An advertisement by a Hyderabad institute, offering home management programmes to women has gone viral. Along with ‘Dulhan course’ the institute gives Pre-Marriage Training’, ‘Post-Marriage Training’ and a ‘Best Mother’ training course which gives tips to women on how to be good mums. The course in point offers to train women in sewing, cooking, home management, beauty tips, mehendi, budgeting classes, for a ‘successful’ matrimonial life. This isn’t the first course in our country, which aims to ‘train’ women to be better wives. Which begets us to ask, is the onus of having a successful married life solely on women? Are brides who don’t know how to sew or cook or apply make-up a disappointment? Besides, why are we defining the success of modern marriages on such outdated parameters for women?

SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • A Hyderabad institute is offering ‘dulhan’ course to brides, which trains them for successful marriages.
  • The course trains women in sewing, cooking, budgeting while also giving them beauty tips.
  • Should the onus of making a marriage successful only fall on women?
  • Are brides who don’t know how to sew or cook or apply make-up deemed to wreak marriages?

In a patriarchal society such as ours, it isn’t a surprise that an institute is offering to ‘train’ women for a successful and happy married life.

Even today, it is women’s task to work on their marriages and give them the fairy tale ending they have been bought up to believe in. But this happily ever after brings their way sacrifices and compromises, along with social and familial scrutiny. An Indian bride has to deal with tons of expectations even today, no matter if she is highly educated and earns her own money. These things don’t matter much unless she is an expert cook, can sew a shirt from scratch in thirty minutes, buttons and all, can give a leading Bollywood lady run for her money with her looks and make-up skills, and knows how to manage money. Although am surprised that there is no class which will teach them to be polite, respectful towards their elders and be an excellent caregiver. Or is that the minimum requisite for entry into the class?

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But then this is nothing new. There was a time when home science used to be a very popular course in our country, among women, for the same reason. Parents would motivate their daughters to pursue the course for higher studies, as it would be an added highlight in their biodata for marriages. Some months ago IIT-BHU was in news for developing a three-month crash course to help new brides ‘adjust’ into matrimony. Has much changed in our society then, one wonder?

The problem is that it is the society which still gets to label a marriage as a successful or a happy one in our society. Which means that a couple may be at loggerheads, but as long as they fulfil their familial and social duty and stay together the marriage is a success.

This advertisement also throws our definition of marriage into our faces, or rather how outdated it is. Is marriage a happy one only when husbands and wives live playing out the roles assigned to them by society. A husband must put the bread, butter and bacon on the table, while a wife must tend to her home and family in an ideal successful happy Indian marriage. What if it isn’t so? What if the wife earns more than her husband, who cooks one meal a day to help our his partner in household chores? What if the wife doesn’t know how to stitch a button to a shirt, and the husband would get it done from a tailor, or do it himself, rather than hold it against his partner? Is such a couple unhappy? Who gets to decide, us or them?

The problem is that it is the society which still gets to label a marriage as a successful or a happy one in our society. Which means that a couple may be at loggerheads, but as long as they fulfill their familial and social duty and stay together the marriage is a success. That is the reason why so many women and men stay in dissatisfactory relationships because they buy into the lie that their marriages are happy and successful ones.

The training institute is doing nothing but encashing in on our conditioning and norms. If you want to lament, then do so towards parents who do enroll their daughters to such courses, towards grooms and in-laws who seek brides who can double up as cooks, tailors, beauticians and whatnot. And lastly, towards our society which still tells women and men that there is only one formula to have a happy marriage, the one which meets terms and conditions laid down by it.

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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