kanya daanam
kanya daanam (Photo credit: mayank ヅ)

In an Hindu marriage, one of the very important part of the ceremony is the ritual of Kanya Daan.

Literally if we translate to English: Kanya means a girl and Daan means a donation. So, donating a girl is quite literally what this ritual is all about.

The father of the bride donates his daughter to the groom.

This is portrayed as a “beautiful” symbol in a Hindu marriage.

But, my question is, why should a woman need to be donated anyways?

The real root of all the social problems that India is facing, specially, against women is because we traditionally never learned to view women as humans with the mind, heart and bodies just like the rest of the population. Women were properties, owned by males in family.

And plus, I feel uncomfortable at the thought that my father, whom I loved all my life , sees me as his ‘property’ and when I will get donated, I will be ‘owned’ by my husband. I don’t want that. I don’t want to be owned by either by my dad or by my husband. I want relationships based on mutual respect and love, and this cant happen with donated goods.

Plus, just like when we donate stuff to orphanages, we never see them, same is the case with the mindset of many Indian parents, who would always advise their daughters to ‘adjust’ to everything, even domestic violence and torture, than bear the shame of a donated daughter coming back home! There are wives who have to take permission from their in-laws to even visit her parents or talk to them over the phone, helping parents financially is actually frowned upon in such households. To read real life examples of women suffering from these problems do visit this blog)

We need to stop treating women like they are owned by men, stop romanticizing the ‘ancient rituals’ and see it for what they actually came in practice for.

So, as my part, I pledge that there is not going to be KanyaDaan at my wedding, obviously NO dowry.

To the guy who would marry me, marry me for ME, not my dad’s money, not to gain ownership of me, not to get an unpaid maid, not to get free hot means on time, not to get free cook.

Hey, if you feel you deserve to be treated like a pati-parmeshvar (husband is god), I deserve to be treated like a goddess (sadly no female name for wife- parmeshwar in Hindi so had to use an English version)

If you want a wife to be your equal than great, otherwise you are in for an EXTREMELY RUDE SHOCK..* devilish loud laugh*

Laws alone are not enough. WE need to change ourselves and our mindsets, embrace what is new, discard what is wrong, even if it is packaged as religion/ tradition.

Lets bring in a CHANGE, RING THE BELL!

(This post is written for ‘ring for change’ initiative in indiblogger. Check out more of this campaign on: www.bellbajao.org. )