Why Do Indian Parents Willingly Alienate Their Married Daughters
You can call it a tradition or you can call it a way to rid yourself of responsibility in the guise of a tradition, but most parents willingly alienate their married daughters, in both modern and conservative Indian households even today. Once she leaves her parents’ home behind, they consider that their daughter now belongs to her matrimonial home. That she is not their responsibility. Patriarchy has conditioned parents into believing that their daughters are paraya dhan. Many daughters of India pay the price of this alienation, when they are stuck in bad marriages and have no one to turn to for help, not even their own parents.
- Most Indian parents think of their daughters as a burden which they must get rid off by marrying her.
- Daughters stuck in bad marriages have no backup or nowhere to go and their own parents ask them to “adjust” in a bad marriage.
- The social shame of having a married daughter sitting at her parent’s home is more painful than watching your own child be mangled and broken physically and emotionally.
- If Indian parents truly love their daughters, then they must promise to stand with them even after their marriage.
A journalist from Gurugram has been arrested for allegedly killing his wife by stabbing her multiple times with a knife and then hitting her with an iron rod on her face. Speaking to The Times Of India the deceased woman’s father admitted that his daughter’s marriage was troubled since the early days. He also revealed that a few months back, the woman had suffered eardrum rupture after her husband hit her. Time and again her in-laws and husband would torture her and he knew about it. She had even asked her father to come to her home on the day of her death. Her father, on the other hand, ignored it like a regular family dispute.A few hours later the woman was dead.
Despite knowing that your daughter’s in-laws and husband are regularly abusing her, why would parents choose not to intervene? Do they not care about her anymore? Or is it possible that they see the failure of their child’s marriage as a social disgrace? Rather, let the girl die a painful death in her marital home, then bear the social shame of her return to them. What will the society say? Another aspect is that of spending big on weddings and making the entire ceremony into a social spectacle. The pressure to make a marriage successful doesn’t just lie with a couple in our country. It lies with their families too.
Rather, let the girl die a painful death in her marital home, then bear the social shame of her return to her parents.
Out of anxiety to make an alliance work, parents too cut off all support to their married daughters. Many women in bad marriages have no backup. They have nowhere to go to, as their parents encourage them to “adjust” or “endure” or “try harder” than stand up for them. Doesn’t it make them accountable on some level, if anything happens to such women? If they get murdered, burnt, tortured, thrown into a mental asylum, raped or simply discarded on the street, Shouldn’t the unsupportive parents, shoulder some blame too?
Such acts show how in India daughters are treated as inferiors to sons. That we are so unwanted, that the social shame of having a married daughter sitting at her parent’s home is more painful to you than watching your own child be mangled and broken physically and emotionally, day after day. All you do when she comes home crying and bleeding, is to patch her up and send her back. Adjust, endure, try harder, or succumb.
Patriarchy has always made parents see their daughters as a burden.
Patriarchy has always made parents see their daughters as a burden. They must get rid of her as soon as possible. They must also ensure that she tries her level best to adjust and adapt in her new family, which is only possible if you cut her cord and make it clear that her matrimonial family is all that she has now. That she is only welcome as a guest at her parents’ home, occasionally. There is no point in crying over dead daughters, if you cannot do better to support them. If Indian parents truly love their daughters, then they must promise to stand with them even after their marriage. A daughter isn’t a burden, it is the outlook which reduces her to a bojh. Once we rid our culture of it, no daughter will be helpless or despondent.
Picture Credit : Independent Co.UK
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.