, caste, all are the main parameters he is judged upon. He is reduced to an ATM machine by everyone. God forbids if he loses his job!

Worst is his parents’ entitlement which plays a major role in destroying many lives of young individuals making them extremely bitter and frustrated. His parents, after all, only want a daughter in law for themselves, whom they can make work like slaves and make her produce babies (sons) to continue the family lineage. In case of their sons, they can ensure that he keeps working like dogs and they can sponge off their son.

The amount of entitlement and narcissism by the boy’s parents associated with this thinking is unbelievable. Funny thing is that in such a poor country, we have majority of the joint family taking about “family lineage” and “successor”.

In some cases, when a boy is in his early 20s, his parents give him an ultimatum to find some girl for himself or his parents will get him married to a stranger they choose. Boys at that age feel extremely pressured to find a bride for themselves, or pressure the girl he is dating, for marriage.

The conditioning of their parents is so deep, that they get goosebumps even with the idea of questioning their parents against this forceful way of getting them married. This is a human rights violation. In fact, human rights is a bloody joke to them.

Bride: Brides are abused even more in India. Girls are disempowered since birth in India. Her parents select a groom when the girl is very young in age. The idea is to get her “married off” as young as possible when, when she is impressionable as parents fear two things 1) She will start having independent thoughts and start questioning her parents 2) Fear of losing potential “good” grooms. The criteria for arranged wives are good looks, family reputation, caste, and fertility.

She too, is reduced to a cooking, baby producing machine. Worse, after marriage, she is made to leave her maternal home and forced to live with her husband’s family where she is always treated like an “outsider”. This idea is so ingrained in Indians that if she ever demands her rights, she is called arrogant, crazy, ill behaved, etc.

Even husbands don’t stand up for their wives against his own family as he is so deeply conditioned that he family is “flawless”.Even if he sees his wife being ill-treated by his family, he goes into denial mode. We then hear statements by husbands like “no big deal” or “over thinking” or “making a mountain of a mould”.

Even if he does stand up for his wife at some point, he is mocked by his own family by being called a “joru ka gulham”. With this mockery, even he feels pressure to prove his family wrong and join them in the ragging of his wife.

Specially his mother, as she too has been treated like shit and an “outsider” all her life. So. she feels that her son is one point of support and her daughter in law will “steal” her son away from her which makes her extremely insecure about her son leading to interference in their private lives.

After all, it is all about control over young people!

Wedding: Indians weddings are such a massive grand affair lasting from days to even weeks. You find socially-sanctioned extreme narcissism in such events. Loud music, people dancing on the roads, a clan of at least two thousand people, blingy clothes, relatives and their taunts on people, endless barbaric ceremonies. The ceremonies are so patriarchal, that the everything is about the girl bowing down the groom and his family.

Weddings are one of the most abusive life events in young Indians. In the name of traditions and rituals, brides (and even the grooms) are abused by their relatives.

These ceremonies are to undignified and garish, that even the though of an Indian wedding, makes me cringe. People end up spending upto Rs 1 crore in such events. Everything has to be super lavish so that their relatives should not make fun of them.

People not only end up wiping clean their banks on such events, but also borrow from relatives, take loan for such events. Majority of the expenditure is expected by the bride’s parents.

It is not unthinkable that the bride’s parents may not even have money to go the doctor when they are sick, despite medical being cheap in India. I guess this solves the mystery why Indian parents don’t want daughters as this toxic culture will make them bow to the above mentioned social norms.

The way young people are treated, is a big insult to human rights violation. Worse, this is happening in even the educated bunch of India as well.  It is very difficult to change this toxic culture as forces from all over are pushing you towards a single direction.

Life is so miserable for young Indians that only disappearing from the scene helps them lead a better life; or one needs to be super strong to resist this culture in a search for a better life in India.

Note: In the United Kingdom, there have been programs to prevent such forced marriages as this was a big problems amongst Bangladeshis. Parents can be arrested and it is considered a serious crime.

I hope that someday, in India, people start recognizing this abuse and make parents accountable. If need be, they should be arrested for forcing their adult children to marry. We will have happier individuals. It would be personal dream come true!