Saas Kya Sochegi? Stop Policing Women In The Name Of Future Mother-in-law

It is very common for parents and relatives in India to train their daughters to become a good bahu in the future. But must a girl grow up fearing fearing and resenting a woman she has never even met?

Rudrani Gupta
Updated On
New Update
Future Mother-In-Law, bad bahu, Maa ke hath ka khana, Mother In Law Divorce, women enemies
Don’t you get irked when people mention your future mother-in-law? Do you not feel overwhelmed when parents constantly remind you that you need to learn certain things and behave in a certain to escape the scrutiny of your saas? When this happens to me, the first thing that comes to my mind is- what about main kya sochti hu? I need to learn things to make my life better. My life is not indigent to the love and care of a person who, at this moment, isn't even aware of my existence.

It is very common for parents and relatives in India to train their daughters to become good bahu and wives in the future. As a consequence, a woman’s life starts revolving around her efficiency to be a good bahu or wife. She is also fed this notion that she'll be constantly watched by a matronly figure in her matrimonial home, whose opinion about her would decide how she is treated by her family. Even though the saas is non-existent in the immediate present, women are forced to live in fear of them from an early age. Saas ke saamne kya karogi is often used to make women feel guilty about their unconventional lifestyle or refusing to conform to certain rules of society. Sometimes women are appreciated for their deeds but that too in a way the non-existent saas would react- Saas bohot khush hogi tumhari.

But is it fair to make a woman’s life revolve around the likes and dislikes of future in-laws? Why do we deprive women of individual existence with the rights to be educated, employed, and free? Should women’s life be just about having a good married life? Why do parents assume that a woman has no future unless she gets married? Why do they not consider the possibility that a woman’s life is all about her success and achievements and not &t=3s">marriage?

The very idea of training women to be good bahus points at how a woman must change herself and adjust to the rules of our patriarchal society. It makes women submissive and afraid of the future in-law even before they know or meet them. It makes saas a terrifying personality, stereotyping the idea that every saas is critical of her bahu. Consequently, women internalise that all their life they have to obey their saas and be wary of their appraisals.

Why can’t daughters be told that a saas can also be loving and kind just like their mothers? Or that the two of them can cultivate a friendship and share each other's burden, instead of adding to it? Why is it necessary to induce fear in the minds of daughters regarding their saas? And above all, why do we never question a man's behaviour after he gets married? Isn't he accountable too, to make an effort so that the marriage can prosper?

Rather than focusing on the appreciation that saas will give to daughters, parents must prioritise their success. They must aim at making daughters independent so that they don’t need an appraisal from saas to feel good about themselves.

Views expressed are the author's own. 

Indian marriages patriarchy at home