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Sunanda Jayaram, a farmer leader, says, "Unless we make villages woman-friendly in terms of gender sensitivity and facilities, young women would not prefer grooms from villages."
Men can do more than a Padayatra when it comes to searching for their brides.
As soon as I read the headline that unmarried men above thirty are to take a padayatra to draw attention to their plight, I did not know whether to laugh aloud or to feel sorry.
I could not help thinking of the very famous quote what goes around comes around for today’s youth bearing the repercussions of short-sighted cruelty exhibited by their elders. In the news litem mentioned above, Sunanda Jayaram, a farmer leader, says, “Until we create a woman-centric society, challenges like this will continue. Mandya was infamous for its female foeticide, and today, we are paying the price for it.” She further added that unless we make villages woman-friendly in terms of gender sensitivity and facilities, young women would not prefer grooms from villages.
Quora has a whole forum discussing and lamenting that finding brides is a lot difficult these days. Instead of blaming the freedom exerted by today’s girls, a little introspection would go a long way for the men and their families in our largely patriarchal setup. Besides going for the Padayatra, the young men can do a fair amount of introspection on what they need to bring to the marriage table.
Firstly, the curse of the dowry system is still very prevalent despite the strides made by girls in terms of education, job markets, and other aspects despite the lag between the genders. The system of having ‘prize money’ for the groom persists. Going by a reply on the above mentioned Quora chat, if a girl has a job and is financially independent, she realizes that she doesn’t need a man to complete her. Hence, it is high time men realize that the days when society decreed that a woman needed a man to complete her, and therefore she had to marry someone, warts and all, are now gone.
Secondly, a woman entering into wedlock with him is not to be considered a cook, nursemaid, housemaid, and a whore rolled into one. She is a human being with her own dreams, wants, and needs. She is neither a therapist, a wonder drug to handle your shortcomings like anger, nor is she a rehabilitation centre in case you have some addictions. She is neither your parent’s caretaker nor your family’s glue. She is your partner, and the marriage can thrive only when there is respect, trust, commitment, and open communication from all involved.
According to a Harvard study, a good marriage can add to health benefits besides the obvious advantages of having a family, warding off loneliness, and being the first social group. It should be more of a partnership with both parties coming together and not have one party planning a takeover. In the journey of your marriage, if both parties start treating the extended family of one another as one, it is bound to be remarkable. Unfortunately, our society still treats the parents of girls as second-class citizens.
Like our fundamental rights and duties, the same applies in marriage. Even today, many families still expect a bride to become aware of her duty towards her new family but forget about their own responsibility to make it easy for her to enter their household.
On the other side of the spectrum, young farmers’ plight seems authentic and their future bleak. The uncertainty and the unglamorous nature of their jobs work against them. Agriculture is the backbone of our society, and there is a need for the government to ensure that they don’t remain poor. There is a definite need to educate the youth, both men and women, on the improved technology to assist in farming their land.
To conclude, there is a need for a concerted effort to work towards a more holistic, inclusive, and happier society.
Chandrika R Krishnan, a Bengaluru-based writer and educationist likes all things beginning with a ‘T’ - talking, teaching, tales and tea.
Her 300-odd published articles, poems and stories are eclectic and mostly experiential and read more...
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