a thousand deaths in silence


“Had she been my daughter, I would have shot her for the shame she has brought upon our family!”

How many times have you heard something of this kind before? Ask me and I will tell you that I have heard this a hundred thousand times in the many years I have lived . This is the reality of the place I was born in, no matter how grim it may seem to you.

I have come across the grand tales of killing one’s daughter for one reason or other many times now. These were the tales of horrors narrated to us when we were kids. Some of those who were murdered were my own cousins. Some of the people who killed them hold stupendous records of killing their six or seven daughters in a row till a male child was born.

The logic behind such gruesome acts of barbarity when asked was, “itna dahej kahan se layenge?” (from where will we bring so much dowry) One cannot justify their crimes but the logic behind the murders isn’t baseless. A civil servant from the upper caste demands a dowry of one crore, while the P.O. of a government bank will not agree to marry if he is not given atleast a sum of 25 lakhs and a professor in a reputed college will not compromise on anything less than 30-35 lakhs in cash, mind it! Dowry, an evil in itself, leads to other evils in the society such as female foeticide/infanticide, subjugation of women and limiting the expenses incurred on them etc. Also, those parents who dare to raise their girl child have no other option but to indulge in unfair means to accumulate enough wealth so that they can do their daughter’s kanyadaan. Apart from this if you haven’t brought enough dowries with you then there are high chances that you could be subjected to extreme forms of domestic violence which might be fatal. Such a loss is irredeemable.  This gruesome event takes place in a country where the laws are pro-girls.

Therefore, when a girl elopes to marry a man of her choice, technically it should please the parents. But, unfortunately it does not.  She is hunted down by all means and life after that for her is never the same. She is not supposed to marry a guy of her own sub-caste, a guy of another caste or a guy of another religion. So, before she can think of falling in love she needs to rationalize whether this relationship is feasible. And they say, “Love just happens.” Fools they are! Therefore, the options available to her are narrowed down to the guy of her parent’s choice.

So, why don’t we trust our parents that they will make the best choice for us? Is it our instinct to experiment or the influence of the so-called modern ways that we want to fall in love freely? But, love does not leave any choice. So, I ask my brother (since I dare not ask my father), “Am I allowed falling in love?” He nodded, “Yes you are by your own will! But, why do you want to opt for something which will create problems at home?”  A point well made by my brother which sums up the precarious nature of choices available to us.

If I can make the choice of my career on my own, if I know what food I like, what dress I prefer, what people I like to be with, why I can’t I choose my partner? What’s so wrong with this that it does not get me the approval of my parents and society by extension? Why is that when I choose to materialize my relationship with my partner, I need to flee from home?

Why can’t I just go to my parents and say that this is the guy I want to be with?

But then, I am a good girl. I am not going to leave my father for a petty five- year long relationship with a boy. I am not even going to ask such questions. I won’t let these stupid thoughts cloud my brain. I cannot be a bad example for my younger sisters. I cannot soil my father’s honor for my dreams and desires. I cannot be the cause of the murder of a yet another girl child whose parents are scared that they will have to face the same disgrace suffered by my parents.

I am ready to die a thousand deaths in silence. This is not my own destiny…this is the collective destiny of my community.

http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2012/07/a-thousand-deaths-in-silence-a-look-at-choices-given-to-women-in-india/

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About jyoti

with her trailing gaze the shy maverick clings on and through the supple foreplay of her aesthetic sense and a beatific smile insatiates the mellifluous melange!! View all posts by jyoti

7 responses to “a thousand deaths in silence

  • Nipun Chawla

    that is so true, but my dear Jyoti, you are one of the coolest and most creative i hve ever known. Please dont say that. i want you to marry a man of your choice. you are my neat neat friend. i dont want you to have such negative thought, however logical and practical they might be.-hugs-

    • Jyoti Singh

      Man of my choice!! my heart js skipped a beat on that 😛

      On a diff note, i won’t say it’s negative, i would rather use the word “realistic”
      it’s sad in a way that i knw many ppl who dont hv d freedom of choice. hope the situation improves. 🙂

  • ayushagarwal87

    Jyoti am really impressed by the way you have portrayed this issue which is plaguing our country day in and day out….
    One thing that I would like to ask you is that why have you ended the story on a negative compromising note…It would have been so great if you could have ended it with some words of wisdom….But without doubt, you have depicted the issue perfectly!!

    • Jyoti Singh

      Thank you. Can’t say more coz as usual you know I don’t know how to respond to compliments. And yes, this is one problem I have experienced in all proximity.
      About the ending, its not a negative ending. it’s only realistic. I know there are two kind of women- one who rebel and are considered bad and the other who conform and are considered ideal. the niche for those who take the middle path is still very narrow ( unfortunately).

      • ayushagarwal87

        Yes I agree with you on this point, women who rebel are looked upon as a menace to the so called society….I have read on various forums and i find it difficult to decipher why do people of our country take pride for such honour killings….Damn it yaar!!

  • jayksingh99

    Ahh…..this is what is called thinking for ‘the greater good’. A very grim reality but in the northern parts of India this is being carried out with a lot of brute force.
    It might take another generation or two for India to come to level with other countries in terms of thinking and logical capabilities.
    Very nice post Jyoti…..:)
    Keep posting 😀

    • jyoti

      Yeah, you are right. the situation is worse in north India.

      We don’t necessarily need to learn from other’s examples, but, yes I would definitely say that we need to learn to respect an individual’s freedom of choice and behave like tolerant modern persons.

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