How Does Culture Affect the Roles of Women | India

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Article: Judie Sheeba

India is a vast country with vast traditions and cultures. Each tradition was followed with a good purpose but nowadays some traditions are followed blindly and some are ignored.Most of the people don’t even bother to understand why those traditions are being followed. Like for example “Dowry” it was a tradition for a bride to give a certain amount of money or goods before her marriage to the bridegroom’s family as a gift from her family but right now it’s being demanded from the bridegroom’s family and this leaves a financial burden on the bride’s family even years after their marriage and some don’t even make it to that day because they’re threatened that the wedding will be called off if the demands are not met within the wedding day. Even though it’s being banned by the constitution, it’s being a pride for the bridegroom to ask dowry under the table. According to another tradition a girl cannot be independent and have to live with her father who takes care of her and decides for her and after her marriage she will be under her husband who takes decision for her. So once she is done with her studies and starts earning,parents think that the time has come for marriage so she’ll become submissive to her husband. However some parents now let their children take their decision but most of them don’t.

I’m Judith, born in Bangalore, a metropolitan city but was raised with my parents in Gujarat where they worked in a middle class family background. But my parents were born and raised from a different place in southern tip of India and even though I have nothing to do with that place I’m supposed to say that I’m from this place. I was not born there nor did I grow up there. I visit this place twice a year during my holidays for a couple of days and thenI leave for school. But one thing I know about this place is that choosing a western life style was a taboo and small things like wearing jeans with a t-shirt, going free hair for a wedding and not wearing a scarf to cover your chest was a big mistake. As I studied in a boarding school, there was not much things I knew about the village where my dad grew up. After I completed my schooling I moved to Chennai for my higher studies. By the time I completed my studies I was a girl with passion and having something in my head that I wanted to do my life. I had a desire to work and to pay my bills and to be financially independent. Then there’s the society to ruin my dreams. Before my parents think about my life, the society will keep pressuring them about me. Every time I go to my parent’s place I hear someone talking about my wedding day, someone discussing how my marriage will be although I have no interest in getting married and never in that village. Because of these talks now I don’t stay there more than two days. According to them, Love marriage is a sin but it is acceptable to marry a stranger and spend the night with a stranger in the name of marriage. When some families finds that their daughter is in love or spot her with any guy, they do a back ground check on the guy if he is financially good and has a good position in the society then if they are lucky enough they’ll get married otherwise the girl will be house arrested and tortured to forget him and marry someone else the family approves of. Even after marriage if it didn’t work she will not be accepted back by the family. If she files a divorce the society will talk like she has no manners. If she marries another guy after a divorce she will be called a prostitute. To make the marriage work the girl has to sacrifice everything to keep him happy. Some ask to leave their jobs and many won’t be allowed to their parent’s house without her husband’s permission. However some girls are lucky to have parent who understands them and allow them to take their decisions. Some are even luckier to get a guy they love. Right now my parents think it’s not good for me to go far from home and work. They want me to find a job near my home. But I have always dreamt of travelling and meeting peoples and having a wider circle of friends. If I want to be happy then I have to make my parents sad and if I want my parents to be happy I must sacrifice my entire life just for them. Life can never be more complicated than living in India especially with a society where I live in. In spite of this condition, I have decided not to listen to the society and take decision on my own and to follow my dreams.

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