life

COUPLES IN INDIA

TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 2015

COUPLES IN INDIA

           What I wrote  here is a bird view of marital relationships in India.It is to give a deep understanding  to my foreign friends and also the modern couples of India in this century.The life pattern led by those ancient couples was beyond imagination to you as you are living in such a stage where the economic, social  and technological changes influenced the life of you couples drastically for good or for worse.

In yesteryear, the couples as they were getting old, as the responsibilities of the younger adult years passed away, and as their children could live their own, and visits now and then or ask them to visit them for a few days or a month, the couple used to stick to one another and bear everything in life the insults or praises with a mixed feelings of joy and sorrows.

There were ( I am speaking about the middle class Indian families one kind of couple wherein the wife was submissive from their very wedding day, and the husband  used to be an authoritarian and took care of every thing in the family. In fact on first night of their wedding the bride is expected to bend and touch the feet of the husband to show her respect to him.

Working and earning was the right of man. She was constrained to her kitchen and to the maids and to the bed when every detail of the house work was fulfilled. She was  not expected to play a role even in sexual relations, and she could not express her desires negatively or positively.

She was supposed to be hospitable and hard working from morning to evening and in return she will be  given a gift or two such as a jasmines to her hair or a good saree to the pleasures of his eye, even there.

Unfaithfulness in the marital relations are common on the part of man which was considered as one of his credits. Whereas the feelings of jealousy were not the right of hers, but the husband can show it in the form of utter wrath by subjecting her to humiliation or reproach and rejection.

But the frivolities of husband were hidden under her long suffering stature and she was expected to be patient to his “extra”-curricular activities.
Man had his privacy and his own peers to go out. But the woman should keep her friendships within relatives, that too husband side.
She was expected to cook well and feed the family many a times she even used to forego  many dainties which she prepared when the family was too fond of the food she prepared and extinguished it all. This she  considered it as her ‘credit’ to do so.

Man used to be a the sole authoritarian to take up any decision in family right from the menu on the table( it means she must cook only those items which were prefered by him and in such a way which would be tasty to him alone. i.e,. if he want non veg everyday, she must prepare it everyday, if he wanted more salt or no salt in dishes she must prepare it in that way. otherwise the man may threw the meals plate outside the home, or he would even beat her for the way she did not taken care of his tastes.) and  or choosing a groom to their children or wedding preparations of the children.
His power and authority was bestowed on him and he also felt the duty of taking care of his family was his and his alone.
The wife rarely express her opinion or show her likings or dislikings in any form.

The couple when they get old still used to maintain the same decorum till their last. The man expects the old woman, his wife to spread the bed sheet on his bed, take the plate from the table after he finished his meals. She never supposed to  sit along with him to eat the food.

The previous ancient years were much more worse to her than these days. Like , even though she was pregnant she should not eat food without her husband first finishing  his meals. Then only in his dirty plate she must eat her own food serving herself, alone.

In those days she was expected to get up much earlier than her husband, and touch his feet with her eye lids first and thank God by touching her sign of marriage to her eye lids again for she was a married woman  and for a man was given in her life in spite she was a lesser human being.

By the time he got up she should prepare breakfast and bring a cup of hot coffee if he prefers it in his bed.
The woman all ways perfoms many prayers, rituals and visits many temples begging gods of different verieties to give long life to her husband.
She also beg those dieties to give her death before her husband. The society adores a woman who dies before her husband calling her as a diety Punnisthree and everybody will praise the dead body of her saying she is a blessed woman for she died even before her husband died.  In case her husband died prior to her death, the society considers her as a bad omen, and boycott her to all the social gatherings. she should not attend to her children weddings too.
Previous years she was even expected to die on the pyre of her husband and burnt to death. If she die like that the society promised her that she would get the best place in heaven Moksha and she will be worshipped by the society as a diety after she is burnt to ashes along with the corpse of her husband.( even though he died because of drunkness or criminal activities) Actually the in laws will be gained by her death because the bride property need not be given back to her parents and the in laws could claim it as it was theirs as they consider her as their own daughter because she died for the sake of their own son.( to be continued)

             The life of the married couple in India, or elsewhere in those ancient days was beyond to the comprehension of the present generation, As a professional Social Activist, I had studied these issues in close quarters, and interviewed many old couples to get the first hand information from them.  Most of them are living in Old age Homes, and when I visited them the same pride in the mothers in law, the same tears in the daughter in law roles are very much the same. The life with all its ups and downs hasn’t changed even an iota of the human nature.  Here I am to bring this ancient life to you younger generation, most of you never had a chance to peep into the lives of these people, The foreign friends who were of Indian origin as well as those of them who were born and brought up in different countries could find this life as if it was of some aliens. hahah do not worry just go along with me in these lines, and have fun of it. with a good laughter or empathy for old sisters of us.

Couples In India,  as we were reflecting over this issue, many thoughts were racing in my mind.  The women in India were oppressed from the very beginning,  we know the story of a gambler king and immoral life of he and his brothers who sold the queen as a pawn.  She was the wife of 5 men, and besides she was coveted by the cousins of those men. They tried to molest her in public but no one came to her rescue except by god man by his magic of providing a cloth to cover her shame. This queen was none other than Dhroupadhi, the pathetice queen who was shared among the brothers as a harlot.
Even another queen was humiliated and abducted by another king and her husband though rescued her from the cruel king did not have the heart of accepting her so he sent her away into the woods while she was pregnant. Later he brought her but could take her as a queen so she died in self immolation by burning her self as she was not able to face the humilation and torture by the husband any more. She was none other than Sita the legend queen.
So was the lady Anasuya was tested of her purity by giving her to a man who had leprosy as wife, and expected her to show her purity till the end.
These were just bits of stories wherein their real plight was covered up and people made them dieties after they were ill treated and murdered them indirectly.
These stray cases tell us how the women were treated in those days, and even now in different form.
Once a woman lost her husband she was not supposed to wear good clothes, not supposed to eat hot food, or sleep in comfortable bed but on the floor, and she was not expected to be visible any where in the society or should not be seen smiling or happy at any cost.
In ancient India, she was killed by burning her on the buring pyre of her husband, and nevertheless even now she is burnt up psychologically evey minute of her life in the society by the looks or words which would stab her to her core.
The old couple are not welcomed to any of the house of the children, many a times.  They are considered as a burden to go along with. They are looked down as illiterate comparing the knowledge the children gained now.  The habits of the parents were looked upon with contempt, and thereby most of them live alone or in old age homes rather than the homes of the children.
In ancient India there were joint families, where the families of the brothers live under one roof and kitchen belongs to every one. The daughters in law used to take care of the kitchen, and as long as the kitchen is one the family is one. Usually the head of the family would be the older person of the family and the sons and dauhters in law used to give much respect to the elders in the family. But here again the daughter in law does not have a right to visit her own family , if at all she was asked to come to parent’s home she need to take the permission of the male members of the family. we used to have a funny poem like story in our elementary school, The title goes like this” Kalvari Kodalu Kaliki Kaamaakshi”(= a daughter in law by name Kaamaakshi of a rich family)  One day her brother came to take her to their parent’s home, she says to her brother that she would go and ask permission of her husband and come , but when she asked permission he tells her that she need to take permission of his eldest brother, when she apporached her hiding her face in her viel , he says, she need to get permission from his mother first, then she went and ask her , she bluntly tells her she cannot give permission but she should get it from her husband, so she went and ask him permission. By that time the girl was utterly fearful and tired and worried and anxious to her core, at last after many a conditions the man of the house gives permission to her to go along with her brother to her maternal home.
The days were so that the girl cannot live independently nor she had any guts to do as she wished even with the permission of her husband.
I remember a funny story here, about the quarrels and fightings among the daughters in law.. in doing the chores of the house.  In one house there were three daughters in law who were fighting allways about the work load. Each was complaining about the work load that she was bearing was too much than the other two. so the wise mother in law devided the work among the three saying, the first daughter in law should cook the food for every one by getting up early. The second one should serve the food to every one in the family. The third one should clean the plates and vessels.
Thus allotting the duties, the mother in law slept soundly that night. The next morning she got up and found her daughters in law were in their rooms fast asleep . wondering about the work pending, she went into the room of the first daughter in law and asked her abou ther duty. She told her that she pretty well got up in the middle of the night and cooked the meals and as she finished her work she is taking rest now. Wondering where the cooked vessels the woman went into the hall and summoned the three daughters in law and asked them what they did about their duties alloted. The first repeated the same answer she gave to her mother in law already, the second one said, ” Ofcourse she cooked and went and I served in the plates, immediatly in the middle of the night itself and went to my room.The third one blurted out saying, “Oh yea, they both did their duties and went to sleep so I too cleaned the plates and vessels in the middle of the night itself and so I am taking rest now.”
The mother in law could not close the jaw of hers which had fallen apart with astonishment.
Thus the joint families were becoming  the coccoons of fear, fight and frustration, though outwardly did not show much strife.
There were often jealousy and quarrels amongst the ladies of the house and no peace to the men of the house. To make the house go smoothly the mother in law used to become a tyrant to brind order in the house.
Which ultimately brought many other problems, along with disrespect and division of the property into small innings. The widow in the joint fmaily was much more ill treated and she was abused physically and psychologically by her in laws in every way possible. The parents also would not allow her to come and stay with them as they fear to have a widow daughter would bring shame to the family and thus disrupting the weddings of her siblings. The Indian society do not prefer her children or her daughters to be taken as thier daughters in law. because she does not have a father to look after her needs or to give away lump sum money to the in laws.
When the joint family was destroyed due to urbanization , techonological development, employments in the cities, the village joint family which used to depend on agriculture distorted, and slowly the old type of living in one place , and sharing the food was vanished.

In its place Nuclear families emerged. I will write about these families and the couples in it in next episode. Meanwhile please write your comments down.

             The life of the married couple in India, or elsewhere in those ancient days was beyond to the comprehension of the present generation, As a professional Social Activist, I had studied these issues in close quarters, and interviewed many old couples to get the first hand information from them.  Most of them are living in Old age Homes, and when I visited them the same pride in the mothers in law, the same tears in the daughter in law roles are very much the same. The life with all its ups and downs hasn’t changed even an iota of the human nature.  Here I am to bring this ancient life to you younger generation, most of you never had a chance to peep into the lives of these people, The foreign friends who were of Indian origin as well as those of them who were born and brought up in different countries could find this life as if it was of some aliens. hahah do not worry just go along with me in these lines, and have fun of it. with a good laughter or empathy for old sisters of us.

Couples In India,  as we were reflecting over this issue, many thoughts were racing in my mind.  The women in India were oppressed from the very beginning,  we know the story of a gambler king and immoral life of he and his brothers who sold the queen as a pawn.  She was the wife of 5 men, and besides she was coveted by the cousins of those men. They tried to molest her in public but no one came to her rescue except by god man by his magic of providing a cloth to cover her shame. This queen was none other than Dhroupadhi, the pathetice queen who was shared among the brothers as a harlot.
Even another queen was humiliated and abducted by another king and her husband though rescued her from the cruel king did not have the heart of accepting her so he sent her away into the woods while she was pregnant. Later he brought her but could take her as a queen so she died in self immolation by burning her self as she was not able to face the humilation and torture by the husband any more. She was none other than Sita the legend queen.
So was the lady Anasuya was tested of her purity by giving her to a man who had leprosy as wife, and expected her to show her purity till the end.
These were just bits of stories wherein their real plight was covered up and people made them dieties after they were ill treated and murdered them indirectly.
These stray cases tell us how the women were treated in those days, and even now in different form.
Once a woman lost her husband she was not supposed to wear good clothes, not supposed to eat hot food, or sleep in comfortable bed but on the floor, and she was not expected to be visible any where in the society or should not be seen smiling or happy at any cost.
In ancient India, she was killed by burning her on the buring pyre of her husband, and nevertheless even now she is burnt up psychologically evey minute of her life in the society by the looks or words which would stab her to her core.
The old couple are not welcomed to any of the house of the children, many a times.  They are considered as a burden to go along with. They are looked down as illiterate comparing the knowledge the children gained now.  The habits of the parents were looked upon with contempt, and thereby most of them live alone or in old age homes rather than the homes of the children.
In ancient India there were joint families, where the families of the brothers live under one roof and kitchen belongs to every one. The daughters in law used to take care of the kitchen, and as long as the kitchen is one the family is one. Usually the head of the family would be the older person of the family and the sons and dauhters in law used to give much respect to the elders in the family. But here again the daughter in law does not have a right to visit her own family , if at all she was asked to come to parent’s home she need to take the permission of the male members of the family. we used to have a funny poem like story in our elementary school, The title goes like this” Kalvari Kodalu Kaliki Kaamaakshi”(= a daughter in law by name Kaamaakshi of a rich family)  One day her brother came to take her to their parent’s home, she says to her brother that she would go and ask permission of her husband and come , but when she asked permission he tells her that she need to take permission of his eldest brother, when she apporached her hiding her face in her viel , he says, she need to get permission from his mother first, then she went and ask her , she bluntly tells her she cannot give permission but she should get it from her husband, so she went and ask him permission. By that time the girl was utterly fearful and tired and worried and anxious to her core, at last after many a conditions the man of the house gives permission to her to go along with her brother to her maternal home.
The days were so that the girl cannot live independently nor she had any guts to do as she wished even with the permission of her husband.
I remember a funny story here, about the quarrels and fightings among the daughters in law.. in doing the chores of the house.  In one house there were three daughters in law who were fighting allways about the work load. Each was complaining about the work load that she was bearing was too much than the other two. so the wise mother in law devided the work among the three saying, the first daughter in law should cook the food for every one by getting up early. The second one should serve the food to every one in the family. The third one should clean the plates and vessels.
Thus allotting the duties, the mother in law slept soundly that night. The next morning she got up and found her daughters in law were in their rooms fast asleep . wondering about the work pending, she went into the room of the first daughter in law and asked her abou ther duty. She told her that she pretty well got up in the middle of the night and cooked the meals and as she finished her work she is taking rest now. Wondering where the cooked vessels the woman went into the hall and summoned the three daughters in law and asked them what they did about their duties alloted. The first repeated the same answer she gave to her mother in law already, the second one said, ” Ofcourse she cooked and went and I served in the plates, immediatly in the middle of the night itself and went to my room.The third one blurted out saying, “Oh yea, they both did their duties and went to sleep so I too cleaned the plates and vessels in the middle of the night itself and so I am taking rest now.”
The mother in law could not close the jaw of hers which had fallen apart with astonishment.
Thus the joint families were becoming  the coccoons of fear, fight and frustration, though outwardly did not show much strife.
There were often jealousy and quarrels amongst the ladies of the house and no peace to the men of the house. To make the house go smoothly the mother in law used to become a tyrant to brind order in the house.
Which ultimately brought many other problems, along with disrespect and division of the property into small innings. The widow in the joint fmaily was much more ill treated and she was abused physically and psychologically by her in laws in every way possible. The parents also would not allow her to come and stay with them as they fear to have a widow daughter would bring shame to the family and thus disrupting the weddings of her siblings. The Indian society do not prefer her children or her daughters to be taken as thier daughters in law. because she does not have a father to look after her needs or to give away lump sum money to the in laws.
When the joint family was destroyed due to urbanization , techonological development, employments in the cities, the village joint family which used to depend on agriculture distorted, and slowly the old type of living in one place , and sharing the food was vanished.

In its place Nuclear families emerged. I will write about these families and the couples in it in next episode. Meanwhile please write your comments down.

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LeelaMalaka

Hello All! I am a retired Lecturer, Former Air Hostesses, and a writer. I love to share MY STORIES, WITH MY GOD.

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