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The reactions to Kerala Chief Minister’s daughter’s wedding announcement only makes one wonder if we’ve failed to recognise a woman’s freedom of choice.
“For vote bank.” “Very sad. For few money and power matters.” “Yet another family conversion.”
These are only some of the comments on a Facebook post shared recently by the Deccan Herald announcing Kerala Chief Minister’s (CM) daughter. CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter Veena is set to marry Muhammad Riyas on June 15th in Thiruvananthapuram in a small gathering and celebration of close family and friends.
Veena currently heads IT firm Exalogic Solutions in Bangalore, while Riyas is the national President of the Democratic Youth Federation of India. He previously contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Kozhikode.
When I read these comments, I was stunned that the discussion seemed to completely disregard and neglect the complete narrative. And especially when it came to talking about Veena. The article was also very quick to point out how this is the ‘second marriage’ for both Veena and Riyas.
Most of the Facebook comments, in particular, seem to gloss over and overlook Veena’s position. More importantly, it also overlooked her freedom of choice to get married. A personal matter and private affair is being somewhat distorted to suit a specific narrative.
“Let’s see if it is even possible without her converting. Aren’t communists atheists?” was one of the many, rather disparaging comments on social media.
It further sheds light on how matters become so sensationalised and politicised. The language of politics in itself continues to remain one-sided immediately turning to the men who are a part of a specific event, debate or discussion.
What seems to be equally shocking is that no-one really considered Veena’s feelings nor her sense of agency and freedom, particularly when her personal life and decisions are discussed. We seem to almost silence her own perspective and voice by making vague, far-fetched and inaccurate assumptions about her life.
Comments such as, “Like old days – A King sold his daughter to the almighty,” only feed into the narrative of patriarchy that we continue to believe in especially when it comes to private matters like marriages.
These overarching narratives continue to shun and suppress women’s voices and the independence they have fought so hard to gain. We are completely bereft of any insight from Veena – not that she has to explain herself in any way.
“This is what is a positive step, towards, ‘National integration.‘ They want a common civil code, but will not understand, nation-building, is to integrate, first. Congratulations! to the couple,” says one of the few positive and constructive comments that finally restored my faith in humanity.
Yet, once again, there seem to be few comments about Veena’s own independence and free choice as the political implications of the story seems so dominant. It completely ignores to celebrate the joys that have come with this marriage, especially to the bride and groom and their families.
Overall, the reception to this new announcement only seeks to highlight how we continue to be set back by close-minded notions even today. It is a conversation once again, where a women’s right and freedom never seem to enter.
The current narrative has also eclipsed who Veena is and what she stands for. Veena is a strong woman who has already taken her own journey and written her own narrative so far. She has been carving out her own path in life, runs her own company and is a thriving businesswoman in her own right.
Yet, why does her marriage have to brook any criticism or undermine her in any way?
Picture credits: The NewsMinute and Twitter
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Shivani is currently an undergraduate political science student who is passionate about human rights and
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