Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage

'Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage?' debate two chirpy girls barely out of their teens on one of the entertainment channels.
This was a question which people used to ask in the more  conservative 80s. But even then, this was a question or rather a fear that the parents had; we young girls were all impatient to try our wings and were raring to fly. Many of those girls have done well in their lives today. When I say us girls, I refer to the mostly middle- class, small-town, close-knit, education-focused cosmopolitan crowd. We didn't know then what happened beyond the gates of the steel township. We didn't have girls discussing marriage. The question was always what next in life.

When the name of this serial was announced, I was taken people discuss 'Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage' these days? On the flip side: how does it matter how you choose to die? It's like asking someone, if suicide is better or being murdered? On a serious note though, do people care these days? For this generation in their 20s, they freely discuss everything with their parents and if they find a Mr /Ms Right, they let their parents know. If they don't find someone, they are equally comfortable about asking their parents to look for them.

The serial strengthens the idea in conservative Indian minds that a girl's existence centers around marriage. To add fuel to the fire, I heard an elderly lady advising someone, "get your daughter married before she falls in love with someone." That the girl is good at studying and had earned a Master's from abroad holds no importance.

Indra Nooyi, Naina Lal Kidwai, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw are just a few examples of India-born women who have done wonders with their careers. All three married at a time they chose to, to a person they chose to, have empowered themselves, live with dignity and turned out to be iconic leaders who knowingly and unknowingly inspire thousands of women to fulfill their dreams. Girls! Be firm and tell your parents, "Marriage can wait, education cannot.”  (Khaled Hosseini).
More than anything else, the Govt. of India must make it mandatory that no marriage takes place until the girl holds at least a +2 certificate, if not a degree. Unless the woman is educated and empowered, the nation CANNOT move forward. To quote Nehru, "If you educate a man you educate an individual, however, if you educate a woman you educate a whole family. Women empowered means Mother India empowered." 

In your teens, dear girls, fill your eyes with these dreams and hearts with these aspirations and not ask 'Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage?'