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Women have feelings just like men do!!

June 26, 2008

If you believe that women are sub-human or less important than men, don’t read further.

daughter in lawHow a woman or girl should behave with her in-laws or after marriage is a subject discussed in bedrooms and drawing rooms and the media as well. Why, there is even a school in the Madhya Pradesh called the Manju Sanskar Kendra (Manju Traditional School) which teaches girls to become “ideal wives.” – They are taught to serve husbands with “with body and soul and win laurels from God” and often it is the future in-laws who ask the girls to enroll. There is a more sophisticated version of this school called the Priya Warrick Finishing School in New Delhi, which conducts workshops in social etiquette”, joint family values and nuclear family values”,Understanding a man/women relationship” and “Interaction with future in-laws,” amongst other things.

I can understand why such schools spring up – a demand from traditional in-laws and and the opportunity to make money for the owners.

What I cannot understand is why educated columnists and “experts” dole out similar advise in national media. The article I am referring to appeared in a tabloid, but even that doesn’t make it less offensive. Okay, I admit, it made my blood boil.

Written by a professional counselor and psychologist, Uttam Dave, it tells girls that “In the Indian context, the onus for overall adjustment in life always lies largely with the woman” and well it’s implied that women have to grin and bear it as Indian men will not adjust! Oh yes, Dave does say that “some” men do try and adjust “after their emotional needs are met by the wife.” This isn’t the end of the regressive advise. Dave suggests that young married girls have to go all out to meet the emotional needs of not just their husbands, but also his parents, sisters and other family members.

What beats me is how a young girl, plunged into an alien environment, her name and life changed, be expected to muster up this kind of attitude? She is supposed to be more mature than even the elders in the house? Surely, it’s this girl-woman who needs comfort, because she is in a strange place…not her in-laws!! But no, she has been advised to go all out to try and adjust without reciprocation!!

That is the key phrase here, without reciprocation. It doesn’t matter if she is insulted, she has to put up with it! Mr. Dave says that she is to “make it a point to overlook small lapses made by the in-laws and try to understand them as human beings.” She is not supposed to make “constant comparisons” with her biological family as “every household has its own distinct culture and adapting to it and enriching it should be the sole aim.”

Dave’s other pearls of wisdom?? The new bride should not be “over possessive.”

Another gem – this Mr Dave the psychologist advises young women not to be friendly with or be “extra-talkative” with neighbours, maids, etc., because it can be “injurious” to relationships!! He is talking about the relationship with in-laws ofcourse. He obviously knows that being friendly and talkative with those outside the family will not be liked by the in-laws and he wants the girl to accept it. If the girl is friendly (now who is to judge whether she is over-friendly or not?) with others he says the family will be “wary” of letting her on to “family’s secrets and controversial topics.” So this psychologist is agreeing that a girl being friendly with outsiders will be frowned upon but he sees nothing wrong with it!

That bit about the in-laws letting a new bride onto family secrets seems nonsense to me. If the in-laws accept the bride as a part of the family they will let her on to the secrets regardless of whether she is friendly or over-friendly with anyone. If they don’t it’s because they don’t consider her a part of the family although she is expected to behave as if she is!!

The article also advises women to not try and change their in-laws’ beliefs on “major things like faith or lifestyle” and that they should try to control their “anger and temper tantrums” even if they “feel the need to complain” to their husbands.

husband wifeTemper tantrums? What about the temper tantrums of the mother in law or the husband? Are they allowed ?

I wonder if Mr Dave even realised that by giving this kind of advise he has shown Indian in-laws in a bad light. It also makes me wonder why more women don’t go insane with these expectations from them! Well, at times they become desperate enough to kill themselves … 21 percent of all suicides in India are committed by housewives, second only to self-employed people (24 percent). Lack of love and respect at home, dowry harassment, mental torture at the hands of in-laws, abandonment and/or sexual abuse is often the cause of despair in women.

True, the expert does say that in case of physical and mental cruelty the woman should walk out and seek a divorce…but to my mind if a girl actually follows his other suggestions, she will probably have to walk out anyway. Either to live separately from her in-laws or file for divorce. Why do you ask?

Because the reality of Indian life is this:-

  • Most married girls living in traditional joint families do make adjustments for marital harmony
  • It is the in-laws who are more possessive of their son than the new bride of her husband
  • The bride does not try to change the in-law’s lifestyle but it is the in-laws who expect her to change
  • The new bride usually mentions her biological family only once in a while (not constantly) but even this is frowned upon
  • In-laws do not let a new daughter-in-law in on family secrets, however pleased they are with her

So, if this is the scenario, why the need for bullshit advise? Oh didn’t you know…the advise is so that the poor girl can get along with abusive in-laws. Which finally results in the breaking up of the joint family.

And in any case, girls who swallow insults will get more of them. Why, I have personally seen cases up close where the in-laws are not satisfied with anything the girl does. The more she tries to please them, the more they demand of her. As it is she is in an unequal power equation and more often than not reluctant to break up her marriage. And I have seen a case where the girl took the ill-treatment and then took revenge on her in-laws when they grew old. Is this what Mr. Dave is advocating?

This type of advise can ruin the mental health of families. Living in the house can become unbearable with the tension and the girl will leave, most of the time to set up house on her own. In extreme cases she will leave her husband or he may leave her because of the interference of his parents. Or the girl will commit suicide or go crazy. Or perhaps if she will take revenge on her in-laws when her time comes…why she may herself become a mean mother-in-law.

The truth is that if the in-laws are decent people, Mr. Dave’s advise is not necessary. Decent in-laws will understand the nature of give and take and realise that the best chance of a harmonious relationship with their daughter-in-law is to be humane towards her. In fact any decent human being will know that just one person giving her all can never work in the long term and will give rise to suppressed rage and simmering hate.

Today we live in a strange sort of joint family, with just one son and his wife with his parents. In the olden days, when the joint family system worked well, there were always more than two women in the house…often 3-4. Several sister-in-laws, brothers-in-law, several older women. It made it difficult for abuse to go unnoticed. Today abuse happens within the small claustrophobic walls of tiny apartments with one couple (parents of the boy) lording it over a young, innocent bride. Uttam Dave’s advise will perpetuate the injustice that goes on.

Note: A reader (A. Iyer) sent me the link to the Mumbai Mirror article, with a request that I write about it. He wrote:

Recently I came across an article in Mumbai mirror that really got my goat. It was giving chauvinistic advice on how a new bride should conduct herself with her in-laws in her new home. As a dad to a teenage daughter I was upset at the backward stance of the article but my daughter was just furious!!… No one is against adjusting with your soul mate but why was there no advice for the husband who should go out of his way to make his new bride comfortable?

He also sent me links of two more blog posts which have criticized the article by Uttam Dave. unwantedgirlchild.blogspot.com/knot nice and chandni.wordpress.com/kahaani-ghar-ghar-ki-or-insert-a-k-serial

(Photos are by me and copyrighted)

Related Reading: Side-effects of the shortage of women
Why men batter women
The devaluation of cooking
Pre-marital sex is taboo in India
How women are portrayed in the Indian media
The historical reasons for women fasting during Karva Chauth
India’s skewed sex-ratio
Matriarchal societies – did they ever exist?

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62 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2008 8:13 am

    Eww. ..for lack of anything more coherent to say.

    I’m not particularly surprised by the fact that Mr Dave thinks like this but I am surprised that the editors were willing to have it published. Even if they agree with what he says, applying just an iota of common sense should have told them that the advice would infuriate a lot of people.

    Besides, if that’s what one wants to hear, one doesn’t have to go any further than the Aunty next door who keeps on offering unsolicited advice. God knows, I’ve heard more than enough of the ‘but you don’t know how to serve men’. Never mind that I don’t have the slightest desire to.

    Strangely enough though, the last time I got an adjust and compromise lecture, it was from a woman whom I barely know in reference to my dealing with not a man but an abusive female roommate who could, like almost all abusive people, turn on the charm at will. I somehow doubt that she got a lecture about how it might help if she didn’t act like an absolute ______ (fill in as desired ;-) ).

    Was left with an extremely strong desire to knock both their heads together.

  2. June 26, 2008 8:54 am

    Tow things I would like to say here, Nita:
    1. Media standards are abysmally low across the nation, and I speak from personal experience. A paper that allows this kinda crap is only stooping to reach the lowest common reader.
    2. Females in India are the real culprits as far as chauvinism and sexism are concerned: in the sense that it is their sense of insecurity and lack of self-confidence, and perhaps awareness of rights, that allows them not only to suffer sexism at home and the workplace, but ALSO to propagate them by discriminating on other women. How many mothers and MILs are for equality in sexes? In how many households would the women eat later than the menfolk? Most, unless you are looking only at homes like your own.

  3. June 26, 2008 9:00 am

    Nandita, Rdoc thanks. I want to reply to your comments right now because the subject is such I have a lot to say, but am caught up in something right now! Anyone else who comments do excuse me if I don’t reply till late today. Thanks.

  4. June 26, 2008 9:33 am

    Fabulous post, Nita!

    Women do have feelings, usually more than what men have! The regressive mediæval, feudal mindset (that has been replaced by its modern day equivalent – an ugly “free market capitalist” mindset) is to treat one half of the population as third-class citizens, “child-bearers” and “child-rearers”, “sex objects” and “child-bearing machines” to produce (preferably male) offspring to ensure continuity of the family line etc. A woman is not viewed as a human being by people with such mindsets but are treated as “a vessel to receive her husband’s sperm”, an “unpaid domestic worker” whose wages are exploitation, abuse and ill-treatment at the hands of her in-laws while her cowardly husband passively watches it or activately takes part in it.

    One half of the female population is often the greatest enemy of the other half while males become tools to be used by one half or the other. Bad mothers-in-law view their daughters-in-law as unpleasant but unavoidable additions to their families and treat them like dirt. No wonder then, that if you rearrange the letters in mother-in-law, you would get woman Hitler. Good mothers-in-law (and fathers-in-law), on the other hand, view their daughters-in-law as their own daughters and treat them as their own offspring. The daughter-in-law of such parents-in-law would reciprocate by loving them and treating them as her own parents.

    What sort of “educated expert” is that Dave? And the first “school” is a mediæval, feudal institution belonging to the dark ages while the second one is its modern day successor – a nasty, third-grade “free market capitalist” teaching shop!

  5. Sakhi permalink
    June 26, 2008 9:46 am

    Raj has expressed most of the things i want to say. i recently posted a story of a girl “shuchi” on my blog… addressing almost what you say though in different perspect. It is a true story with the name and the backdorp changed to protect the identity…

    but such things really go on and rather than we going to future and being more mature and sensitive to the other hman being, we are going backward in our behaviour. And the “experts” like Mr. Dave endorse such things so in people’s mind it becomes even more justified ! :X

  6. rudresh permalink
    June 26, 2008 10:18 am

    for me what you had written and what the article has said, both are correct and like the two faces of truth.

    like the case of over possiveness.any one can be overpossive whether a mother or a wife. I donot know,how many you are agreed,but girls expect that as she had left her parents ,the husband should do the same or at lest spend 99% of time with her.Even sometime having a bedtea with the parents make them jealous.
    About family secrets,its basic human tendency that you donot have turst build in a single day.It requires time and understanding.Its the both way whether for in laws and newly married girl.tell me how many girls on the first very day start revealing the things about their parents and brothers or sisters.And many girls do transfer the in laws faimly issues and secrets to her parents(nothing strange as they are her parents,her close trusty since childhood).
    every family has their own ways of daily living and day to day activites.For example some families wake up earlier have different routine,some wake up at 9 and then have their breakfast at 10 and so on.So if one is moving from one atmosphare to other who has to get changed?although it is diffuclt and require time but one has to try to do that.As i used to do the things that way and i will not change is not going to take you anywhere.If in laws expect the bride to change on first day or with in one month then that may be wrong but after six months or so they expect that,then its normal.

    Now the point of woman rights ,her equality etc.
    Time has changed and woman are aware of their rights and should be.Every one is equals and should treat to be like that.
    And I agree with all your points against adjustment by young girl bride if the girl bride considered that duties are also equals.They have same duty towards the household as husband and if husband giving her a space,she has to give him space also and equally demanding or non demanding towards eachother.
    But you may agreed or not in india there are many girls who had agreely accepted the rights but not the duties.
    there are many who still beleive in the fact that its man duty to earn and make woman happy,and in this regard accepting the old age tradition of mariage but when that old age tradtion expect them to adjust they simply find it anti women.

    So my point is please look it both way.I respect a woman ,who is self dependent and consider herself as no way less then man and if the discimination is against that woman and some one asking that woman to adjust more in marriage life ,I will simply tell them “GO TO HELL’.
    But if a newly bride thinks like this:
    “i donot like to work as i consider myself as a house wife,please accept this and never even hint me to do a job”
    “I cannot wake up early even after the alarm as i am not used to.My mom give me the bed tea then only I woke up”
    “I never cooked at home and never make chappati as my mom never let me do the same”
    If the woman thinks like this way and if she expect equal adjustment from in laws and husband then i think is unfair to a guy whom you expect in traditional husband role but dening him the benfits of traditional husband .

  7. June 26, 2008 10:39 am

    Media is getting from bad to worse nowadays.
    A School in Madhya Pradesh? oh, our country is running in reverse.

  8. yashvee permalink
    June 26, 2008 11:05 am

    A thought-provoking post!!

    it describes the same situation of which i am a witness..
    i dont know why these MIL have so much insecurity about their sons. why they just cant accept the fact that your son can love some woman also and at the same time his love and respect remains the same..
    why cant they be just Mothers instead of MIL???
    in this era the condition of DIL has even become worsen.. due to modern lifestyle and inflation touching new heights she has to earn as well as work and serve the family.. MILs want their DIL to help financially and at the same time want them to have ‘Ghooghat’ and follow all traditions.. they want their DIL to compromise emotionally, socially, financialy and what not!!!!
    so in nutshell the life of the poor girl becomes hell..
    she lives simply because she has to live…
    i dont when this scenario would change…

  9. June 26, 2008 11:31 am

    I was also thinking of giving u chandni’s link when I saw that u have already got it. i m appalled that a psychologist could write and obviously have such retro beliefs and propagate them. all such people make me curious about their personal lives.

  10. Aditi permalink
    June 26, 2008 11:40 am

    Hi Nita,
    For some reason the link to Dave’s article is not working. Can you check it? Thanks.

    sorry about this! Link has been fixed! – Nita.

  11. June 26, 2008 12:29 pm

    The duality in the treatment and position of women in India has always intrigued me. With all her rich cultural antiquity, diversity and heritage, India has also been a country that has suppressed her women.
    It is ironic to say the least, because Indians have always worshipped their country as a “janani” or mother. On the one hand they worship this mother, and on the other they disregard their sisters, daughters, mothers, and wives.

    The invaluable contribution of women in keeping a society sane and stable and on the other hand emotional and psychological bankruptcy of a society where precariously unbalanced sex ratio has created a morally instable society.

    India is one of the few countries in the world and also where women and men have nearly the same life expectancy at birth. Certainly history of women is not one of unrelieved misery

    Transforming the prevailing social discrimination against women must become the top priority, and must happen concurrently with increased direct action to rapidly improve the social and economic status of women. In this way, a synergy of progress can be achieved. i am convinced that the empowerment of women must begin at the very beginning itself, even before birth…..

    The odds are stacked heavily against her right from conception to the moment she breathes her last. But ever so often women in India break free of the shackles of tradition and prejudice that fix them in defined roles to take on – and conquer – male bastions.

    The highest national priority must be the unleashing of woman power in governance. That is the single most important source of societal energy that we have kept corked for half a century.

    …..It all comes down to political will, even for saving a mother….

  12. Preeta S permalink
    June 26, 2008 1:13 pm

    hi ,

    i read about the article at the Unchaahi website and it really made me angry.Tthe link to the MM article is not working. I am posting the link below. http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?page=article&sectid=9&contentid=2008062120080621030655909d64b4af9).

    BTW, mostly Mumbai Mirror picks out readers comments and puts it in their Letter to Editor section. Usually their articles don’t get more than 2-3 comments. This particular article, thanks to the outrage in the blogosphere, has got more than 12 comments which is a lot of response. Some of us at unchahhi have even directly written to the editor on
    mirrorfeedback@indiatimes.com, But these people are just refusing to admit their slip-up by publishing such a chauvinistic article!! Inspite of the huge number of mails that have gone out to the editor, they have not published a single letter of response.

  13. vivek mittal permalink
    June 26, 2008 1:31 pm

    There is no question of women being less important or less capable ..women have done no less than men wherever thery’re given opportuinity….one very good example is bollywood, there we can’t do without female actors and singers, so women had to be given opportuinity and we have legendary women singers and actors…..but they dont necessarily need women directors and composers, so we have a dearth of women in these fields…

    But i dont think the personality grooming institutes should be dragged in this issue ..i dont know about that particular institute in MP which Nita mentioned..but i saw the link of “Priya warrik finishing school”…and it’s just one of several such private institutes who claim to groom the personality of women and men…..and mostly girls who are interested in careers in aviation, hospitality, public relations etc join them…and these institutes showcase themselves as training institute for such kind of careers.

    True, those are grooming institutes and I have no grouse with their other or main curriculum. I have a grouse with some of their workshops – what they teach about some other things which I have mentioned. – Nita.

  14. vivek mittal permalink
    June 26, 2008 1:44 pm

    Nita..plz check your very first link on this post….it’s driving me to somewhere else..which is out of subject of this post

  15. June 26, 2008 2:42 pm

    Jus digged the link.
    http://snipurl.com/2p62v
    It has to be this. :)

  16. June 26, 2008 2:54 pm

    @ vivek mittal

    that link actually opens a pdf file… scroll down to page 2 and theres a write up titled “School for brides
    teaches servitude…”

  17. vivek mittal permalink
    June 26, 2008 4:27 pm

    Katyayani, Thanks i got it

  18. June 26, 2008 4:45 pm

    hmm…i just read about DILs mistreating couples by using the dowry law( in YU!)

    I was talking to one of my teachers in school.We were talking about how bad the behaviour of kids were getting(you won’t believe we have 4thers and 5thers swearing!) and the topic of family came up.He mentioned an interesting point-we no more live in joint families and so the kids don’t have good company around them and get spoilt.But who will want to stay in a place where they get abused? personally i feel we should have a system where everyone has personal place and also a family to fall back upon…

  19. June 26, 2008 5:12 pm

    Nicely written article.

    The problem is that this chauvinistic attitude is a vicious cycle with even the older female generation possessing it. This results in young wives turning into chauvinist when they reach the age of her in laws.

    Until and unless the superiority complex of older people in the family is sorted out, the young house wives will have a hard time for a long time to come.

  20. June 26, 2008 5:33 pm

    Yes, I had read both the blogs and felt so helpless & furious at the same time.
    And that MP school on bride grooming is quite old, it teaches everything how a girl should behave & serve her in-laws but they don’t even teach her the basics of sex education. And to tell you the fact, not many girls are fully aware of it.

  21. June 26, 2008 5:55 pm

    Nita, I am fully with you!

    I find it alwady difficult enough to live with the parents from the beginning of the family life.. I guess it is rather streffesull, because the couple can not express all the feelings towards each other openly… Would be horrible for me!

    I think a basic course on family life might be even useful, but not in the context they do it in the schools we mentioned.

  22. June 26, 2008 6:01 pm

    oh, no!!! Nita, I notied that I missed the MILLION hits day!!!!!!!!! :((
    MY BEST CONGRATULATIONS, my dear friend. May your great wortk continue and let us, your thankful readers, enjoy your personality and your articles more and more every day!
    LOVE &HUG, axinia

    Axinia, thank you. I was waiting for you that day! :) It was the 23rd and yes it was a significant day for me because my blog started off very slowly, I mean with the hits. I had hardly any hits in the first 6 months and very few comments! Now, after one year and 10 months of blogging, with 733 posts and a million hits I guess I am happy! But more than anything, it’s for the posts and my regular readers. They make me more happy than the hits. – Nita.

  23. June 26, 2008 6:13 pm

    Nandita, I think the editors want provocative articles and that is why they publish such rubbish, without an iota of social conscience. And yeah I know about those regtrograde aunties. They are all over. I don’t know whats wrong with them. Why the have allowed themselves to be brainwashed to such a degree that they think that their own sex is inferior!

    Rdoc, I do agree when you say that newspapers stoop to reach the lowest common reader. Sensationalism is what they are looking for.
    And yes women too are culprits, but I don’t buy the stories going round that men are simply meek cows. I for one thing do not believe in blaming women for the actions of her husband or her son. Her husband and son are grown men aren’t they? If you ask me, they are hiding behind her, that’s all. Get the goodies without facing up to the unpleasantness. Let someone else battle and we all share the reward…whether it’s dowry, or slavery.

    Raj, thanks. Your comment is absolutely beautiful! :)

    Sakhi, we are moving forward very very slowly and at times we are moving backward. But I think there will be a significant difference which will be felt soon as women become more aware of their rights. Today a lot of women probably think that Mr. Dave is right!!

    Rudresh, I think I don’t agree with your basic assumption – that housework is not work. I do agree that not doing the housework but simply lazying around is not a good thing, but housework itself is certainly a lot of hard work and just because it is not paid work, it doesn’t mean it’s not important. Also I don’t agree that a bride should change herself in 6 months and in fact that time period given by you doesn’t sound nice at all. I t think she can well retain her old habits and identity and ofcourse not try to change the household either. Each person can have his own way and that is what makes each an individual. Also why should the girl reveal things about her parents to her in-laws? How does it affect the in-laws?? But now that the girl has come to the in-laws family it is her own family and she needs to be a part of it and know its secrets. But ofcourse as I had mentioned, she is not considered a part of it, she is thought an outsider. Also I am bit flummoxed as to why a husband should have bedtea with the parents and not his wife

    Xylene, Aditi, Preeta, Reema, Shehla, Yashvee, Katyayani, Nikhil, Cuckoo, Jovin, thanks.

    Vivek M, I think we have a dearth of women in all fields. :)

    Vishesh, that happens too, but far rarer than MIL ill-treating DIL’s. I would say that if one DIL harasses MIL you have at least a hundred MIL’s harassing DIL’s! And if kids today are becoming more badly behaved, lot of complex reasons for that.

    Axinia, yes the privacy issue is there but here in India couples don’t even expect that! Couples are used to living without privacy. In fact if a new wife demands privacy she will be considered “possessive.” Wonder why people don’t understand the first flush of passion, love, and romance!

  24. wishtobeanon permalink
    June 26, 2008 6:52 pm

    Hi Nita! Wonderful post once again – thank you! Religion, culture, traditions and superstitions are all mixed up and women are expected to uphold that by her in-laws. ‘Duty’ is kind of an over used term in our Indian society, don’t you think? The media is only reinforcing primitive attitudes at the cost of a person’s personal freedom.

    You are welcome wishtobeanon! You are so right, people are unable to see the difference today between these various things and the DIL in a traditional Indian family has no freedom. And the word duty is too often misused so that selfish people can get what they want. As for the media, it makes me so angry!!- Nita.

  25. June 26, 2008 7:24 pm

    Hello NITA! first of all, My congratulations also for the Million Hits!!!
    About this post, it interest me so much, i’ve been reading quite a lot about this issue…For me its so hard and difficult to imagine a life like that, having a sergeant always behind u and all this…and also dont having any kind of privacy and independence…i’d go just crazy…
    The family issue works so different here:
    > The nuclear family normally is: parents and children
    (in ocasions grandparents but not so common on this days)
    > The privacy is very very important for every member of the family.
    > When the children gets older, its normal to leave the family house and start an independent live. The idea is that sons/daughters must learn to live by their own, ‘cos parents will not stay forever,…
    > Theres a problem here: lack of respect to older people. Here only the youth its well seen, amazing but true!

    Anyway, i think this kind of system can’t continue. Women, wifes, must believe in their own posibilities, freedom, respect, rights, privacy, independence…
    Because its very sad to hear that this kind of things are still happening somewhere… But of course i understand this will take quite a long time…

    Kisses

    Francina, thanks. Yes life is hard for a newly wed bride in a traditional joint family in India. Here community, family and society is more important than the self. That is the basic tenet in society and unfortunately it’s women who bear most of the burden. They are supposed to maintain and bind together society. If things go wrong in a family it’s always the women who are blamed, even if the men are taking shelter behind her.
    When it goes to the extreme it does make people crazy, any human being will go crazy.
    And here the respect for the old is there, and I guess that is a good thing. One needs to strike a balance I guess between the extreme love of the self and the extreme crushing of the self. – Nita.

  26. June 26, 2008 8:28 pm

    yeah Nita, u are very right,
    i also think its really good the high respect u have for old people.
    I guess here, in western societies, where the capitalism, media,…rules our lives, to be old its not “trendy” here…You must be beautiful and young to consider your success… this i s a big problem and crazy thing here…
    We must change that also…
    And yes , THE BALANCE, THE BALANCEEEEEE is the key,
    No more sexism, we are all equal!!!!!!
    I think its good to mantain traditions, if them are right for the XXI century!
    Feudal times are goneeeeeee…but i understand if u grown up, having as the only reference this kind of system, its difficult for many women there to stand up and say: thats enough, i’m pissed off…isnt it?

    thanxs for ur reply nitaaaaaaa! :-)

  27. June 26, 2008 9:17 pm

    I recently read Ladies Coupé – A Novel by Anita Nair,
    which i enjoyed a lot. Just to know more about the woman in india.
    It talks about different women’s life…
    very very interesting. :-)

  28. June 26, 2008 9:20 pm

    written well, nita!! i am glad that proficient writers as urself are writing about issues as such. for every uttam, we need 5 nitas for the ‘balance’ that everyone talks of to be instated.

    Thanks! I wish one Nita was enough to for 5 Uttams though. :) Just joking. :) – Nita.

  29. chirax permalink
    June 27, 2008 12:02 am

    Well said. These hypocritical double standards displayed by us “Indians” is the hindrance in our way to achieve gender equality. Don’t even get me started on Indian Media who have reduced themselves form all and any intellectual expectation at least from me.

  30. June 27, 2008 6:31 am

    Nita, I am speechless, but also sobered by the knowledge that despite all the progress and feminism and what not, this IS the kind of “expertise” we have in India, and somebody thought it was okay to offer it as sound advice to so many people.

    There’s so much groundwork to be done. So much.

    I would like to post about this too, and will link to the other bloggers you have mentioned. You’ve made my job so much easier ;)
    (Just to let you know, some parts of my own comment here may show up in my post, so :)

    Some observations:
    a) The situation that Mr. Dave has pointed out is actually true from many families: this is how it is, whether it should or shouldn’t is another question. What he has done is emphasised the existing malaise in society. He has just accepted it for what it is and given advice. Unfortunately, this is the kind of advice that moms and “experienced” sisters, girlfriends, TV soaps give to brides who are knowingly entering such a situation.

    b) The “expert” has lost the chance to advice people who really need it — the men who are marrying. Women have been doing this balance act for too long to deserve this “advice”.

    c) Excellent advice for woman who want to be part of a “khandaan”, the khandaan’s inheritance and finally control all their purse-strings: a husband/family is secondary. For other regular women like us who are looking to have a normal family with a husband and children, steer clear!

    d) To be fair, read Mr. Dave’s previous article, the first one in the series. It’s titled ‘Before you say I do’. He’s made some good points:
    http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?Page=article&sectid=9&contentid=2008062020080620032414268e93cde3a

    And, @ RudreshI donot know,how many you are agreed,but girls expect that as she had left her parents ,the husband should do the same or at lest spend 99% of time with her.

    YES! That is what marriage is about and her expectation is fair! The adjustment cannot be one-sided. When you get married, your first priority HAS to be your spouse and your children, and that goes for both men and women. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be disrespectful to each other’s parents. They are obviously important, but both sets of parents are EQUALLY important!

    If you cannot give your spouse the priority she/he deserves, please don’t get married. Hire a maid/man Friday/whoever to share the burden of housework and find a sex partner or somebody to hang out with.

  31. June 27, 2008 6:35 am

    Nita, readers, please excuse spelling errors, typos in my comment :(

  32. June 27, 2008 8:11 am

    O, BTW, TOI carried the first article as well. Wonder if they will carry the second one…

    Here it is:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/3163261.cms

  33. June 27, 2008 12:49 pm

    Francina, Roop, Chirax, thanks.

    SS, you brought out a very important point..the financial angle. This is in fact is very often the motive of the couple, I say couple because the husband too is eager that his wife swallow the insults his parents dish out. They expect to inherit the fortune of the parents.

  34. June 27, 2008 6:44 pm

    looks like this man is caught in a time warp.
    While it is true that a bit of counselling may be useful for both the MIL and the DIL before they are thrown into the same house, it cannot be one-sided and rooted in some anachronistic social norms.
    I think MIL’s need counselling on lowering of traditional expectations from DILs and DIls need some training on thepsychological issues involved in becoming the most important person supplanting his parents and the consequent insecurity issues in the parents’ mind.

    I wish that Indian men were more sensitive to this issue. Unfortunately, it is only women like us who seem to have protested against this Dave person. What worries me is that men aren’t blogging about it! – – Nita.

  35. July 1, 2008 1:18 pm

    Thanks for writing this. I think Dave should be sued under the Domestic Violence Act. Isn’t it a crime to stop a girl from contacting her ‘biological family’? He doesn’t even want her to talk about them! And he warns her that she should not mix with neighbours/domestic help etc. Isn’t this isolation?
    Just to ‘win over’ some immature and selfish relations, or else be further isolated by the same family…

    We seriously need to start afresh, at school level to undo the horrible damage that our social conditioning does…I think it’s fine if “girls expect that as she had left her parents ,the husband should do the same or at lest spend 99% of time with her.” What’s wrong with that?

    Mental cruelty of the kind Dave is condoning can also send the in-laws to jail or the bride to suicide.

    I agree with you because this man has given a response in the newspaper that he has done nothing wrong by giving this advise. he says it’s society which is regressive, not his advise. This clearly means that the man is also arrogant and feels that there is nothing to apologize for! He doesn’t realise that giving advise to women to try and fit into a regressive society is wrong! – Nita.

  36. snippetsnscribbles permalink
    July 1, 2008 9:07 pm

    Hello Nita,
    Have been reading your site for quite a while now and I’m glad that writers as proficient as you are bringing up such delicate issues and discussing them. Its a shame that we have such people still around in our country that propagate such ill advices to people. He is no less compared to the K-serials that is spoiling the society already !!! Can I blogroll you please?

    thanks! And as for the blogroll, that’s wonderful! thanks. :) – Nita.

  37. July 2, 2008 4:40 pm

    Good post. Very accurate observations, on a very relevant issue! Once a friend’s friend (guy) was complaining to me about how inefficient his new bhabhi was. I suggested to him that she needs time to adjust to a new house, new people, etc. I told him, you could not adjust to the new office when you shifted, like that … His reply was, ladkiyaan to pehle se hi mentally prepared hoti hain, she should not need time to ‘adjust’!
    I was actually too shocked to speak, because I could not understand how could an otherwise intelligent, sweet and friendly guy think girls are not human, or they have no emotions for their own family (sasural jana hai) or they have no fear of the unknown that awaits them at sasural!

  38. July 8, 2008 11:06 am

    linked u. did my take on my page

  39. a_mittal permalink
    August 22, 2008 9:05 pm

    I found this blog while casually researching for regressive practices in India. I am so glad to find so many people viewing these common day-to-day practices in India as supression of women. I thought it was just me who was over-sensitive to these issues.
    Most people, however educated and open-minded in other things, don’t even realize that this is wrong. They assume it as part of good Indian culture. My mother-in-law (no disrespect here) will love Mr. Dave’s article and would call his tips as “sanskars” (values), which she often points out to be missing in today’s girls.

    It is the whole concept of “husband being superior to wife” and “husband’s parents’ being superior ot wife’s parents'” that needs to be removed from our culture.

    Thanks for this discussion, it makes me much more confident in the beliefs that I have.

    Feels good to know that a discussion like this can clarify someone’s thoughts. Best of luck with your life…try to make the changes gently! – Nita.

  40. February 5, 2009 1:14 pm

    By God, you hit the right spot. I some times feel that may be my efforts are not sufficient or I am doing things in a wrong way. No matter how hard I try to avoid the friction, something happens that makes me an educated , snob, disrespectful,cunning, daughter-in law. Yes, even being highly educated is seen as a stigma if you are a daughter- in law.

    • Sanju permalink
      February 2, 2013 10:48 am

      All this anger and frustration makes the women morph into something they hate. The ugly in-laws have ensured that their collaboration with their children while torturing pays its price. At the end, in about 25 years, this sweet young daughter in law, who hated every negative aspect of her husband’s relatives, lands up becoming exactly same as them, starts to torture her daughter in law in similar ways of her in-laws and then some.

      A new cycle begins, perpetuating torture, preparing the new bride into vicious hateful in law in the next 25 years.

      Unless a woman breaks the cycle, be kind to her daughter in law, in spite of herself being a victim when she was new bride, we can keep lamenting in blogs but nothing will change.

      Here is an appeal to all women: train your sons to be kind to their wives and treat the daughter in law as a precious soul. Don’t join in the dowry scam and head the torture chamber.

      A lot will change if mothers stop the sons from being all that a woman hates.

  41. Shruti permalink
    March 20, 2009 2:14 am

    Hi Nita,

    I really liked your blog. Its the people like you who give support to girls. Being a girl is very difficult in Indian society. And the most disheartening thing is educated man keep these kind of thoughts, once in a while they let it out and disrespect women. Women need to do it all for them. She needs to look good, earn good and “BEHAVE”. You know what this behave word represents all that Mr. Dave wrote. Initially they will be good to you and seem most modern but when it comes to understanding a women they will blindly ignore that women is a human being. It is pathetic!!!!!

    Thanks Shruti and welcome to my blog. Even I am sick of this “behave” mentality when it comes to women while men can behave as they like! Mostly the behavior expected from the women is to be a subservient creature without feelings. Pathetic is a mild word! – Nita.

  42. March 24, 2009 1:48 pm

    Hi Nita,

    It was an interesting blog. I’m too late to see the article, but I read enough to get the gist. It’s infuriating how medieval ‘educated’ people can be.

    Personally, I’m against the definition of joint family as the parents of the son, the son and his wife.

    What about MY parents?

    Why should I leave them if the chap can’t leave his?

    It’s better if a new couple starts their own home and keep relations good all around.

    • March 24, 2009 2:18 pm

      My thoughts exactly Sonal. In spirit the joint family is a good institution but in practice it allows too much injustice.

  43. Kumar permalink
    March 29, 2009 10:19 pm

    I feel today’s women are in most commanding position than men.Check some of the points under for why.

    1) Woman are working and they can command for a better earning husband.
    2) Woman may opt to be housewife and still can command for a high earning husband.
    3) Can any working woman ask for a non earnign husband ..They will never only a man can do that sacrifice.
    4) Any Indian woman can really pick an unemployed man as husband with true love..? No indian marriage can happen like this…Only a Man can pick an unemployed girl as a wife.

    • vasudev permalink
      March 29, 2009 11:26 pm

      kumar:

      but you forget that women have a point to prove which has been denied by their man or their ma-in-la so far. once anything reaches saturation and equilibrium it will overflow. let them enjoy their strength and let us wait for a day when their sense of longingness for a man with ‘only’ virtuousness emerges! (hardly do i have a hope but for argument’s sake, in favour of my wife’s clan…)

  44. Kumar permalink
    March 30, 2009 1:00 am

    My Points are clear,

    Can any of these Indian women who cry about indian Man and the family system of staying with In-laws have observed these points.

    1) All the arranged marraiges happening are due to Man’s Money or his education or his status or Job in the society.

    2) Can you show a arranged marriage where a woman of high status comming and marrying a middle class person.

    3) A Phd girl wants a Phd Boy, A M.tech girl never agrees for a B.Tech Girl.Nor a MBBS/MD girl never settles for a BDS Boy.Is this what these woman argue for..?

    4) See the matrimonial advertisements for bridegrooms..Horryfying they are asking requirements more than for a MNC job.

    5) Indian family system is one of the best where In-laws are to protect the family and maintain order.We all know the physical needs how they vary. Elders are there for us.

    6) Can any of these woman can claim that their financial worth is more than the man …?

    7) Similarly when a Man marries a high worth (financially) woman he too sacrifices which is common.

    I found only europe is the place where an average european woman never see the man valet to have a relation or to get married.

    Indian woman are terrible they need husband House,Money,in-laws money,a high paying job for husband, Masters from abroad. ..Thank God the craze for NRI grooms had decreased due to recession. Above all with all these if there is slight vaccum in maritial happiness (husband might get tierd after work) they want freedom to get a Boy friend…what disgrace being male in India.

    Indian woman is both King & Queen now a days.

  45. Kumar permalink
    April 7, 2009 10:59 am

    Just an example case how present Indian women are cheating their partners by harassing for money in the name of divorce or to demand freedom from husbands to have relationship with Boyfriends.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7986229.stm

  46. Sireesha permalink
    May 6, 2010 5:14 am

    Yes, you are right every bit.
    I was suffocated by these expectations from my in-laws that it quickly turned into hatred and I’m not able to shake it off even after years.

    Obviously I wasn’t at all prepared for this kind of treatment or attitude. By normal standards, my in-laws aren’t bad but they did expect me to fit in their family right from day 1 – it’s like they wanted a ‘make for order’ type DIL. They directed, commented, scritinized and restricted all my actions – even simple ones like eating, sitting, moving, sleeping etc.

    Another thing is even I had my prenotions about in-laws and being a reserved and sensitive girl couldn’t take up the challenge sportively. I became more furious with each of their unjust attitudes towards me (and also my family).

    In my maternal home, my parents never forced me to do anything. They usually only try to convince me. I was pretty sure right from the begining that I cannot accept any person who tries to dominate me. It’s not just in me to take all that bull*. And the reality proved it too.

    I realize that there is a gap between how girls are raised in their homes and the expectations from her in the in-laws’ home. (I never had any inkling about how difficult it would be.) Everyone says that one shouldn’t discriminate between a girl child and a boy child. While many people follow it these days, the old traditions and expectations from the society haven’t changed. In such a case, how is it possible for a young bride to transform into someone totally different, unlearning 20 years of her life?

  47. Sireesha permalink
    May 6, 2010 5:29 am

    @Kumar

    Yes, I agree that money/job/status is a main criteria for selecting a bridegroom in arranged marriages.
    It’s because a man’s worth is assessed by his ability to support the woman and her children.

    And in the matrimonials, I think you didn’t notice the ads for brides. Everyone wants “tall, fair, beautiful girl”. Usually a woman is assessed only by her beauty.
    And in arranged marriages, this is what the groom and his family usually looks for (this is not an exhaustive list):
    Beauty
    – Dowry
    – Education (equal to their son)
    – Job (In my case it was optional but many like to have a earning wife/DIL)
    – Parents’ occupation/status
    – Expertise in cooking, laundry, cleaning the house etc
    Obedient

    There is a lot of stress for women too.

    If you feel bad about judging a man by his job/income, we women too feel bad about being judged by looks. At least what you do and make is in your hands, but looks are just god-given.

    And your other point, elders in the house are like pillars only if they try to understand and support the youngand not if they are constantly nitpicking about the DIL and over-possessive about their son.

  48. September 14, 2011 10:10 pm

    This Psychologist needs a Psychiatrist,
    Well this is my post marriage story and I think my Mother In Law , Father In law and my Husband seems to have taken advice from this sick Psychologist Mr Dave.

  49. December 28, 2011 10:51 am

    Congratulations :) This post in one of the winners of ‘Tejaswee Rao Blogging Awards – 2011′ (TRBA 2011). We would like to create an ebook with all the winning entries in 47 categories on Feminism and Gender Issues in India (and one category on Animals Rights). Please do let us know if you are fine with your winning post/s being included in this ebook. ( Please click here to let us know).

  50. ankita permalink
    January 31, 2013 3:11 pm

    Sir,
    I am a Doctor (Postgraduate in Pediatrics )from one of the most reputed centers in Delhi!
    So called an empowered women.I have myself gone through all the above listed by Mr Dave and much more in my 11 years of married life. The events so painful that I feel an emotional and mental void most of the times. As far as the in laws and husband are concerned its all the same.Got through everything with a hope life would be better.Nothing changes…….I am not able to pardon me for allowing myself to go through all this in the name of marriage. With kids around I carry a unhappy married life with as much patience as I can! Mr Dave if only you had been a women you would have realized the pains associated with your advises ! You make me feel even more sick!

    • Sanju permalink
      January 31, 2013 11:40 pm

      Hello, Ankita,
      You are doing a disservice to yourself, your kids and all your friends and family by not taking any action. If you accept the empty marriage without change, you are also training your kids to do so, if they landed up in similar situations. Please seek therapy and get rid of this void you have. If nothing changes, then, you may want to change by quitting this empty marriage. Don’t just waste your life unable to pardon yourself. With many more such years, you will see this issue only become deeper rooted.
      Please take action. You are a so called liberated woman and be proactive. Divorce is not the only option. It is one of them. But whatever it is, please take action.

      • ankita permalink
        February 1, 2013 11:09 am

        Thanks Sanju, I am going through counselling sessions!

  51. August 8, 2014 5:00 am

    Reblogged this on Mershaa!!!!!!!.

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