Remember that evil bahu from Baghban who was all set to destroy the Great Indian Family? In reality, the daughter-in-law in many Indian households is forced to fight for her privacy and her very dignity.
“Demand for privacy by a married woman after she enters her matrimonial home cannot be dubbed as cruelty towards the husband to grant him divorce,” held the Delhi High court in a recent judgment. “Privacy is a fundamental human right. Oxford dictionary defines privacy as ‘a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people.’ So when a woman enters into matrimony, it is the duty of family members of her matrimonial home to provide her with some privacy”, added the judges.
The husband in this case had filed the divorce plea before the trial court alleging that his wife had treated him cruelly and pressurised him to set up a separate home as she did not want to live in a joint family. This judgment is a progressive step, contrary to the recent outrageous Supreme Court decision that empowered men to divorce their wives if they separate them from their parents. I am genuinely grateful to the High Court for recognizing that an Indian daughter in law (DIL) is a human being worthy of “privacy”.
However, I could not help but smirk at thought of ‘‘a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people’ being applied to a daughter in law!
The moment a new DIL joins a family, every action and word of hers is scrutinized, and brutally judged. She should have a smile on her face like a clown, as she slogs all day and serves a bunch of new people who she never knew in her previous, (carefree) life even when they make offensive, hurtful, sarcastic remarks. She is guilty until proven innocent on the most lame and mundane issues. She is supposed to magically win the hearts of stuck-up, set in their ways people who, by the way, are always right!
Speaking of privacy, how may DILs get to lock their bedrooms and spend some time reading or surfing the net or talking to their friends/family? She would have committed the absolute sin if she did so at her in-laws’ place!
Infact, some parents are so insecure that they don’t like it even when their married sons and their wives lock their bedrooms. They do whatever they can in their capacity to ensure that the son and DIL do not get any private time and that they should be the priority.
A friend of mine and her husband moved out of her in-laws place after 4 years of marriage. Her mother-in-law did not like it when the young couple went out for movies and dinners alone. She insisted that a ‘cultured’ married couple should go out as a family with parents and that they are not some ‘college couple’ who can roam around. She also loved to spend Sunday afternoons napping next to her 30-year-old married son! The DIL would lie down in the other room and the father-in-law would lie on the sofa in the living room!
Another married friend has never gone on a vacation with her husband (if I don’t count the honeymoon). Her mother-in-law who lives with them wants to be part of every vacation.
I don’t understand the psychology of such women who do not give privacy to their married sons and their wives. Do they not have their husbands to spend time with them? Even if they unfortunately don’t, the son is not supposed to take that place of a companion. Why do they even get their sons married, when they act like a woman fighting with another woman for a man’s affection, when this man happens to be their son?
The concept of privacy for a DIL does not resonate with the in-laws. A DIL has zero privacy. Because she is scolded for answering the door without that dupatta. Because she is ridiculed when the chapati is not as round as the moon. Because she cannot get a moment of peace alone to herself as that is considered selfish. Because she has to be shamed for spending time with her lawfully wedded husband.
The Indian DIL is not being cruel when she asks her husband to live in a house separate from her in-laws. She is compelled to do so because of the cruelty inflicted on her.
And doing so does not make her the evil Bahu from Baghban!
Disclaimer: To all the in-laws who are not as described in this post, I am happy to know that you exist!