Breaking the cycle…

A family broke up a few days ago.

They were a middle class business family, until the husband’s business failed and the wife was forced to start a ‘tiffin business’ to help provide for her family. With her persistence and hard work, she managed to get things going, educate the children – a girl and a boy and even support her husband to start another business. Today, we heard that apparently the husband raised a hand at the wife , said some stuff and she raised alarm and got neighbours and relatives to chuck her husband out of the house.

Well, I am certainly not getting into the rights and wrongs of this – I do not know enough to make any kind of a judgement.  What really shocked me was that they were planning to get the daughter married of soon. She just competed her twelfth. 19 years old. Apparently they just want to finish off that ‘responsibility’.

It just makes me wonder  – will this cycle ever break? This particular mother wants to marry off the daughter – because she has some money now and can afford it. She is not sure if she will be able to afford it later. The logic is that anyways, they don’t expect her to be a ‘doctor/engineer’ so why waste money and time educating her? We are ready to sponsor her education, if that will persuade them to allow her to study a bit more. But from the look of it, it looks doubtful. It just makes me feel so helpless.

Another child married off – simply because that is a responsibility to be ‘completed’. I wonder if anybody thinks of her aspirations, her dreams.. And more practical matters like getting her equipped to deal with whatever, that comes her way.  Won’t an education open up her mind, give her a way of supporting herself if need be? There are so many things that can be done – diplomas, courses that can help her support her family..  If she is ever, god forbid, in the situation that her mother is today, won’t she be better off with a little education. If not anything else, I think it will make her at least more confident, more likely to able to  take the right decision, than a 19 yr old getting married off to the first man who comes her way.  And also, likely to get a far better match. But no, a better future is something that is important only for the son… for the daughter, the most important thing is to get married off, as quickly as possible..

After all, if we do not break the cycle – it will never break, will it? If this girl is married off now, it is more than likely that she will have little say in the choice of a husband. She might have little say in a lot of things in her future too.. And she might end up meting out the same treatment to her children as well…

I have been told, that I am just not understanding their condition. That is, it is best that the girl gets married off now..  I’m sorry but I just cannot comprehend it – will this cycle ever break? Why do so many of us accept this so calmly?  Does a parent’s responsibility towards a daughter end as soon as they marry her off? Am I being too ’emotional’ in my reaction?

41 thoughts on “Breaking the cycle…

  1. No, you`re not being emotional. What you say makes perfect sense. The only thing surprising is that a battered woman herself wants to push the daughter into the same maze, knowing what might await her. Its important for the daughter to get some kind of education(any kind..vocational training etc) so she can atleast work to sustain herself if need be. I`m guessing that med school or any professional institution is pbly unaffordable. But education is a must. That is the vital point here. I wonder why the woman chooses to ignore this. Very sad..
    An excellent though-provoking post!

    Agree with everything you’ve said here.. I wonder too, why the woman wants to push her daughter into the same cycle..

  2. Smitha, as you have said the chain must be broken somewhere and also parents must stop considering that until marriage their child is of their responsibility… any human like to get off their responsibility as soon as possible.. that is what happening in marriages…

    Yes.. sad isn’t it? The most important decision in one’s life – taken in this way?

    hope they think ahead and believe that their daughter have a life to live and she must be equipped with education to face it

    Yes, I hope so too..

  3. Even I have never understood this “responsibility” of getting girls married off. So tragic. How sad parents aren’t bothered how the girl lives after marriage.

    I know.. I just cannot understand this..How is a daughter less of a child than a son, is something I can never understand..

  4. hmmm, sad…very sad………….

    education is the key, why dont people realize this………………
    and getting married at 19 is atrocious…………… not fair….. 😦 😦 to the girl……

    I know.. and I can’t tell you how sad I feel for the poor girl…

    is this in england?? i cannot believe it…..

    no no, not in england.. I heard it on the phone 😦

  5. It is a vicious cycle isn’t it?!

    I know!, really vicious..

    I blame the parents. Kids at 19 are impressionable. You fill their heads with romantic nonsense about marriage at such an early age, they will get influenced.

    Yes, and even if the girl’s head is not full of ‘romantic nonsense about marriage’ – they will be ‘trained’ from childhood to believe the marriage is their only goal in life..

    19 is the age to be having fun, to be studying and dreaming about a good education.
    Not the age to be getting married.

    Its sad really, that her own mother thinks she is some kind of “responsibility”.

    That is the saddest thing..

    I think you, even as an outside, has understood their position perfectly. and you are right. Education will ensure a better future for her.

    It kind of makes me feel helpless when I read such stuff… sigh.
    Makes me feel helpless too…

  6. Smitha, it’s sad that women esp. battered ones go with the flow and don’t break the cycle…In this case it seems that the mother wants to be free – get a life for herself without responsibilities…It’s sad but that’s how it is with Indians even the educated and enlightened ones…

    ‘ it seems that the mother wants to be free – get a life for herself without responsibilities’ – you are probably right.. Sad, isn’t it?

  7. Well, it is difficult to make a judgment on someone’s decision without understanding the entire dynamics of the situation. Theoretically, yes, I would agree with what you say because we have broken that cycle and believe that is the better way.

    Yes, I just cannot understand it why this happens …

  8. You are not being emotional at all, Smitha. I wonder why the girl does not resist even after watching her father abusing her mother. She has studied upto 12th and they must be watching TV serials which show how wrong it is to get married so early in life and how important education/some sort of degree, is. And her mother is running a business too!

    The girl probably doesnot resist, because she does not have much of a voice in the house.. I don’t know.. I wish I knew.. Yes, one would assume that seeing what the mother went through, she would be more aware and would not push her daughter into the same fate..

    As you said the girl can join some polytechnic course, for 2 years, earn for atleast 2-3 years or more and save money, which will help her to buy some jewels or something. The mother’s burden will be less, in this way and the girl might get a better match.
    I know.. I wish they would understand that..

    Once the parents understand the value of education, the girls willl be treated equally as sons and not as a ‘responsibility’.
    True, so very true..

  9. If there is no other reason-and I cannot know that without having all the facts- then the mother should not think she should marry off her daughter now because she may not be able to afford it later.

    From what I know, the reason is that she has some money now, and is scared that it might not remain and might find it difficult to marry her daughter off later..

    If the daughter obtains an education, she herself will be able to earn money later on for her own marriage (if it is really necessary to have a costly marriage- many girls insist on simple marriages nowadays.)

    I agree.. But in some communties, dowry and stuff is still so prevalent that they cannot even think of not giving a dowry 😦

  10. You are being sensible and they are not.

    this is highly unfair and dangerous on the part of the girl. the mother who has seen all the trouble must not do this to her own girl. she should have learnt from her life, and let the girl be independent and then get her married. not only to finish off the responsibility.

    How does one make them understand that? When they clearly see a daughter, simply as a responsiblity to be married off…

  11. The chain will break..and it has to start from our generation to achieve that

    And I do think that things are changing.. just not fast enough for some people..

  12. its really sad..

    i personally feel this cycle is hard to break unfortunately…
    Yes, I guess you are right.. it is particularly difficult when the society thinks like this..

  13. i was in those shoes too at 20. the only person who can break this cycle is the girl itself. No mountain is so high, No river too deep..

    Wow! Anrosh! That is so impressive. I am amazed that you managed to break out..
    No mountain is so high, No river too deep.. one just needs the will, I guess

  14. I know a few people who did that like maids and construction workers. They all get their daughters married off when they are 18 or 19 that too with no education. If they have 1 kid that kinda does well in school, then they make the other kids drop out and educate this one kid. But there is no way they are going to let that kid study medicine or engineering maybe till 12th thats it.Do you think if this woman was middle class type she would have educated her daughter? But one really can’t blame her God knows what kind of emotional trauma she is going through. Some people just want to escape from it all- like running away from life. I am not justifying her actions but some truth might come out if she is counseled.

    Yes, you are right.. and if she were counseled – she may actually try and educate her daughter – who knows…I just hope that it works out for them, one way or the other..

    On a side note not every mom is like that- my maids husband left her when she was pregnant with her 5th kid. That woman educated her daughter (she used to come to my mom for english lessons- poor gal !!!) Thi girl is now a teacher in a school! And my maid, Gyanamba is SO happy!!

    Yes, not every mother is like that.. I had a maid too, like that.. Her husband used to beat her, harras her, but she used to somehow ensure that her daughter went to school and got an education – because she was clear that she did not want a life like that for her daughter! Here’s to all the Gyanambas of the world!

    Sorry if this is too long but hey, you didn’t say anything about word restrictions!! 😛

    No word restrictions at all 🙂 I will be honoured if you think my post worthy of a long comment 🙂

  15. It is really sad that a girl who is just 19 is getting married.When parents think girl is a burden why they give birth to her (i may sound rude here and this is not a right question).
    The girl won’t say anything because she has seen her father raising his hands on her mom

    I know.. the girl will probably be too scared to say anything..

  16. Is she married yet??? If not, tell me and OG her matrimonial id, will ya ??? 😀 😀

    Vimmuuu!! Aren’t you already engaged??? You cannot go around making such comments any more 🙂

  17. the problem is a vicious circle because that mother doesnt dare to support her daughter’s right to a “life” of her own. The daughter will do the same to her daughter and so on. Its the females that have to be strong and say no.

    Yes, you are right.. It is the women who need to be strong and say no.

  18. Its hard to break the cycle. It will take a few more hundred years, atleast in India.
    I used to think that the present generation is going to change it, but staying in a small town in India for 1. 5 years opened my eyes, where the young generations is worse than the previous one.

    Younger generation worse than the previous one? God! That sounds bad!

  19. I absolutely agree with you that education is the solution for this malpractice. An educated woman will understand teh importance of liberty of her daughter and will set her free from bondage..

    Welcome here, JD. True, education will make a difference in so many areas..

    Times have changed and awareness has creeped in. If u ever travel to tiny hamlets u will be surprised and pleased to see girls taking their own decisions and making a difference to society..

    Yes, I am aware of that.. But the sad thing is that things like what I mentioned happen too, unfortunately..

  20. As Vinod Sharma said theoretically girls should not be married off at 19 years.But practically in many communities in India even now this is the norm. May be the ‘market value’ of a girl is maximum at that age.
    The mother’s thinking will be like this.
    “Education is good but may not bring a good job or a ‘good’ bridegroom.The cash in hand may help in marrying her off to a financially well settled family. As the age increases the ‘cost’ of marriage may also increase.So why not ‘settle’ her early and hope for the best?
    Things are changing but only slowly and at different pace in different communities.

    Yes, things are changing slowly and at a different pace in different communities.. True. I understand the ‘money logic’ – but I just feel that is not good for the girl – in the long run..

  21. It’s sad when the mum feels this way, But I agree with Vinod’s(I think) comment abt we dont know what the dynamics are and hence should reserve judgement.

    I feel that in Delhi/Mumbai, girls do not feel the pressure to marry so soon, from what I have heard , my cousins, dh’s relatives.At least, there is some progress right. Hopefully rural India will follow suit.

    Yes, things are definitely changing.. probably not as fast as one would like, though..

  22. I am hoping that this cycle will break with our generation. Girls have always been considered a burden or a responsibility, it is almost impossible to change the mindset of our previous generation. So its better to stop trying and make sure that our daughters don’t have to go through that.

    Yes, that is true.. Probably the only way out..

  23. Not aware of the circumstances hence cannot comment. But I pray that the boy she marries supports her wishes and she is encouraged to pursue her studies further, if that is what she desires.

    I hope she has a better life than her mother had..

  24. To hell with responsibilities .. I can’t understand y ppl can’t just be practical … I feel very bad abt it 😦 U know, I know of a couple who married off their 17 yr old to a 34 yr old man!!!!!! Y? – Just bcoz he was earning some decent amount n they said it can be a simple marriage. She is so young 😦

    Goodness!!! 17 yr old to a 34 yr old man??? What were they thinking? It saddens me to see such things still happening around us..

    I just hope people learn to think beyond responsibilities.
    And understand that the real responsibility is to ensure that our children have a good future, the capability of facing everything.

    ‘If she is ever, god forbid, in the situation that her mother is today, won’t she be better off with a little education’ – thatz the whole point…. nobody wants to wish something bad for others .. but u never know what life throws at u 😦 We hv to be ready for everything … Hope God gives her the power to think!!!
    I know.. I hope life turns out okay for her- despite all this..

  25. Dunno what to say here. It is sad but who knows, the girl might just get lucky!

    Yes, lets hope for that.. And I love your new profile pic 🙂 Yuvaan is looking so cute!

  26. No you are not being too emotional in saying this… but this is how a lot of Indians think….

    I know.. and it makes me sad.

  27. Why do we attach so much importance to marriage?

    Quirky Indian

    I guess, even now, in certain communities – the goal in a girl’s life is to be a good ‘bahu’ and a boy’s life is to be an ‘obedient’ son to his parents 😦

  28. Feel sorry about her 😦
    But I guess in kerala things are getting better…thanks to increase in number of nursing schools , engenering colleges and educational loans.In my native plave, if u ask to any girl(student),wht u doing,the answer will be either BSE nursing or engineering

    I know a twin from batch( a boy and gal).Both of them were very good in stdies.But after 12th the guy opted for bcom and encouraged his twin sister to join an engineering college(there parents were not finatialy strong to support both of them for professional course at same time).and once she completed her course, he joined for MBA…i know these are exceptionnal cases.but i feel things are getting better now a days…don’t knw

    Kerala is definitely far far ahead. Most girls grow up knowing that they will be working.. and I think quality of life is also much better for women in Kerala.. This is from another part of India – where such things are quite common..

  29. feel sad about the parents and girl both. because what the parents think…responsibility not true, marrying an economically dependent daughter they are taking a lifelong responsibility. I request all the parents to let their daughters stand on their feet and then marry.

    I wish some parents understood this! You have said it so beautifully!

  30. It is frustrating to watch these things happening and not being able to change.

    And in this case this cycle is being perpetuated by a woman who should be knowing the value of financial independence.

    Well, one would have thought that…

    The cycle can break only when the woman takes a stand.

    I agree with everything you say..

  31. No,Smits,you are not being overtly emotional.Your concerns are very legitimate.

    Its a pity that,despite the world progressing in various fields, there still are people who stall that progress by harbouring such ancient and ridiculously conservative thoughts as thinking education is not going to do any good for girls and they are anything but a burden.

    Its a sorry state indeed!
    I know.. it makes me feel so helpless..

  32. you totally made sense, Smitha, not emotional and all…it’s hard to understand how a mother who has been thru sooo much would not want her daughter to get some higher studies and be financially independent…

    That is something I just do not understand..

    i’m so grateful to my parents cuz they have given me higher education and have let me be till now…i can’t imagine what it would’ve been like if they got me married when i was still a teenager…

    Seriously! Now, I really value my parents for the way they brought me up..

  33. It’s a sad state of affairs and trust me I know how bad it feels when you don’t finish your studies (as I left mine mid way). I was just wondering if the girl is opposing this decision of her parents? I know in most cases it doesn’t work but still is she trying?? Maybe then you can help her coz now a days even in India there are laws against forced marriages..

    You were made to leave your studies?
    I don’t know how much I can do.. Will try my best though..

    • well I was not forced by anyone to leave my studies…it was the other way around. I mean I was forced to take up a study field which I was not interested in…so midway left it by forcing my entire family to accept it….and I tell you it took a lot of effort and drama..

      oh right.. That happened to a lot of my friends too.. Especially those who wanted to take up Arts instead of science..I can imagine the effort and the drama 🙂

  34. No Smitha you are not being too emotional..
    Sadly this is the way a lot families still think. what we can do is just hope that things will get better some day…

    I just breaks my heart that there is so little that I can do..

  35. Smitha, true you are being emotional but we all need to be for things like these. We need to feel because that is how we can help things get better. That said, I believe this cycle does break but it happens slowly. For families where it breaks in one generation is unusual indeed. It can take up to 2-3 generations but the first step is to educate the girl child at least till the 12th. That is the first step and the family is on its way.

    Yes, you are right.. It does take time.. and generations before things change..

  36. I won’t say you are getting over emotional. When we such a thing in present times it hurts. On the one hand we talk about development etc but the fact is that majority of people still live in that mindset where girls are a mere responsibility.

    Until the mindset changes the cycle will keep on going!!! 😦

  37. “I have been told, that I am just not understanding their condition.”

    Let me tell you, YOU are the one who IS understanding the problem here. Society consists mainly of sheep/zombies blindly following what they have seen so far. First and foremost we must be taught to ‘think’ use their grey cells and question, find answers on our own. But then that’s the first thing that religion, culture/tradition and the rest of the jingbang don’t let us do.

    So true.. If only people realised that society/culture is not the best judge of things.. And that sometimes, if we value happiness, we might have to sacrifice the ‘approval of the society’ in order to achieve happiness..

    Personally I have never understood this ‘completing of responsibility’ as marrying off a daughter is commonly referred to. Good heavens, isn’t she your child the same as your son?? How can anyone even talk like that is beyond me! Besides, most parents are willing to break their backs marrying off a daughter with pots of money but would never even think of using the same pots of money to educate her and help her stand on her own feet. And to justify that they have all those ladki is a ‘bhoj woj’ dialogue so common in fillums and Ekta Kapoor serials. They prefer to ‘feed her fish’ rather than ‘teach her to fish’ if you know what I mean. If at all she ends up with “too much of love and affection” at her in-laws then they tell her she should learn to be an amphibian or even worse a land animal, all rolled into one, of course while still ‘serving with a smile’!

    ‘most parents are willing to break their backs marrying off a daughter with pots of money but would never even think of using the same pots of money to educate her and help her stand on her own feet. ‘ – I just cannot understand this either! And I have seen even educated parents behaving like this!

    ‘If at all she ends up with “too much of love and affection” at her in-laws then they tell her she should learn to be an amphibian or even worse a land animal, all rolled into one, of course while still ‘serving with a smile’!’ – The smile is essential, so what if her life is not worth living!

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