When Will Parents Stop Treating Their Daughters As Strangers After Marriage?

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Yesterday while being a part of the last rituals of my grandmother, I was irked by a comment from a pandit. It was time to perform hawan and every family member was expected to give offerings. However, the pandit said that daughters of the family who are married cannot do the same. This was because, after marriage, they belong to another house and have no role to play in the paternal house’s customs. Although I couldn’t say anything to him considering the seriousness of the moment, it stuck with me for a long time. And now I have finally got the place to raise the question that why is it assumed that after marriage a woman becomes a stranger to her parental family.

Why are women forced to strike out the identity of being a daughter and hold on to their identity as bahu or wife? Why does marriage detach women from the house and family they grew up with? Why do parents alienate daughters even in this day and age, and force them to prioritise their matrimonial family.

Parents still see daughters as paraya dhan who have to go to their ‘own’ house after marriage. Their destiny is to serve and care for their in-laws, husbands and children. But I still don’t understand the logic behind considering a marital home as women’s real home. How can the house where they grew up not be of their own? How can people who were not a part of their life before marriage become more important than the ones they know since their childhood?

Parents treating daughters as strangers after marriage should change their outlook

Treating women as strangers after marriage further reduces them to objects who can be easily displaced and hold no value to their existence after they are removed from their surroundings. They are never given the freedom to attach themselves to their parental family. Since childhood, women are indoctrinated with the idea of bidaai and how they are not going to stay with their parents always.

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A representative image from the film Thappad.

Even parents do not like that their daughters stay with them for a long time after marriage. They are wary of comments on their daughter’s character and speculations about her marriage over their own feelings for their child. Go to your home, focus on your husband, that is what will make us happy.

But every woman has the right to stay with, take care and inherit the property of her parents. Even law has now made it clear that a daughter is an equal inheritor of parents’ property as our sons. Moreover, it also passed a judgment that the marital family cannot object to how long a woman wants to stay at her parental house.

Marriage is a new bond that gets added to a woman’s life. It shouldn’t clip the earlier bonds that she has with her friends and parental family. Marriage is about bringing two people and two families together, thus it should not end up with one person having to uproot their whole life and identity in the name of adjustment.

Views expressed are the author’s own.