The traditions & customs involved in an Indian wedding might be sacrosanct to our society but this ‘impeccability is flawed’ & thus this contradiction leaves us at an impasse or rather leaves women in an inextricable situation.
Dowry, child marriage & ‘sati’ pervaded in the Indian society since forever & albeit the cases of such ‘traditional’ crimes have fallen drastically in recent times, they have not been completely evicted.
A young girl, who is completely fascinated by the glimmer of marriage, asks her mother about the rigmarole of her marriage, to which she replies;
MOTHER: – I understand your enthusiasm for marriage but now I think it’s time you should know what exactly a marriage is.
GIRL: – But mother its simple, there is a bride who dresses beautifully and a handsome groom. They get married and live with each other forever.
MOTHER: – No beta, these are just some superficial things, the truth lies deep inside & is probably darker than a new moon night. Let me tell you my own story.
GIRL: – (Disappointed) Yes, Mother.
MOTHER: – I hail from a small village & my father was a farmer. In our times daughters were a big liability on parents so they were forced to marry in their juvenile years.
GIRL: – (Surprisingly) Is it true mother, were you also forced to marry in your childhood?
MOTHER: – Yes beta, as a matter of fact I got married at 14. But this wasn’t the only problem my father faced back then. He had to sell his land so as to use half of the fund in the organization of the functions & the remaining was given to your father as dowry.
GIRL: – Mother, What is dowry?
MOTHER: – (With a chuckle) No one knows what this is. Apparently it is something paid as a fine for giving birth to a daughter in India.
GIRL: – But why did dad take money from you? Didn’t he have enough of his own?
MOTHER: – Beta, It is an ancient custom in India and in order to get a daughter married it is one of the most important things. After my marriage my dad was indebted. Â He had to pay the dowry even after 3 years of his daughter’s marriage as the greed never ends.
GIRL: – (With tears in her eyes) Mother, I am going to be 14 in 3 months, Are you going to marry me and send me away from you so early? Will my marriage force you to sell our house?
MOTHER: – My dear, I will not let the same happen to my daughter. These customs are old fashioned & should be changed. If the world is ignorant, I will take the 1st step in changing them.
GIRL: – (Hugging her mother) I don’t want to get married and become a burden on you. I will be with you always if marrying me would leave you in so much pain.
Even a young girl, fascinated about marriage, changes her opinion about the same after taking an excursion into the dark truth that lies underneath the array of oppressive traditions.
The customs & traditions are unimpeachable but to an extent. Now social awareness has grown so much that these customs have been partially evaded. But only at urban centers, the villages still practice these customs which needs to be reprimanded. There is a part of India which is sailing at the speed of knots but then there is this other part which brings it back to the wharf.
If a young girl can understand that these customs are illogical & destructive, then we are adults & we should not only understand but also work on eradicating them. It is 21st century now where women are no less than men, so why not they be considered same in the rigmarole of a wedding.. Its time India should move ahead, incarcerate customs like child marriage & dowry, walk them to the gallows & let Indian women breath in the air of freedom.