Pro-Men Indian Customs

Today is Jamai Shashthi i.e. Son-in-law day. Its a day in Bengali tradition; held every year in the Bengali month of Jaishtha; when the "Jamai" is treated with the best of the delicacies. The son-in-law is invited well in advance for the occasion. And when the daughter & son-in-law arrive, a few rituals are performed. The son-in-law also gets gifts from the mother-in-law. Basically a day to celebrate one's son-in-law.

This got me thinking that why don't we have a day to celebrate daughter-in-laws in India? A son-in-law who has taken away the daughter, sometimes even taking money to do that and maybe even mistreats one's daughter is invited and showered with gifts!! And one burns the daughter-in-law if she has brought insufficient dowry!! Why don't we celebrate the girl who has left her parents to be a daughter to the new family too and to look after one's son and bear his child, who by the way carries your family name not hers. She even gives up her identity by adopting her husband's surname and is not able to look after her own parents often. But she is not appreciated or celebrated with one special day just in her name. Most thankless relation I say! I demand a "Bahu" i.e. Daughter-in-law day! When I become one I too want to get gifts and eat my favorite dishes on that day. If he (my future hubby) gets it I want it too. So there!

Taking this further, why are there so many symbols an Indian girl has to wear to show she's married? To declare she is someone else's property or taken or back off to everyone?? There's red bindi
sindoor or vermilion to be worn on forehead,
mangalsutra (a necklace made of black beads and gold),
a bichiya or toe ring
and red churis or bangles!!!
I mean there should be no doubt left of an Indian women's marital status in Indian society!!!
But what about our men? No, they don't wear anything which may indicate their marital status except maybe their pot-bellies when in middle age!! Why this discrimination? This is one of the things I like about Christianity that they have wedding bands for both husband and wife.

Atleast one can accuse one's husband in case he has an affair and the girl thinks he is single that "why did u take off your wedding band?" In Indian society there is no option at all!! Totally unfair I say!! What if I make my husband wear a ring with my name engraved on it ? Nice idea, eh?

Last but not the least, the tradition of Karwa Chauth and Vat Savitri Vrat which are different types of fasts Indian women are supposed to keep for the long life of their husbands and marital harmony!!! I suppose keeping them will solve problems of those women who are physically abused by drunk husbands? And a fast will ensure long life? Then why isn't there such a fast for the husbands to keep? Do they want their wives to die early? The desire for life long companionship and efforts to achieve that, even if religious in nature, should be on both sides of the sacred bond of marriage.


Vaibhav said...

I personally dont believe in symbolisim, but may be its just the laid tradition.

Canopenner said...

you gotta fight for change I guess Reema, I support your daughter in law day and If my sons ever get married I will even celebrate it.

However I wish my mother in law had heard of son in law day, all I ever get from her is beat in the back of the head with a shoe.

(No she really isnt that bad, but she does beat me with a shoe on occasion)

I think it started as joke and is now tradition. TO make matters worse I never got a single dime for marrying my wife! In fact my mother and father in law borrow money from me and dont pay it back!

But back to being on track, cant you make sure the guy you marry will follow YOUR rules? I think the abortion rates of girl fetuses in your country will actually give ALOT of power to the women of upcomming generations. And if the guys dont wanna live by your rules then forget them. Theres plenty more guys where those came from and fewer and fewer women, thus you should be getting the POWER!


Swathi said...

hey reema since morning, there is something wrong with my net and i wasnt able to comment u..thank god its working fine now...hey u know what i am one of those lucky fews, where i dont have to wear mangalsutra, bindi and stuff out of compulsion. i wear them on my will and in front of elders, bcos giving that little respect for their views will make them happy for that moment of time and its no big deal. about the son-in-laws tradition i never heard and there is none in our culture!!! coming to karvachauth, i like that as tradition, getting dressed up, getting mehendi, gives us some festive spirit though dieting is sad part but its good for our digestive system ;) .... hey even my hubby keeps fast that day bcos i simply dont cook at home :p

talkingtails said...

Actually as a part of our community's cultures, we have something in whcih the married daughters of the house are called home and given gifts etc. We don't have an equivalent of Jamai-Shashti.. But yeah... Your point about there not being a 'ritual' to 'celebrate' daughters-in-law is a very valid point!

And regarding symbolism, I think as a people and as a nation we are beginning to change so the levels of acceptance are going up!

Reema said...

@Vaibhav yup i think symbolism should on both sides

@Robert Thx for ur support! Awww..u poor thing! why dont ask her not to do that? Here ppl will suffer a heart attack if they hear this!! :D in some culture in India the bride's father washes the feet of the groom!! Ohh dont worry I'll make sure my hubby follows my rules as I will follow some of his..its give n take for me always. Yup u r right one would think less females would give more power but that isnt happening.

@Swathi Good ur net is working now. Yup girls/women like to wear all those n keep the fasts and point is that why isnt there symbolism for men too and why isnt there no such religious thing for men to do for their wives? keeping fast cuz wife is not cooking is entirely different from keeping a religious fast for wife's long life.why isnt there a provision for that in our culture? do wives' long lives mean nothing?

@Amyth thanks! missed ur comments since long :P :D yes nowadays its ok between the husband n wife...the elders still have their prejudices.

Sandeep said...

haha.. nice post..
Jamai Shashthi sounds interesting :)

Women get lots of days..
Valentine's day (obv guy has to gift for his gf/wife)
Women's day
Mother's day
and Wife's day? :P

And the sings of 'married' for a woman is probably to save them from being ogled at by other men though women seem to enjoy that albeit pretending to hate the ogling :D

and ya you can make my your husband wear a neck band (collar) with your name engraved on it as "Reema's".. or stating "taken by Reema" :P :D

Poonam Sharma said...

Greetings revolutions did start Father's day, Mother's day, but Daughter's day never quite picked up.

As for symbols of married woman, I have pondered over this so many time, why do we have symbols only for married women? Though more and more you find more brides, who do not put on these conventional symbols.

Tell me, other than lamenting, you think we could do something about it? I would love to, but what?

Sakhi said...

hey good one there!

but being a rational person i would not support symbolism or dowry or any other such discrimination to either gender!

i know probably you wont agree to this idea! but anyways....

TC, keep the dbate going!

mashedmusings said...

I think its all chnging now...atleast in the cities. I haven't seen any females wearing Manglsutra or sindoor since long. Yes, women do wear bangles for a few days, but thats about it. Actually no one cares long as you are not living in a joint family.

vishesh said...

hm...actually married men(bhramins) should wear two sacred threads...and as most of them priests,it was quite clear...

Canopenner said...

@ anyone

what does mashedmusings mean by a joint family?

Reema said...

@Sandeep Naa I demand a daughter in law day or daughter day.Neck band...umm a wedding ring definitely!!

@Poonam Its only in metros that brides are not putting on these symbols..I have seen many fashion disasters who put on so many churis and red bindi even mangalsutra with jeans outfit. The change will come slowly...if our generation doesnt expect from our kids and so on.Its too late to change our parents and in-laws generation.

@Sakhi I'm not an irrational person yaar!! ofcourse the first thing is there should be no custom at all but since it is there the problem is to find a favorable solution.

@Amit As i said to Poonam its only in the metros not even cities. They combine jeans with lots of bangles n stuff now and still there are many who have "pallu" over their faces. Most of India doesnt live in metros.

@Vishesh Welcome to my blog!thats just for brahmins what about the rest? and even thats not the case in all brahmins of all regions.Thats why wedding ring is a must. :D :D

@Robert Joint family is a family system in India where parents and their children's families often live under a single roof. This type of family often includes multiple generations in the family.

mirrorcracked said...

Hmmm... you know what, there's a Bong guy in our office and his in-laws just came to town from kolkata.. So everyone in office started teasing him about this, saying that he's now gonna get royal treatment and all...
but come to think of what u've written, u're absolutely right.. there is a rift in society which unfortunately can't be plugged... its just the way we are... :(

Reema said...

@Nikhil I'm hopeful slowly changes will come starting with our generation. I tell u the treatment is really royal on that day for Bong son in laws!

Geek Wrestler said...

Jamai Shashti? Never even heard of it. I always used to think Sasur-Jamai relation complements the Saas-Bahu one. Blame Ekta Kapoor! :P

I don't care about anybody... all I care is I get to rule the world. [You can bribe to do your bidding of course. :P ]

Soham Shah said...

You hv been added on my BlogRoll ..

I like reading ur posts !!

Reema said...

@Ashish lolz :) its a custom among Bengalis.

@Soham Thanks!!

RJ said...

I like some traditions! Taking away traditions or inventing new ones has its own pros and cons. Moving towards a more westernised way of living and thinking is neat and appreciated but not to the extent of forgetting oneself!

We can sure have a daughterin-law day! I am game for it!

worldthrumyeyes said...

Hey I know of one custom in Marwaris which is for the daughter-in-laws... Cool nai? :)

Reema said...

@RJ I'm not saying women should stop wearing these or following these fasts n all ..I m saying let the men also start doing smthg on same lines..why has the burden has to be only on the woman?

@Nova Really? I didnt know!

RJ said...

@Reema - Like what? Elaborate please :D It won't loo god if we wear bindis and mangalsutras I think....too girly noooo??

Reema said...

@RJ Grrrr..i mean wedding rings with specific design ..not any arbitary shape.

RJ said...

@Reems - I dont mind wedding rings :D nobody buys me one :D :P

Daroga said...

100 % satya wachan !!!
I totally second your view. There should be a 'Bahu'-day.

Reema said...

@RJ Awww dont worry..tell mom u wanna get married :) :P

@Adarsh Thanks!!!

lifeloveandlogic said...

I think you should have put in the meanings and reasons of wearing these things!! Its nice post!!! :) I hope I will soon(some years) be giving someone the right to wear these for me!!


moregyan4u said...

nice thought ! n the bengali custom,hadnt come across it until read it here on ur blog :)

my cousin ,brought up in Canada is getting married soon.he repeatedly insisted on a proper wedding band saying it symbolizes commitment :) in their country and he was eagerly waiting to wear one ;)

but apart from that,i think if men really love their wives,it wouldnt matter if the women wore a mangalsutra or not,its a personal choice :)

crapbook said...

wow, thats a nice bengali custom... :)
but yea the daughter in law wont be getting the same 'royal ' treatment at the guys house....

BUt i seriously dont think that anyone should be wearing anything that symbolizes commitment, it should be a matter of choice.
Me? I have my wedding ring. :)

Reema said...

@Suda oh i have made it clear these are symbols of being married. No point in going into details which is not my point anyway and unnecessarily lengthening my post. Thanks and good luck!!

@Meghana Welcome to my blog! Thanks! Yes thats what..there should be freedom to choose to wear, not only from the husband but also from the older generations in the family. Keep visiting!

@Xylene Welcome!! Good for u!! Keep visiting!

Didi said...

You know our Sanskrit teacher in senior school was a learned pandit, who did really know a lot about Sanskrit language, old Hindu customs, traditions and rituals. He often digressed into elaborating on some obsolete or prevalent Hindu custom, and the logic behind why it all started. He was quite scientific and rational about a few things.
So he once told us all that the woman was made to wear such ornaments that mark her out as a married wife (read property) of someone, and who has no business doing whatever you have witnessed her doing, if she has strayed...
In addition, the ornaments were made to jingle, so that her movements in the house could be tagged and should she venture out of her lakshman rekha, it would be heard (reminds me of cow bells and the oil-merchant story).
Anyway, that's what Sharma sir had told us, I suspect it would not have been something so simple behind it all, but there might have been some truth in what he said.