What is the point of educating Indian women?

No.. Seriously.. What is the point?

I see none.. None of significance, so to say.

[Generalization and undue (not so!) harshness alert. No intentions of being judgemental whatsoever, just pointing out logic]

The average educated, financially independent mother still believes that daughters aged beyond 24 are like hot coal on the ungloved palm and are best handed off – to a strange male hand. She believes that the daughter should dress and behave with friends only in ways such that relatives and society have nothing to gossip about her. The daughter’s wishes, individuality and happiness are important, but  doomed to the back burner.

The average educated girl of 25 today, is much worse.

One wants not to tire her brain. All decisions would be made for her by her doting parents – after all they know better. They would do the hard work – perusing dozens of potential bride groom resumes, grading them wrt social status, financial status, educational qualification, religion, caste, sub-caste, horoscope, whether they refuse dowry, but expect the bride to receive gifts as her parents please, the budget of this expected gift etc, and furnishing her the condensed list to choose from. She would then apply her criteria of cuteness and manliness levels, eliminating owners of noses she does not like, and choose a potential groom. Repeat process as many times as it takes for the potential groom to turn actual groom and move over to part 2 in life. From now on, all decisions would be made for her by her loving husband – after all, he is better educated, holds a better job, and obviously knows better! Life now becomes full of “i cant, he would not allow me”, “i cant, he does not like that”, “i have no option, he likes me to be only this way”.

If education does not teach a woman to think, take a stand, have a opinion and live life for herself, what good is it?

Another breed of the educated 25 year old woman is more confusing. She wants to take decisions, but is wary. She is afraid to fall in love, lest her parents object to her choice of life partner and “get her married off” to someone else. If she does find herself falling in love, quite often with an irresistable nice man who knows her well, respects her and loves her for who she is, she is afraid to acknowledge her feelings. For, if she does, the next step involves “confronting” her own loving parents after the misdeed of falling in love. She enters this cycle of switching between ‘no, i am not in love with him. Will marry the random guy my parents produce’ and ‘oh no, i feel i am in love with him. It would be stupid and sad not to marry him. I so want to be with him’. Most often then not, this cycle ends only when her unsuspecting parents “marry her off” to an equally unsuspecting randomly picked groom. Poor lover boy. In this race of being the good traditional daughter and sacrificing happiness for the sake of doting parents’ only wish, he is put through totally unnecessary anxiety and frustrations.

I dont understand how doting parents become dracula parents the moment they know of their daugter being in love? Of what use is the daughter’s education and self-confidence if she cant talk and make them see her point? Or rather, doesn’t even think of attempting it? I would think parents who really care for their child’s happiness would be willing to listen and consider. And most parents of modern day educated, independent girls do care! And if not, their wish need not be considered!

And just what is this “my parents would get me married off to someone else” business? I fail to get how an adult can be forced to get “married off”. With physical abuse? That is illegal and the wedding is moot. Using emotional blackmail? The education should have given you the mental strength to withstand that. With the threat of disowning you and throwing you out? You really dont need parents who are ready to disown you for ego or society and that education that they gave you is enough for you to live on your own. So, how exactly can they get you “married off” without you giving in and consenting?

And there is yet another breed.. More cowardly, more illogical and in the end of it all, more damaged.
The young woman of this breed finds eloping or secretly living with her lover to be a better solution than facing her parents with the truth and convincing them. As if that is going to be very soothing to them! The least you can do to show your love, respect and so called gratitude to your parents is to be upfront with them. Deception hurts them more than disappointment. And the guilt of having deceived hurts you more than the guilt of having disappointed. Did your education not include basic courtesy and psychology? If the education taught only to take hurtful decisions, it better be absent!

So, why do indian women deserve education if it doesn’t add much to their personality and life?

The only conjecture that I can make :
To function as a trophy well-bred for their parents..
To function as an educated and sophisticated eye-candy for their husbands..
To function as fee-free tution teachers for their children..
And for themselves to feel good and proud of their (pointless) college degree and academic achievements and ability to earn for the family!

On the whole… Sad point in the history of Indian society.


11 thoughts on “What is the point of educating Indian women?

  1. I have no option, but to agree to your points. Its women themselves are to blame for the condition of women.

    You mentioned about gossip, its women who gossip and all the mirch masala providers are also women. They are not strong enough to stand for themselves and their own kind. I have seen many examples of these kind of people in my relatives, office, everywhere. We men are also equal contributors.

    Good article and keep it coming.

  2. I think the education (or literacy and degrees) systems should include learning to think for oneself. Young Indians, men and women both, are indoctrinated by the parents, families, media, religion and the community to be Shravan Kumars, Rams, Sitas and Savitris, obedience and unquestioning upholding of whatever our ancestors have been doing is encouraged. When something is illogical and defies common sense, then we use our culture and traditions as ‘reasons’ to continue doing something.

    If despite all this a young person (man or woman) does question the parents they are under immense pressure to be ‘responsible children and to not forget how much the parents care for them’ etc.

    Often the choice is between defiance and confrontation, or a secret marriage, and many ‘children’ (young adults, older adults) who have been raised not to question are left with the option of either deception or obedience. Very few young Indians come from families where the parents (or elders) permit serious discussions that go against ‘Indian family values of blind obedience to the parents’. These young people are able to choose their partners and still live peacefully. I know of women and men, who have waited for six years and more in the hope that the parents would agree to let them marry a chosen partner. I feel it is a sad waste of years, parents need to see their children as individuals and not as extensions of themselves. Most Indian parents feel their happiness comes from their children’s decisions, so most ‘children’ are under pressure to do nothing that might hurt the parents, – parents are known to have got their married sons to divorce a disobedient or disrespectful spouse. Men seem to face such pressure as much as women, and that is one reason why some men think the women they love and the women they marry may not be the same women. (Women have similar definitions of marriageable, who fit the parental approval criteria.

    Such pressures seem to be more about loss of dowry/ladke-wala status when a son marries a woman he chose, and loss of honor when a daughter marries a man she chose. I am not sure if I would blame the youth here.

    • I totally see your point IHM.. My only question : Having had better education, more freedom & far more exposure than the previous generation, if the youth would not take the first step in questioning the “traditions”, who would? Today’s youth is perhaps the generation best equipped to resist the pressure and enforce change.

      Let me even not consider all youth. The onus of taking the first step, being strong and resisting pressure is on the more privileged section of the youth – the 2nd generation graduates & post-graduates who enjoy good jobs & financial independence right after graduation. They make the best trend-setters. Unfortunately, I still don’t see too many of this lot even trying to question the unreasonable expectations they are subjected to. In fact, they are the ones who give me the “all this is good to talk and in debates. . not in real life” line! If even this portion of the demography do not initiate change, who else has the incentive/opportunity/ability to?

      Also, I feel we are equipped with the resources (media, globalized news & exposure to multiple cultures) to sensitize the previous generations to the flaws in the “system”. Sometimes, merely exposing them to the “modern ways” repeatedly over years makes them see what was once taboo as “normal & acceptable in today’s times”. The same way my grandma, who was outraged when I forgot to wear a dupatta in class 8, has come to accept knee-length skirts and fitted tops as normal now. I simply do not understand why people are not even trying to use what their privileged upbringing gave them towards obtaining a better emotional future & not just a sound economic future.

  3. I think a sound economic future, specially for women, is the first step and also this step is not seen as encroaching too seriously upon Indian values so long as women do not break any more taboos by choosing who to marry.

    Choosing one’s own life partner is seen as a ‘betrayal of trust’ by the parents and extended family, as a society we go out of our ways to prevent young people from interacting, specially when they are not meeting for work or education.

    A lot of men and women, when they still manage to meet someone they would like to spend their life with, still do defy their parents (and are judged for being uncaring) or wait until their parents agree and then marry their chosen partners.

    Many who don’t, are under the impression that marrying with parental approval is a security of sorts, in case the marriage (arranged by the parents) doesn’t work. Fact is if the marriage doesn’t work, the same parents still pressurize the daughters to think of the family honor and stay in even the most abusive or violent marriages.

    For some men financial benefits (dowry and gifts) and hierarchical benefits (ladke wale) of an arranged marriage with parental approval might be an incentive.

    Also often marrying someone of their choice might means having to give up their earlier relationships, because many Indian parents believe they are entitled to making all choices for their adult children (and if it’s a male child, then also for their spouse).

    Amazingly, change is still coming, financial independence and staying away from home for work and/or education exposes young Indians to different perspectives – for example, they might notice that many parents care as much for their children without expecting total obedience, or that the hemline of a woman’s skirt does not indicate her interest (or lack of) in matrimony or child rearing.

    Staying away and independently makes it easier for them to take responsibility for their own lives and happiness with or without parental approval, so I guess we will see more changes, but not always with parental or societal approval.

  4. Pingback: Feminism goes to Darwin « The Conjecture Girl

    • Whatever education we get is better than nothing. . Much better than Illiteracy.
      Once literate, one is open to loads of ‘education’ out of school. . That, if not what is passed on at school, should be of use, right?
      Welcome to this blog.. But wonder why your comment had been marked as spam. .May be because of the link? 🙂

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