The reason why you have a child is not for you to worry yourself thinking about getting him or her married.
A friend and I got together after several years. His daughter is now doing her final year in law school. She wants to be a sports lawyer. And wants to go abroad to pick up a Master’s degree in that field. But my friend and his wife want to get her married. “In my community, girls cannot go out of the country without getting married. Besides, what is the need for my daughter to do a Master’s when she has to actually focus on raising a family,” explained my friend. I was both shocked and disturbed by what my friend had to say. We had ordered a drink and in silent protest I cancelled my order. I felt very uncomfortable calling a man who had such primitive, regressive thoughts on parenting, my friend. I pretended I had an urgent call from home and said that I had to leave. But before I left I told him this: “This may seem like unsolicited advice. But please don’t come in the way of your child’s dream. You have not brought her into this world for her to only marry and raise children. She has the potential to make this world a better place. Please allow her to do that.”
I have no idea if my well-meaning appeal made any difference to my friend’s thinking. But what he had to say left me very, very concerned for what’s happening around us.
I just don’t get this. Why would parents want to interrupt – and how could they – their childrens’ Life plans? I see so many parents around me vexing over the marriage of their young adult children as if the raison d’etre of these young folks is to have sex and procreate. If this sounds crass, let’s learn to live with it. Because that’s precisely what parents of my generation continue to do with their children, of course, they camouflage it in a socially acceptable framework called an “arranged marriage”. In fact, nothing seems to have changed. For they continue to perpetrate the same crime that’s been going on for generations now. I can’t quite understand why parents need to “worry” about their young adult children? Why not just let them be and allow them to figure out Life for themselves? Let them marry when they want, to who they want to live with. If they want to live in, and not marry, so be it. I would much rather that parents hoped that their children found true love, companionship and understanding than rush to get them married.
For a change to come in social outlook and individual actions, the younger generation needs to speak up too. In the name of respecting their elders, many are unwittingly letting regressive thinking prevail. But there seems to be some hope. Yesterday, my son directed me to a Facebook post by a young gentleman called Dhruv Deshpande . Google him and check out his post of June 13th – it has gone viral!!! He invites people of his generation to work on making the world a better place, one parent at a time: “…Today, the biggest propagators of the notion of rape culture, caste system, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia…are your parents’ generation, however latent it may be. Do not ignore it because you think you’re respecting your parents…If you trace it, squash it. Let it be an argument, a fight, a stand-off, but don’t give up on your parents by silently letting them be carriers of social evils…So, stop preaching online. Look behind your computer screens at the wrinkled little lovable bigot you’re living with. If you love them, tell them they’re wrong. They’re wrong a lot…” I feel Dhruv’s said it. And said it well. To the list of social evils he has there, I will add the scourge of arranged marriages in the name of “performing duty”, “keeping the honor of the community intact” and “in order for parents and grandparents to die peacefully”.
In my humble opinion, it is a grave mistake for a parent to not know what his or her child dreams of. It is a graver sin, of course, to come in the way of that dream, citing as an excuse, of all things, an arranged marriage!