It is heart-breaking how even in 21st-century Indian parents are still forcing their daughters to marry as per their wishes. In case if their daughters attempt to stand for themselves, they don’t shy away from disowning them!
A few months back, Jas Kaur, a Sydney-based Sikh woman, opened up in an interview about how she was disowned by her birth family for pursuing forbidden love with someone outside of her religion.
As per the interview, Jas Kaur was abandoned by her family after she refused to fulfill their expectations of entering an arranged marriage. She rather followed her heart for love outside her culture and religion.
Jas Kaur, who is a personal trainer, is a true reflection of strength and courage. After being forced to keep her relationship with fellow personal trainer Sven Malte Koch a secret, she took the toughest decision of her life. While sharing her struggle to stand for herself, Jas Kaur told Daily Mail Australia:
“The hardest thing was constantly lying about where I was and not being able to share one of the best things about my life, combined with the fact that my parents would bring up an arranged marriage whenever they had the chance…I was torn between two worlds and finally realized that the double life had to end.
If I didn’t follow my heart and pursue my relationship, I would have denied a part of myself. I just couldn’t let myself down like that. I told myself that it was better to risk it all and possibly fall flat on my face than to live in regret and spend the rest of my life wondering ‘what if’.’
Jas grew up as the eldest of three kids to Indian immigrant parents in Sydney. Raised to be a people pleaser, she fought multiple internal battles to create a life of her dreams:
“I was a serial ‘people pleaser’ putting the needs of everyone else before my own because I didn’t think my voice mattered…I thought it was my duty to be an obedient daughter and follow the path that was set for me. This led to a constant internal battle – do I put myself first and risk losing my support system or do I continue to walk the path that is expected of me? I was leading a double life where I was one person at home and within the community and another person, the real me, everywhere else.
I thought I was going to live a life that had already been decided for me by others…I thought it was my role to play the part. I thought it was OK to feel sad on the inside as long as the people around me were happy. I ended up falling in love with someone I wasn’t supposed to and my entire changed. I lost the support of my birth family but I gained so much more. I gained my joy, freedom, happiness, and peace.”
Jas further adds how her parents chose to disown her, rather than letting her live life on her own terms:
“They had wanted me to marry within my own culture and religion and because I didn’t want to do that, my relationship was not accepted…For them it was better to disown me and preserve the honor of the family than to accept their daughter being with someone who didn’t tick their boxes.”
While sharing how she received a mixed response, she mentioned:
“Hundreds of other women reached out to tell me they were in similar situations and thanked me for shedding light on an issue that is barely spoken about…At the same time, I also received negativity from strangers on the internet and parts of my extended family.”
Sharing how accepting her circumstances was the hardest part, Jas mentions:
“Many nights where I would pick fights with him (Sven) and say ‘you’re gonna leave me just like they (family) did…Many nights where I felt I didn’t deserve the love that he was giving me because I was the girl whose own family decided she wasn’t worth loving anymore. It took me months to shift out of these narratives and build myself up again.”
In order to inspire other women to fight for themselves and their dreams, Jas has a heart-touching message:
“Whatever decisions you make, remind yourself that your joy, peace, and freedom of choice matter…If we chose to put ourselves, our freedom, and our happiness first, then we will be the generation of women who will not inherit the silence of our mothers…We matter and we will break the cycle for the generations that follow – because what is a life lived for the comfort of others? That is not a life, it is a life sentence.”
At IFORHER, we salute Jas for standing for herself and inspiring so many women to break their silence and let their voices heard. We are proud of her for fighting against society to create a life of her dreams and desire.