Modern India – really?

So there is this colleague of mine – let me just call her PR. PR is a doll! A beautiful, smart girl, well-educated – done her MBA from one of India’s top B schools. Her Dad works as one of the top officials in one of India’s most respected government organizations. He has worked his way up, to be one of the top officials. She speaks highly of her father who despite belonging to an SC caste never used the reservation or allowed his daughters to use it. They have had to work their way to whatever they have done in life

PR is dating this mallu Nair boy – a nice boy am sure -nothing great in the looks department,educated less than her, happens to work abroad. His dad used to work in the gulf and came back to settle in Kerala.

His parents are dead against their marriage – their first reason being that she was an SC!!!
They then think that her dad should give them dowry – coz their son isn’t easily available on “sale” or something to that effect.

When she told me about the dowry bit, i was disgusted and asked her if this guy was worth it. I mean even if your parents are demanding dowry – dont u as a man in love with this girl have the guts to tell them this is wrong! Why are you communicating it to her? Because apparently the boy thinks it’s ok!

What shocked me even more – while PR wasn’t thrilled, she was ok with a certain amount of dowry being given. because in her side, if she had an arranged marriage, dowry is a pre-requisite.

Is it me? Am i too naive or idealistic? Do i live in a palace of illusions?

-> I would have thought her dad would say – I will never give dowry for my daughters! They are educated and capable of earning for themselves and hopefully will do so in tandem with their partners. let the couple make a life for themselves.
-> I would have thought she would have told the guy and his family to buzz off
-> I would have at least expected a lot more outrage from PR – am i good enough for you only with a couple of lakhs accompanying me?
-> I would have thought that in this day and age – caste would not matter especially when the girl is educated and of a similar if not better background than yours

Is modern-day India just a facade?

Is our old thought process just buried below this farce of moderness we claim to have?

What does it feel to grow up knowing that you will be acceptable to a man/his family if u come accompanied with the acceptable amount of money ?

And caste – how can it still matter?

Are we just a handful of us – whose parents would never ever even think of paying dowry for us. My mom as a kid used to always joke that she would ask for dowry from anyone who wanted to marry me!

This saddens me – this India which breaks my notion of dowry, caste etc not being an urbane educated class issue.


44 thoughts on “Modern India – really?

    1. My era

      While I really don’t know about the bigger picture of the facts raised by you, but in the part of country I live in, I have actually seen cases of both sorts. I mean people not allowing their kids to marry partners of their choice for the sole reason of caste bar and many of the people in our neighborhood have kids married inter-caste. so basically it’s a combination of both sorts (despite all parties I mentioned being reasonably well educated).

      As far the dowry bit, I’ll do an eye-opener series of posts on my blog very soon, where I’ll share what happened with me in today’s age and times when the boy and girl were very well educated and were even working overseas.

      I hope PR takes the right decisions and thinks well before marrying the guy who is not ready to stand by her even when they are in love.

      1. Nuttie Natters Post author

        Looking forward to your posts – but PR is right now the quintessential girl in love. Apparently everything will be hunky dory after marriage. While we do try to explain things to her, eventually we just hope that our fears are unfounded!

  1. Chindi Chitranna

    all of them seem insecure in their own ways – which is why dowry is beign asked for, and not denied. I really wish our education extended to giving people spines and some broadmindedness.

    1. Nuttie Natters Post author

      You are right! I never thought of it – it is a form of insecurity from her end. maybe somewhere it worrries her dad that he belongs to the caste he does. You are right – education doesn’t guarantee a spine now does it?

  2. celestialrays

    You have woken up a beast inside me. I need to write about this. I don’t know about India as a whole – the country has too many personalities to understand it fully. But people – modern, educated, well informed people – how they choose to close their eyes to sense is beyond me.

    1. Nuttie Natters Post author

      Maybe sense is too much to ask for – what about just maintaining your dignity, valuing your child for what she is – knowing that you have created someone who is more than worthy of the guy!

      I am so confused about this!

  3. snippetsnscribbles

    It is a facade!

    Same thing with one of my friends too. HE didn’t care and she didn’t seem to have an opinion also!

    So? what? Your job is to only fall in love? And not talk about these things? Leave it for the parents to make it happen?

  4. Bikram

    yes u r naive and live in a idealistic world .. there you go replied to ur question … πŸ™‚

    and yes again to the modern day india.. THe problem is that if a few percentage of people do beleive in NOT taking dowry or other things it doesnot mean the whole of india is the same, we forget that india has a billion people and majority are under the poverty line.

    Its the same as when i wrote a article on how people are rushing to come abroad one of my good friends had a go at me telling me how wrong i am , people are infact coming back to india .. To that i only had one reply i clicked the pictures at UK embassy .. etc so they shut up..

    Its like anything india is not what is happening right near by us , its what is happening in majority places …

    My sis got married and the guy she married to did not take any dowry well they did not demand any, the question was all our relatives were asking is there something wrong with the guy , why no dowry this and that…

    its easy for everyone ot say no no to everything but what they do behind the closed doors of their own house , we will never know … In punjab the richer you are the more bigger dowry gifts , the richer you are the bigger the car is given as dowry.. IT is a STATUS SYMBOL, who gave what car or how much dowry or how much did they spend on thier daughters wedding…

    as PR said dowry is pre-requisit the only things is nowadays they dont ask or make a list it is understood ….

    1. Nuttie Natters Post author

      I do know that dowry is prevalent. But the shock for me was my friend PR is like me…what i considered someone with my thought process and she being ok…was what shocked the daylights out of me.

      Imagine people actually think something is wrong if someone says no dowry – we are one strange country πŸ™‚

  5. Tanishka

    It is sad but then this is the truth… Dowry is still one of the pre-requisite for getting a girl married in many Indian families… And surprisingly the guys also do not oppose or try put an end to it…
    Although things are much better than what used to be in the past but there is still a lot that needs to change…

  6. Pepper

    Don’t know what to say. This angers me beyond words, and it happens all the time. I am just left roaring, and feeling hoarse in the process. The world doesn’t change.

  7. R's Mom

    Sad na..for a father who always stood up to his principles when it comes down to marriage of his daughters is not saying anything…its really sad…and the guy 😦 it hurts me to read such things…sometimes I think you are right..there is no modern India…its all words and no action…I mean..when it comes to others, you say this and that..but when it comes to your own…you do as the supposed norm of the society

    1. Nuttie Natters Post author

      I know – somewhere i wonder if her dad feels that despite everything i have given and she has become – just coz of my caste, she is facing resistance. 😦

      i wish r’s mom -that her dad could tell – if he can’t love you for what you are – he aint worth it! but somewhere like someone mentioned there probably is some insecurity involved!

  8. chroniclesofdee

    Frankly, even accepting money from parents to have a “love” marriage is unacceptable for me. So, when people come up to me and think they are brave when making announcements of fighting with their parents for the right to marry their beloved and then giving them an ultimatum to have things done by a date.. it takes me all that I have not to slap the shit out of their face.

    Down here, people don’t give dowry, they get “gifts” from their in-laws.. Gifts like an apartment, a car, a site etc.

    Sigh 😐

    1. Nuttie Natters Post author

      dont u feel that by doing so – they are actually saying that their son and the giftee’s daughter are incapable of doing it by themselves? and hence need this “gift” from their parents!

  9. Ramya

    Nuttie, I’ve been there. One of my dearest friends, S, got married recently. She was in love with this guy – an average looking guy belonging to a middle class family, same level of education as her, one level above her at work because he had been working longer. The boy’s parents agreed to the marriage only after she took bought a house – they aren’t openly calling it dowry but thats what it is – they dragged their feet over the marriage issue for over a year, but within 2 days of her signing the loan papers, they had fixed a wedding date.

    I don’t blame the boys parents – thats what their mindset is. But I am angry with the guy – if he is in love this woman, why can’t he stand up for her? He behaved as if it was perfectly reasonable that his parents ask for, and she pay, dowry. In fact, he told a common friend to convince the girls father to buy a house! And he told S upfront that he would get married only after that. And despite all of this, S, who is very like me in thinking, agreed and married him.

    It still makes me angry to think about it. But I think, for S, it stemmed from a sense of insecurity and of feeling she had no other choice. She had two relationships where the guys broke up with her just before they were getting engaged. And once she got engaged, and the guy broke up the engagement a few weeks before the wedding. So I think now she agreed to all this nonsense simply because she felt she needed to make this relationship work at any cost.

    P.S: Sorry for hogging your space to rant!

    1. Nuttie Natters Post author

      You what Ramya, like your friend S, I feel PR is also agreeing to all this from a sense of insecurity because a couple of her past relationships didn’t work out!

      It’s sad aint it

  10. smartassbride

    I think these things will change only when there’s a lot of public disapproval – but that’s not going to happen, because we will be in a minority. When I was going through the “my parents are trying to find a guy for me” phase, there was a person who asked for dowry and my parents turned it down – but i felt it was simply not enough – i wanted a recorded conversation, register a case, and screw the boy’s life to kingdom come – my parents while not approving of dowry, were simply against me doing any of this.

    and you know, the “asking” part is actually not there – parents of the girls usually recite the list themselves – and the boy’s parents gracefully(!) accept it – this of course, is not dowry, simply because there is no demand! when i think about it, my parents have saved for me and my bro equally – but i see differences in the way money was saved – to a large extent they have subscribed to the “saving gold” mentality.

    and the ones that did not ask my parents for gold/dowry were not doing it because they were noble – there was a guy who told his mom that “it is hard to find a girl who earns as much as she does, so let’s not stress on dowry!”. So my earning is the dowry, only like an EMI.

    As long as we continue to settle for less, this shit will happen to us. And when educated, financially independent ppl cannot be strong, how can we expect any hope where the girls dont have a choice?

    1. Nuttie Natters Post author

      I agree with you SAB. I was wondering myself that if i knew abt this so called dowry – am i not aiding what i consider a crime? Is there a place that such crimes can be reported by parties who are not subject to the same. How can i not influence a dear friend on something i hold so dear to me…I give up and accept it as part of the ways of the world.

  11. Vaish

    That’s too much! But as you said, the reality is the old thoughts are buried behind these modern masks! So, yes,,in the sense, these are still happening even in the metro cities, modern families and to ultramodern girls! Having educated, there are still lots of PRs in the world to blindly follow the love life.

  12. MoRS

    This makes me so mad. A well educated, independent girl towing the stereotypes. Sadly, CASTE still does matter to most of the people. Even in most educated and so called progressive families. It is for the boy and the girl to stand up against the stereotypes. It is sad that the guy seems pretty spineless 😦

    1. Nuttie Natters Post author

      Hi Mors – yes the guy is spineless and somehow she doesn’t seem to realize it! and so not worth such a lovely person…but what to do i say love makes u blind and i must add a bit absurd.

  13. DI

    Its not worth it. The marriage into a family which doesn’t respect you for what you are and expects a monetary compensation. And the guy, who has no guts to stand up against his parents. I doubt I will ever see any other point of view in the said situation. It sucks.

    1. Nuttie Natters Post author

      me too…but PR for some reason feels that post marriage things are going to be all hunky dory as she doesn’t need to live with in-laws. While most of keep mentioning how you marry the family in India but nada the girl is in love and somehow thinks the guy is worth it

  14. Deboshree

    Sheesh. This makes me really mad. These are the shackles that are holding us back and not allowing us to grow. Why cannot we emerge from these old school ideas that do not have an ounce of good in them? Let us leave the girl aside for a bit, why does this guy not try to make his parents see some sense?

  15. Anonymously Disguised

    Oh on a regular basis I get a shock when some of the women I bump into here proudly states the amount their parents had parted for their dowry. For them it’s always like showing off from what a wealthy family they come from. πŸ™„ All of these men and women are well educated and now settled in USA… sigh! and oh some women are so nasty when they say “why should I cook and take care of chores when my father had given so much money and gold for my marriage” 😑

  16. The Other Side of life

    There’s such an irony in this post! Look at the type of comments you got. Every sensible person agrees and feels for this. And yet, we still have a huge majority that think likewise, no? Its really sad. The only hope we have is that people like us stand up to this facade and keep highlighting these issues whenever we can!

  17. ajay

    This only goes to show that being modern, educated and well-informed don’t necessarily imply being humane, compassionate and understanding! So sad it is.

  18. Sanjana

    Yes, I think you are being a bit naive about this. πŸ™‚

    It sucks, yes, but I’ve seen it sooo many times that it fails to affect me anymore.
    Of course, for *me* the idea of giving dowry is archaic! Firstly, my wedding (if there is one!) will not be arranged! Secondly, if a guy I’m seeing asks for dowry, I will tell him which cliff he can jump off! (no seriously, I would! I’ve dated too many jackasses to fall for crap like this!)

    I’m quite proud to say that in my family, neither of my cousin brothers took any dowry! πŸ˜€
    Oh, and my dad didn’t either!


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