This could come as a shock for people who count the grandeur of Indian marriage ceremonies as thing of pride for Indians.  This might come as a shock to all those people who miss the tears, turmoil and heartbreak on a wedding night because the expensive food, loud music and the dazzling display of wealth captures all their attention. This might come as a shock to people who misplace their cultural pride in the ostentatious display of the most repulsive organized accepted blackmail program existing in our country.

Gender Inequality is an ancient issue. Till recently, we accepted the facts and survived. The girls who were not killed at birth were told to limit their dreams and their world to a kitchen. Till recently that was okay. When dreams were limited, life, however served, was acceptable. But then somebody came up with the idea of educating the girl child.

Education , while being an immensely powerful tool, has  not done much for Indian girls except for giving them wings to fly in a sky jealously guarded by moral, cultural and traditional police.  The flight is short lived and the wings are more often flipped off as mercilessly as heads on the guillotine.

The blaring example of how unequal a woman is to a man is, yes, the grand and “cheerful” celebration of the night long union of “two families”.

To all parents who have daughters, educated and perfectly independent but unmarried, I ask you: Aren’t you hoarding money on the side to “give off” your daughter? To all the parents who procreate male children, I ask you, aren’t you secretly relieved? (However educated you are)

Why are weddings treated as business deals? Why under the garb of “union of love between two families”, terms and conditions are finalized with unfathomable crudity and shamelessness?

Why is a woman’s family obligated to take care of expenses of this extravagant charade of one night?  The men and women who pat themselves for not demanding anything “extra” from the girl’s parents are not out of the periphery of my disturbing questions. Where has this right to demand come from?  If a function is being carried out for getting two people married, where is the co operation? Where is the love?

Even today, When India is growing economically and developing at a rate higher that almost every other country, Indian women remain torn and confused. Their worst nightmare is being aware that they are, in fact, not inferior to men and yet being subjected to second class treatment because people still confuse outdated traditional practices with culture.

In a culture, heavily influenced with the rich and the famous, I think celebrities have a moral responsibility not to encourage the ostentatious nature of such ceremonies. When they spend millions on an “Indian styled” wedding night, they are corroborating to the poisonous myth that your social status and respect depends on that one night of overspending. How fair is it to encourage such display in a country where half the population struggles for a day’s meal?

Education is not an answer to gender inequality in India. The answer lies in identifying the social practices which are eating away the foundations of the developing India like termites. Once upon a time these practices were important to some people. That’s not a reason that they should continue to be important to us. The guys should stop being proud of treated like a commodity and the girls should stop believing that their worth lies in the grandeur of their wedding. And only then, the gender of an infant being born in an Indian house will not matter. Only then, the smiles and blessings upon the arrival of a girl child will grow genuine and heartfelt instead of being laced with hidden pity.

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