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‘Adjust!’ Most Married Indian Women Hear, Even From Parents; Sometimes With Terrible Consequences…

Parents, however educated and loving, still rebuff married daughters if they opine. Everyone including parents prefer them to be docile and silent.

Living in this era, in a metro city, we often feel that subjugation of women is of earlier times or remote places; but sadly, women’s subjugation exists very much in the metros and amongst well earning educated women.

It is not physical or violent, but covered under the layers of respect, marriage, adjustment, values, traditions etc. What is the underlying reason? Well, daughters are still treated as paraya dhan, they are left to fend for themselves once they are married.

Most parents believe that in order to uphold their stature and respect in society, the daughter should “adjust and make things work”, whatever the cost. Sad, but true. Anyone is strong and supported by others, if their parents support them. But after a daughter is married, she is expected to keep quiet, and is pushed out of her safe place.

Parents, however educated and loving, still rebuff daughters if they opine. Everyone including parents prefer daughters who are docile, numb and silent. If you try to share your frustrations about any situation, your mother will be first one in many cases to shut you out.

Society prefers silent torment than listening and empathising. Parents and society making daughters feel small and difficult, when they try to share their problems, is very common in Indian societies. “You are overreacting!” “What’s wrong with you, you don’t know how to adjust, this is how family works!” is what you get answered most of the time.

This is a generational trauma that women pass on to each other, we normalise the silence, the emotional traumas, the inequality. “Ladki ko hi adjust karna hota hai” (a girl must adjust) is a statement we all as women have heard.

Enough is enough!

What’s different with my generation is that we no longer want to carry on the generational trauma, we want to break the chain, we want change; and change my dear friend, comes at a cost.

Our generation is paying the cost and we are ready to. We are brave, we have been brought up by our parents to speak up and continue to do so even after we are married, even if this speaking up is rebuked by the same parents once we are married. We are out on our own. Fighting against the wrong attitude of “adjust karlo” against society, against our elders, against our own parents.

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And I would gladly pay this cost if it makes the life of the next generation easier. I see change between the attitude of my parents and that of the next decade born and I am glad that its a positive change.

I am happy that they have their safety net. Yes, we are better off that the last decade born, but there is a long journey to equality, and that will happen if people stop asking women to adjust, for physical torture, emotional or mental. The idea is to listen to our daughters, what they have to say, without judging them, interrupting them, without silencing them. Let them have a safe place where they feel heard, even after marriage. This will help her in sorting her feelings, being confident, taking right decisions, and having a good mental health.

When my daughter was born, the first promise I made to her was that I would support her through anything, that I would listen when she wants to say something or share her feelings and opinions, that I would be patient and empathise with her, and never ask her to “adjust.”

Image source: a still from the film Provoked

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About the Author

Pragya Sugandha

Experimenting with experiences is the mantra of my life. Writing is a passion that helps me channel my emotions and recreate memories, publish points of view and create stories. A self-proclaimed creative soul, I read more...

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