By Unnati Singh:
“Here, take this car, all the furniture and of course you will need some cash to get settled into married life.”Â Or, “Thank god you’re marrying my daughter, now I don’t have to feed her for the rest of my life, so as compensation, why don’t you take a flat?”
Can somebody, anybody could explain to me the concept of this practice that goes on in every household of this country, no matter how modern or backward it may be?
Recently, I read a case in the newspapers that a woman gave her kidney for dowry. That means getting married to a man who is atrocious enough to make such a demand is a higher priority in your life than having a healthy body? Amongst my own relatives, a girl wanted a car but her parents said that you will get it when you marry, because obviously, qualifying NET, becoming a lecturer in Delhi University and becoming ‘independent’ was not enough.
Modi sahab recently said — “If a daughter is born in your house, plant five trees along your farm and when she’s grown up you can sell the timber to fund her wedding.” This a wonderfully practical solution and fear not, Modi supporters, I am in no way condemning him by this reference, but this clearly does show the mind-set people have regarding girls in our society, that is, to consider them a liability.
So, you won’t send your girl child to school, or perhaps you will teach her only to an extent which is required for getting married. You will bring her up in such a way, that getting married is her sole priority, and when she grows up, she might be teaching the same thing to her kids, which clearly has messed up thought processes of a whole cycle. You will curb her growth, you will limit her opportunities, you will trivialize her opinions and then you will see her just as a burden. Some parents, including mine, argue by saying, “In your marriage, we want to give money for our own happiness, and we will give it willingly.” There is no difference, in a willful or a forced dowry in my mind, as I see it, it’s a cold hearted transaction between two families, where one family is freed of a liability and the other gets someone to produce babies.
I know I am simplifying my arguments into black and white, and life actuality is a shade of grey, that is, a mixture of both, but somewhere in my puzzled state, I am trying to figure out why such severe importance is instilled in the institution of marriage. It is not a trivial step, but is just a part of my life, and not the reason for my existence.
Getting married is not my job.
Getting married is not my duty.
Getting married and producing babies is sure as hellÂ not the only reason for my existence. It has been rightly said “A woman is many things that often go unnoticed.”