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My Father In Law, The Amazing Role Model For Feminism & Gender Equality In Our Daily Life

Posted: March 5, 2020

She grew up in a traditional, patriarchal family, and thought of herself as not equal to a man. Until she got married, and found out otherwise. A beautiful positive relationship story.

I grew up in the 90s. Those were the times when words like “feminism” or “gender equality” were not very popular. At least I do not remember coming across any of these in those days.

Also, I belonged to a traditional family where women were anyway considered to be the weaker sex. Though my mother tried hard not to be biased towards my younger brother but it was evident that he was the “wanted” one. He still is.

I being a girl did not have much freedom of choice on making my own decisions. Still, I chose a boy to get married to, who was of a different caste and “non-manglik” while I was “manglik”.

Those days the girl’s side was considered to be the weaker one, and the boy’s family hardly ever initiated the wedding proposal even if the marriage was being arranged. If and when it was a so-called case of “love marriage”, regardless of the fact that the girl and the boy both are equally involved, the position of the girl’s family weakened further.

The first time ever, I felt wanted for myself

Breaking all stereotypes, the boy’s father (who is now my father in law) initiated a talk with my father and actually requested him to approve our relationship, only after which my father met the boy I wanted to marry. My father in law spoke to my father twice or thrice back then, waited for almost a year for my father to get back to them, without pestering his son to consider other proposals.

If it was not for my father in law, I would have definitely not got married to the man I fell for.

This was the first time I felt important and wanted, irrespective of my gender. He did not burden my parents of his desire to see the girl first, as it happened in most cases back then, for he respected his son’s decision. We met at the rokka ceremony for the first time.

The daughter in law was an equal

We got married and I ensured to take each step very carefully, as I was settling into my husband’s house. It was barely 3 months of my marriage when over a weekend, my father in law offered me a pint of beer as he did to his sons. Though I had already enjoyed a few drinks with my husband in the past three months, yet I did not know how to react to this situation, as I froze for a moment and looked at my husband.

My husband’s mischievous smile was good enough a hint for my father in law to understand that I was hesitant in doing this dare in front of him.”Don’t look at him, take it if you want to,” he said.

That was yet again my fan moment for such an amazing human being. It was awkward initially, but I got comfortable each time we had a glass of beer or wine together with his son or without him. By this time, I understood that I was no less than his son!

We could discuss all those social/political issues together at length, had numerous card parties within the family, laughed together, while he ensured to include my inputs and opinions in every important decision taken in the family over the years.

A supportive father in law and grandfather

We were blessed with a daughter who is now 13 and she is our only child.   He has been the most affectionate grandfather I have ever seen. I consider my daughter to be lucky as she is being brought up no less than a princess in our house. I have never seen or heard him even for once in this life wanting for a grandson.

When my husband decided to give up his career at its peak and start with his own venture, he pleasantly accepted the fact that I will be supporting the household financially for the next few years, as he treated me equivalent to his son. My gender did not actually hit his ego whereas I was sceptical about his acceptance of me being the “Man of the House” for the time being.

A gem of a human being

He is courageous enough to feel sorry, and regrets his words if he feels that he has said something wrong in a bout of anger.

The bond which is developed and now being shared over the years is so strong that we can actually argue on something we don’t agree with. We also agree to disagree at times.

Whether it is a visit to his doctor or renovation of our house, my presence and opinion are valued over his own son’s.

Honestly, I have not come across anyone in this world who respects women, the way he does. He is a man of substance and our society is in dire need of men like him, the unsung heroes, who have no social media platforms to propagate their contribution in maintaining and nurturing “Gender Equality” in this world.

Such people don’t shout pro feminine slogans on digital platforms or in debates to get recognition. They quietly spread their magic and make this world a better place for women like me!

First published here.

Image source: a still from 2 States

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Vandana is a freelance HR Professional, Content Writer, Soft Skills Trainer, and a Blogger. Her

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