I forgive everyone who stood in my way!

By Abha
CCADV Blogger

Disclaimer: This is not my story but is the story of several women who continue to be suppressed till date in the traditional Indian household

This is not me speaking; this is what many oppressed Indian women in many traditional Indian households face each day. It is their story. The “traditional Indian household” may seem completely normal to many, but the seemingly usual incidents that take place within such families are inherently unfair. The Hindu conservative practitioners have handed us both “just” as well as “unjust” practices. Unfortunately, many individuals continue to use the unjust practices that systematically put women in a disadvantageous position in comparison to men. This is not the ‘feminist’ within me speaking, but history is proof of practices such as female infanticide where a girl child is murdered gruesomely or left outside an orphanage or temple upon being born. Why- because she is a “female.” Fathers from the time of the birth of the female child start preparing for her to get married and send her off. Why-because she is a “female.” Many a times, this has led to shocking cases of dowry deaths.

A young woman in a conservative Indian household starts to become a cause of worry upon attaining puberty. She is often asked to mimic a mannequin and meet thousands of suitable matches and their families for the prospect of marriage (This is normal, obviously because she is a “female”). Upon being married, whatever little attention and love that she would receive from her parents’ now completely moves to her husband. She is not allowed to have any rights, feelings, fears, or even emotions. This is the story of a girl who grows up all her life living at the mercy of others right from her father, male relatives, brother and finally husband. Anyone who dares to break the cycle is often raped, called names by the society, or treated as an outcaste.

Women from such families are many a times married into supposedly “wealthy” households where the husbands’ reside in a foreign country like the United States. The poor girl without a voice is sent to a foreign land on the pretext that her parents’ want the “best for her” and the husband will definitely keep her happy. The thought of even going back to the parents’ in case the marriage does not work out is out of question. Being confined to a situation that is so helpless, ultimately the woman loses the minutest of self-confidence that she may have had or even the will to fight.

Despite being treated unfairly and being told to live at the mercy of the closest available “manifestation of a male” who can take care of me, I have decided to forgive every male member who has stood in my way and has hampered me from being successful. I have decided to forgive the male doctor who delivered me and looked away, because I was a girl. I forgive my parents who were unhappy because a girl was born. I forgive my relatives and family because they treated my brother better than they did me. I forgive my boyfriend who always tried to control my life and tell me what to and not to wear. I forgive the male society around me who looked at me differently if I tried to stand up against society. I forgive my husband who thinks I am incapable because I am a woman and expects me to meet the “male man” norms where he is my God. I forgive the “male made” norms of positioning me, an average Indian girl from a conservative household as meek and a man from a similar household as a hero.