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Even today, women often believe that since they were tortured by their MILs in the past, they now have the right to do the same to their bahus.
I have joined this forum very recently, but I noticed a certain trend among members. If we keep the positivity aside, there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with our in-laws, especially mothers-in-law.
I read a lot of stories of mistreatment of ‘bahus.’ This makes me wonder, why does it happen? Where are we, women, going wrong? Why is a woman another woman’s ‘worst enemy?’
I actually witnessed this phenomenon first hand. My mother has this group of friends, the kitty party types, who meet to share gossip and food once a month. They have been together since before I was born, and have shared a lot of their lives with each other. But over the years, while the quality of their food improved, their conversations became shocking.
They spoke about their husbands and children and of course, their mothers-in-law. As their children grew older, their troubles changes and one fine day, they all became mothers-in-law themselves. Now, the same women began complaining about their own daughters-in-law. I was appalled, how could they have forgotten what they went through?
Then I realised, women have a sort of ability to transfer all their miseries to the next woman they meet. They think since they suffered in the past, they now have the divine right to torture the newest unknowing woman who has the misfortune of becoming their bahu.
Ask yourself, do you really think that when you become a saas yourself, will you treat your DIL with the same respect and dignity you wanted to be treated with? Will you think of her as your own daughter, and not just your son’s wife? And will you never complain about her small mistakes to your own friends, and instead, praise her for her efforts? Will you allow her to pursue her own career, and treat her equally as your son? And will this cycle ever end?
Fortunately, I have been very blessed in this department. My mother-in-law is a gem of a person and has always treated me as her own daughter. She doesn’t just run the whole household herself, but also lets me pursue my own dreams and passions without the pressure of ‘cooking.’
My MIL always tells me stories about her own mother-in-law, and how she strives to not be like her and set a good example for everyone. Seeing her gives me the confidence to think that, yes, the woman on woman torture can really stop.
So now, when your time comes, remember your own days as a bahu, and treat your own bahu like a daughter. If all women join hands like this, I believe, we can easily defeat patriarchy.
A version of this was first published here.
Picture credits: Still from Marathi TV series Chaar Diwas Saasu Che
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