Akila is an Indian graduate student abroad. She loves research. She only talks to you about her work, She loves to spend time in the lab. She wants to make a difference in her field. She wants to do a post doc. She has published 4 journal papers in 3.5 years. Her GPA is 4.5/5. She has been supporting herself and her family with her scholarship.
Now, does any of this matter? Do her achievements matter? Does the fact that she wants to continue research matter? Does the fact that she uses the scholarship money to support herself and her entire family matter? Is it commendable? Maybe, in non patriarchal societies. But in India: No.
Why? Because she is 25 years old. She is of marriageable age. Her 45 year old uncle (who is her mother’s brother) wants to marry her, which is ridiculous to say the least.
Her entire extended family and her uncle calls her and pressurises her to marry him now. They blackmail her. They tell her of what they did for her. Her uncle reminds her of how he financed her tickets abroad for graduate studies. They call her disobedient. They call her proud because she is independent now. Her parents claim to give her freedom to marry whosoever but remain quiet when her extended family forces her to marry her uncle. They do not want to give money for marriage to an outsider. Better to give money within the family.
She is tired of arguments over the phone. Of the pressure over the phone. Her other uncles believe they do not have to ask her consent. She should marry whomever they tell her to. Why does a girl need to be asked? It is her parents fault for letting her study too much. For letting her go abroad. For letting her get her own money. That’s what they tell. That is why she is out of control now.
It is stupid how people think they can control and coerce an adult living in another country to do their bidding like women are some remote control toys. And the amount of emotional blackmail people do is amazing. So, basically he looked after her, bought her stuff, so that he can use this to marry her later?
This entire situation is ridiculous and angering. She does not want to go back to India anymore. Why in the world would she want to? Go back and they organise a wedding without her consent. Make her marry a 45 year old man? Who feels more like he is a dad to her?
This pressure to get married gets to you. It breaks you. She does not want to go back home anymore. Because going back means losing your freedom.
I am just getting tired of the sheer number of people who complain of marriage pressure. So many people need to get a life. Why the hell are you so bothered if someone marries or not, when they are getting married and to whom they are getting married? All these people who keep on pressurizing the girl’s family to get their daughters married, do you even live with the couple? Do you help them? No, then why the hell are you even bothered? If someone is happy not marrying, then let them be. If someone wants to marry whoever they want, what is your problem?
For all those who want to slam me and claim superiority of Indian culture of which I get to hear all the time, this is happening in August 2012.