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My Own Parents Tried To Kill Me Because I Wanted To Study

Posted by Akansha Jat in #BHL, Sexism And Patriarchy, Society
October 20, 2017
Editor's note: This post is a part of #BHL, a campaign by BBC Media Action and Youth Ki Awaaz to redefine and own the label of what a 'bigda hua ladka or ladki' really is. If you believe in making your own choices and smashing this stereotype, share your story.

I was lying on the hospital bed while the doctors were stitching my wrist. No, I didn’t try to commit suicide; rather, I did this so that I could live. Last year, on February 26,  I was beaten so badly by my own parents that I had to harm myself to get out of that situation.

I belong to a very conservative family. My marriage was fixed when I was just 13 to a guy who was much older than me. At the age when I just hit puberty, I had to face this kind of nonsense. Child marriage is still a very common thing in my community. Girls are not encouraged to study or to go to schools; rather, they are forced to learn household jobs. If a girl even tries to study (for which she obviously needs to step out of her house), she is branded as ‘characterless’.

If she is even seen talking to a boy, soon after, her parents will force her to marry because the society starts judging that girl’s morality and dignity.

At first, I didn’t even realise what all this was about. Suddenly, I was forced to behave more conventionally ‘feminine’, was made to stay in the house for the whole day (except for school hours), do household works and other things which are required to prepare a girl to get married at the age of 13.

I was very reserved at that point of time so I obeyed almost everything that my mother would say. When I was in class 11, I joined coaching classes for the medical entrance exam. One day, the guy with whom my marriage was fixed came to the coaching and I was so frightened with this incident that I quit the classes without telling anybody the reason behind it.

This guy used to chat with me on Facebook and I was ordered (by my parents) to talk to him, against my will. If I refused this, my parents threatened me that they would stop my studies.

Amidst all this mental torture, I fell into depression and failed my class 12 exams. And then the problem grew worse. As I had failed, my parents decided to get me married. They said that now that I had failed, it was better for me to get married as I couldn’t do anything in my life, otherwise. This disturbed me so much that I stopped eating properly and became anaemic. To top it all off, I developed a medical condition called as Mitral Valve Prolapse.

Due to this, thankfully, my marriage got postponed. Then I told my parents about how that guy used to torture me. So, they finally agreed to me not talking to him. I blocked him from every messaging platform and even changed my phone number. But he later found it and messaged me again. But now, I was a bit stronger so I blocked him again and told him that I wouldn’t marry him at any cost.

Then he showed me his true face. Again and again, he threatened me and sent me abusive messages. When I told this to my parents, they told me to bear all this as he will be my husband and according to them, women ought to bear every brutality her husband commits upon her.

Everything changed on February 26, 2016. That day, my parents beat me like an animal only because I refused to go to that guy’s sister’s marriage. I remember when my father tried to strangle me and my mother had a cricket bat in her hand to thrash my head and not let me get away alive.

I shouted aloud and thankfully my aunt and cousin sister came to rescue me. But they didn’t succeed in getting me out of all this and I wouldn’t survive if they tried to beat me again. Therefore, I slit my wrist above the veins (this was the benefit of taking biology in class 12 as my main subject). Soon, blood rushed down my hand and I made it visible to everyone by pressing a bit (my blood flow was weak because of anaemia). Even after this, my parents didn’t stop beating me but thankfully, my cousin took me to the hospital with her.

After this incident, I was again bound in my house for a week. But even after all this, my parents were again forcing me to marry that guy. Then I decided I wouldn’t allow this to happen at any cost (because now I knew that they didn’t really care about me, but only the society). Now, I had to free myself from this trap for which I went to a local NGO. There, they told me that I could be saved from marriage if I drafted a case against my parents and I did that.

My father is a well-renowned politician so he knew a lot about the court and the police. He tried to dodge every hearing so that one day, I would get tired of going to the court and the police stations and their misbehaviour (because nobody trusted me that my own parents were after my life and instead thought I was having an affair against my parents’ wishes and that is why I was doing all this).

But I didn’t give up and after nine months of struggle, I finally had a warrant issued against my father. Then, my relatives forced my father to appear in court to prevent them from being disgraced in the eyes of society. My parents acted superbly in front of the judge and convinced her that they will not do this again and will support my studies. After a promising note, the case was closed but not my struggle.

During the last semester of my graduation, I cleared the IIT–JAM entrance exam. I had to move out of the city for the course. At first, my parents celebrated this in front of everyone but when the time came for me to really move to another city, they again started to torture me mentally and brought another boy home for my marriage. I again said no, but they didn’t listen and I had to run away from my house.

Thankfully, I had a good amount of savings with me and I, therefore, took admission in a post-graduation course in another city in a good private college (screw IIT counsellings).

My parents lodged a missing complaint against me and the police tracked me down. They said they would arrest me if I didn’t go with them. They even assured me that my studies wouldn’t be affected. I recorded this on video in case they were trying to fool me. My parents again changed their colours in front of the police and promised them that they wouldn’t force me to marry against my will and allow me to study as much as I wanted.

I moved to another city where I am living peacefully and studying properly. But still, whenever I visit my house, my parents abuse and torture me for something or the other, and even when there is no fault of my own. But now, I answer to everything they do. Now, I fight with great courage against them and don’t let them dominate me.

And for all this, I am called a bigdi hui ladki. Still, I don’t feel very comfortable around them and I can’t trust them ever again. Therefore, I am studying hard to get a peaceful and reputed life, away from all this.