No more Astis Please...!!

Perhaps being a female, issues like dowry, female infanticide and the likes always manage to grab my attention. It so happened that few days back I was watching Crime Patrol Dastak on television where the episode was about a lady “Asti Shekhar” who unfortunately ended her life sometime last year dejected over her failed marriage. For some reason I browsed through the net for articles on this and found her diary which apparently was to be used by prosecution against her husband and in-laws. I do not know what happened in the case however I regret that a bright girl like Asti ended her life for a bunch of Neanderthals. To bring this piece into perspective, Asti married Sikander Abhijeet sometime in February 2011 and within 3 months of that Asti committed suicide after being tortured mentally for dowry and due to apathy from her husband who apparently was in love with another woman. Asti was a gold medalist in Economics; a brilliant student with a bright future. What I wish to know is why didn’t she fight for her right? Why didn’t she teach these people a lesson for siphoning money from her dad and then ruining her life? Why did she marry a guy who needs money from her father? Why do girls in India marry guys who in the name of traditions take money from their dads? Why do women in India not see that men who are ready to be traded for money on the pretext of marriage are not worthy of any relationship or respect?

As I scroll through Asti’s diary what strikes me most is that she was totally blinded by love for this man that she let pass even the subtle signs of warning. She put her full faith in a person she hardly even knew. The movies we see, the novels we read and even the proverbial “prince charming” stories that are related to girls in India and more so in certain households weaves a world of delusion; and some of us start believing in that fantasy world more than what we actually live in. The rosy romance, the ideal man and the over the top weddings with happily forever afters are too perfect to be true. Life is all about constant struggle, it’s a journey with twists and turns where nothing happens as planned and it’s always good to expect the best but always be prepared for the worst. If anything is too perfect then it’s safe to assume that something is definitely wrong with it.

Asti’s alliance was arranged by her family which makes me ponder on this ever so controversial question of arranged marriage vs love marriage. In our country love marriages are still considered a taboo. Those who dare do it often go through a lot of resistance. But coming back to arranged marriages, if we look at our parents’ generation then in my view arranged marriages were still a safe bet. But in today’s day and age marrying someone after meeting him or her a handful of times seems like walking blindfolded on a highway. I do not understand why our society creates a hoopla on this. What sort of social tradition demands intentionally pushing your children towards an uncertain future with a complete stranger? Of course there would be several counter arguments as love marriages have their flip side too. But to me it’s better to have frequented the highway several times before travelling through it and definitely not blindfolded.

Some accidents happen in spite of all the cautionary steps that we can take but once that happens should we not make an effort to rise above that. In the case of Asti and so many like her, there is these beliefs that after marriage girls are not supposed to go back to their parents even if her new home is a virtual hell. All she is expected to do is suffer silently for the dignity of her parents and her in-laws. But WHY? Who made this rule? Who is then to be blamed when a girl in the prime of her life for lack of support or options ends her life? Just the in-laws, husband or even the parents?

Now the biggest question that I wish to ask every female out there-Why on earth should the husbands be treated as GODs or as we say it ‘pati parmeshwar’? Shouldn’t both partners be treated equally? I think this is one of the biggest hurdles in our society where wives refrain from taking any action against their husbands no matter how they may be wronged just ‘coz our society, our snanskriti preaches of a society where husbands cannot be wrong. Silently suffering is wrong. Marriage is union of two individuals; where both are equal; where it is not only the responsibility of the wife but of the husband too to make it work. Both need to sacrifice, both need to understand each other and where none is superior to the other. So long as this so called moronic society of ours keeps practicing and believing ancient dogmas there will be more and more Asti’s.

So what can be done? Well for starters please please stop turning a blind eye when dowry demands are made saying these are just traditions. Think about it would not Asti be happier alive; without being married off spending 18 lakhs to a monster of a man who had no regards for her feelings or even her life for that matter. And girls, marriage isn’t everything especially when it’s in a family where they are more interested in bleeding every penny off your parents no matter how much you may be in love.

So girls I urge you it is the time to change; to wake up and smell the coffee. The Society as a whole needs a change and since this society of ours is more often than not hell bent on screwing us females let’s take a pledge! We shall not suffer silently, we shall say no to dowry and we shall fight for our rights always! Ladies please let’s respect ourselves first, let’s love ourselves. Our sole purpose in life is not to keep sacrificing for the rest of the world. Time to live for ourselves as well !