Why Girls and their Families Feel Insecure from Larkay Walas in Marriage
As we all belong to the 21st century, we claim that we have become a civilized nation. We, at times also believe in a myth that women have apparently achieved equality with men. Despite new emphases on women succeeding in the classroom and at work, our society still grows on patriarchal norms, which means that the society is still male dominant.
You would be thinking that what would be the opposite of patriarchy. The common answer we can think of matriarchy. No, The opposite of patriarchy is equality rather than matriarchy. And the solution to our problem also lies under the beautiful umbrella of this beautiful phenomenon.
This patriarchy is quite evident at the time of marriage as well. The bride and her family not only feel but also are insecure and inferior and also suppressed by the family of the groom. After all, the groom and his family have the wild card of Larkay Wala, and they have the power to exploit it to the fullest.
In order to understand this attitude of Larkay wala, which makes the girl and her family feel insecure or secondary during marriages, we have to dig into its roots. In fact, human societies tend to various degrees of patriarchy, in which men hold the primary power. It is primarily because men are physically stronger. On the contrary, women are often incapacitated by the burden of childbearing and rearing.
Moreover, we program our kids from the very beginning to act like another ring in the chain of stereotypes already existent and deep-rooted in our society. This ideology highlights man as the decision-taker and breadwinner of the family, and woman as the homemaker and mother. We encourage boys to be strong and brave. We make them play with tools, cars and all; whatever symbolizes power in a larger picture. Phrases like “boys don’t cry” and “real man does not feel pain” taint our boys’ heads with phrases endorsing patriarchal norms throughout their life.
On the other hand, girls are expected to be passive and pretty, through, activities such as, fairy tales, dolls, cooking, baking or dressing up, among others. Especially the game of doll marriage is highly over-rated.
That’s just not it. It is rightly said that literature is the true mirror of society. It depicts the general nature of society. Unfortunately, our literature, either in the form of books, dramas or any other, also depicts these gender roles through the characters, attitudes examples and role models, even including historical figures. From a young age, especially what contributes to the preservation of the traditional gender roles is the fact, that our girls are indoctrinated into the virtues of marriage since their childhood.
If a girl finds herself strong and stable enough to forego marriage in this modern era, she is constantly told to doubt her decision by telling her, “Never say never…. all you need is to find your Mr Right… so on and so forth”.
There are no big breakthroughs in the marriage market as well. Brides and their families are made to feel inferior like some perishable goods. In order to find their would-be partner, women need to do much more to conform to racist, ageist and sexist stereotypes as compared to men.
Furthermore, it’s only the women the society always says to that you are not perfect naturally and you need to do appalling things to look presentable. When you go out, you need to amend your face through makeup, height through high heels, figure through body shapers to and what not.
It is sad to know that sometimes it’s the parents of the girl who also make their girls weak rather than empowering them. You all would have heard the phrase at some point in your life being told by the parents to the girl, “Your palanquin is going to your matrimonial home and now it is your coffin that will come out of that home.” What damage it does to our girls in those weak moments is unexplainable. She is left to deal with all unforeseen circumstances under the umbrella of adjustment, as she has nowhere to go.
Ideally, parents should tell their daughters that the new home would never replace the old one. Parents’ home is always yours. Leave and come back just the moment someone starts abusing you. The doors and our hands are always open for you. This is an assurance that would empower the girl.
When it comes to the wedding ceremony, the ceremony itself is sexist beyond parody. How many men have you come across, till date, who are supposed to wear eye-shadow on their wedding to make their eyes look bigger and prominent, lip colour to enhance the size of their lips so the lips look perfectly stereotypical and what not.
It is only the girl who is supposed to wear a nose ring, which should in fact be called a nose wheel, as it’s size is not less than a wheel, which at times is really painful for the bride. As the nose wheel is considered mandatory by the Samaaj for Nikkah ceremony, making the bride wear that, is a symbol of oppression I would say, the Larki has to face in order to get happily married living on the verge of denying out of the fear of any offense the Larka or Larkay Walas might take from this little act of liberation from the painful and oppressive tradition the society has given us as a gift.
It is also pertinent to mention that there are some factual bases for the insecurity of Larki Walas. Some of them are discussed in this article.
As the number of eligible bachelors, whom the girls want to marry, is really less than the number of eligible girls available. The girl and her family don’t want to let go of the suitable Rishta that they have already grabbed, as they are afraid of not getting any Rishta worthy of their daughter afterwards.
Additionally, in case the groom or his family gets offended and they call off the wedding, the girl would be more prone to the bad repercussion due to the prevalence of patriarchy in the society. The so-called Samaaj gives a really tough time to a girl who has separated this way.
It is rightly said that marriage is the contract between two people who are going to enter a new relationship. If we look into it, we can agree that the Nikahnama is the written contract of the marriage. That Nikahnama is written by the stat to ensure that no one misuses their powers in marriage and the Qazi sahib controls its usage, instead of both the partners.
Therefore, logically it should be allowed for both the people to add or remove any clause that they agree upon with mutual consent. But the case is just the opposite. This Nikkah-nama is never discussed with either the girl or the boy.
It has a column for “Taqweez-e-Talaq” which is there to empower the girl so that in case the need arises, she can also divorce the husband, without any hassles she would have to face in the court otherwise the Qazi Sahib; cuts that column off without even discussing it with the stakeholders, as he himself is the product of a male-dominated society. He makes sure that the girl is devoid of her powers given to her by the state under the spirit of Islam through Muslim marriage act.
It does not end there! If by chance, both the boy and the girl are educated enough and insist upon not cutting it off, still most respected Qazi Sahibs who are the controllers of the marriage do not allow doing so as he feels insecure that the power of males would become less and it might question his own ways as well.
The idea of an equally empowering marriage is that one should live in a marriage just because she or he likes it. There should be no other reason to live in a marriage.
As a result of this deed of Qazi Sahib, the girl not only feels but also gets less empowered and becomes the victim of blackmail from the guy when he starts misusing the privilege of his Haq-e-Talaq later on.
In addition, the wedding ceremony itself is chauvinist beyond parody. It is ironic to call the wedding day as “her special day”, despite the fact that it’s merely the day of transfer of powers over her between the two men.
Usually, it is believed in our society that the responsibility of the girl’s marriage lies upon the head of her father. Therefore, after the Nikkah is done, the bride walks down the aisle and the father ‘gives her away’, and she is passed, like some asset or property, from one male individual (father) to another (groom).
The father of the bride is her Wali, who; at the moment; has the authority over the girl and not herself. He gives the permission to the groom to marry the woman as if she can’t do all of this herself.
The woman, who is passed from one male individual to another, has to take this other man’s name as her surname now. Although the custom for women taking their husband’s name as their last name, after marriage, may be fading yet it is still prevalent among the common people.
The solution to all these problems is hidden under the small names of “Equality in Marriage” and “Women Empowerment”.
Marriage is one of the most beautiful relationships in the world. The main idea behind marriage is companionship, not compromise. Marriage of compromise is not something worthy of your time and effort. Therefore, in a marriage, both the partners should feel equally empowered rather than becoming the product of the idea that man is the owner of the woman, who ultimately is wired to behave as the fragment of man due to the social influence of this patriarchal society.
Unless we understand the fact that the core value of marriage is not submission, we will keep on facing the issue of girls and their families feeling inferior and afraid from all the power dynamics that society places in the plate of boys and their families effortlessly.
On one side, we have to teach our girls to get educated and financially stable before getting married.
On the other hand, we have to understand that when we are larkay walas, we don’t have to exploit the powers society has given us. Let the new bride adjust well without giving her any tough times.
Ideally, the clauses of marriage should be designed in such a way that girls and boys both are equally empowered in a marriage so they live in a marriage for the sake of happiness instead of economic instability or some other petty reasons for compromises.
Additionally, while living together, finances should be carried out in such a way that both the partners should spend proportional amount of their earnings on shared expanses of the house considering the fact that she is also an equal member in the house. It is pertinent to mention that kids are a joint responsibility for both.
On the other hand, a man should also participate in household chores as an equal family member. Last but not the least, divorce or separation should not be a taboo in society.
Society should stop being judgemental and biased towards single ladies, divorcees and widows and begin to respect them as an equal member of the society and give them equal opportunities in life as anyone else, which is also the policy of netrishta.
If we start following these suggestions from our own home from today itself, it not impossible for the whole society to change as it is us who makes the society. Once adopted, there will be no Larki or Larki wale, who would feel any kind of insecurities or suppression from the Larkay Walas. All people living in marriages would be happy and secure.