Will Parents STOP Trying To Control Their Kids’ Lives In The Name Of Culture, Already?

Posted: February 14, 2019

School children will pledge to marry only with parental consent in an event today in Surat. Really? When will parents stop trying to control kids? And do 14-15 year olds need to worry about marriage?

Over the weekend I saw this splendid movie, which addressed a very important issue in a beautiful manner. I am not here to review “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Tho Aisa Laga”, there have been a lot of reviews and some really good ones on this forum itself, which made me watch the movie in the first place.

The movie has won accolades for addressing the hushed issued of alternate sexuality with maturity. The movie also touched on another very important issue – that of accepting our children as individuals with their own unique personalities. Today as I read this piece of news, I desperately feel the need to drive this message home to each parent and school in the country.

Schoolchildren to pledge to marry only with parents’ consent

This piece of news has been trending for almost a day now, it is sad and appalling to see schools, which are supposed to be responsible for education and progress in society participating in such a regressive activity. The news speaks about an event to be held in Surat on Valentines Day this year. In this event some 10,000 odd school children will take an oath to marry only with their parents’ consent.

The person organising this ridiculous event claims he is doing it to prevent youngsters from eloping. Reading this piece of news, I was reminded of Chatro’s dialogue from the movie “hum, Indian parents ki badi buri aadat hain, hum bas apne bachon ke life main gusse rehna chahate hain.” Which roughly translates to how Indian parents are obsessed with the lives of their children. Cases like this piece of news only add weight to this view. Consent for a marriage should come from the couple marrying, but that seems to be of least importance here.

Will taking a pledge really prevent elopement?

For decades now Bollywood has been held responsible for the rampant cases of elopement.

Agreed that Bollywood has created an unnecessarily romanticised image of elopement, but that definitely is not the only reason couples elope. Often it is the fear, and a lack of acceptance from their families and society which compel couples to elope.

I am not endorsing the idea of two nineteen-year olds getting married and their families happily endorsing it. No, but these nineteen-year olds can be given a healthy environment at home to talk and voice their fears without being judged and admonished. When the fear of persecution is not there, would these people still be forced to act impulsively?

It’s not that only teenagers are eloping, I have seen people in their late twenties and early thirties also adopting this method. This clearly shows the rampant parental and societal control which keeps holding on to them, however old they grow.

Is it really essential to establish a power equation with our children? They are individuals in their own right. They will have tastes, choices, preferences, and ideologies of their own. All of us speak of raising confident individuals, but where will the confidence come from, when they fail to find acceptance for their individuality or choices in their own homes?

A completely hair-brained, regressive idea!

The most absurd aspect of this event to be organised is involving school going children in a pledge over marriage. Do 14- or 15-year olds really need to be worried about marriage? Aren’t there more important issues to involve them in, or make them pledge about? But no, the national obsession over marriage fails to see reason.

Every year as Valentine’s day draws near, there is a lot of noise to condemn the celebration, and people come up with unique ideas. As I write, I can see some news popping up on screen about the Bajrang Dal declaring to video record couples. They claim, they will only do it in case of obscene acts in public, but in a country where holding hands is also considered obscene, we know very well that this will be an advanced means of hooliganism.

But what I fail to understand is why so much hatred towards celebration of love? The culture guardians shout from the rooftop how celebrations like these have polluted our culture, rather tarnished it. Strange how declaration of love tarnishes culture, but acts of harassment and violence never seem to do so, considering these cultural guardians never make any noise when women are harassed or the weak oppressed. Is it not high time that we as a nation understood that who people choose to spend their life with is an individual decision and not a communal one?

Those who still have an issue with Valentines Day, I understand witnessing so much of mushy behaviour in one day can get suffocating, but how about just going on with your life? It’s not necessary to always mind everyone’s business. There are a lot of times the world tolerates your shenanigans, return the favour now.

Hoping next year, the only irritating thing about Valentines Day are those advertisements of the numerous sales and ridiculously over priced flowers.  Wishing everyone love on the day of  love.

Image source: a still from the movie Dum Laga Ke Haisha

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