We live in a society, that promotes regressive thinking of women as ‘paraya dhan’. Not only the daughters are expected to forget about their parents and start making husband and his parents her priority, but also it expects parents to treat their own daughter as an outsider.
It expects parents of daughters to not get involved in their daughter’s personal matters. Even if that means taking a stand for their daughter’s ill-treatment. One such mother, our community member, shares how society tried to shame her when she and her husband tried to take a stand for their daughter.
“Beti ab parayi ho gayi hai…”,
These words were said to me multiple times at my daughter’s wedding. Sometimes by my own family members and sometimes by guests, who came to attend. It was the happiest and the saddest day of my and my husband’s life. Living in Indian patriarchal society, it wasn’t the only day I heard those words.
I heard them multiple times. Many people throughout our parenthood journey told us, in different words, that our daughter is not ours but someone’s else blessings. But, I never ever felt the need or courage to retaliate or answer back. Till the day – I was told not to raise a voice against the abuse that my daughter was going through, just because she is married.
My daughter didn’t have a marriage that she deserved
We raised a daughter, who was independent and full of life. But within a few months of marriage, our daughter was full of pain, disappointment, and hopelessness. My daughter suffered a lot of abuse. At every step of her married life, she was being attacked for the person she was.
She was constantly reminded of how she was supposed to be sanskaari bahu. Not only her in-laws but also the long-distant relatives of my son-in-law felt it was their birthright to tell her – how to speak, what to wear, or how to laugh.
While my daughter kept suffering in silence with the hope that she will be accepted as a family one day. But, doesn’t matter how much she tried, she was still an outsider for her husband’s family.
One day, my little baby broke down. She called me, kept sobbing, and said:
“Ma, I failed you. I failed papa too. I am such a failure. There is no hope for me. There is nothing left.”
This made us realize that we have stayed quiet for long enough and we need to intervene. We can’t let this family break our daughter.
So, we finalized a meeting with our son-in-law. But he didn’t come alone. He came with his maternal uncle. I didn’t care with whom he came with until he told my husband and me –
“Beti ab parayi ho gayi, uski life mein interfere band kar dena chahiye.”
It was the moment I realized I can’t remain quiet anymore. No relation can take away the fact that she is my daughter.
I brought her into this world. I kept her safe in my tummy for 9 months. I dedicated each moment of my life to make sure she is happy and safe. No outsider can tell me she is not mine anymore. She is my daughter and she will always remain mine. So, without thinking any further, I cleared my throat and said:
“Beti apne mummy papa ke liye kabhi parayi nahin hogi. Our daughter will always remain our daughter. And, if your family can’t treat her right, we are more than happy to take her back.
But she won’t sacrifice herself. If she can’t be treated with respect and dignity, she should walk out of this relationship as soon as possible. She is young and she has so much more to offer to life. And, we will always be there for her.”
Realizing that we won’t act like helpless parents, who will beg him or the family, the uncle got shut.
To avoid any more damage, my son-in-law intervened and told us that he would like to make things work. He still loves our daughter and he won’t like to give up on his marriage. He agreed to seek marriage counseling and promised us that he will do everything that it takes to make this work.
It has been months now and my son-in-law and daughter have worked a lot on their relationship.
The reason why I chose to write this letter on IFORHER platform is for those parents who are often told that their daughters are paraya dhan.
Dear parents, No society, no relation, no person can make you believe that your daughter is a paraya dhan. She is your daughter until the last breath. So, next time someone tells you she is a paraya dhan, don’t nod and stay quiet. Speak up! Because she is not someone else’s blessings! She is your daughter!