Why Are Parents Offered Insurance For A Girl’s ‘Kanyadan’ But A Boy’s Education?

This is an objection to using the word 'Kanyadan' in relation to the LIC Kanyadan Policy that has been introduced in October 2018, ostensibly to help "parents of a girl".

This is an objection to using the word ‘Kanyadan’ in relation to the LIC Kanyadan Policy that has been introduced in October 2018, ostensibly to help “parents of a girl”.

I strongly oppose the name and coverage of LIC Kanyadan Policy. I want to put forth these questions about this:

  • If father/mother dies, does only a girl child need security? Not a boy child?
  • Should we encourage society to save money from the birth of a daughter specifically because “she will be getting married one day”? Doesn’t a boy need parents to save money?
  • Isn’t it a form of dowry that we push up and fuel to stay in society, if we say that parents of a girl child have to spend for her wedding?
  • Isn’t ‘Kanyadaan’ a tradition with a conservative mind set that we clearly still maintain and respect?
  • Why should we continue old, outdated traditions and customs with the support of the government? Isn’t it high time that we change this?
  • Why do we still we feel that as an adult woman is not able to take full responsibility for her own life?
  • Isn’t it time to eliminate class and gender privileges, and to ensure that each individual should have equal rights and equal claim under the law to their own person and property? Why this discrimination?

Screenshots of the policy details



Images source

A “unique plan to create fund for your daughter’s marriage” – What does it mean?

Till today we have the mindset that we should save money for our daughter’s marriage. Because as a girl child born in India she has a deficiency, and that should be complemented by her parents’ money. And that a male has every right to accept all the monetary benefits that come along with his wife. In her public and private life she cannot enjoy freedom as a human being but she has to live with the grace and kindness of others, with an obligation towards them her entire life.

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Is she a commodity, a gift, a property?

Isn’t she a human being to be able to live with self respect? Her education, her ‘quality’, her ‘human value’ – everything is assessed according to her gender and parental property – for how many centuries is this going to continue? She still doesn’t have any say in her life – what about her autonomy? What about her marital and parental rights?

From where has this ‘Kanyadan’ emerged?

Kanya’ means daughter. A Sanskrit word. Another word that is also profusely used is ‘kanya ratna’. Maybe some respect and emotions are attached to these words, but what’s the real use? Are they really honoured? Or just deceptive words for dowry?

According to the Manu Smriti, there are 3 important donations or gifts a Hindu should perform in his/her life to get perfect Dharmic emancipation. Supposedly the highest achievements one should attain. In modern times, we see this predominantly as a middle-class mentality.

  • Godan: Donation of cows.
  • Kanyadan: Donation of daughter.
  • Bhumidan: Donation of land.

What does it mean?

That a daughter is equal to a cow and land, nothing more than that property to be sold, or can be gifted to another person? She can be ‘handed over’ to another easily with societal permissions and celebrations; there is a grant from community.

The article I referred to says, “After Hinduism evolved from Vedic traditions to accept the treatise of Manu Smriti as the basis of Hindu law, the position of women changed in Hindu society. The status of equality that women enjoyed during Vedic times was vastly curtailed, and they were stripped of any independence. They were placed under lifelong male guardianship – Father when unmarried, Husband when married, and finally Son when old and widowed. From here emerged the concept of ‘Kanyadaan’, which some would just consider transfer of property rights, the property being the girl to be wedded.”

Why is this custom and the word ‘Kanyadan’ used and encouraged by the society till date?

From “the very earliest twilight of human society a patriarchal order was a natural order till the mid nineteenth century,” said JS Mill, but now the scenario is quite changed and women voices are as strong as men. By secular intellectual reasoning, she has proved all her abilities and still we will say that she is a gift, a property, a commodity?

A life of dignity is every person’s human right

According to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action para 18 the human rights of women and the girl-child are “an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights.”

As a girl she has already established all her abilities hence no need to gather a corpus money for her ‘marriage and maintenance’.

For the protection of human rights I would want to request LIC to change the name and benefits of the policy, and that it should cover each child irrespective of gender. It’s time to respect our daughter as a human being; she shouldn’t be treated as a commodity.

Image source: GMR Akash [CC BY-SA 3.0-igo], via Wikimedia Commons

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About the Author

Pallishree Pattanayak

Asst professor by profession .I protest against each injustice. Strong supporter of female education and freedom.I believe a strong mind and a brave heart can achieve any dream.Left Engineering after marriage and started read more...

10 Posts | 26,486 Views

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