Monday, January 27, 2014

Marriage and Women in India

This blog continues where my last blog on heroines left off.

Thanks to all of you who've contributed and shared your insight.

Reasons women in other countries do what they do:

When right and wrong of a culture is programmed into you from when you are a child it is extremely hard for women to go against that inherent core belief.  If religion is added to it (and it always is), the equation becomes hard.  The bogey man is 'society'.  That's a name that includes religion, of course.  Religion formed the basis for the voice of society at one time.   
As young girls we are told the family honor is at stake and our parents will be shunned if we step out of line.  Making a good marriage (one arranged for us) will elevate their position. To preserve a beloved father's honor is everything to a child.  We are also told (if we have younger sisters) that their chances of a good marriage will vanish as no one will want a girl from a house where another girl has shown willful behavior.  If we have an older sister, already married, then any wanton behavior will reflect on her new family too and she will be embarrassed/ disgraced by our choice.   Hindu guilt is a ball and chain.
This guilt isn't just in women in exists in the heart of women the world over.
To be thrown out of a family/disowned scars women psychologically.  The reasons for 'toeing the line' go on and on....

Luckily for me my father was extremely independent, didn't give a &*#& what others thought and backed me up 90%.  My mother too, bless her traditional heart, let me have my way though my choices didn't sit well with her.

When we women in a free world talk about what others 'should' do, we have to remember that we need to walk in their shoes for just one day to realize the coils of tradition are iron chains.  If you are not raised to think freely, reaching for personal freedom is a terrifying GIANT step to take.

Tradition is not all bad...the ideals were made for the protection and well being of daughters.
Many traditional marriages are preceded by a period of courtship and are the epitome of love and success.
It is when women are abused in the name of tradition that life derails.   No one should put up with cruelty in the name of 'family honor', 'religion' or 'tradition'...but unless they have an acceptable alternative they will put up with it the world over.
I've talked to women here who are married to indifferent/cheating/no-good husbands and told them what their choices are...they've listened politely, thanked me and then said they prefer to be Mrs. Somebody than a nobody in a 'house for women' or one their own.  Her parents, one woman said when she told them about the way her life had crumbled, told her, "That's your life.  Go back and live it."

These women believe that suffering makes them true heroines in the eyes of 'their' world.

Luckily more and more young women each day, empowered by education, are making choices for themselves and 'divorce' once a religious taboo for Hindu women is becoming common abroad and in the cities in India.

As I said before laws are being made for the protection of women but Independence in the area of marriage is an individual movement.


  1. You are so right. Values instilled as a child play a big part in how we view men. Like you, my parents didn't force anything on me...maybe it's because one was Jewish and the other Gentile. I made my own choices, married early, and have always looked upon my partner as just that. I have expectations that he'll step up to the plate when needed, hold me when I'm scared, and love me like he knows no other, and although my first marriage ended, my current hubby fills the bill.

  2. Instilled values in men are just as important as for women. I have always raised my sons to be listeners, cheerleaders, polite, and thoughtful when it comes to others. I have no doubt they will be excellent husbands one day and remain true to themselves and others.