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In a matrimonial alliance, convention dictates that the bride must be younger than the groom, and this rule is stringently followed in India even today.
The subject disgusted me when a suitable proposal was turned down by my family based on age parity. We have a joint family and we are looking for a match for the elder son. I recommended a ‘girl’ who is my distant relative, not related to the groom.
The girl is suitable in all aspects, but still, they rejected her because her age is very close to that of the ‘boy’. “A girl of a similar age will not be controlled” is the reason given.
This annoyed me no end, but I kept quiet because there was no use arguing with this mindset.
In the name of ‘Ghar ki Laxmi,’ we bring a subservient daughter-in-law into our homes because we want to keep an ‘upper hand’. This is the abysmal picture in our society, and is unabashedly practised.
A bigger age difference skews the power balance. Younger the bride more immature she is compared to the groom. It’s easy to manipulate her, and we have a docile daughter-in-law we can control!
From the very beginning, this daughter-in-law is burdened with lessons on morality and propriety to inculcate sacrificial attributes into her personality. This curbs her self-development clouds her discernment power and molds her into a tractable individual. She fails to read the situations and evaluate right over wrong.
This creates favourable circumstances to keep the bride under the thumb. It is done very smartly with smooth-talk setting a dominant ambiance around her. She is indoctrinated with the belief that sacrifice and compromises are part of a woman’s life which gradually turns her into a more complacent being. The entitled in-laws demand respect from the bride, and she thinks that pleasing the entire family is her foremost duty; she becomes submissive.
And if at all she questions anything, she will be gas-lighted, a boisterous noise will be cooked up to drown her voice.
In-laws everywhere – let’s switch from control freaks to become supportive of our daughters-in-law. The old days have gone, we are in the midst of the 21st century and if your daughter-in-law begins to protest and speak her mind, you will be nowhere. In the past girls were usually confined inside society drawn lines due to a lack of education and exposure, but the times have now changed.
So Ladkewalo, waqt rehte apni soch badal dalo. (Groom’s side in-laws, please change your thinking in time.)
Image source: a still from the film Hum Aapke Hain Kaun
I am more expressive with the pen. Usually my subjects are - Obsolete Social Norms that hamstrung women in myriad ways. I too an environmentalist and gazing at nature is like my healing prayer. My conscience read more...
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