Desi Sex Ratio and Marriage: Nirmala* (1925) to 2011

8 Apr

This week the Census of India 2011 exposed our veneer of India shinning. More girl children are missing in a century. We need to be internationally rewarded for our extreme success in eliminating girl children in the 0-6 year age group. We are really very near to solving the problem of crime against women; simple formula no women no crime against women. Dear @IHM often poses a question about India’s faltering sex ratio, if it will ever improve. Then she finds the answer in the custom of dowry, mandatory nature of marriage for desi women and absurd inequalities for the bride’s family.   This video compliments what she says. But if marriage was the bane of desi woman kind then there ought not to be other crimes against women outside the homes and especially married women. Marriage as an explanation for failing sex ratio is too simplistic; oppression of women is complex and multifactorial phenomenon.

Few weeks ago DG made a comment on a post about if marriages are over rated. @IHM blogged about DG’s basic premise on desi marriages; that further lead to a marathon of posts by different women bloggers. Everyone worded their heartfelt grievances against the institution of marriage to their heart’s content. Understanding desi marriage is a bit complex. To marry is one of the favorite national hobbies besides feeding corruption in the desi world (read South Asia, our neighbors are no different than us; rather they compete to keep the tabs with us).

In her book “Dowry Murder: The Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime,” Vina Talwar Oldenburg found in pre independent India dowry was essentially an upper caste class ritual that intermediary castes adopted to rise up in the caste/class hierarchy. Castes were pretty fluid** at the periphery but the Raj in its need to administer diverse desis tried to fix caste boundaries and duties. Marriages and death feasts became the deciding point. If one belonged to X caste they could/should spend X amount, if they failed that meant they belonged to the lower strata. To keep up one’s position in the caste/class hierarchy or climb up in the hierarchy people started spending exorbitant amounts on these two life rituals, even to the extent where they borrowed money or sold their lands. It is then a rise in female infanticide along with dowry was observed.

It is not to say that communities did not practice female infanticide before that rather there were communities that took pride in the fact they were the bride takers and not bride givers. Village Devra in Rajasthan did not marry a single daughter in 100 years and now again is in news for all the wrong reasons.

In a culture that worships women as Goddesses in the religious texts why there is inherent hatred for living women is something to ponder about. If it is such an oppressive system for fifty percent stake holder why couldn’t they ever topple it, even when they are 50 billion in number they are still slaving. What does a marriage has to offer that women and their families spend all their energies and monies to feed this oppressor? If women are oppressed by the inequalities inherent in marriage so are their natal families. Is marriage only oppressive to women? If marriage benefits men then do all men benefit from it? If not then who are these men who lose in marriage and why? The natal families do not just comprise of all women they do have male members, brothers, fathers and other kinsmen. Are they oppressed too? The answer comes from Sai Akhtar Lahori***, who asks the divine how easy it is to sit in heavens and judge and how difficult is it to be a father of a daughter and a brother of a sister.

Marriage is not the end goal but is the new beginning to sustain this monstrous system. Marriage is not one time expense on dowry and feeding the groomsmen, it is a life long drain on the woman’s natal family. On every festival her natal kin is expected to send gifts to her and her in-laws. On the occasion of her first pregnancy baby shower and child related other ceremonies are her parent’s responsibility. Come the birthdays of kids, weddings in her in-laws’ home every time it is her parents who have to consolidate her position in the household by giving timely and status appropriate gifts. Does it ever end? Guess no, at the time of her children’s wedding, even if her parents are dead her brother(s) ought to bring in rich trousseau for the bride/groom and gifts for other family members. Her reputation depends on these gifts.

A man who is burdened with marrying his sister(s) and daughters finds it easier to accept dowry and gifts from his wife’s family than stand up and say NO to this life long drama. May be he even feels entitled to preferential treatment and gifts because he filled in another man’s coffers. If he could raise a voice to stop this oppressive cycle he faces challenges from other men and women in the community because he challenges their share of privileges. DG recalls a rich uncle of a friend; he married his son to a lower economic class same caste young lady with no dowry. Instead of appreciating his effort and emulating it people in the community gossiped about his son, that he had some flaw (impotency) that he had to be sold for no dowry. His young daughter-in-law was discriminated by other women in the family because she came from poor family and often did not have lofty gifts from her parents to flaunt. After two years of this ongoing harassment DG heard this rich uncle saying he’ll marry his second son according to the caste customs and will accept the dowry too.

DG sees these H 1B visa holder young men living in ghetto like conditions to send money home for their sisters’ wedding and then themselves being sold to highest bidder in the marriage market. DG sees these young poets and writers struggling everyday between their choice to pursue a dream or meet the dictates of masculinity to provide for their sisters’ wedding and submit to their parents’ demands of arranged marriages.

What kind of a system is this where oppressed are vigilant in protecting and perpetuating it and more than willing to feed its gluttony by butchering their beloveds?

If you are a father of a daughter(s) and a brother of a sister(s) do you have the courage to stand up and say “I refuse to waste money on feeding 1000 people I never met and give useless gifts that my daughter or sister will never get to use?”

Or you are the kind like her God forsaken now ex who had the guts to say “I won’t ask for anything but I’ll not refuse if I am given anything by your parents.” Yes, DG did marry that blotch on humanity and she is not proud of it. Yeah, we were cutting costs on food and milk to save for a grand wedding of a pint size terror incarnate (his sister), until last year she was still at her parents’ home. May be the helicopter they saved for is not good enough to secure her a prince in shinning amour.

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* In 1925 Munshi Premchand wrote this revolutionary story about a young girl from poor family. Herparents could not pay a dowry so they marry her to a widower with children her age. She struggles and gives birth to a daughter and dies. Her last words are, “do not make me a women in next birth.”

**Refer concept of Sanskritization by M.N. Srinivas. It is still potent and functional go to Rajasthan and you’ll find Khati Rajputs, and Khati Brahmins and so on. More loyal than the crown…

***Sai Akhtar Lahori wrote two revolutionary poems about men’s oppression in patriarchy. Allah Mian Thalay Aa and Allah Mian Utte Raho.

Allah Mian Thalay Aa

Allah Mian thale aa              Allah Mian please come down

Apni duniya Venda ja           Come and see your world

Yah asmanon rizaq vara        or else shower riches from skies

Yah fer kar ja muk muka       or else have another dialogue

 

Tanon dhehi viyani pendi     If you were to marry a daughter

nanki chak banani paindi      If you were to give gifts to sister’s daughter at her wedding

rusi bhen manai paindi         If you were to appease an upset sister due your poor gifts

lath jande sab tare chah        All your charms would have left

Allah Mian thale aa               Allah Mian please come down

 

Dhiaan non to jamne daindon     You would have not let the daughters be born

kurman de to tane sahndon         If you were to listen to torments from their in-laws

nal shreekan kade na bahndon    You would not have sat with your kin who make snide

miti jandi kapre kha                  remarks for your daughter or sister is still unmarried

Allah Mian thale aa

tare gher na dane honde          If you were poor and had no food at home

pate leef purane honed            And every thing was old at home

kamle log seyane honed          The rich but insane would have given you a ride

pa dainde tanon ghbara         Allah Mian please come down

Allah Mian thale aa

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21 Responses to “Desi Sex Ratio and Marriage: Nirmala* (1925) to 2011”

  1. Gaurav December 5, 2011 at p12 #

    This notion of spending a lot on marriage and random gifts in the process, is something which I will never quite understand, and I am a guy who comes from a Marwari family which is probably among the worst offenders in this regard. The whole notion is so fucked up, that it is beyond belief. Growing up, I never questioned these things. It was one of those things which was a given, but the effects which it has had on everyone involved is just sad to see.

    Dad working tremendously hard, staying away from his family just so he could “do a good marriage” for his daughters. We sold off real estate and other forms of investments just so random faceless strangers could be happy. Mom dad request permission from my sisters’ FIL just so that she can visit us. My eldest sister’s husband is about 40 years old now. He still defers all decision to his elder brother and father.

    For my marriage, my parents want to spend in excess of $150,000. And no, we are not rich, don’t come from a business family, nor does my dad work for a fancy company. It is totally ridiculous. When I tell them this is bullshit and you should be saving this money for your retirement, they tell me that if I don’t support them, they will use up any remaining savings and real estate investments they have, but this is how it is going to happen. When I ask them why do they want to do this – they tell me “yeh unki shauk hai” (Its their desire to do this), they need to stand in society, my mom has craved for this day for a long time blah blah blah. Then they think that they have married off 3 daughters, and spent so much in gifts, marriage expenses etc. so part of them, they want to inflict the same stuff on the girl in my wedding. Even my so-called educated and modern sisters are like your mom has lived such a difficult life. Doing this will make her happy.

    Half the times, I am not sure what to do to such crap. Should I tell them I am not going to support them and see them lose all their savings or should I pitch in my money and lose all my savings. The solution which I have come up with is that I am going to tell them how I want it, and if they don’t agree, then I am never going to get married. This whole charade is so frustrating. It is just incredibly hard to reason with Indian parents, especially moms.

    Coming from a family like this, also never teaches you what a good relationship looks like. To be honest, I have never been in a serious relationship, have serious commitment issues and have never even had a close female friend. I have actually never seen a adult male-female relationship which I look at and think that yes, I would love to have a partner like that. And this is coming from a guy who has studied in the so-called best college in India, have lived, worked and traveled in multiple countries, speak multiple languages apart from the Indian ones and so much more that if you ever met me in person, anyone on the planet would think that I must have it so easy in relationships.

    If I tell my parents that all this is shit, then its equivalent of saying that they wasted their entire life, which I am sure would not be pleasant to hear. Thus, I never say much in front of them.

    I am so happy that you are writing about all these issues. All of this is swept under the rug of “your family did so much for you”, “your parents love you”, “this is Indian culture”, “your mom sacrificed for you” etc. and talking about any of this makes you the worst person ever. I hope more people read your blog and write about similar topics.

    I am sorry I got a little emotional and started talking about irrelevant stuff given the context of this article but there is literally no place where you can vent about these issues. Saying anything anywhere makes you look like the worst person on the planet.

    @Gaurav,

    Sorry it took DG some time to approve this comment because she needed some time at hand to read and respond.By now you know she doesn’t make casual comments and remarks.

    Thanks for the compliment. DG is doing her part and she writes what she observes around her.

    Just guessing you are either in late 20s or early 30s. It is good that you are able to join dots and see the manipulation in the name of parental love for what it is.

    Not marrying for reasons you mentioned is not a very good one just as marrying for the following
    https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/desi-marriage-for-all-the-wrong-reason/
    https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/ask-before-marrying/

    DG grew up in Marwar so she knows exactly how family will make a sacrificial lamb out of you for impressing the people they do not like with the money they do not have.
    Your sisters prove it, apple does not fall far from the tree and so does their husbands. No offence here
    https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/desi-mothers-in-law/

    Like Glacier, DG will not suggest estrangement because it worked for him as he had seem the dramatics of two significant women in his life. You have to take your own time to pick your path. Take a time out go away to some health resort to work on your self. You need not announce to your parents your where abouts and reasons. Leave emergency contact info with a tursted person (DG being a girl had taken off so many times to strange places for no apparent reasons initially her parents looked around in the morgues then they got used to it coz’ they understood she’ll be safe and manage to stay out of trouble). Go take a two week cruise no one can call you there. Find a good counselor, life coach, a mentor or join DG’s group. Do something instead of throwing in the towel.

    Agreed there are no good role models of intimate relationships and our cultural discomfort with premarital mixing of genders make it harder to even learn. This intermixing is discouraged coz’ premitive desis knew if young people knew too much they’ll call it quits. Be a good and kind friend to a woman before you even think in terms of a relationship.
    Your biological clock is not ticking but defintely your desi marriageable age time bomb is clicking too fast. Don’t let it corner you. Relationships fail or rather not take of coz’ camaraderie fails.

    …Thus, I never say much in front of them…
    If you don’t tell your parents what you feel how do you expect them to know it, they are not mind readers. Just because it is contrary to what they think they’ll feel hurt is normal reaction coz’ they think you are their prototype. Sorry you are NOT. We teach people how to treat us. You keep quite it sends a message it is okay with you they can go on with their nonsense. What ever happened to constructive feedback you learned in the management school? It is applicable in relationships too.

    …there is literally no place where you can vent about these issues…

    GGTS is a safe space you can let your hair down here but that is not a sufficient condition to vent, DG encourages her readers to make a change. If it is hurting it is not love. If it is hurting treat the cause of hurt not paste a bandaid on it. Peace at any cost is no peace at all.

    Be kind to yourself and take pity on those around you are stuck in this muck coz’ they do not know better.
    Sending you kindness and support.
    Peace,

    Desi Girl

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    • girlsguidetosurvival December 15, 2011 at p12 #

      @Gaurav,

      Sorry it took DG some time to approve this comment because she needed some time at hand to read and respond.By now you know she doesn’t make casual comments and remarks.

      Thanks for the compliment. DG is doing her part and she writes what she observes around her.

      Just guessing you are either in late 20s or early 30s. It is good that you are able to join dots and see the manipulation in the name of parental love for what it is.

      Not marrying for reasons you mentioned is not a very good one just as marrying for the following
      https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/desi-marriage-for-all-the-wrong-reason/
      https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/ask-before-marrying/

      DG grew up in Marwar so she knows exactly how family will make a sacrificial lamb out of you for impressing the people they do not like with the money they do not have.
      Your sisters prove it, apple does not fall far from the tree and so does their husbands. No offence here
      https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/desi-mothers-in-law/

      Like Glacier, DG will not suggest estrangement because it worked for him as he had seem the dramatics of two significant women in his life. You have to take your own time to pick your path. Take a time out go away to some health resort to work on your self. You need not announce to your parents your where abouts and reasons. Leave emergency contact info with a tursted person (DG being a girl had taken off so many times to strange places for no apparent reasons initially her parents looked around in the morgues then they got used to it coz’ they understood she’ll be safe and manage to stay out of trouble). Go take a two week cruise no one can call you there. Find a good counselor, life coach, a mentor or join DG’s group. Do something instead of throwing in the towel.

      Agreed there are no good role models of intimate relationships and our cultural discomfort with premarital mixing of genders make it harder to even learn. This intermixing is discouraged coz’ premitive desis knew if young people knew too much they’ll call it quits. Be a good and kind friend to a woman before you even think in terms of a relationship.
      Your biological clock is not ticking but defintely your desi marriageable age time bomb is clicking too fast. Don’t let it corner you. Relationships fail or rather not take of coz’ camaraderie fails.

      …Thus, I never say much in front of them…
      If you don’t tell your parents what you feel how do you expect them to know it, they are not mind readers. Just because it is contrary to what they think they’ll feel hurt is normal reaction coz’ they think you are their prototype. Sorry you are NOT. We teach people how to treat us. You keep quite it sends a message it is okay with you they can go on with their nonsense. What ever happened to constructive feedback you learned in the management school? It is applicable in relationships too.

      …there is literally no place where you can vent about these issues…

      GGTS is a safe space you can let your hair down here but that is not a sufficient condition to vent, DG encourages her readers to make a change. If it is hurting it is not love. If it is hurting treat the cause of hurt not paste a bandaid on it. Peace at any cost is no peace at all.

      Be kind to yourself and take pity on those around you are stuck in this muck coz’ they do not know better.
      Sending you kindness and support.
      Peace,

      Desi Girl

      Like this

      • Gaurav December 15, 2011 at p12 #

        Thanks for the reply DG. I have already been doing quite a few of the things which you suggested – hiring someone to give me objective advice, putting myself through random experiences, taking time off randomly for myself etc. Had I not done any of that, I would not have realized any of this in the first place.

        As I am sure you understand, so many years of social conditioning is hard to turn around overnight. I am slowly implementing changes in my life. I have managed to turn quite a bit of my life around in the past year or so and there is a noticeable difference in my assertiveness and mental peace overall as a result.

        I am sure it will take time but I will eventually get to where I want to be, whatever that means. One book which I strongly recommend to people is “No More Mr. Nice Guy” by Robert Glover.

        Btw, I am 25 years old right now.

        @Gaurav,
        BRAVO! Very proud of you.
        People in DG’s dad’s generation are now connecting the dots and you managed it so young that needs a big Congratulations!

        IT IS A PROCESS, NOT AN EVENT. It takes time.
        IT IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION. You reach there when you reach there. :)

        Please feel free to write for GGTS about the process of your transformation like Glacier did that will help numerous readers to take a step towards taking charge of their lives. We need more voices to break this silence and isolation and generational tyranny.

        Keep coming back. It works if you work it. Work it because you are worth it.
        More power to you,
        Peace,
        Desi Girl

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      • Gaurav November 25, 2012 at p11 #

        Hey DG,

        It’s been a while since we had this exchange. I just thought I would share some stuff with you.

        So as I had written above, I had already made a lot of changes and was working on different aspects of my life. Last year has seen a lot more positive changes – I have increasingly become more and more assertive in all things family related. Now that I am also slightly mentally disconnected from a lot of family stuff, I recognize the games my mom plays and am able to give her back the same items in return.

        For instance, some time back she was pressuring me to get married and told me that “I only have very little time remaining on this planet. Please fulfill this one last dream of mine”. I told her I need to live my life and there is nothing “done” or “finished” once the wedding is over. It’s a lot of work. So I will fulfill your wish but you have to say this instead – I only have some time remaining on earth. So please give me a bunch of new headaches before I leave.It was priceless to see her reaction at this statement of mine :D

        The othe good thing is that since I recognize that a bunch of people also face similar problems, I have developed a slightly close relationship with some people who I think of as good male role models. Their advice has been tremendously useful in all aspects of life.

        I also quit my job to start my own company recently. That has led to me meeting quite a few awesome people and also for the first time met a few couple who I looked at and thought that, hey, if my relationship could be like this then that would be awesome.

        Have also been strength training and weight lifting a bit recently. This for some reason helps a lot with just about everything in life! I strongly recommend some lifting, guy or girl.

        So all in all, things going well. Hope you continue to blog.

        Cheers,
        Gaurav

        @Gaurav,
        Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
        DG had a fleeting thought about you then she got busy with things.
        Congratulations for self employment. So you have made good strides in 2012 that is awesome.
        Yes, physical activity really helps as it channels all the aggression and it gets all those endorphins and other feel good hormones running.
        Your response to your mom in desi circles will be considered sacrilegious but that is what she deserved to hear, naked truth. I am glad you found a healthy desi role model for relationships learn from their experiences ask intelligent questions about conflict resolution within intimate relationships.
        DG will appreciate if you could write a post like Glacier for desi men how you learned to mentally disconnected from a lot of family stuff, and recognize the games your mom plays.

        DG wishes to blog soon this year has been pretty slow but she’ll be back soon.
        Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
        Peace,
        Desi Girl

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  2. sexandtheindiancities April 17, 2011 at p04 #

    the social vicious circle that starts at the birth and doesnot stop till death .. and yes marriage is the national Hobby for indians ..

    If women start owning the property and educated young couples start saying NO to bollywood style weddings .If only parents don’t consider their kids as Fds awho will generate returns ( dowry , getting sisters married , finacially supporting parents etc ) and rather keep money wasted on marriages for their own old age , everyone will have reasonable responsibilities .

    and recently I saw a girl crying coz they are 3 sisters and have no brother ..everyone around them pity them ..bechariyan koi bhai nahin hai inka , I dont know when will this end . an aunt asked all of them to pray for brother. Now if they will have bother , he will be born with the responsibility of marriage of all three sisters. I dont know why he should be responsible for the kids he never had . Everyone should have kids they can take care of completely till a certain age and then they should be on their own , a western tradition that many condemn here will librate men more than women. By making women dependent , they make men take all the burden and make women feel like they are burden and thus they are treated so badly.

    My Bother married from a poor family and my dad made it loud and clear , we want girl in two dresses and absolutly nothing else. girls dad insited on barat, dad even suggested we can have marriage at gurudwara and then we will give reception , you can call Your relatives then.And till date my parents tell them not to give unneccessary sweets / gifts etc on festivals.

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  3. Anon April 12, 2011 at p04 #

    Hi DG,

    I follow your blog regularly and I should admit it’s an interesting read. Keep up your good work :) I have a tangential comment here. You called your ex a “blotch on humanity” since he did not refuse to get anything from your parents ( or at least this is one of the reasons). I don’t understand what was wrong with that. I totally agree that demanding dowry is wrong. But, if the bride’s side willingly want to offer something, why should the groom refuse ? I have a sister too and when she gets married we will give her her fair share in our property. I am not sure why her future husband should refuse that ?

    @Anon,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.

    Is GGTS just an interesting read or does it serve it’s intended purpose of information sharing and violence prevention too? :) :)

    “I’ll not ask for anything but I’ll not refuse what is offered,” is a masked desire for begetting what ever I can lay hands on. It is exactly like DG mentioned people claiming, “We are not asking for dowry all we want is good reception/hospitality for the groom’s party.” What is good hostpitality no one knows, there is no definition and there are no packages like for $6000.00 is poor and $12,000.00 is average and anything above it is decent and acceptable. It is never enough.

    MIL’s biggest grudge was the wedding reception my parents threw was below her standard and thus she is humiliated amongst her folks and colleagues. Over the period of 30 years she had attended numerous weddings so her son’s wedding was her chance to pay back her dues to all those people. Thus it was my parent’s responsibility to feed her 500 guests and give them gifts. WHY?

    It is like every other desi mother of a son wants “Hum Aapke Hein Kaun” style wedding. As if that was not enough camp badjatyas had to come up with “Vivah” and setting a good example go bankrupt to marry a daughter and then gloss it with a chocolate hero who’ll marry a disfugured bride :)

    “I didn’t ask for anything and your folks didn’t give me decent enough shirts, the watch is useless and on and on… this is what he told DG.: So now you can imagine how it would have been for DG all through those years. Yes, DG basically had two MILs, one actual and one substitute in the form of that God forsaken now ex.

    Asking dowry is still better* than not asking but expecting because when one asks it is quantifiable and there is a figure you can put a finger on but when people leave it open ended there is no limit to it.

    If parents want to give their daughter her rightful share in the property they should make it immovable assets, termed fixed deposits in her name, stocks and bonds etc. It is foolish to waste money on clothes, furniture, pots and pans etc. All these things are used by everyone else in the family and have no value once out of the showroom. If a man cannot buy household stuff he is really not ready for a household rather he should save for it and prepare himself for the life of house holder.

    Hope this answers your question.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    *DG is not advocating dowry. She strongly believe people have to say it aloud “what ever you want to give, give it to your daughter as “ISTRI DHAN” soley for her and her descrition to use it the way she wants and NO DOWRY.”

    There is another danger just like the DOWER, (mehar) people will manipulate the married women in to denouncing or giving away their ISTRI DHAN to in-laws to prove their loyalty.

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    • Anon April 13, 2011 at p04 #

      @DG:

      I can assure you that your blog is really informative. I have learnt a lot from it. And as far as preventing violence is concerned, I wish and hope it accomplishes that too.

      After reading your comment, I find the description of your ex justified. When I asked what was wrong with accepting gifts from the bride’s family, I assumed a complete absence of coercion/manipulation from the groom’s side, before and after the wedding. If “not asking for dowry” means asking implicitly, then it is as good as demanding explicitly and that should be condemned.

      Though ideally a groom should refuse any gifts from the bride’s family, I am not sure if it is practically possible. The reason being people will then start doubting if there is something wrong with the groom. On the other hand, not asking for any gifts (assuming true intentions) seems to be a fair middle ground. I won’t expect a paise from my future wife but I also don’t mind her parents gifting her something they like.

      …her parents gifting her something they like. ONLY to her. :)
      Because to you they would be giving their beloved daughter. :)

      DG

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      • Anon April 13, 2011 at p04 #

        @DG: haha :) Indeed…

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    • Barkha Dhar July 16, 2011 at p07 #

      Superb work DG! I see a piece of myself in you and in this post. Your argument is logical and it resonates change. It sure is tough to be a DG!
      http://dharbarkha.blogspot.com/2011/07/its-dowry-not-gender.html

      @Barkha Dhar,
      Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
      If it is tough “to be” then you are right being DG is a fulltime job :)

      Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

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  4. Neha April 11, 2011 at p04 #

    Oh you seem to read my mind! My grandfather-in-law expired a few days ago. Though I did not spend much time with him but I was feeling sad until, my inlaws decided that they will organise 4 death feasts for the entire village and the neighbours too and spending close to 5Laks. Now the only explanantion I hear is that was the wish of the person who died and if we don’t his soul will not rest in peace! Everybody is feeling the pressure but no one is willing to go against the tradition…not even my oh so logical husband who usually weighs everything to logical explanantions. I feel sad and helpless. The only thing I have decided..I will not bear the expenses!

    Wao, the dead man wanted the family to go bankrupt or may be the family has too much money :) or he was ill treated in his later life so he thought a good way to avenge it will be to play troubled soul card, “dying man’s wish if not fulfilled will torment his soul and then he’ll bother the family in his ghostly garb.”

    What is the logic behind feeding well fed people is beyond DG. If the same money could be used to initiate a social development project or scholarship the departed’slegacy could live for times to come.
    DG

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  5. Revathy April 11, 2011 at p04 #

    quite a handfull of city dwellers, well educated and rich enough people who knowing kill the it in embryonic stage itself learning the fact that its a girl using advanced medical technologies. Though here in India its an offence to declare the sex early, but still there are doctors who reveal it . There is a not so close friend of mine who aborted 6 times to bear a boy. Bearing a boy is considered to be Pride in the family. And people of this generation are doing this, its so difficult to digest this fact. I am just wondering how the girl would hv felt all the 6 times, I am sure it must be forced from her inlaws and not her conscious decision.

    6 abortions. Are they giving them for free or she is in a contest with someone to keep her number high. That should answer your question how she must have felt.
    If she finally manages to birth healthy hier to the throne may be she’ll become the same dreaded MIL we always talk about.
    No wonder if she uses this dialogue in future, “I bore him with so much pains,” as if all others were bought from near by grocery shop like $10.00 a bag of Tilda basmati. :)

    Are her parents dead or they can’t see what this young women is being put through? Hope she survives to raise the empror.
    DG

    Like this

  6. Happy Kitten April 10, 2011 at p04 #

    I blv both culture and education has a role to play in gender ratio. As a Keralite, I have always tried to understand why the gender ratio in Kerala is good; the 100% literacy is one factor. Kerala girls had the means to stand on their two feet and hence was seldom considered as a liability even when the menace of dowry existed. But more than that I think there is also another factor which has played a key role; it is the marumakkathayam system: You can read more:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marumakkathayam

    the gender ratio has further improved in Kerala as per the following report from Hindu.
    http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/01/stories/2011040162700500.htm

    Does the fall in gender ratio in the age group 0-6 reflect the overall decrease in population and not because of female feoticde?

    @Happy Kitten,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.

    Sorry your comment went unnoticed.

    Status of women in Kerela as compared to rest of India is strongly attributed to universal education, higher indicators of standard of living and part to the left government that has been in power there for a long time. Since the 1st gulf war a lot has happened in Kerela with reference to economy and crime against women, economy is on decline and crime against women is on rise.

    DG’s hard drive has crashed so she is not able to access to her stash of research studies. Here are two links take a look. The inferences that can be drawn are there is increase in DV in Kerela and education and infrastructure enable women to report it. But what would one say about Rajasthan? poor sex ratio, bad economy, lack of all education and women’s status all play against women, yes they have a strong women’s movement there. :)
    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/kerala-comes-second-on-domestic-violence-lis/234587/
    http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/12/stories/2011021255480600.htm

    DG is aware of Marumakkathayam, http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/marriages-are-sold-to-women-in-a-glossy-cover/#comment-37535 This tradition was only applicable to handful of upper caste members greater society was patriarchal.

    Yes, the decline in 0-6 sex ratio could be due to over all decline in the population in the state of Kerela. DG needs more information to draw conclusions, she hasn’t had time to go through the latest census reports.
    The term is “sex ratio” because “gender ratio” will have to include LGBTQ along with hetrosexuals. :)

    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  7. bandragirl April 9, 2011 at p04 #

    I just discovered your blog via your comment on Neo-Indian’s blog. It is absolutely wonderful. I wish I had known about it before so I don’t now have to read through such a huge backlog of articles.

    @bandragirl,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    How about one post at a time. :)

    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  8. BlueHornbill April 9, 2011 at p04 #

    Dowry problem, blame it on the Raj?? That is a very interesting view point. Thanks for highlighting the book DG. Looks like I really need to take a refresher course on history!! It is particularly interesting to me, close on the heels of David Cameron acknowledging the colonial legacy! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12992540

    I wonder why female infanticide is more prominent in north compared to the south? Does the answer lay in the difference between Aryan and Dravidian culture? More importantly, is this difference slowly vanishing with the onslaught of information technology development, as is happening with many other cultural differences? Because if you look at the 0-6 age group census data, the sex ratio has fallen, even in the two states where there are more females than males, namely Kerala and Puduchery. From 960 in 2001 to 957 in Kerala and from 967 to 965 in Puduchery. Is this random, or is there a worrying trend?

    Like this

    • girlsguidetosurvival April 9, 2011 at p04 #

      @BlueHornbill,

      Yes, we all need a refresher course in histroy and we all should read post colonial reclamation projects because we have been over zealous followers of the Raj, be it IPC 377 or
      victorian morality. Dowry was not a problem in rural Punjab until late 19th century when Ibetson went into ranking castes and Raj brought in Maha pundits to consolidate Hinduism into few books or one like bible.

      First, lets get this Myth of Aryan Invasion straight. A cock and bull story systematically created to legitimize stay of Raj. http://facul​ty.mdc.edu/jmcnair/J​oe8pages/Myth%20of%2​0Aryan%20Invasion%20​Theory.htm

      Now we all know who came from where and how gene M115 landed in the tip of Kerela and from where.
      http://www.pbs.org/thestoryofindia/

      This documentary is on youtube or just google it.

      Yes, falling sex ratio in Kerela and Pondichery is worrisome and is not a random happening. Crime against women is on rise in Kerela. There are more dowry deaths reported in Andhra Pradesh and more abandonment of NRI wives. All this is multiple factors and circular in nature. Economy, globalization, mainstreaming of North India as India and many more factors are working simultaeously against women.

      Globalization is a form of re-colonization. During Raj one could put a face on colonization that it was a white man but with globalization that is not possible as no one person or entity owns the corporation. Globalization has opened jobs for women but has also taken away jobs from men thus making them feel emasculated and failing in their traditional role of provider. It is easy to leash out on women than go after the corporation.

      Please follow DG on gbuzz she indulges in such discussions there more often.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like this

  9. Indian Homemaker April 9, 2011 at p04 #

    Single women’s character assasination is a result of married women’s insecurity. A TV serial called SAAS has a scene where a divorced, working woman was trying to lure a married male colleague towards herself, and she says, “I have a beautiful wife at home, don’t try to lure me with your perfumes.” A single woman is made into a threat for all married women, out to ‘steal’ their ‘providers’.

    The AAj Tak video is shocking (watched the first three parts yet) and sad. This girl’s parents married her to an unwilling man, (with a lot of dowry) who is now pretending to have absconded (six months!) and the in laws want to get rid of her, so they are claiming that they have disowned their son. I too want to blog about this, how easy it is for this man to continue to live and behave so irresponsibly but this woman is feeling abandoned and helpless and feeling her life has been ruined because she is now left with a child and no husband.

    Like this

    • girlsguidetosurvival April 9, 2011 at p04 #

      Yes, communities and families do everything to sell women marriage and only marriage in glossy covers.

      The treatment metted out to single women is a sort of warning to other women for what awaits them if they refuse to follow the line. They are time again told one known intimate abuser is better than 10 unknown men chasing you.

      And at the same time single women are pitted against those married to ensure no responsibility is accorded to straying men. It is always sex straved single woman trying to lure an innocent married man forgetting his pot belly and bald head. :) https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/desi-ex-files/

      DG is so glad she has no means and motive to watch desi soaps. When she was married she had to keep up with KSBKBT coz’ saas was using every dialogue from it. It was exhausting.

      How foolish are this woman’s parents they spent Rs 50,00,000.00 on the wedding to an imp who doesn’t even know the meaning of marriage and parenthood. They could have used this money to set up a business for their daughter.

      Often times, families are perfectly fine in doling out huge sums at weddings and the minute marriage goes sour the charges of dowry extortion are pressed.

      Another interesting thing about desi marriages is benevelent groom’s parents that asks for no dowry just good hospitality of groom’s party. It means waste money on entertaining our guests and we’ll always claim we didn’t ask for dowry and we’ll always abuse you for you failed in hospitality.

      Here is the link from Book Nirmala, the second part just describes that. Even when the mother of the bride is trying to make a sensible argument the masculinity of brides father is challenged. Did anything change in last 90 years? Guess not much.

      http://www.pustak.org/bs/home.php?bookid=3029

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like this

  10. Indian Homemaker April 9, 2011 at p04 #

    //But if marriage was the bane of desi woman kind then there ought not to be other crimes against women outside the homes and especially married women. Marriage as an explanation for failing sex ratio is too simplistic; oppression of women is complex and multifactorial phenomenon.//

    DG, the way I see it, if women were not to be married off and sent away as care givers to another family, they would be valued more by their own families.

    If they are valued more, they will be treated better, fed better, better educated and even given respect.

    =>Once the family respects it’s female members, the society would follow.

    I feel such changes can only begin at family level.

    Like this

    • girlsguidetosurvival April 9, 2011 at p04 #

      @IHM,
      To an extent what you are saying is possible in ideal conditions. But the fact is families do not exist in vacuum, they exist in larger society and larger society influences what happens in the homes and vise versa.

      If families were not to pressure women into getting married by certain age or married at all would work only if the enviornment outside homes would be safe for them. Even when women have stayed with their parents after marriage and their spouses have moved in with her parents violence against women do occur and often times this violence is further legitimatized because man feels emasculated in his father-in-law’s house so the only legitimate candidate of his out leash is his wife. Yes, it might not be physical assault but lots of emotional manipulation and coercion.

      As we discussed earlier in one of your posts single women who refrain marriage are vulnerable of character assasination, stalking, break-ins and physical assaults by unrelated men. Women could be safe in and outside marriage if the other world is more accepting of them. Families are basically preparing women for the anticipated hardships in a strange household and hostile world at the same time.

      Some of us are really treated at par with our brothers rather we are highly educated and employed in higher brackets but still face violence as single women outside the homes and as married women within the homes.
      https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/desi-parenting-raising-confused-daughters/

      The one thing at a time approach has failed so now the latest research in the field of violence prevention suggests dealing with the monster of violence at all levels at the same time be it, interpersonal,familial,community and societal. By using problem solving skill building for couples, gender sensitivity advocacy for families, communities and stringent laws against DV. All have to go hand in hand at all levels.

      Did you check that aaj tak video? That was something at a time even DG’s frame of mind. She thought if your highest education and employement could not keep you safe from spousal assaults then what else would. If your parents spent the same amount of monies and energies in educating you as your spouse at least then you should be treated equal. It felt she were not highly educated the violence wouldn’t have bothered much,at least she would have had an excuse that she was not educated enough or employed better. It was total chaos. We as a couple were not living with his parents but they were living with us 24/7 in our minds and remote controlling was like three people sleeping in the bed. The occassional visits were the worst times.

      Marriage in itself is dysfunctional for majority of women rather injurious to women’s health. It is rather forced on them as their are no safe alternatives available.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like this

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Kafila

media | politics | dissent

"कुरुक्षेत्र"

मेरे विचारो का

समाजवादी जनपरिषद

वैश्वीकरण विरोध हेतु

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

A Desi Girl's Guide to Relationship Survival

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Women's Studies Student Association @ University of Windsor, Ontario

संजीव तिवारी . . Sanjeeva Tiwari .. Chhattisgarh

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