Attending Indian weddings has always been a tedious task for me. This is not because of the exhaustion that the entire event causes but because of the ridiculous customs it consists of.
Yes, weddings are usually fun events where we meet our friends and families to give best wishes to our close ones who are starting a new chapter of life. But does that mean we become blind to sexism that breathes among these events? Should we casually allow customs that are regressive and don’t make sense just because our ancestors said so? Why can’t weddings be a fun affair without any sexism?
Here are a few things that I find inappropriate in Indian weddings
The idea of Baraat
Baraat or marriage processions led by the groom’s family are famous for the fun it encapsulates. But is baraat only about fun? Certainly not. The entire custom is rooted in the belief that in marriage, a groom gains the right to take a woman away from her house and family. The custom of taking women away projects marriages as an outgrowth of the patriarchal custom of selling or exchanging women as objects between kingdoms and families. The only difference is that before the exchange was accompanied by cries of torture and today it is celebrated with band, baja and baraat.
No matter how late baraat arrives, the bride has to wait.
Baraats are also notorious for arriving late at the wedding venue. Recently, I attended a wedding in which the baraat arrived at 2 am when all the guests had left and food was on the verge of becoming sour. But even then, the baraat was welcomed grandly by the bride’s family with no questions asked. But is it fair for the groom and his family to be so irresponsible? Is it fair to expect the bride to wait and touch up her make up hundred times until the groom arrives? Shouldn’t the groom’s families have the basic sense of being punctual for an event that matters a lot for two different families?
The most emotional part of any wedding is bidaai. During the custom, the bride bids goodbye to her former family, house and life to start a new one. But why should the pain of leaving behind the first half of life be born by women alone? Why don’t men too join women in this new start? Moreover, why is it assumed that marriage is a painful beginning for women? Why should marriage be about wrenching women away from their parental families? It is high time that society maintains the balance in marriage and makes it a bond of equals.
Bride should fast on her wedding
This is one of the most ridiculous parts of Indian weddings. Weddings are important events in women’s lives and how does it make sense that they don’t taste the food served on their day. The fast is made important to seek holy presence and blessings in marriage. But why should that be a woman’s responsibility alone?
Brides should not have fun at their weddings
In Indian weddings, brides are expected to be shy and overloaded with heavy lehengas and jewellery. While grooms are free to dance and have fun at their weddings, especially in their baraats. But why this discrimination? Is a wedding not an important and happy event for a bride? Why does society assume that the day a woman ties a knot she should be shy and submissive? Brides should enjoy at their weddings as it denotes that they are consensual and they are happy about it.
Views expressed are the author’s own.