The day a girl takes birth; her family starts thinking about her wedding and all expenses that shall come with it.
It is an appalling thought because we live in a country where goddesses are considered to be the harbingers of good luck, love, and prosperity.
Since the birth of a girl child, she is constantly given a reminder that she will go to her house one day.
Why do we do that? Why is the house she is born and raised in, never completely hers?
A girl is expected to study, know all household chores, take care of the family, and be really beautiful, prim and proper at all times. She is often called as “ghar ki izzat”.
**Ghar means home. Izzat means respect. Thus, the woman is considered to be the face of the house. The respect of the family lies in her hands and her actions define the family.
Now, if she your ghar ki izzat, why is that house not her own?
If you have been reading the newspaper or listening to the news, every day we learn of suicide cases, dowry deaths and other spine-chilling stories related to women. The sad part is, most of these girls end their lives or end up losing their life, in spite of their families knowing about their suffering.
I read in a paper recently that a girl committed suicide due to a technical glitch, while she was waiting for her 12th-grade results. The error that shows failure is definitely something that will pierce your heart but, suicide is never the solution.
Apparently, she committed suicide because as per the online results, she had failed. It turned out to be a technical glitch. In fact, she had passed with 2nd Division Marks. However, it was too late as she had already pulled out of the test of life.
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Honestly, I do not have any sympathy for people who end their lives, however, just try to imagine, the scale of fear of her parents that she was carrying in her heart, which must have driven her to end her life!
Another instance is a bright PhD student from IIT Delhi, ending her life due to the pressure of dowry. Before this attempt, she had an unsuccessful attempt in 2015 wherein she had slit her wrists.
Unfortunately, according to media reports, her parents had asked her to iron out her differences and even fulfilled few demands after that 2015 scenario.
I want to understand since her family was aware of her issues and had seen their daughter trying to end her life, why did they let her stay in an unhappy marriage and with a family that did not appreciate her personality, her wisdom nor her qualifications.
I cannot even imagine how lonely and helpless such a well-educated, well-travelled woman must have felt due to lack of a strong support system that she must have hoped for in the form of her family.
One more example that I would like to share is from the wedding of my best friend.
It was the first ever Hindu wedding ceremony that I attended where I stayed till the pheras. **A phera is when the bride and groom circle around the holy fire and take vows to be together.
The Panditji (priest) was way too cool and explained the meaning of every phera in Hindi and English.
What shook me up a little is when the girl was told, from today you no longer belong to XYZ gotra. (Gotra means a clan) You are now married and the new gotra of your husband’s family will be yours to be a part of.
It is so sad that all major changes are made by just the woman in the institution called Marriage, which is meant to be an amalgamation of 2 souls and families
Now let’s go ahead and move to another topic which will make you think once again and maybe question your own self.
The family a girl is born in, tells her to wait for “apna ghar” (own home) which is technically what she shall move to, after she is married.
Let us assume, the girl is now married and from Mehta has become a Mehra. But here again, she hasn’t come to her house. She is in her “husband’s house” with her “husband’s family”
So basically, the fairy tale is just another story because the woman did not get the happy ending as she still doesn’t have her home.
A woman is always someone’s daughter, sister, wife or mother. I am not a staunch feminist and definitely not someone who is turning into one but I really fail to understand, why does a woman not get her due?
My mother is a homemaker. She completed her masters and comes from a family of well-decorated government officials. But she was a homemaker by choice. She decided to stay at home and ensure three things:-
1) My brother and I get a good upbringing. We don’t depend on house helps and get good food. She concentrated on us and made sure we both are well behaved and well aware individuals.
2) My dad traveled a lot and she did not want her kids to miss having both their parents around to witness all their milestones and also in times of need.
3) Read this one really carefully. (This will surely bring a smile on your faces.)
She had to stay at home and ensure my brother and I do not kill each other!
What I am trying to put across is, while I was growing up and even now, I see my mother being questioned on her choice to be a homemaker. Some even went ahead and assumed that she is not well educated or qualified to do anything.
But she has always been very proud of the choices she has made and my father has always been her pillar of strength.
People refuse to believe that being a homemaker is a job. In fact, being a homemaker is one of the toughest jobs and it doesn’t even give you peanuts as salary!
This thinking and these situations that I have spoken about are not practices prevalent only in India but in a lot of other places across the globe, where women have to constantly struggle to make a mark and have to prove their mettle, time and again.
As a generation that advocates equality, I urge you all to have a look around yourself. You will see a lot of unfair practices and unfair rules specifically for women. Start by having a good look at the life of your own mothers and sisters. That is where you need to start working from, to bring about a change.
It is important to let our mothers know that she is not “just a housewife”.
Our sisters should know that if they are facing problems at work due to their gender, they do not have to face undue criticism.
Every girl should be told and should know that their father’s house is their home. The world may desert them, but they will always have a roof on their head and will always be welcomed with open arms in her parents’ home.
Every married woman should know that if she is in an unhappy or a troubled marriage, she will always have someone to talk to and a shoulder to lean on to.
Every girl needs to know that the house she is born in is hers to cherish and the house she will go to will be the house she will make bigger, better and brighter with her love, affection, and warmth.
The day we celebrate the birth of a girl child the way we celebrate a boy’s arrival, is when a girl shall have her own house.
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