Most Indian traditions have always tried their best to prove how inferior women are. Kanyadaan is one of them and has contributed a lot in objectifying a woman. Daan means charity or donation in literal terms. Is a woman really an object to be donated? If we combine kanyadaan and dowry, you will understand how pathetic the situation of a woman and her family is.
However, winds of change are blowing and how! A case in point is a wedding ceremony in Kolkata which initiated some new rituals. The wedding ceremony was organized by four female pandits, a thing you might have not seen in any Indian wedding. Normally, a male pandit is employed to perform the rituals. But the matter of attraction was not this. The bride’s father refused to perform the kanyadaan ritual because he thinks his daughter is not a commodity to be donated. So true, isn’t it?
How Practice Proves That A Woman Needs Someone To Validate Her Existence
In Kanyadaan, a father places his daughter’s (kanya) hand in the groom’s hand as a sign of donating (daan) his daughter to him. But why? Is it a marriage or a business deal? Is the father a seller and the groom a buyer? If not, why is it even there in the holy wedding ceremony?
Basically, our rituals want a woman to depend on her father before marriage and on her husband after it. This is easily evident by the fact that she has her father’s surname before marriage and her husband’s post marriage. It has only started in the 21st century that girls have started denying a change of surname. Why? Because women have started being independent
Somewhere, the rituals validate the reason behind them i.e., trying their best to disparage the women. Why is it so that the son-in-law is treated with reverence but there’s no such thing for a daughter-in-law. In fact, a daughter-in-law is just a name, we all know if she really is considered a daughter or not. The scene have changed in towns to some extent, but still there are people who consider their son-in-law as equivalent to God but when it comes to the daughter-in-law, she is considered little more than a slave.
We Ourselves Are The Supporters Of Unequal Status In Marriage
Just take a look at the replies the tweet by Asmita Ghosh encountered. Isn’t it disheartening to see these replies against a family that tried to infuse an equal status in the marriage? As soon as one tries to speak against a ritual that defies women, boom! he/she has to face the society’s wrath. I still remember how I was asked to shut my mouth when I asked the Pandit in a marriage as to why is the girl donated. He shouted at me and warned me that I may have to face the wrath of God for questioning our customs. When you cannot answer a WHY associated with our patriarchal religion, the best way to deflect it is to bring in the wrath of God and piousness of rituals. And yeah, No one’s going to question you again!
Why is it a rule that a girl has to leave her home after marriage? Why is it a rule that a woman has to touch the feet of her husband? If a husband and wife are two pillars of a house, will it be fine if one pillar is short and the other one long? Obviously, No! Then why this unequal status in marriage? Every part of our history provides evidence on how women have never been respected as they should have been. Why is it so that a woman is expected to obey the customs of her in-laws but a man is never asked to do so? It’s high time we blindly stopped following rituals and be progressive in our thinking.
Read More: Growing Up In 70s & 80s, I Remember The Horror Of Dowry Deaths
Anushika Srivastava is an Intern with SheThePeople.Tv