An Open Letter To Indian Parents: Stop Controlling Your Daughters; Let Them Live Their Lives!

Posted: July 15, 2019

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The viral video of Sakshi Misra, daughter of BJP MLA Rajesh Misra showed her asking her father to let her be happy in her marriage outside her caste.

Dear Indian parents,

Recently you have all been on one side or the other in the debates online and in homes about a young girl marrying against her parents’ wishes.

I am also a parent and let me state the obvious first- You don’t own your children! If you act as though you do, you are bound to increase misery for yourself and your offspring(s).

Children are not possessions

If you think just because you created them you are their owners, you are sadly living in an abusive situation where you want to “control” and limit your kids and all other dependents as per your perceptions of morality and everything else.

Does this sound like parenting or more like being a ringmaster in a circus?

Many of you live in that utopia about the great Indian Motherhood and Fatherhood and might believe that you made them so you own them, and so you must try to make them what you want them to be. Introspect, what are your insecurities? Why do you want a child to cover up for your flaws or to make it up for your failures in life?

Violence called “family honour”

In India specifically there is that added baggage called “family honour” for which you feel justified to even kill, maim or injure the very child you claim to love? Then there is also the it-never-fails-nuclear device called emotional abuse- we shall commit suicide if you do this, your father will die of a heart attack if you don’t, not eating, gaslighting the offspring…

What does this all amount to? Are you a torture chamber for your child or a refuge from the world? Do you want to be their safe place or the place they “run away” from seeking safety?

Yes offspring at all stages of life even in adulthood would make mistakes, sometimes land in serious trouble. Don’t shield them when they are wrong, be their mirror. Don’t “kill” them when they have exercised a freedom that shakes your notions of ownership, they are not pets or objects, they are people!

And they bear the biggest burden of your beliefs

Girls and women in India carry this load of your “favours” all the more. Should she never use her mind because you didn’t kill her in the womb? Should she never own herself because you provided her a home and education? Should she never complain of marital rape or domestic violence because your “honour” is fragile?

Our homosexual young adults go through trauma; abandonment and sexless marriages, sometimes are driven to suicide – because you became the closet that sucked the oxygen out of their lives? Our children can’t eat what your religious choices don’t allow? Our girls can’t wear what your morality doesn’t permit? Our women can’t love because how will caste privilege prosper then? Our sons must carry forward your religious hatred and sexism or your great culture would be in threat?

Cages and pedestals are both confining spaces, don’t become either for  your children.

Please live and let live!

Image source: a still from DDLJ, and YouTube

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Pooja Priyamvada is a columnist, professional translator and an online content and Social Media consultant.

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