Marriage is an entity of benign omens and configurations made in the heaven, performed on the earth. It’s a gracious threshold to unification of two souls and of two families. As a prime religious ceremony, its zenith lies in a father’s courage to give away his piece of heart, his daughter in a poised and sacred alliance to another man as her better half. Also known as “Kanya daan” in Hindu wedding, it’s the father of the bride that offers his daughter for marriage on a promise that the groom shall perform his duties as a husband according to the vedic(religious) hymns recited during the ceremony. For a father indeed this is a moment of peak emotions as he fondly remembers the time when he cuddled his little daughter in his arms, rode her on his strong back, was swept away by her fascinating innocence, hugged her when she had a nightmare or a problem just to see that little girl leave to a different destination one day! It must take a father’s breath away to give away his child with such deep feelings and subconscious fear for his daughter’s wellbeing in her new life.
From invoking loud chants to seven divine circuits of the holy fire (as in Hinduism), marriage is an inception of blushing emotions and a moment of coy as the bride and the groom decide to walk their journey together. With being betrothed comes a great responsibility on the couple to fructify a relationship based on mutual support and love. This elemental feature is the hallmark of being wedded to conjoin and be inseparable. Also known as ‘‘exchange of Vows” or “Saptapadi’’, these are seven significant steps in Hindu rites that defines marriage as an institution based on spiritual bond between the bride and her groom. It’s here that the couple vows to each other a healthy relationship, prosperous living, righteous lifestyle, happiness, harmony and faith, creating a family together, longevity of their marital relationship, and of being true and loyal to each other in order to sustain their companionship.
If these are the sacraments we preach and practice over centuries in India then
Why does the holy fire turn into a bride’s pyre?
Why are some newly wed brides estranged, silently suppressed, emotionally harassed and in worst cases abused and burned to death?
Is the idea of marriage today companionship or a competitive sale?
Has education and urbanization taught us nothing at all?
Is being religious, devotional to god through fasting and pilgrimages taught us to suck a father’s blood through dowry if he wants to see his daughter settled and happy?
When shall we cease inequalities between daughters and daughter-in-laws that cause us to be intellectually, emotionally and religiously immobile to practice what we learn from holy prayers and scriptures?
Are those people who are ready to bargain their son today, also ready to bargain their own daughter tomorrow?
If there is a price tag on an individual, is there a bargain for bruised emotions too?
Is being educated professionally, belonging to a good family, being raised with values just not enough for a girl to be happily married?
Is it moral to ask for dowry in a smart, intelligent way and then later proclaim that ‘we didn’t ask for anything, we didn’t get any anything’?
How would it feel to lose a young, lively and beautiful daughter? How would it feel to hear her cry, sob with pain?
What would it be like to face a crisis that haunts most fathers and daughters in India?
If Dowry means “stri-dhan”(gifts given by parents to their daughter, a property of the woman, her share of her parent’s wealth) then why is she tormented and trampled for her own wealth?
Can India contain the benefits of globalization if its daughters are strangled by a social evil?
Who should be blamed for this?
......the parents of the girl, the girl herself, the in-laws or the society and our state of mind that forces us to such immoral acts through its injurious social comparisons?
These are some questions that certainly dismay parents in India and abroad as their daughters turn marriageable or are in a marital relationship. If we still wait for someone else to be a Spartan to “say no” to dowry, then who shall be the first one to break this vicious cycle?
Today it’s happening to someone else’s daughter. Tomorrow it could happen to you and your daughter.
Just think about it!