More often we speak about the mother’s love for their kids. Though we may not talk enough about how father’s love, it doesn’t make it any less important. Fathers might be subtle in expressing their love, but that doesn’t mean they are not hurt when their child is in pain.
One such father recently opened up his heart about how our patriarchal society failed him and his independent daughter.
Here’s his beautiful note that captures the pain of every father whose daughter was devoid of respect after marriage:
When Neha, my daughter turned four years old, I took her to Appu Ghar – an amusement park in Delhi. There she was, looking nothing less than a princess in her party dress, with a smile enjoying the fun rides. And, then when we were about to leave, she started crying. Her tears made me feel the pain I never knew I could feel. It felt my life was collapsing before me. I asked her why? She said, Because it’s over .. It’s finished…the happiness is over”
With a hard attempt to control my emotions, I managed to reply: “Darling, I promise you, I promise you with all I have, that the happiness will never end.”
Like many first time fathers, I never realized I could love someone so dearly. And, like many parents, I tried to give my best to my daughter. I raised her to be independent, to be strong and to be courageous. I raised her with all the love and affection that I could ever imagine. I raised her to create a life of dignity and happiness. Even, my daughter never left a chance to make her parents proud of her achievements.
But, my heart broke when my daughter was insulted and humiliated for petty issues. When she was told at every step in her marriage, that she wasn’t good enough or she was lesser than her husband.
When my daughter told me that she would like to get married, I was extremely happy. I never had a feeling that I was losing my daughter. I always felt that I was about to gain a son. But, hardly I knew that my daughter would have to bear the brunt of someone else’s insecurities and egos. She would be pulled down so that others could feel elevated.
Rather than making her a part of home, at every step, she was told how others are better than her, how she doesn’t “SERVE” enough. But, I didn’t get her married to serve. Rather I got her married to be LOVED.
This new place was supposed to be her home, not a place where she is insulted or humiliated? How she was supposed to be accepted the way she was rather than being told to be submissive or to adapt or compromise? How she was told at every step that we didn’t raise her well? How the person who was supposed to stand for her dignity became the gatekeeper of someone else’s ego! How she was made a scapegoat for satisfying egos! How my daughter was left alone to fight for herself!
This does upset me as I never raised by daughter to be insulted and humiliated at the hands of people who are not worthy of her. Though my daughter kept fighting for love hoping that one day, her husband would be man enough to make his wife his priority! But as a father, I feel it was never her battle to fight in the first place.
It is heartbreaking how our patriarchal mindset of seeing women lesser than men, wife lesser than husband, daughters lesser than son – fail not only our daughters but every mother, every father who raise their daughters and sons equally.
There are times, when I do wonder –
Have we made life of our daughters tough by raising them to be strong and independent?
Will society every give them their due share of respect and dignity?
For how long will they keep fighting for their rights and equality at home and at work?
As a father, who always raised his daughter to be strong and independent, left heartbroken when I tend to find the answer to these questions. In those dark moments, the only hope that I am left with is I know my daughter is a warrior and she will not stop until she creates a life that she deserves.
At IFORHER, we applaud every father and mother, who raise their daughters to be strong and independent. They are the ones who have given us the fuel to fight for ourselves and our dignity. And, as a society, it’s high time we stop failing them and their daughters.