Few days back my parents informed me that they are to perform Kanyadaan rites for the daughter of a distant relative whose wife is no more. To inform you the basic criterion for Kanyadaan is that a ‘couple’ has to perform it.
Such delegations have been passed on in the family many times. My aunt had also got opportunities to perform Kanyadaan twice. She feels that she is lucky as performing Kanyadaan is a ‘Punya ka kaam‘ (auspicious act). She was so overwhelmed that she thanked God for the opportunity and took a pledge that after the performance they will quit one of their bad habits and so they quit smoking. Yes, my uncle quit active smoking and my aunt passive smoking. They took a similar pledge in the second Kanyadaan too of which I am not aware of. But yes as she has two sons she feels a sense of pride to have got the opportunity.
My parents would also be feeling the same next month however their intensity of pride will be a bit less as they already have two daughters for daan. Now I see a golden opportunity here. Keeping in mind their cholesterol level I can encourage them to give up fatty food after the Kanyadaan . This I could have done after my marriage if I had not declared my Kanyadaan null and void.
By now I have realized that I have totally deviated from the main topic.
In 1800s few good men came to the rescue of women and abolished barbaric rituals like Sati and introduced Widow Remarriage Act. This completely changed the world of women but some rituals are still lurking in our society which look harmless but have a very wide impact all over the country. I am talking about Kanyadaan.
To many, this won’t sound disagreeable practice at all. For me to realize its negative effects all I had to do was to translate it into English.
On translating it means donating or gifting your daughter and to see the effect of this translation on others I picked up the closest specimen and asked him, “Can you donate your daughter when required?” which made him jump in shock and scream something which I don’t remember.
People donate many things, some donate a particular percentage of their salary, some donate clothes , some donate organs after death , some donate food and some people wait for Makar Sankranti to donate because by doing so the effect of donation increases manifold. Some people, like me , prepare a list and go for shopping and ask at the grocery shop for the cheapest quality rice , because it doesn’t matter , as Makar Sanktranti has the power of converting the effect of cheap rice to Basmati Rice.
Again I have realized I have deviated from the topic.
Among living things we donate cows and sometimes goat. Some chosen ones even get the opportunity to donate their maiden girl. Once a ‘thing’ is donated you have no control over it. It is not yours.
Now this particular criteria of a donation has somehow manage to create a thought in the human mind that the girl is a liability and someone else’s property. Now, who would desire a girl child ?
I remember my husband holding our new born daughter in his arms and innocently say, “How would I ever marry her off”. With the other family members getting emotional I had a face palm moment.
All I want to say is time is changing , daughters are being given a share in parents property. Then why are they not allowed to share the responsibility of parents. Why are people hesitant in approaching their daughter after marriage ? Why are they estranged after marriage?
Why donate off your daughters? Let your daughters be yours forever!