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Men can now divorce their wives for not wanting to stay with their in-laws. The same doesn’t apply to women, though. Don’t their parents deserve care too?
Women’s status quo in our country has been questioned from time to time. Yes, several laws have been made (though debatable) to support women on various arenas of society. There are ample examples that show that the women’s position is not that good as it is portrayed. Not even taking gender parity and the economic gap into consideration, a woman’s existence and her rights have never been where they should have.
The society’s mindset is quite evident through a recent judgement by the Supreme Court. This judgement announced that a daughter-in-law cannot be treated like a house-maid. The much-applauded verdict didn’t mention the criteria through which a daughter-in-law is treated as nothing more than a free maid.
There was yet another verdict that stated that a Hindu man is allowed to divorce his wife if she refuses to stay with his parents (her in laws) Now that is a decision I support, in part. I have seen a few cases where the daughter-in-law not only refused to stay with the in-laws, she went on and expected the son to leave his parent. Personally, I think that is extremely insensitive.
It is my personal opinion that even if you don’t get along with your husband’s parents, you don’t really have the right to separate them. Parents have toiled hard to bring a child up and while, there is the financial help too, there is an emotional connect that they share.
It is also about the journey that the parent and the child have taken. Something for them to look back upon and share those lovely memories and ups and downs of life. No matter who it is, no one has the right to break the relation and the beauty of the warmth of the parent child bond.
So yes, I do agree with the intervention of the Supreme Court. In the current social scenario, it is the old parents who are being left alone and apathy towards them is growing.
Having said that, isn’t the verdict incomplete?
I am sure the Supreme Court is aware of biology and know that women too, are born and have their own set of parents too. And don’t get the idea that my brother and his wife too will be bound by the verdict and will be stuck taking care of her parents.
What about people who only have daughters? And why isn’t the verdict not called discriminatory? That my parents are my responsibility, isn’t this applicable to both genders?
I agree that parents need care and support as they grow old, but why are only men allowed to divorce their wives if she refuses to stay with his parents? Why aren’t women given the right to leave her husband and his family, with alimony, if her parents are denied the care they need?
Aamir Khan’s famous dialogue, “Mhaari choriyan choron se kam hai ke?” (are my daughters any less than the boys?) is one that we all love. But in reality, the Supreme Court has shown us that women cannot be at par with men. That we are a typical patriarchal society that has a long way to go before we understand gender equality.
It is not just the women, but their parents too are the inferior ones who do not deserve care in their old age. It is disheartening to say that this decision with strengthen the regressive mentality that women are the ‘paraya dhan.’ What’s more is that it will further fan the want to have a male child – they can look after the parents, after all!
I don’t know how many of you will agree with me but I am disappointed with this verdict. Yes, I agree with it, partly but I also want an opportunity to share my parents and their old age. So am I wrong to want a little room for them in my house?
A version of this article was earlier published here.
Picture credits: Still from Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai.
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