With changing times, people are also modifying the lives that were seamed along the lines of patriarchy. People are changing their mindsets and have started speaking up on several issues that were taboo. But we need to be very careful while making these changes in society. Because to uplift one sect of society, we cannot push down the other. One such modification is the introduction of kunwardaan in wedding rituals to compensate kanyadaan. While this change was made to challenge the sexist idea of “giving away one’s daughter”, it is still not acceptable. Why do you need to “give away” either the groom or the bride?
The idea of kunwardaan flared when an advertisement featuring Alia Bhatt spoke about it. In the advertisement, Alia Bhatt was seen propagating the idea that why women alone should be given away in marriage. Then just recently a video of a bride went viral on Twitter in which the bride was talking about performing Kunwardaan along with kanyadaan.
The idea behind bringing kunwardaan on the desk was to oppose the conception that only a woman has to leave her house and devote herself to the new family. Through Kunwardaan, the groom is also expected to devote himself to his wife and her family. While it is important that both husband and wife care for each other and each other’s families, why is there a need to perform a daan? Doesn’t the entire idea of “daan” objectify both bride and the groom as something that can be donated? Why can’t we just get rid of the prevalent idea of kanyadaan rather than compensating for it with another regressive ritual?
Marriage is a bond between equals. It doesn’t need any kind of “daan” to certify the idea that the groom and bride vow to devote themselves to each other. Moreover, by donating a person, be it the groom or bride, aren’t we suggesting that they break their ties with the older families?
We have already been criticising the idea of labelling women as paraya dhan (someone else’s keepsake). We do not want women to be raised as someone who belongs to another family. We set out to create equality amongst the sexes and rituals as such, which reflect reverse sexism will never help us achieve it. A woman doesn’t need to break her ties with her parents after her marriage. So, why are we making men go through the same? Why are we forcing them to break their ties with their family?
It is high time we understand that marriage itself implies that a groom and a bride are tied together and have to support each other in every situation. They have to embrace each other’s flaws and families. There is no need to make marriage a means of objectifying men and women as goods meant for donation. Marriage is a bond between two individuals, not two objects. When the bride and groom marry, they bring together their families, without expecting anyone to break ties. So while we are changing customs and traditions to make it more about equality. We need to remember that two wrongs never make a right.
The views expressed are the author’s own