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Clipping the wings of our girls

What a medieval mentality is this, my friend, Sri.——!

I am really shocked. Such a proposal coming from an educated, elite member of this group !. Am I in 2011 or 1102 !.
To pack off the girls early, to ensure they do not marry boys of other communities ! By clipping their wings, preventing their studying beyond, say  matriculation, they will not be able to take up any job and thus will be compelled to remain in the kitchen serving the family and be good ‘sahadarminis’ and not mere bed-mates.This is exactly what you want !
But that is not what the present day boys want ! They want a partner who will have the capabilities to row the life-boat along with them and not a meek woman to hold darbhai behind them which is only a one time event in a year. They want educated girls, who can drive the car,  teach children at home, help them in bank work, host  guests and talk to them in a language which they will understand, handle emails, phones and call for an ambulance or doctor in emergencies. And God forbid, if they are immobilized or removed form the scene due to an unfortunate event, their spouses should be able to take care of the offspring , educate them, raise them and see that they are settled in life. Any father will hope for that and that is a very legitimate expectation from their life-partners..
Can’t an SSLC  girl perform all these tasks, you may ask. They might be. But will a graduate or PG boy opt for a non-graduate ? The boys will insist on educational parity as the girls does. So, to achieve your goal, we should not educate the boys too, beyond matriculation ? Education is a valuable tool for the progress. Even the ultra orthodox moulavies of the Muslim communities have now started encouraging the girls to improve their education.
In the olden days the house wives worked hard, but that was within the four walls of their house.  Now half the day they have to spend outside, for their children’s schooling, shopping and other activities. Present cities not old agraharams. In fact even old villages have changed.
The married girls in my family,get up early morning, wake up the children and prepare them to go to school, prepare food, drive the kids to school and from their proceed to their own work-place, pick up the kids from the school on their way back from their works, feed and teach them at night and also take care of their husbands’ needs at home and also outside and also do the shopping. This is in addition to their Sunday activities when they have to take their kids to Balavihar , sports, swimming, music, dance and other activities. In India also almost the same routine is observed .Only difference might be that many may not drive their vehicles but make use of other transports.
Do you have a daughter of 16 or 17, Mr. —– Just tell her that you want her to discontinue her studies at matriculation as you are ‘arranging’ her marriage. I know what reply you will get from her, because nearly three decades ago, my mother suggested the same  to my sisters and they said ‘no’. Fortunately my father was not like you. I encouraged him and put them in college and helped to complete their graduation. They worked as scientists and administrators, remaining as real sahadharminies and also educated their children well who are now holding good positions.
I know the woes of the women of my generation who had to face the consequence of early marriage to elderly men who left this world throwing their women to the dust bin. You also might be having such unfortunate human beings in your family or in the friend- circle. Let not the history be repeated now Let us not talk about that sad story.
And migration to outer fields. Has it not happened before ? In my own circle there were a few cases, some 20-30 years ago.. Some flourished and some suffered. And that will continue.
Shall I tell you one more thing. As I mentioned in this column recently, in one of the four weddings I attended, during my recent trip to India, the bride groom was my son in law’s brother and the bride an Australian girl. The wedding was strictly according to the Andrha vaishnavite customs and it was real fun to watch the Australian father performing the kanyadhanam, wearing ready made silk panchagatcham and reciting mantras in his accent ! Last Sunday I attended a wedding in the Greater Baltimore Temple. Here again the bride was an American girl, wearing madisaru in typical Tamil Iyer style. There is a  So, there is a flow in the reverse direction too .
The oceans are shrinking. Among the westerns, there are many who find merit in our way of living. The exchange of cultural life and activities are unavoidable. When our children are aspiring to invade and occupy other planets you cannot stop them if they go beyond your village border to choose their life-partners.
And about the divorces. In the olden days, women suffered silently within the four walls of their houses, because they had no courage to fight the society and no means to survive if they come out. The present woman has both. Instead of stagnating, the water is flowing out freely now. Think of the Nair women who lived behind your village. It is not that they loved their husband less. But they had economical sovereignty.So, they could easily get rid of their husbands when they misbehaved. Instead of their going out they threw their husbands out of their house. But our women did not have it. The land was not in their name. For the present wives if not land, they have education,. they have jobs The husbands should behave like husbands and the wives should behave like wives. Otherwise the house will break. There is no caste or religious factors in this.
Don’t get disheartened. You cannot act against the wishes or your son or daughter and you should not also. I have four children; I do not know how many you have. As a senior person, my advice to you is allow them to study; don’t stop with matriculation. And allow them to select their life partners. Guide them from outside. Your turn was over and I do not know whether the selection was by you or your parents. My parents had a valid reason for asking me, through a telegram,  to marry a girl of their choice; As kids, we had played together! And right from her grand mother, every one in the family was known to my mother!. They did not show me even a picture of my life partner.
But that was in the last century. We have come far, far, from there.
Baltimore, Sept 28, 2011
Comments :
dear sir

an excellent piece
i marvel @ your versatility
thanks for such a sensible article
Brilliant and fitting response.
Agree wholeheartedly.
                                                                               Next post on this topic
“How to find only brahmin girls, for our sons?’ is a question asked by those who generally agree with my views expressed in the previous post.  Here are a few suggestions, rather what I will do if I have to look for a girl for my son:1. Will notinclude the condition, ‘sub sects not desired’ in the advertisement.2. Will notinsist on horoscope matching ‘pathu porutham’ and all.  Will Leave that to the girl’s parents and if they convey the agreement of horoscopes , I will  simply say, ‘ fine, go ahead ‘  No ‘let us have a second opinion’   That opinion, will be mostly opposite to the first. If the boy and girl agree, I will simply go by ‘Mana porutham’ which is the best ‘porutham’ and without that, all other ‘poruthams’ will only lead to ‘varutham’.3.Will not look at the ‘gothram’ at all. That idea is obsolete.We do not know whether the Maharshi in our ‘abhivadaye’ is our gotra guru or gothra pita. Anyway, we have come through many, many generations down now and he will never stand in the way of his descendants getting united . My daughter has married a sagotram boy and they have two healthy kids now .
4. One, two, three months pass on, nothing happens. I will start looking for any brahmin girls, Iyer Iyengar, Madhwa, Nambudiries, potties etc.  I will look  for other all India Matrimonial sites too; Kerala, Andhra, Karnataka all these are neighboring states and there is no much difference in the worship and family practices . If I fail to get a girl from these gold mines  too, will go for brahmin girls from anywhere in the country, north or south, east or west. They are all good and will adjust with your culture,family traditions, habits and practices. Some of the girls who entered our houses from north and east became master cooks for shradaham., within the first year! They now help Iyer girls to prepare morkoottan and wear madisaru now ! What else do you need ?.
5. I will not reject a girl purely on the basis of her lower financial status. Without hurting her parents’ sentiments, I will  suggest that they can conduct the marriage within their means.  In our weddings, I found nearly 60- 80 %  expenditure comes under the non-essential or avoidable category. In one of the weddings I attended, nearly 2ooo snaps were taken and 200 laminated. One tenth of that wood have been a luxury.
6. I will not talk a word about dowry, vessels, number and size of laddus and circumference of  murukkus, number of Kanchi pattus, their border color etc. When my first sambandhi asked me,  ‘ what are your conditions ?’ I replied that the girl and boy should like each other and that was my only condition; and yet, during the nitchithartham, he was gracious enough to keep Rs.10001 before me, along with thamboolam.. I took the one Rupee coin and returned the balance amount saying I have accepted the whole amount. And on the wedding stage, soon after ‘kanyadhanam’ I handed over the cash-bag which I was carrying,  to the bride and told her that ‘now on, this is yours’ . It was a simple gesture to assure a girl who was entering our family for the first time, to  live the rest of her life here, that we are all with her. Our marriage mantras say that she is the queen of the house. Eleven years are over now and even today, Meghana’s eyes become moist when she recalls that scene.
7. I will behave in a dignified way when I meet the girl and her people for the first time. I will ask only one question to the girl ” Konthe, onakku chamakka theriyauma ?” invariably she will nod her head to say ‘ no ‘ when her mother will intervene and say ‘avalukku noodles untakka theirium’ . Then I will  ask that worthy mother or the father ( if cooking comes under his portfolio) to teach their offspring how to make the basic food items..It is a basic requirement for a house wife whether in India or outside.
Still if I am not able to find a girl for my son, I will repeat my father’s words to me some forty years ago, ” entha ponnai veanalum kootikkindu kaalile vishuda. Aasirvatham pannaren” I was thirty five then. See my ‘Oh parmasukam’ story.
Now let me go to the other side of the table.
A. Sri.Muralidharan’s main objection is that he did not  mention that girls should not study beyond SSLC and it was my invention. Agreed.  But when he suggested of early marriage, this is how I worked out : 16 years for matriculation + 6years for inter and graduation + 2 years at least to get the marriage fixed==24 years provided the girl is good in her studies and no hindrance happens in between. Marriage at 24 years is ‘timely’ marriage and not ‘early’ marriage.. He says now that she can work after marriage. I am happy to hear that. Working means earning, earning means ego-so we are back to square one. So, either you have to stop the studies at matriculation level or allow the girl to continue and take up a job, and meet the consequences , good as well as bad.  Or choose a girl who will agree not to work, post marriage.
Let me also clarify to my friend that I am not for our boys marrying girls from other religions; but that happens because our sons opt for that.
B. ” Girls’ empowerment.Good. The duty of the parents is only to ensure that their sons (a) get good education, (b) select their partners and (c) forget their parents. These are the days when female partners have the right to take care of their aged parents and their relatives, and not allow any of the inlaws into their houses. If the husband wants to see his parents, he may seek for permission from his wife to go alone, once a while.  If the husband wants to talk to his parents over phone, he should not do so inside the house. If the husband wants to show his son or daughter to his parents, the husband should again seek permission from his wife, and if she keeps mum,  the husband should silently withdraw his desire, for the sake of family peace. Since girls go for decent jobs, and earn a decent salary, they no longer depend on their husbands financially. But, they need husbands, JUST FOR SECURITY – “a dignified servant” in the name of husband. Luckily, these days, parents also do not depend on their sons financially. Idiotic parents crave for affection. They should avoid this expectation, and use their hard earned money by supporting old age homes and orphanages, because they themselves may have to depend on such old age homes or orphanages one day or the other. This is the case with more than 90% of the families. Let us all encourage Girls’ empowerment”- This was the 2nd mail. I am not mentioning the author’s name as it did not come through the forum.
It is true that in some families this is happening though I do not believe the % given .Anyway, it is unfortunate ; it should not happen even in one single family. So, what the solution ? Select a semi literate girl as bride so that she has no possibility of taking up a job, which is the cause of her harassing, as per the suggestion in the above post. How many of our boys are prepared to accept such girls?
How is it that we became so helpless before a mere woman who came yesterday to our family ? And how is that our sons became their ‘slaves’ and stooped so low as to neglect their parents ?
Is it that the way we brought up our children was defective? Or is it that, our extreme emotional attachment is playing the spoil sport ?
One thing is certain. You cannot stop the aspiration of girls for higher education and also their taking up jobs. At the most, while going to see the girl, you can ask whether she is prepared to sit at home and do the embroidery and watch TV and if the reply is negative, put down the bajji you have picked up for biting and come out  There are good hotels on your way back home .
But be prepared that your son might bring home a girl of his choice within a couple of weeks or months  who will sing during your evening prayer time, ‘Yesunathar pesinal avar enna pesuvar?’
Love and regards,
Comments :
Wah Wah Wah Wah………………… oh my God, I enjoyed it completely reading your below reply message… A very good and valuable piece right from the word start to the end.
I love that last sentence…… Yesunadhar…………….pesuvar.
Kind Regards
To iyer123 yahoo group, [email protected], [email protected]
Dear Members,I read Sri Muralidharan’s views with interest.I am  unable to agree with him on this one issue, while still holding him in high regard and fully respecting his right to hold and air his views.I heartily second Sri Sivasubramanian’s response and he has spared me the effort to type out a long comment.
I also noted in particular  the following comment in Sri Muralidharan’s post :
“Many women rights activists may not agree with some of the points above. Let them allow their girls to explore all the men in the world. Let us not disturb them. Let sensible Brahmins take care of their own wards”
This prompted me to  sent this post and the first two responses received yesterday from Sri Raju Iyer and Sri Sivasubramanian to a lady blogger friend of mine who writes on women’s issues.
After editing out names of persons and communities/ religions, she has posted this on her blog with her comments interspersed.
Members who are curious may like to visit the link and see what response this has elicited from her readers who are mostly women but also include some men like me.
Early and arranged marriages within the community prevent social ills.
There are already 24 comments, as I write this and I expect many more in the next two days.
The link to my digest compilation which I mentioned in my previous post is given below. mentioned I have replaced the names of persons with their initials and expunged the name of the  community as I wish to circulate this outside the community too.The subject of this  thread is being discussed by readers of a popular blog and the link is:
Early and arranged marriages within the community prevent social ills.
Dear Sir Periankulam,
I’ve read many of your mails & am amazed by your command of language & your broad mind.
you’ve tried to tackle a very complex issue in a very humorous way!
I simply bow down to your father for his broad mind at THAT TIME & PLACE!
I am mother & grand mother, both twice & one thing I ‘ve learnt for sure is that your children’s spirits are free & you cannot hold them in a cage-gold or otherwise.
If they make a choice of partner, our attitude should be-like that of your father, may God bless his soul.
I am proud to say that my daughter takes care of her in- laws affectionately, mostly because i keep insisting its her duty & her future happiness. No matter the sons may follow their wife’s ‘pallus’in the early days, but in the long term they’ll be happy 7 contended only if they do their duty towards their parents. Otherwise, life is just going to be a struggle for both in the later days, when guilt (of a neglected parent) becomes partner too in their marriage.
As for expecting the son’s to do their duty, which we indians hold as our RIGHT anyway, entails a very important responsibility on our part- we have to be worthy of that right & so we must do our duty-respect out dIL, her parents, her individuality-that she just cannot be our shadow, and all our advices should be only in the form of suggestions- whispers in the wind.
Let the parents behave in such a manner, you’ll see that there is no son who does not do his duty. Responsibility of the son entails duty from the parents’ side too, like a coin that has two sides. Lets not forget that.SGShanthi Gopalan, [email protected] all,
It might be that Sri.Muralidharan mentioned about people who get married in their late 30s (may be for valid reasons) rather than child marriage (which is not accpetable).
Personally, I can see genuine concern in his words. Instead of looking at the positive side of it, calling him stupid, in my opinion, doesn’t help.
I have seen a number of Brahmin boys/girls marrying other community/religion people and getting converted to their religion and started to consume non-vegetarian etc., without any hesitation.
From my little experience, I also noticed that our community girls and boys lack basic good qualities such as respecting elders, following our tradition and the knowledge as to how the family set up works. (may form only a fraction of our community population, but they exist). Here, it may be that, parents fail to instil these qualities looking only at the money they bring (especially girls).
Yes, I agree that there should not be any hurdle to freedom in thinking and going forward (of course, not blindly copying western culture). But at the same time accepting our shortcomings and try to find solutions is very important.
If anybody thinks that by studying a degree or pretending to be thinking ahead, one automatically gets the right to tell everybody to just let go off our custom/tradition or do not even want to consider the ideas to prevent different kinds of attack on our community, they should be called stupid and I don’t think they have any right to continue in this group, which is obviously back dated and believes in values and tradition.
Vijayakumar, [email protected]

hi sir.i really enjoyed the last line more than anything else in the article.What u have written is absolutely true with reference to the fussy yardsticks used by our people while looking out for matches.regards.shanthy

    Principal,Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya,
Dear Sir,

Again i am replying only to u and not to the forum. I am sorry Sir, the percentage of the cases mentioned by me in my earlier mail is really high. In many cases, this happens even if the girl is only a housewife and has no independent earning. In one case, She pretended as if her misbehaviour and shouting was due to a psychiatric problem, the husband consulted a Psychiatrist, and as per the Psychiatrist’s advice, he secured a small job for her, just to avoid her remaining idle throughout the day, even though her husband earns 50 times of her salary and she has no necessity to go and work under anyone. She is perfectly alright in the work place, with her parents, sisters, etc. but becomes wild only with her husband just because, the husband is unable to severe connections with her inlaws who reside several hundred miles away. It is an attitudinal problem with most of the girls now-a-days. They simply hate the in laws, and openly claim that they do not want their husband’s affection to be shared by others.  The boys are helpless. This is the reason for the sudden upsurge of several “Associations for Men’s protection” and similar “Association for Mother in laws’ protection” in almost all cities and towns in India. The girls easily blame  their husbands with mental torture and harassment, and all the Laws are in their favour. Will any God fearing parent advise his/her son to leave his wife and come out? I know several cases, where the boys’ parents silently suffer and sacrifice. Ofcourse, these days, all parents have money, but they are unable to develop detachment towards the sons so fondly brought up.
Abour your suggestions for NO CONDITION from Bridegroom’s side, this has already come into practice.
One more information Sir, if u analyse, u can find that divorcee girls easily get remarried, but divorcee boys do not get girls. There was an illeterate divorced girl – with limping leg, but she got married to a boy – with good qualifications and job, HE IS NOT A DIVORCEE.This is his first marriage.

I do not escape the feeling that over a period, we have overplayed mother in law’s torture, husbands’ torture, married girls’ sufferings, etc, in cinemas, TV serials, and even in upanyasams, – and we are reaping the results. That is why i could not digest the mails encouraging women’s empowerment, since the males already have  enough of it. SR

1 thought on “Clipping the wings of our girls

  1. Hari OM!
    Very thoughtful message! Keeping the eyes and ears wide open during these times of cataclysmic convolutions pushing the younger generation down to a point of no-return, it is expedient or rather impulsive to impregnate our swollen mindset with ground realities of change in human perceptions on the trivialities of age-old customs which dogmatised our thought process in the name of misunderstood religious approbations for centuries! Also, the change that is sweeping the indian society or more specifically the brahminical order under its carpet in the name of westernization is trying to brainstorm the younger ones more vehemently than ever before.
    The least we the old ones could do at this juncture – Try to follow the scriptural and spiritual path ourselves in all sincerity, showing the young ones more by action than mere verbosity, to instill a semblance of seriousness in the scriptural statements which will convince them of the authenticity of our age-old customs and practices.
    How many of us will do this in reality? We need to look inwards for an answer!

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