Skip to content


July 21, 2009

While going through a book on Hindu culture I came across a passage,

The ritual of Kanya Daan is considered very auspicious in Hindu religion. It is a very pious and dutiful ritual which is said to bring fortune as well as relief from the sins for the bride’s parents.. Kanyadaan means when the father hands over all his rights and duties towards his daughter to her prospective groom. This way the father gives her daughter as a gift to the groom. As per tradition, groom is considered a form of Lord Vishnu. Thus, presenting him gifts is deemed as the greatest honor for the parents of the bride. As a result, they offer their daughter to the groom, who is their most cherished gift. As a symbol of acceptance, the groom touches the right shoulder of the bride, promising to take care of her and holding her responsibility”

And this was followed by a hot discussion with my mother in law who like millions of Indians believe that If you don’t do Kanyadaan in your life you will not get salvation from the sins of present life.

I just couldn’t digest this belief and what I had read earlier.

Firstly the world Daan (which literary means to donate) is so humiliating. How can anyone donate one’s daughter to anyone? Is the daughter or in general women a commodity which can be donated or gifted to anyone?

And why should she be gifted. The whole concept doesn’t appeal to me at all. Marriage is supposed to be meeting of souls, two persons, two families and in marriage both the partners are equal. So how can a father or mother just give away their daughter as alms to someone?

When a boy and a girl is getting married then why not have Putradaan (give away the son) why only Kanyadaan?

And how can parents think that after the marriage ceremony of their daughter “we have done the Kanyadaan, we have got our daughter married off so our place in heaven is fixed ” .How can parents think that they can just give away their child who was with them for almost 20 or more years, who was a part of them and become so insensitive towards their own daughter.

I am not trying to hurt any one’s religious sentiments but I feel insulted when women are degraded like this.

I am sure many of the grooms and their parents must really be thinking that the girl’s parents are actually getting rid of their child and the groom’s family is obliging the girl’s family by accepting the Kanyadaan. Not only they are getting some material thing ( the bride) as the girl’s parents give so many other things in the form of Dowry along with the girl and that could be the reason for the miserable status of many of the women

When parents themselves treat their own child as commodity how can they expect some strangers to respect their daughter?

I wonder why the women’s organizations or the ones who are fighting for women’s rights are not raising their voice against use of this terminology.

I told my mother in law that I am not in favour of this ceremony and use of this derogatory word and I will not do Kanyadaan.

I am a strong believer of following all the customs but only from the angle of enjoying the marriage function and to bring some excitement, fun and celebrations and make it a festive occasion. And I may follow the ceremony where the Pundit will ask me and my husband to keep my daughter’s hand in her groom’s hand but not because we will be doing Kanyadaan (NO WAY I WILL NEVER DONATE MY DAUGHTER TO ANY ONE. SHE IS AND SHE REMAINS AN INTEGRAL PART OF US) but only with the intention to join their hands and with the prayer that they remain together all through their life and face the struggles, the happy moments, the sad moments etc as one being and with each other.

I do believe in the sanctity of marriage and responsibilities, duties, commitments, loyalty and faithfulness which are part and parcel of married life but I am against the use of the word KANYADAAN

P.S  8/9/11

recently my daughter got married. and I categorically told the pandit not to use the word kanyadaan. If looks could kill I surely would be dead then and there only. The pandit stood there with stunned expression and open mouth, but for a change I was very firm in my stand.

and finally the pandit did not use the word Kanyadaan in the entire marriage ceremony. he changed the word to Hast Milap 🙂

116 Comments leave one →
  1. Milan Mehta permalink
    July 21, 2009 4:52 pm

    Excellent. I love the word "putradaan". I wish there was such a thing although it might technically be called "putradaan" if you get a "Ghar Jamai". I think the word "Kanyadaan" evolved from the fact that the girl leaves her parents house and lives with his significant other.
    But i agree that the word "Daan" is kind of corny…..

    • Pari Sharma permalink
      November 1, 2016 7:35 am

      We can have a better world for women when we will stop thinking that women empowerment is overpowering the men (as Putra dan). We just need to make society more sensitive to any bad thing whether it is against men or women.

  2. AnjuGandhi permalink
    July 21, 2009 5:05 pm

    Milan that again raises a topic for discussion. why should the girl always leave her parent's house and live with her husband? why can't the boy leave his house and stay with the wife? I know this is quite a revolutionary idea and this tradition is acceptable all over the world except for the ones who follow matrilocal form of marriage.

    • Swetha permalink
      October 11, 2011 10:44 am

      Hi Anju

      This is 2 years after your message. but anyway…
      you mention boy leave his house and stay with the wife…
      i was told by srilankan friend that in there hindu customs that is exactly what they do.
      After marraige the son move to the wifes home and live with her parents.

      So i dont understand the religious point in it.. as it is one way with indian hindu’s and another with srilankan hindu’s

    • HARSH permalink
      September 5, 2012 2:33 pm

      your conception seems to have some major flaws…it is really ridiculous to understand daan in such contexts..1 the person who donates or gives daan in always considered superior…2…kanyadaan i.e gift of the virgin is not demeaning to girl bcoz the she is the most precious …furthermore…..if u delve very deep into the scriptures u will come to know abt the genesis of the whole concept of kanyadaan…………..let me share some excerpts….firstly it was only considered that if the eldest son lights the funeral pyre of the parents,,then they will go to swarg and chances of attaining moksha are maximised…this led to a huge son preference …still continuing…. due to this ill founded perceptions …sons were preferred as opposed to daughters…leading to their not so happy condition…but gradually,,,,,seeing the deteriorating condition,,, most probably the brahmins who were the uppermost castes then …to improve the situation…decreed and in subsequent additions to our scriptures…mentioned it that even kanyaadan is equally….a punya karma…and opens the gates of heaven….thus came the concept of kanyadaan….strictly speaking as per the hindu law dayabhag and even mitakshara or in the works of jimutwahana…it is always kanya daan and not stree dan i.e technically speaking as per the hindu scriptures for punya only kanya can be given in daan and not stree or aurat as they say…or else it brings ill repute,bad omen and in puritan terms a hindu marriage is not solemnised….dont get me wrong,,,,i believe in equality of women and am not a male chauvinist…..but this is what the hindu law says…..but i strongly feel that simply copying what wrong acts men do and indulge in by women in the name of women empowerment is farcical…and is pseudo empowerment….one of my friends who happens to be a girl had a habit of drinking… i made her understand its ill effects and asked her to shun it……the answer i got was if men can drink,,,why not girls,,,,,,ridiculously empowered woman that she is …i just have to say drinking is it man or woman…i am not a spoilsport …but that which is wrong is wrong.. be it a man or a woman…and those who think this guy is hypocrite…let me tell them i am a teetotaller…pls give a second thought …in the name of equality… give the fairer sex the best educational avenues,,,the right to live their life to their potential best self,,,,but dont say they will drink ,take drugs……….just bcoz guys do it….sorry if was on the offensive..will wait for ur response

      • DR V K Goel permalink
        March 25, 2013 5:36 pm

        This ceremony is made just to make the female inferior to man . Girl is not a property which can be donated . It is most degrading to do Kanyadan . No VED or Shashtra has any description of Kanyadan , It is added by the so called Brahamins in the Vivah Vidhi or Vivah Padditi . The marriage is the union of two individuals and addiing rituals like Kanyadan is most disgusting and should be bycotted by all who respect women .
        I have two daughters and I have not done any Kanyadan at the time of their marriage

      • Utsav Chettri permalink
        February 15, 2017 3:25 pm

        HARSH, I am or let’s say we all are aware of your sentiment, let’s go way-way back. We all know what daan is its means to give away anything u have an inner feeling of respect and overwhelm to the person you are giving to. I don’t give a shit what our Hindu books had to say but to do a Kanya Daan for whatever purpose, for whatever reason shows how pity our way of treating women are. It may give an inner pleasure for the Father to do Kanya Daan as the moral act (as Hindu belief) but to think deeper it’s a misleading thought presented within the Hindu books. If the word Daan was given the other name then whole thinking would be different and even both Father and Daughter would feel blessed but that one word created all the commotion, Kanya Daan as giving daan of her daughter to the groom in the form of the gift. Hope no one’s feeling is being hurt, as Anju Gandhi felt so do I. We have to change this after all Hinduism is based on change according to time.

    • Danny permalink
      July 11, 2014 11:56 pm

      Exactly my views. Why is every compromise right from the start of the marriage supposed to be made by the wife. Change of surname, leave parents home, go live in the boy’s home, ms. To Mrs. While the husband gets a wife, keeps his name, still is exact the same guy he used to be except he got married. Why can’t the couple decide together instead of being bound to such antiquated systems.

    • Pari Sharma permalink
      November 1, 2016 7:37 am

      Because we do not want to give equal rights and share the property with our girls. That is why we make them, go to different place.

  3. Milan Mehta permalink
    July 21, 2009 6:19 pm

    Its a great thought. I don't know where the idea of the girl leaving her parents house to live with her husband but i guess its an established norm in society which people have been following for years. Not so say it can be changed but it would take good hard work to get an acceptance in the society

  4. Queenmothermamaw permalink
    July 21, 2009 11:09 pm

    One of my granddaughters had an Indian girl for a friend while in middle school. The girl had come to the US with her family when her father became head of one of the Industries in our county. She had been in the US her entire school life and knew she would go back to India to marry a young man, she did not know, that had been arranged by their families. I find it hard to understand how the girl educated in this country would fit into the old traditional life of the young man who had never left India. I love to learn about different cultures.

    • Pari Sharma permalink
      November 1, 2016 7:40 am

      We want to provide every kind of happiness to our girl child but the biggest irony is, we can not give them right to choose their own life partner or can not support her after marriage.

  5. Shruti SriHarsha permalink
    July 22, 2009 3:38 am

    I cried a lot the day I got married and was about to leave for my hsband's house. That moment, all I was thinking was, I had lived with my parents for 20 odd yrs and now, am no more going to be living with them ( there was a sick feeling in my stomach)..This is the REALITY. I visit them at times and miss them a lot….I still question often " why is it only the girl gets to leave her family and stay with husband / In laws?" who did this rule?
    This is cos, I miss living or being with my parents….Am not sure how much of Kanyadaan is "Considered auspicious" or whatever….
    The concept or the idealogy our ppl follow, will never change…am unhappy at times.

  6. hitchwriter permalink
    July 22, 2009 4:52 am

    Thing with the word putradaan is no one would accept it…. lol…

    daan of only good commodities is accepted… lol …

    • seenu permalink
      September 20, 2011 4:32 pm

      I dont know “putradaan” as ritual didt exist might be, but the there many cases in my soceity where groom will be going to the bride home on the insistance of brides father in AP it is called “illarikam” and this groom willl settele in the same village of the bride. it is like norm in three decades back in my area. my grand father himself is an ‘illarikam” groom. and it mostly on the mutual understanding of the families. but at last the bride has to leave thiere parents home and has to setup in some other home. currrently, that thing became less norm. now days people wants to setteling for nuclear family. no need to going to bride/groom village. going to town.

  7. PEOPLE, PLACES, VOICES, FACES... permalink
    July 22, 2009 5:50 am

    Hi Anju,
    Nice to have seen you on Faces I've Seen. Hope to see you soon on some of my other blogs.
    I've thought about Kanyadaan too (I guess all mothers of daughters would have to at some time or the other) and have found the thought humiliating too.

    Having grown up into a Sikh family, I fortunately did not need to think about my father performing my daan. But married to a brahmin, now, I cringe at the thought of my husband having to touch his to-be-son-in-law's knee and ask that he be allowed to donate his daughter and that his daughter be received…you know how the mantra goes.

  8. ZiLliOnBiG permalink
    July 22, 2009 6:06 am

    the society i live, in Kerala are very different. i think this is mainly in North India.

    We(Menon/Nair of kerala are equal to probably sharma, gupta, in the north, the most prominent caste) have a Matriarchal society, where my SIR NAME is derived from my mothers family name.In our society matriarchal side of the family is more important than the fathers side.Mama plays the most important role, after father of course.

    I agree about the degrading part. Why a daan?

    read this wonderful article by my friend Santanu Dada.You would sure like his memoirs.TC nice post.

  9. Ketan permalink
    July 22, 2009 6:25 am

    Anju ma'am,

    Nice post! Now I've figurede out how to wade through your blog without hassles using even my cell phone. So, you'll see me more often.

    In olden days, I think (and still to a great extent in India), men were the one thought to be able to 'run' the family and the society. Women were merely seen to be in assisting role. This was so because without the advent of industrial revolution, physical strength and endurance were the source of all 'productivity' in the civilizations–agriculture, hunting, defending household against criminals, fighting wars (??), taming animals, etc. So no wonder, males were bestowed with the responsibility to 'inherit' their parents' legacy. So they won't leave the houses. And the women were in general respected less.

    But with advancement of science, industrial revolution, dissemination of knowledge (education), brute force was no more the quality most admirable. Rather it started getting frowned upon. The new set of qualities that are respected are: intelligence, creativity, perseverence, planning, specialized manual skills (surgery, jewelry designing, etc.), which are seen distributed between both the genders in comparable measures (maybe). That's why the countries that are most industrialized are more advanced also in terms of gender equality. I believe, as India progresses further industrially and educationally, women would come to be respected more and more.

    Religion is nothing but an embodiment of values we ourselves cherish and hold dear. If old practices–sati, killing brides for dowry, child sacrifice–seem savage, cruel and sinister–that's only because people following them were that way.

    However much we respect our religious scriptures and try to deny the fact, we've to remember, they were written by people like you and me. What is written in the scriptures reflects nothing but the moral fabric of the society in general–those writing them, and those willing to follow them.

    As a simple example, if you're the principal of a school, the rules you frame will be a reflection of your vision for your students, and if parents choose to send their kids to your school, it'd only imply they share your vision for their kids.

    Hope this much of ranting is enough for one comment, and that it doesn't miff you much! 🙂


  10. Ketan permalink
    July 22, 2009 6:29 am

    Anju ma'am,

    Nice post! Now I've figurede out how to wade through your blog without hassles using even my cell phone. So, you'll see me more often.

    In olden days, I think (and still to a great extent in India), men were the one thought to be able to 'run' the family and the society. Women were merely seen to be in assisting role. This was so because without the advent of industrial revolution, physical strength and endurance were the source of all 'productivity' in the civilizations–agriculture, hunting, defending household against criminals, fighting wars (??), taming animals, etc. So no wonder, males were bestowed with the responsibility to 'inherit' their parents' legacy. So they won't leave the houses. And the women were in general respected less.

    But with advancement of science, industrial revolution, dissemination of knowledge (education), brute force was no more the quality most admirable. Rather it started getting frowned upon. The new set of qualities that are respected are: intelligence, creativity, perseverence, planning, specialized manual skills (surgery, jewelry designing, etc.), which are seen distributed between both the genders in comparable measures (maybe). That's why the countries that are most industrialized are more advanced also in terms of gender equality. I believe, as India progresses further industrially and educationally, women would come to be respected more and more.

    Religion is nothing but an embodiment of values we ourselves cherish and hold dear. If old practices–sati, killing brides for dowry, child sacrifice–seem savage, cruel and sinister–that's only because people following them were that way.

    However much we respect our religious scriptures and try to deny the fact, we've to remember, they were written by people like you and me. What is written in the scriptures reflects nothing but the moral fabric of the society in general–those writing them, and those willing to follow them.

    As a simple example, if you're the principal of a school, the rules you frame will be a reflection of your vision for your students, and if parents choose to send their kids to your school, it'd only imply they share your vision for their kids.

    Hope this much of ranting is enough for one comment, and that it doesn't miff you much! 🙂


  11. The Panorama permalink
    July 22, 2009 10:32 am

    A though provoking post, Anju. However I feel simply removing the terminology Kanyadan will not eradicate this tardition.
    Zillionbig is right, this is a north Indian tradition. What is worse that a lot of parents because they know the girl child is to be "donated", do not spend money on her as that is a bad investment. She is "praya dhan".

    Very nice post and I get really angry and upset too at the way our girls are treated sometimes

  12. Smitha permalink
    July 22, 2009 5:20 pm

    That was one more very thought-provoking post! And you have voiced all my sentiments on this issue! I totally agree! The word and the concept of 'Kanyadaan' is deplorable.
    1. The assumption that the girl is being 'donated'
    2. That she is a commodity that 'belongs' to someone, who chooses to 'donate' her!!!
    If more parents think like you – Kanyadaan would soon become an obsolete and looked down-upon concept. Loved this post – I think it is very relevant.

  13. Raj permalink
    July 22, 2009 6:43 pm

    Good observation, but you have considered only those marriages where in groom lives with the parent. The concept of bride going to groom’s house is disappearing. Now a day’s couples live by themselves away from their do you categorize this has bride living with groom or would you categorize this has groom living with the bride…??? As said by someone, in olden days men were considered to be capable of earning , so bride was sent to husband’s house and it has continued from then with slight modification.

  14. July 22, 2009 6:57 pm

    very nice article. i agree with you.
    went through the comments also.
    wanted to add that Indians may live in australlia or usa or canada, they just get the natinality and money of that contry,but they never mix up with the culture of that country. This is reason they want traditnal husand and wife from India.

  15. Deepa permalink
    July 23, 2009 3:02 am

    Hello. This is a thought provoking post. I myself am enraged at some of these archaic traditions which enslave women and have tried to write about them in my own blog – http// (Patriarchy and the twice born, Assualted/Provoked) if you like you can take a look.

    The responses of the readers was rather encouraging. I would like to add my thoughts to this if you dont mind. Two people have said here that Kanyadaan is a North Indian tradition. I am a south Indian – Tamilian. I don't really agree on this point. The terminology maybe different (I think it is called 'Paanigrahanam'down south) but the ethos is the same! The ultimate goal of the parents of a girl is that she should be "given" in marriage to a suitable boy.

    Family systems have changed somewhat. So the 'leaving parents home for the marital home' has undergone a change – in many cases, especially in middle class India, the couple set up their own home. But again, the ethos remains the same. The first right over the girl is that of her husband.

    Lastly, an example of the matriarchal family system in Kerala. I would not agree on this point also. The family system is MATRILINEAL – which is different from matriarchal. The lineage is derived from the mother's side. But power and authority (eg. control over property) does not rest on the woman. It is the Maama (maternal uncle) – as has been acknowledged by the reader. In what way does this make for a better option?! Unless power and decision making are in the hands of the woman herself, this is just a different version of patriarchy, cleverly disguised.

  16. Durga Nandan permalink
    July 23, 2009 4:42 am

    "When a boy and a girl is getting married then why not have Putradaan (give away the son) why only Kanyadaan? "
    Similar thoughts have come to my mind when I was a kid. Why is there only pathivratha? No pathnivrata[n]?
    Matriarchal societies do exist. But I should say, that is also not fair. The couple should have equal rights. Not one of them dominating the other. Always.

  17. Roshmi Sinha permalink
    July 23, 2009 1:49 pm

    Interesting read.

    Ummmm…. given the prevalence of dowry, it should be "putrabuy" and not "Putradaan" (give away the son)… what say… ?!!

  18. AnjuGandhi permalink
    July 23, 2009 2:57 pm

    @ Roshni ur are absolutely right.In most of the Indian marriges it is Putrabuy only. lets do something to change the terminology

  19. Aparna permalink
    July 24, 2009 5:58 am

    A lot of customs and traditions exist in Hindu religion whch are archaic.
    We need to change them and move forward to a society which does not discriminate between genders. The Christians also have the concept of 'giving away the bride', but that is different than 'daan'.
    A thought provoking post Anju.

  20. Sameera permalink
    July 27, 2009 2:44 am


    Hmm.. I agree with what you have to say. The cermony shouldn't be given so much weight. It is a part of other things we do when one gets married. Can we reframe it and say… the bride's parents trust the groom to take proper care of their daughter and thats why they can part with her.
    More than kanyadan one thing bugs me! Why should daughters leave their parents…? Aren't her parents her responsibility…? It detests me how some happily married girls avoid their parents!

  21. Arunima permalink
    July 28, 2009 3:53 am

    I will never let my mom-in-law read that text. She already thinks that husbands are Gods without having to read anything. 🙂

  22. Quest permalink
    July 29, 2009 5:13 pm

    There can always be a different perspective for the whole process of 'kanyadaan'. In Mahabharata Karna gave his own armor as daan and became known as Danaveer karna for not even thinking about his life being in danger in the battlefield because of this action.

    Woman is considered as the mother, the one who can bear all the hardships without hesitation, strong willed like Savitri who can bring her husband back from the dead.

    And anyone who can give such a great asset to someone else through marriage is indeed doing a great donation by his deed and would not be wrong at all in calling this 'kanyadaan'.

    When such a word could be coined with noble intentions, treating this as something to get rid of one's daughter(s) would be entirely wrong on that person's part.

  23. Indian Home Maker permalink
    August 1, 2009 9:21 am

    Brilliant and relevant, and goes without saying I completely agree. The custom is degrading no doubt but one more reason why we should refuse to perform kanyadaan is it reinforces the belief that:
    1. Customs once made, cannot be changed, we must follow them to please the elders (as if elders have no thinking capability) and others.
    2. Girls are to be given away, girls must go to the boys family, girls are paraya dhan and a liability … endless list.
    I have no intentions of using my daughter to achieve a place in heaven, I would rather go to hell than degrade or donate my daughter.

    Love this blog!!!! I am so glad your daughter introduced you to blogging! 🙂 Thank her from one of your readers 🙂

  24. Apanatva permalink
    August 2, 2009 10:23 am

    Hi anju
    have you heard a word ghar jawaai.
    If one is rich and has only one daughter then property inheritence becomes big attraction and easy to get ghar jawaai.It was very common in Rajasthan in oldendays.
    thanks for visiting my blog.we have few things in common.Our daughters introduced us to blog. my elder daughter is in
    u s and second one is in london.i have written one post on betee too you will like it.

  25. Chrysalis permalink
    August 5, 2009 4:27 pm

    Ma'am You have got the whole thing about kanyadaan wrong. I don't know whih book you were reading but it certainly was not the right one. ia m not surprised at you anger …we are sorely lacking for good translations/interpretations and Pandits who know truly the ceremonies and shloks they are reciting.
    Shastars and Sanatan Dharm…the only faith which says husband and wife are equal.
    A groom is considereda Narayan beacuse of a certain psychology…the parents are naturally worried about the boy who is marrying their beloved daughter and yet we can only control some things and not all. Hence to lesses the anxiety of the father the shastras say that assume that this boy is Narayan and move forward.
    Daan is not a weakness but a sign of tremendous strength….you are misinterpreting the word. The woman has some natural instincts..which are in no way her weaknesses but her strength.
    As far as washing one's sins through Kanyadaan …its not true. It is infact considered an important rite of passage because you it is one of your dharmas as a parent to see your daughter married and happily settled. No sin or such thing involved if it does not happen for some reason.

  26. Chrysalis permalink
    August 5, 2009 7:23 pm

    Anji Ji I do not see your reply. Am I checking in the wrong place? I was writing about Kanyadaan after reading this piece…the correct meaning and truth behind the rituals…do take a look. I think I should post it either tonight or tomorrow.

  27. AnjuGandhi permalink
    August 6, 2009 4:24 am

    Hi Chrysalis, just now I noticed that you have also written something on this topic in your blog.
    the book which I read was on the rituals of Indian marriage. and what I wrote are my personal views and written after seeing the status of women in our society.
    daan literaly means to give away somethin, you donate soemthing.
    and before writing this i talked to many people even some pandits and pujaris of various temples.and they were all of the same view that " agar kanya daan nahi kiya to swarg mein jagah nahi milegi" if u dont hve a daughter of your own then you must do kanyadaan of soem other girl by contributing something towards the ceremony. and this is a very popular belief amongst most of the Hindu that kanyadaan karna is punya ka kaam.
    kanyadaan literaly means to donate your daughter and i still stands to this. and few days back some one told me that daan mein aayi vastu meri apni hai, and the donar had no value for it that is why he donated it to me. if it was so precious to him then he shuld have kept it to himself.
    and I do beleive in the strength of woman ( after all I am one) but to see women being humilated and insulted by the opposite sex pains me a lot

  28. Doodleduck permalink
    August 6, 2009 9:37 am

    Nice post, Anju. I wrote on Chrysalis' blog that my Mum did the 'kanyadan'. If we do follow a ritualistic traditional wedding, we have to perform all the rituals….my purpose of mentioning the kanyadan is this …it is considered to be done only by the father or in absence of father than by mama or chacha…but since my mum brought us up all by herself she didn't even consider to let somebody else take that honour….so my mum did the kanyadan for me as well as my elder sis. And I am very proud of that. I totally agree with ur views that daughters donot cease to be daughters once they get married….obviously, if such thoughts are adopted than how can we really blame the inlaws for making the lives of daughters in law hellish…when her own parents didnot stand by her!!

  29. Pranab permalink
    August 6, 2009 10:46 pm

    This is unodoubtedly a thought provoking post, even more the ensuing comments so much so that a laggard like me was compelled to respond. I have written a detailed comment @ as I felt the podium of discussion has now shifted over there.

    Pls do consider reading it when free.

  30. Anonymous permalink
    September 3, 2009 1:03 pm

    the problem is that you view this too literally. rituals and ceremonies in hinduism relies a lot on symbolism. When the father does the kanyadaan, he is passing his responsibilities of protecting and caring for his daughter's wellbeing to the groom. Women are revered in my family ( i live in southafrica) and held and treated with the utmost respect. i never could argue with my mother without a slap or hiding from my father. At the point of kanya daan, the groom has to promise to ensure he looks out for the bride's dharma, artha and kama…. if a husband does not treat his wife with respect then he should get married at all

  31. desifeminists permalink
    September 24, 2009 6:16 pm

    i came across your article while searching for how to do hindu weddings without kanyadaan. i totally agree with you that the concept of kanyadaan is degrading. although i am tempted to say that there is something very spiritual about giving away something which is very precious. everyone gives away things they don't care for, which makes kanyadaan a great deed since you're giving away something that is precious. but in that case, why doesn't the groom's family give away the groom to the bride's family as well? after all, marriage is a joining of familes, not just taking away from the bride's family.

    i'd really like to have a hindu wedding ceremony without kanyadaan. the trouble is finding a priest who's willing to do it! maybe i can just tell one of my family members to read the verses.

    what i find most disturbing is that kanyadaan is derived from the vedas themselves. i used to think the vedas would be equal, unlike hindu culture. but it seems that the vedas themselves were written by patriarchal men.

  32. Kalyani permalink
    May 28, 2010 5:46 pm

    According to our traditions, when a girl marries, she has to go to her husband’s house. The girl’s parents “see off” her or say goodbye to her. The girl goes in someone’s else’s family.To narrate this, the word “kanyadaan” has emerged.It never insults the girl or degrades her. There are several words like Blood donation, eye donation, Kedney donation, Heart Donation, Vidyadaan (imparting edcation) etc. It never degrades them.

    So dont make this point a issue.

    • roopa permalink
      November 20, 2010 6:08 pm

      The thing about donations you mention is again transfer of ownership. Blood or Organ donation you give away your blood / organ, vidya daan you give away knowledge. You relinquish ownership of the object of donation. You are still equating a women as belonging to her father being given away to her husband. As a women I find it derogatory to be handed over like an inanimate object. As much as love them, my parents don’t own me. Its my choice to join in a partnership with a boy of my choice in marriage.

    • Vipul permalink
      June 23, 2013 3:40 pm

      But I think father has to take permission of his daughter before any such so called “D
      aan”. yeh koi car ya vhar nahi hai jo daan kar diya…

  33. R B permalink
    January 23, 2011 2:30 am

    The concept of kanya-daan is horrible.
    The word kanya-daan does not mean the daan of a girl.
    What it actually means is the daan of the virginity of a girl
    Kanyadaan is formed from combination of two words, ‘Kanya’ and ‘Daan’ where Kanya means a virgin or a virgin girl mainly the bride and Daan means giving away or donation.

    • Riya permalink
      February 25, 2011 6:27 am

      You are absolutely right about what it means but the concept is not horrible

  34. Narishara Sahai permalink
    June 5, 2011 7:13 am

    The Kaanyadhan is a rasam that was carried out for a great period of time…..and I believe all people in hindu marriges should continue to follow it,It’s a part of our culture,I know that saying “Giving your daughter away in donation” is sounding very harsh and stupid but I don’t believe it’s just sending your daughter away and forgetting her,It’s putting her responsibility on her life-partner shoulder,trusting him to take care of her and I also agree with R B-it’s aboout daan of the virginity of a girl not a girl and her entire life……..I still believe in upholding and continuing this Kanyadaan ka rasam

  35. September 9, 2011 6:36 pm

    This is called “preach what you believe in”…feel proud to hear things like this. Keep it up.

    “Tell the truth boldly, whether it hurts or not. Never pander to weakness. If truth is too much for intelligent people and sweeps them away, let them go; the sooner the better.”
    ~ Swami Vivekananda”

    And yes best wishes for happy and prosperous marriage life for your daughter and son-in-law.

  36. kanyamama permalink
    September 22, 2011 6:55 pm

    I am at present going through this process and found this website because I’m looking for Scriptural guidance. My daughter is getting married. I do believe in Kanyadaan however not at all in the spirit that I see posted here. I feel that I am entrusting my daughter (and ye-virgin daughter)to this boy that she’s marrying. I do not believe that I’m “giving away” my daughter and she doesn’t believe that either! Here’s my problem: I am divorced and pundits are telling me that this kanyadaan MUST be done by a “married couple” with me just touching their hands. I have a HUGE problem with that. Only God and me and my children know what I’ve been through with them. . .without a husband for the last 15 years! How can any one even think that someone else has the right to “give” this daughter in marriage to anyone. .. I am the only one who has that right. .and my daughter agrees with that. . .. but how to convince the so-called learned “pundits”. . .any ideas?

  37. zealation permalink
    January 1, 2012 9:15 pm

    hi there
    in search of post related kanydaan i went through your post. its amaizing that you have been rearing, living and making your daughters all the demands fulfilled. and today, in her marriage you are in dillema! why? you are there to set the tradition, norms and values then why go through a baby cry again. afer all, you are a feminist meeting all the demands and home to hearth? so why to worry for the stupidity which is created and constructed by this patriarchal society. do what your inner core of heart says. be happy. you can’t make happy everybody that i belive.

  38. P R Viswanathan permalink
    February 12, 2012 9:54 pm

    Entirely agree with you. I had to do it for my daughter. Neither of us liked it. Today, I was just checking to see whether this ritual is prescribed by the Vedas for which I have great respect or is it a value-add by mere humans, some of them with vested interests. From what I have read on the internet, unfortunately, it is a Vedic ritual. Can you enlighten me on this?

  39. April 11, 2012 8:57 am

    I like this blog ☺

  40. Avi permalink
    April 13, 2012 11:39 pm

    It is the best thing for married couple. This is to maintain peace in the society. Most of the divorces and fights that happen between newlyweds are because the girl’s parents specially their mothers interfere too much in the newlywed’s life. Brides parent have to understand that they have given their daughter and let her live peacefully and adjust independently in the new home and life. This is the reason why Indian society was so strong and had least divorces. But now due to constant interference of bride’s parents in their daughter’s life, unwanted situations are being created.
    No one can sail with feet in two different boats; your feet have to be in the same boat to sail peacefully.

    • Pari Sharma permalink
      November 1, 2016 7:32 am

      There is more divorce rate are these days because girls are more aware and they are financially independent not because of someone interference. There may be some cases of interference. It is better to be divorced and live your life with dignity beside of being oppressed in the name of maintaining a relationship.

  41. Amrita permalink
    April 21, 2012 7:58 am

    I admire you for bringing this up. Our cultural traditions are in an advanced state of decay and we need to define new ones. I am glad that you started the trend, let us hope that other follow suit. What is the point of validating an ancient custom, rooted in the agricultural economy 2000 years ago, institutionalized by corrupt brahmins (and yes I am one too), solemnized in a language no one understands. Let us define our own marriage vows where the bride and the groom pledge their commitment to one another irrespective of religious affiliations.
    Avi the bride’s parents are not a problem. Your expectation that a twenty something educated woman is expected to walk away from her identity after marriage is ridiculous at best. Can you put yourself in her shoes even for a second? Can you ask yourself to make this sacrifice?

    • Neha permalink
      February 11, 2016 8:03 pm

      Unfortunately, after much research, I have concluded that Hindu religious scriptures do not see marriage as an equal union between two human beings.

      It is in essence, a transfer of ownership, of a virgin bride, to the husband. Yes, the scriptures do call upon the husband to care for, and “honour” his wife, since she belongs to him, but the wife is not her husband’s equal, in any sense.

      In essence, Hindu marriage customs are patriarchal in nature. A woman is viewed as belonging to a man, when young, and under her son’s care when old. There is just

  42. lady permalink
    May 17, 2012 1:50 am

    Please provide a way to email your posts, love this…

  43. Kanna permalink
    July 27, 2012 10:57 pm

    Hello, With due respect to the opinions of “thought-provoking-minds”, i wish to pen-down my thoughts too … kanyadaan – raw translation of this word imbibes hasty meaning … brides father is a no owner of the lady to donate and neither the bridegroom is no NGC to accept donations ( better to say not worthy to accept ) … however, in specific to the word kanya daan, the word kanya means virgin – which is the purest state on earth ie., Lordess Lakshmi … according to mythology Lordess Lakshmi ( Goddess of all – wealth, knowledge, brave ) is the result of the samudra-mantana ( churning-of-ocean ), and is the purest in universe … and so are all the girls …. coming to the word daan – it is to be treated as generosity. A girls father is generously celebrating the entry of his daughter into the families of another house to prosper them as she did in their lives …. mean to say, that he is showing his gratitude to his daughter who brought all the happiness in his life (as a child), the sweetness of which can only be learnt by experience, and saying its time for you to prosper some more lives on earth …. and happily sending her to the other station of the journey … and informing the bridegroom that Lordess is now entering into ur life to lead u in right way … so in conclusion … the word kanya daan is entry of lordess lakshmi into the lives of bridegroom and his family in addition to being a light in her family … my personal opinion please 🙂

    • July 28, 2012 11:36 am

      If virginity is the purest form then should I assume every girl becomes impure after marriage?

      Awkward,isn’t it? Forced reasoning never works madam.

      • Kanna permalink
        July 28, 2012 12:53 pm

        After marriage it is much purest form called Motherhood … because of which the world is survived …

      • Amrita permalink
        July 28, 2012 2:22 pm

        The truth is that these concepts while valid in the societies of our past with the best of intentions, are no longer so in today’s India – yet we cling to them. It is time for us to let go of these ideas that are no longer understood or practiced in the spirit in which they were defined.

        “Kanyas/ Lakshmis” are being murdered everyday. The female child (a would be Mother) is considered to be a liability since she does not have the economic capability to support herself and her family. Brides are being burned because they do not bring enough dowry. Women are being abused, maimed or worse for not producing a male heir. Girls are being killed to protect the honor of the family because they had the guts to choose the person they wanted to marry. Girls are being molested and raped every day …

        Kanya/Lakshmi whatever – who cares? Can we start to look upon women as human beings first? I will be happy if a female child is allowed to be born, educated, and allowed to marry a man of her choice in India today. Can we start there first?

        Does our society appear to even have the intellectual capability to understand what Kanya Daan means let alone practice it? I don’t think so. We need to focus on producing educated women who learn to operate from a position of power not weakness (due to lack of education, economic independence, and social influence). Is there any wonder that mothers and fathers today produce the Indian men and cowardly and complicit Indian women that are collectively a nation of murderers, torturers and rapists?

        As a start can we start a pledge for men on this forum that they will not ask for or seek dowry for marriages?

      • July 31, 2012 7:02 pm

        @Kanna- is one subject I have soft corner for !!! 🙂

        If you force mother in the argument what can I say?…except may be-may *whomsoever* goddess bless your purity 🙂

        @Amruta- I do 🙂

  44. RAMESH JAIN permalink
    October 14, 2012 4:05 pm

    This is an very old tradition when girls were not coming out of their houses. there was no proper education of the girls. girls were treated like a property.that may be true in that era.

    But now things have taken a drastic change and girls are no longer a commodity, they are having proper education. they are having equal rights.
    the marriage of girl or boy is one and same thing. this is merely an occasion of meeting of two souls and living together caring each other.
    now the time has come when the two new partners do not want to live with any of the parents so there is no question of either KANYADAN or PUTRADAN.
    i hope i have made my point clear.
    this is my opinion only and u need not agree with this and you can have your independent view.
    Ramesh Jain 09412771574

  45. Pranati permalink
    November 8, 2012 3:18 am

    Kanya Daan – Donation of Daughter this just becomes the literal tranlation of language. You please deeply understand the meaning of the word. Dont just literally translate it in English.

    Every language has its limitations there are some Indian words which cannot be tranlated in English. If that the case then what the hell will you call it for saat pheras – 7 rounds, griha pravesh as house entrance or vaastu shaanti as silence of the place and the list goes on..

    If you want to Understand the meaning please go to the its deep roots, understand it and then come to conclusion.
    No Religion or Hinduim degrades the position of the girl it is the people and their narrow minds which have spoiled the term Kanyadaan.

    The Real meaning of Knayadaan is where the father passes or gives his pride to the groom.
    I would suugest you please read the actual vedas, ancient scripts to understand the meaning dont just do the translation

    The word Kanyadaan has a deep meaning it comes with a baggage where a father passes on his respect, his pride to the groom inthe form of daughter.

    If you are just tranlating it then what will you say for the terms if we tranlate it in Hindi
    HoneyMoon as Shehad Chaan, The Church declares you as man and wife as Church tume Adami aur Uski Biwi Ghoshit Karte hain etc. These just become the literal tranlation not actually what they mean.

    As a girl even I think Donation of Daughter sounds horryfying but The word has a meaning, just dont take the literal meaning in English.

    Religion and Customs are great culture of India. But they are just the banana peel which the people are holding and throwing away the actual banana whcih has the real essece and meaning of every rityal and banana. My suggestion is to everyone please throw the banana peel and experience the banana inside.

    Anju Gandhi I surely want your reply on this

    • Amrita permalink
      November 8, 2012 3:53 am

      Hi Pranati,

      I agree that the concepts were profound in their time. (Please see my posts above – 28/7 and 21/4). However they no longer apply in today’s world and are certainly not practiced as intended.

      The history of humanity is littered with traditions that were set aside in the interest of progress and the common good. Case in point Sati, Caste system, slavery, and several others. To use your analogy, the ‘banana’ is rotten not just the peel and it has to be thrown away. It is simple. Let us not get burdened by the past or defensive about what no one has the capacity to understand or the capability to live up to.

      Our forefathers in their ultimate wisdom put in place traditions and rituals that propagated a spiritual mindfulness in everyday life. These were just tools. Like tools that are broken, these must now be set aside. Let us focus on becoming a more humane culture first, and practice humanity. Our country and our people can gain a lot from that.

      Let us channel our anger positively and change the present rather than defend the past. There is a lot to be done, and it will need passionate people like you.


  46. Pranati permalink
    November 8, 2012 5:14 am

    Hey Amrita,

    I do agree that time has changed, we are in a more advanced and technological world, we hardly ever follow or know these traditions ( I wud rather say this or is applied to educated people) or even more there are changes required in the society.

    We should also just not look back at our or defend it but must change the way it is and practise humanity first.

    But to these we must first undersatnd the meaning of it, clear our doubts about our past, religion, culture or watever understand the true meaning and then change with confidence.

    If we dont understand or reach the core we cannot tell others to change it.

    Before we clear doubt, we cannot change the world. When Doubt clears there is confidence and confidence with passion and positive attitude can change anything.

    I know everyone has their own opinion of change and I do not force my Opinion on anybody.

    • Amrita permalink
      November 12, 2012 4:13 am

      Dear Pranati,
      I think that we will have to agree to disagree. Simply put, these traditions have been lost and the vestiges that remain are hard to swallow. As a culture we do not have the time to sit back trying to understand these traditions while millions of girl children are being aborted because their parents think that they will have to give ‘daan’ of half their lifesavings, we can not wait for misguided people to come to an understanding while there are gang rapes of young women everyday just because they dared to break ‘Indian’ tradition and went to a pub for a drink …..
      Under these circumstances how does digging into our past help? What will you tell the mother of a baby girl in Harayana who is starving her child because her husband and mother-in-law and society around her tell her that she is unworthy being mother of a female child? How will this help?
      Anyway, I love your passion. Hopefully we will have more passionate women who take up the many causes that plague our society in the name of culture and drive change.
      Best wishes,

  47. Aman kumar permalink
    January 21, 2013 5:15 pm

    I like the moral values highligted in the favour of girls.there should clear concept about kanyadaan among parents.

  48. shruti permalink
    January 30, 2013 4:43 pm

    Well, I am a female too but I do not see any degrading thing in it. Our whole discomfort is not in what our traditions are but in our confusion about their understanding. Our knowledge is so limited that we cannot make objective judgments about our traditions. One has to study our traditional texts in a gurukul or with a qualified teacher to get answers to such questions and heal the wounds, if one really wants.

  49. Pranati permalink
    February 13, 2013 2:21 am

    I agree with shruti

  50. jGo permalink
    March 16, 2013 9:52 pm

    Sometimes I just think that the Hindu religion is too complicated for people to understand. It is certainly more complicated than the Abrahamic religions and more so because it relies a lot on symbolism and interpretation instead of dictating everything word for word. Nowadays people over-simplify Hinduism in the hope that people will remain interested and fail to see the symbolism or understand the background, creating holes in the religion as complex areas are glazed over or details ignored.

    I am a girl in mid-twenties born and bred in London and I think the Kanyadaan is a beautiful ceremony and refusing to call it ‘Kanyadaan’ doesn’t change it. Also, refusing to perform the ceremony as part of a Hindu wedding doesn’t change anything either.

    Yes there are many things wrong with Indian society in that men are viewed as superior to women but that is changing and there is one and only one thing that can change this – educating women. I am an educated woman and my parents are educated and they have raised me as equal to my brother and any other man. They have always taught me to ensure that I am self-sufficient and never have to rely on anybody let alone my future husband. It is when you educate your daughters and raise them as equals and ensure that your children view you and your spouse as equals that they look beyond terminology like ‘daan’ and see the beauty in the traditions instead.

    I completely understand where this post is coming from and the comments that agree. In some respects, I agree too but for that I would say that it is viewed incorrectly and that is not the fault of the ceremony, but the fault of the beholder for misinterpreting.

    I cannot reiterate enough that mind-sets of society do not change by taking something away but instead by understanding why it is there and what it truly means.

    • Tanuja permalink
      May 28, 2013 8:12 pm

      Dear jGO,

      I truly agree with you on the “education” part and would really like to elaborate where we lack-

      • Don’t have any simplified literature on these traditional customs to read on these matters which will be part for our after married life.
      • The grooms/brides side will always have a few relatives/friends/pundits who are given the responsibility to dictate the traditional methods …we do them at the time of marriage maybe because we are really busy…or we do not want to hurt the feeling of the masses..But take my words; these are going to haunt you for the rest of your married life…
      • The young generation today lacks the time to indulge in such subjects..obviously they were busy studying hard on subjects like physics, chemistry ,math’s….:)
      Now how do we tackle??
      It is really very simple.
      • Schools should take extra initiatives to make compulsory education maybe from eighth standard onwards on the real practical meanings of at least a few traditional topics like say kanyadaan..About dowry systems…about respecting women..(If you go back in history India holds girls as Devi’s)
      • Telivision is watched by everyone…why don’t we have serials which are oriented on these topics…why don’t we make serials with the name as “what is kanyadaan”.
      • Only education can bring us out of this mess…the girl’s father in laws ,mother in law’s tell them what do you know about least they can answer them back with confidence and can tell them on their face that they have STUDIED IN SCHOOL. They can show them written proof THAT THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS..
      • Our political leaders should take these topics..they are the ones who go asking for votes in villages ..can’t this be made as a COMPULSORY AGENDA TO BE PROPOGATED by all parties regarding these social evils.
      • Marriage ceremonies should have compulsory orientation class telling them that you all are equal…No party can make the other feel down.

      We as Indians have to wake up..we need to admit that we cannot be stuck in social stigmas.
      We have such a rich culture..we should be proud that our younger generations are still following these customs as they walk shoulder to shoulder with their western counterparts.Let’s not be weak this time..and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT…

      Tanuja Mishra

      • Iyengar girl permalink
        August 1, 2013 7:16 am

        There actually is simplified literature, but its in the form of spiritual talks – for example, Vishaka Hari’s speeches, Vellukudi speeches, among others. Unfortunately these are mostly in pure Tamil, as these people are based in SriRangam. All the stories are metaphors, allusions, which are made clear and make lots of sense if you listen to these people.

  51. June 3, 2013 3:16 am

    fantastic anju ji.. and courageous!! i m your fan.. i wish all parents become like you.. sharing your post in a debate on kanyadan on my facebook..

  52. July 14, 2013 1:17 am

    Mainly Kanyadan will nullify doshas in horoscopes

  53. Iyengar girl permalink
    August 1, 2013 7:12 am

    Speaking as an iyengar girl: actually the girl in a marriage is more than herself – she symbolises wealth, fortune, wisdom, all that is good, basically. It’s through this girl that two families unite, two communities can unite. Kanya-dhaanam is one of the greatest spiritual things that can happen. but the dhaanam part is just handing over responsibility – the father basically says ‘I’ve looked after this girl and I have raised her up as most wise, beautiful, pious, chaste. I now hand over the responsibility of LOOKING AFTER HER WELLBEING to you, who are Lord Vishnu swarup.’ The father is only giving over his RESPONSIBILITY AS A CARER AND PROTECTER to the groom, not the girl herself. After kanyadhaan the girl does NOT cut all bonds with her birth family. The Vedas actually give the higher preference to women. You only have to see how Lord Shiva gave half his body to Parvati and took revenge for Sati’s (parvati’s past life; after her death Shiva didn’t take another bride until she reincarnated) death; and how Lord Vishnu leaves his abode Vaikuntha because Lakshmi left him. there are a lot of symbolism in Hindu rituals, but you have to look past the whole ritual/spiritual thing.
    Also, the whole dowry thing was actually given from groom to bride’s side, as a compensation. The girl being Lakshmi swarup, the groom gives as much as he can to the bride’s family saying ‘i am taking your Lakshmi, this is the least I can do’ and he is also obligated to look after the bride’s family for the rest of his life as the eldest son of the family.

  54. Hardi permalink
    October 7, 2013 1:42 pm

    i totally agree with yr answer and also dont believe the word of Kanyadan.

  55. tabu permalink
    November 15, 2013 5:28 pm

    I am a Hindu and I love being a Hindu since this is the only religion allows so much freedom to be able to express your views and analyze the customs or ceremonies.
    So lets not abuse this freedom.
    Cultures are added into religions and that becomes the customs .You can look at any religion and find similar things that some people will not find appropriate but will not raise such a big issue because either do not want to offend or hurt some religious persons like me or are afraid of the consequences (in other religions people will send death threats or actually will kill) or will have demonstration of anything opposing their region.

    Let us be wise about it many things have changed in Hinduism You can take it in either way whether a DAAN which is a most holiest thing on this planet earth or passing on a responsibility of a father to a husband to start a new family. Dowry custom is not from the family of the girl or the boy but from both families to start a new family.

    Otherwise if you want to question the customs there are many customs in all regions that can be questioned WOULD YOU DARE THAT?

  56. January 11, 2014 11:03 pm

    i believe this article being a women i know my values , my dignities and my sacred duties to nation i really don’t like Kanyadaan ritual and because of such rules people don’t want their child as a girl therefore we the people are reason of female infanticide am not insulting a particular religion i do respect all the religions
    but for a better future and for female empowerment we need to take a step towards our nation its not bad to change something for good one’s
    and its not important to be put only kanyadann if we want we must do purushdaan also what’s wrong in it..
    friends its a time to take a step to the women empowerment and against female infanticide and mind it kanyadaan is one of the biggest reason of female infanticide as you seen in your daily life and according to me there is nothing bad in changing something for someone’s welfare and being a Indian citizen it is the duty of all to do something or to whip tears from all over the eyes
    over all i believe in SECULARISM and biggest thing is that ,that i am Indian

  57. Sudhir permalink
    February 5, 2014 2:37 am

    Very rightly said, this concept and practice of ‘ Kanyadan’is the root cause of all the sufferings of millions of girl child in our country. Parents take utmost care and also go through untold difficulties in bringing up their daughters yet one day he has to give away his daughter as ‘Daan’ to some unknown person ? what logic is this ? how could our women folk just accept this? this is so derogatory and humiliating for any self respecting person.
    Infact this term of ” Kanyadan” is illegal by all means, since no man has the power to donate another person. It is also against the constitutional right to exist as a free individual.
    Laws must be enacted to prevent the practice of ‘ Kanyadaan’ during wedding ceremony,
    Why differentiate a girl child ? under which law is this being carried on ? reform should begin from here, if equality has to prevail.

    • Someone permalink
      February 5, 2014 12:33 pm

      If you’ve read all the scriptures, you’d know that there are also guidelines as to which qualities your future son in law is to have. The vedas state that no girl is to be married against her will, and all fathers should strive to find virtuous, compassionate and handsome man for their daughter. and as i wrote before, the girl is a symbol of lakshmi. the dhaanam that is happening is not of the girl, but what she symbolises – which is love and plenty. BECAUSE A GIRL IS BOTH DAUGHTER, SISTER AND MOTHER AND THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE THAN THAT OF A MOTHER. Good lord, people, before arguing semantics, read up on the meaning behind the rituals. The Vedic period is the only period of time in the world where a woman was considered greater than man or even god. Just because people nowadays are too ignorant of their own culture doesn’t mean our ancestors were Neanderthals.

      • February 13, 2014 1:44 am

        In the course of evolution no custom nor culture can remain static. As we evolve we have to shed what is not suitable and adopt what is more practical and appropriate, when custom looses its meaning. However a section of the society will always cling to what their ancestors believed good at their times.change is inevitable if not today another day. What we need to worry is about where one stands in the course of evolution, how close have we reached to our destination.
        From Neanderthals to superconciousness !
        A day will come when Poojaris will be hard to find and then the story will end there.

  58. Premnathtm permalink
    February 6, 2014 3:46 pm

    Thanks to the various views in this blog about the word or act “Kannya Dhanam”. It is indeed very interesting. Many seem over enthusiastic and vociferous to establish that this custom is demeaning the woman and the woman are treated as a commodity.
    Why the same enthusiasm was not found in decrying the disdainful CUSTOM OF “Dowry”. This one act so prevalent in most parts of India is the most debasing of all customs!! This one customs makes the entire great institution of Marriage into a “Business” transaction of bargaining, threats, even leading to “Burning of the Brides”! And leaves the parents of the bride as destitute after living the whole life frugally before that to “Save” for the girl child’s “wedding”.
    When we talk about dowry and marriage one has to bring in the customs of “Thiyyas” a vibrant community in the northern part of erst while Malabar. This community looks down on any prospective bride groom who mentions “Dowry”, there is nothing more disgraceful for that family! I am not aware of such thoughts prevalent any other community in any other part of India?.
    This community-The Thiiyas –follow the “Marumakkathayam” system, the Matrilineal system. The woman of this community has unique status. This “Marumakkathayam” system is not based as some other communities which follow the “Sambandam”- William Logan Esq. saya-“Sambandam” as loose form of marriage, with no legal or moral obligation what so ever”. The children in this union had no right to property. They could not even sit and have meal with their father nor can they call him their father. Hence for that child only definite thing was the mother, so they added her name to their names. The woman had all the right to change/ chose whom so ever she her “husband”. Logan goes on to say that “Sambandam was a glorified form of prostitution”. The Thiyyas “Marumakkathayam was the system which ensured all rights for the woman even after she was married to [Single husband ] some other family. She retained all full rights not only for her but all her subsequent generations and was welcome to her ancestral house any time with full rights and not with anybodies kindness. In the Christian community once she was married off she no longer has any lien on her family or the property, she even relinquishes her right to be buried in the family grave.
    In the above explained context In the Thiyya community When the girl is married into another family , please understand she is only joining the family of her husband retaining her full emotional, legal and rights to the family name [ her children retains the mothers family name ] and wealth. She is not gifted away, transferred or sold.
    There is no dowry or monetary consideration is involved.
    At the time of actual wedding ceremony it is the girl who garlands the groom as a sign accepting her as her spouse-“Swayavaram”.In many other communities it is the groom who garlands first and ties the “Thali”, the sacred chain signifying the betrothal.
    So in our community the father is only accepting the groom as the guardian of his daughter and giving or gifting .or performing the “Dhaanam” of this right. From then he is responsible of the wellbeing of her and her progeny. In our community we never say “we married off our daughter “We only say we conducted the wedding”
    In one of the comments –“daughters yet one day he has to give away his daughter as ‘Daan’ to some unknown person ? what logic is this ? “ No parent will give their daughter to an unknown stranger, tell me please was this the case in his wedding???It only shows the male chauvinism.

  59. April 6, 2014 9:07 pm

    hello friend,
    very good, I love the putradaan 🙂
    like this one

  60. reddy permalink
    August 17, 2014 6:55 pm

    Hi I too would like to express my point of views on this, firstly as per my knowledge the recipient of any daan is greater than the giver , because how strong you may intend to give when there is no receiver to whom will you give Secondly to create a strong bond among the two families who are different and to drive away suspicions amongst each other there reqiures some degree of confidence building measures rituals are not only to enjoy they have to be taken in a larger prespective.
    Thirdly kanya daan is not done to a group of men to be ashamed of.its really done for a healthy productivity of nation
    Happy families make glorious nation
    Moreover there is even putradaan in our culture this is only cultural not religious
    I think Hinduism respects the women utmost no doubt in it every follower of hindu knows this dont mix cultures with religion beliefs
    Last but not the least “woman needs man see nature closely u will know it “man is good at his and women in their skills there shall be no fight for equality because they are different

    • aisha permalink
      December 9, 2014 1:26 pm

      this is a very shameful thing . why girls r cnsidrd as curse I m nly grl of my parents. and my grandmother alws curse my mum dat she dnt have a son. my famly alws ask me to cook and learn house work and to look good so dat I cn be given to another home. they dnt cnsdr me as their vanshaj on other hand my chacha have a son and he also got a son aftr hs marige and they are alws gvn mre prefrence. I feel I wish I wr a boy thn evry1 wud hv lovd me

  61. May 4, 2015 11:09 pm

    Just removing the word Kanyadaan is not enough.
    According to me Kanyadaan is a crime. Please read and think over the following lines.
    “Kanya Daan” is the word used in Hinduism which implies the rule of donating girl child at her marriage to her husband by her father. This rule may have different name in different groups but it’s there. I feel that this tradition of “Kanya Daan” is biggest or root culprit for many crimes against women especially female foeticide.
    As a girl is supposed to leave her own home after marriage and she will not be there with her parents at their old age, logically parents have no motivation to have a girl child. But yes there are girl children which are due to natural love that parents have for their children irrespective of male or female. When this natural love overshoots the logics, parents do have a girl child. Many times in hope of getting a boy child, parents land up with a girl child. Even in today’s time, there are very few parents who have equal emotions or love for both girl and boy child.
    Once they have a girl child then due to emotional attachment they want her to be happy. But unfortunately they have accepted that they can make her happy only by marrying her and sending her to somebody else’s home. They are not able to see the real happiness of their daughter. So now they want her to be happy in her in-laws home and for that they need to make her in-laws happy. To keep her in-laws happy they need to arrange money to give to her in-laws so that they (in-laws) are not harsh to their daughter. Obviously, they think that they are doing it for their daughter. So daughter seems as a burden to them. This all is known to them even at the birth time of their girl child. So at that time only they have so called two logical reasons for not having a girl child: first is not useful to them as she shall leave home after marriage and second she will be burden to them. If natural love overshoots these two logical reasons only then girl child take birth.
    Not only this, woman has a lot of struggle in her life due this stupid custom. For whole life she does not have her own home. Either she has her parents’ home or her husband’s home. Since childhood to her marriage time, she is told that she is “paraya dhan” which means somebody else’s property. Most of the fun or entertainment sources are not for her. Many times even higher education is the problem for her even if she belongs to a well educated family. Parents do not prefer to spend big amount of money for her education as they feel that it is better to give that amount to her in-laws in dowry form. After marriage, she is any ways in her husband’s home only. If sometimes there is misunderstanding between her and her husband then she is the one who is supposed to leave home. The reason is “Kanya-daan”. They are many more worst outcomes of this “Kanya-daan” tradition. So, there must be more than something wrong with the tradition.
    Moral is that the default rule of sending women to her in-laws after marriage is absolutely bull-shit. Then what should be done at marriage? Should men be sent to her in-laws after marriage? I think, NO, because then there may be problems for men. And we are here to fight for human right, not male/female right.
    What we are suggesting is following. Normally while finding spouse, one set some criteria like age, looks, financial status, education, place of residence etc. etc. Similarly one can put some condition that whether she/he wants to shift or she/he need somebody to shift with her/him depending on the convenience and requirement of both the families.
    But by default, imposing something on one gender is a crime. I can say that ‘”Kanya daan” should be declared as a crime. No one should have right to donate any one especially one particular gender. (

  62. Anath Bandhu Kapila permalink
    June 3, 2015 11:03 pm

    Daan means simply something that is given without any expectation or possibility of return. You need considerable depth of understanding to understand the shastras. These books are not 108 jokes about anything.

  63. Dr Sharan Joneja permalink
    July 7, 2015 5:53 pm

    Kanyadan is one of the greatest mockeries of our marriage system. A bride who is ahead of the bridegroom in three pheras, who is euologised by the priest-Yatr Nariastu Pujante Ramante Tatr Devta meaning where women are worshipped God’s live there- is finally given as charity DAN or donation. Woman is not a deaf and dumb animal to be given in charity. Kanyadan is illegal, immoral, sub-human and lowers the dignity of women in our society. Its high time we change our thinking. Abetter word for Kanyadan can be DAMPATI ASHIRWAD for bride’s parents. The maintenance of Parents and senior Citizens Act provides for absolutely equal rights and duties for the daughter and the son. Supposing a court holds a daughter responsible for the maintenance of her parents father/mother and the daughter says before the court-Papa what right u have on me now? U have given me in charity.Kanyadan must have been created by vested interests to deprive daughters of their parent’s property. It could also be a product of foreign rulers cruelty on Indians and they must have found it difficult to protect women. Its high time SC of India takes cognisance of this illegal ritual and declares it so by a ruling just as the honourable SC has declared unwed mother the sole guardian of her child without disclosing the name of biological father.

  64. shubhangi permalink
    January 13, 2016 9:06 pm

    omg this is sooo good. I go a project from school in which I had to research abt this topic and when i read your essay I was overwhelmed. Its soo good and I loved the way you have used the word “putradaan” I loved that and it is good to know that there are some people who can relate with the views of YOUTH

  65. Rumani permalink
    January 18, 2016 9:52 pm

    I just dont know how to explain this thing to my to be mother in law..

  66. February 16, 2016 12:40 am

    i have donation

  67. Varun permalink
    March 22, 2016 3:47 am

    Lack of knowledge brings ignorance. Without knowing what ritual and traditions are based on, you people bring about the question if women are being degraded or not. Women wanna fight for equality but I bet hardly any would have a slightest idea of how the equality fight Started in the first place. I have seen girls,women trying to abuse their way to comfort solely based on the concept to give women equal rights better yet preferences of being a women?. Well.that is a different topic altogether. About kanyadan Harsh is mostly right on his part, women degrading themselves is on hype these days then men having to worry about this. The time the word kanyadan came to be people weren’t full of duplicity then, there wasn’t anything degrading about it then, infact it was considered one if the highest honor parents can receive even get moksh just by it. Change it to what you like and the meaning and importance of it will.change as well. You find the word demeaning not because it demeans or degrades anyone, it’s just how you yourself want to see it, why do you feel insulted with the word when everyone considers it to be be an honorable thing. Women have always been respected throughout history,the mere idea coursing through your mind which fails to see.that is the lack of proper Hindu law.and knowledge, which is diminishing so fast that I doubt anyone can or will.teach nowadays. I get it you love your daughter which is making you think that way, but because you find it offensive it doesn’t mean it was given the name to degrade women.

  68. Gouri Kumra permalink
    May 8, 2016 12:21 pm

    If parents are divorced do they perform the rites separately with a tree placed in a tin representing the counterpart . In such times Suhag Hawan is done to solidify the wedding

  69. Gunjan permalink
    May 29, 2016 6:00 am

    I can feel every word of what you wrote. You have very well summarized this thought every women goes through. Unfortunately, it is the fault of hindu women themselves who have been participating in this ritual since ages as mothers and daughters. I really liked when you changed the name to “hastamilap”. It time we need to change these rituals of making women sound as a “commodity” because men and women are equal. They both take responsibilities and run the house hold together. None is complete without the other.
    A confession –
    I am a woman, and during my kanya dan, I felt like a “Cow” (as in Gowdaan) being donated to my husband. I find it so stupid, that my father educated me for 25 years, made me a girl who has a great career and then donated me off to my husband.
    Now my husband tells me, “My parents are your parents and your parents are not your parents. “. I couldn’t believe that I married an educated guy. 😦
    Anyways, going further, I am not taking any such shit in my life. MEN!!YOUR THOUGHTS REALLY NEED TO CHANGE!!
    I fully support your thoughts and I am not going to let any of this happen to my daughter. We need to make a society of equals as god created us equal.

  70. Dr.S.N.Panda permalink
    July 6, 2016 10:51 pm


  71. Dr.S.N.Panda permalink
    July 6, 2016 10:56 pm


  72. August 13, 2016 5:24 pm

    I recently got married and during the entire ceremony I was happy and smiling except when the pundit said it time for Kanyadaan. Before I could even digest the thought, I saw my father weeping like a baby….n I burst into tears….and thanks to the photographers, I have this moment captured beautifully.

    I guess its just a ceremony where its not just the girl who is going to be someone’s responsibility who is affected but equally the father of the bride is deeply affected. I believe that a mere ceremony will not change the fact that your parent are yours and they have a priority over your husband, be it for anything. We follow a lot of ceremonies and we dont follow equally the same amount.

    Being a hindu and belonging to a brahmin community, I take pride in a religion which allows so much freedom to change, follow or ignore so many aspects of the customs, traditions and ceremonies. Though i felt bad, like really bad at that moment when this ceremony was taking place, I think it was a moment of truth for me…. that I am now entering into another relationship which is equally important to me as my parents. So I guess it all depend from person to person how they interpret these ceremonies, traditions and customs. I agree with a lot of people on this blog when they say that you should not interpret the ceremony for the word Kanyadaan but see the deeper meaning of the ceremony. Call it in any name Kanyadaan or hast milap, whatever happens after this ceremony, should bring happiness to the couple and not just the bride or the groom and that is more important.

  73. Akshar permalink
    November 2, 2016 4:11 pm

    Everybdy says kanyaadaan is a punya..
    I don’t hv kids so ih done kanyaadan fr my cousin and after kanyaadaan I bcane sick..I got carcinoma…all these days v were happy and now everything got family,my husband …mthere is no mental peace.if really kanyaadaan is good y did this all happen to us.

  74. November 24, 2016 6:10 am

    Hast Milaap is a good concept.
    Daughters are a gift of God. They are too precious to be donated away.
    Thankfully times and attitudes are changing….

  75. December 1, 2016 6:02 pm

    Dr. S.N.Panda is absolutely right. The real problem is with Hindu women in that after marraige they just want the welfare and wellbeing of their daughters and don’t give a shit towards the wellbeing off their daughters in law. The other families reciprocrate and this sickening cycle goes on and on till the abused daughter in law becomes a mother in law and repeats history again.

  76. shivendra pandey permalink
    January 15, 2017 1:40 am

    I know a person whose daughter marriage will fixed in month of march 17. Their family is very poor. If you can make help them. God will give you all blessing.
    His Name : Ramesh Jaiswal
    Mob No. 9919100129

  77. Snigdha Jaiswal permalink
    January 26, 2017 11:42 am

    I totally agree. A woman is not a commodity to give away as alms to anybody. And if the parents have donated the daughter then they should consider the daughter dead.they should never have her back or see her face because they have already given her away as ‘daan’ . The husband is free to do anything with the girl bcoz ‘the commodity’ now belongs to him. He can burn her ,throttle her,kill her,rape her. Becoz now the ‘property’ is his.

    All misleading traditions which are blindly followed.

  78. February 26, 2017 8:07 pm

    I was having a debate with my mother regarding kanyadaan. I told her that it’s so derogatory. But she kept on insisting that how she will get rid of her sins after doing my kanyadaan. I am totally against the usage of this word too. I was looking for some awakening answers on google and found your blog. Kudos to you for challenging the norms. We, as a society have become God fearing than God loving. I would like to share your blog on my fb page. Would wait for your permission.

  79. Daniel Kisku permalink
    March 13, 2017 9:32 pm

    क्या कन्यादान बच्चों के लिए भी है क्या जीरो से 17 साल तक के लिए आशा समाज स्थान खगड़िया क्या यह एक ngo है अगर है तो इसका कहना है सभी जीरो से लेकर 17 साल तक के बच्चों को फॉर्म भरने पर ₹25000 उनके खाता पर सरकार देगी क्या यह सच है कृपया इस इस मैसेज को पढ़ने के बाद जरूर हमें मैसेज करें हम आपके आभारी रहेंगे धन्यवाद

  80. March 30, 2017 7:42 pm

    Reblogged this on sharmanikita and commented:
    If only understanding the humiliation that the girl might encounter in her life! The society has moulded girls to take pride in their “kanyadaan” by their fathers.

  81. Varshini permalink
    May 31, 2017 11:12 pm

    Its very funny in fact.Is a boy a commodity to be purchased.Why a girl is supposed to pay dowry ?In olden days there was a system of purchasing maids ,its the same way men are bought?please realise these faults.Recognise your daughter’s identity.Give her manners ,education and her respect,But not disrespect for being born as a girl .Be her strength but not weakness .My mom is so desperate about kanyadaan .But please understand that a sin cannot be made right by making another sin.

  82. Preeti Mathur permalink
    June 17, 2017 4:24 pm

    I do agree with you dear. KANYADAAN is not a word to be used as our daughters are not at all a commodity , they are a respected member and loved one of our family. Marriage is a ritual to make to gather two souls to be happy for ever. Since its a ritual it should be called “PANI GRAHAN SANSKAAR”

  83. Himani permalink
    July 1, 2017 12:25 am

    Well said👌

  84. December 10, 2017 7:43 pm Most piano benches on the websites for
    purchase are new piano benches, packed in the box while using detachable legs stored inside.
    Unfortunately, the Go Cart Track had to be closed to generate opportinity for these developments.
    But Nothing To Do With You expose another side of The Pigeon Detectives.

  85. Jagruti gupta permalink
    January 4, 2018 2:51 pm

    Hello, I also wonder why it’s known as Daan..
    Now a days people think that if you are from bride’s parents, bride’s parents’status is lower than groom’s and it remains same till life ends..
    I also wonder why?
    As per ritual.. the person who gives daan is always on upper hand.. and who recieves daan is in lower hand.. then why a bride’s family and parent’s status is lower then groom’s..
    On the contrary it should be other way round because the groom and his family comes to bride’s door to take the daan..
    Second thing.. why it’s known as Daan.. because bride’s parents just send their daughter with the groom.. groom takes her away for life time.. and there is not trade happen to give away Daughter.. so it might be the reason.. known as Daan..
    In vedic times. Daughter’s wedding was known as swayamvar.. where in she had full rights and liberty to choose her husband..
    After Manusmruti written.. the girl child became the wealth of parents and she has to be under shelter of father, husbandand and then son….
    If anyone knows the real reason why it’s in an as Kanya daan. Or bride’s parents status is lower than groom’s status in comparison??

  86. January 4, 2018 9:58 pm

    Truly an accurate thing to be done.. I too could not understand this as well so I searched some online content,where I got to know that it is done to polish fact that woman is precious gift to man.
    But I still do not understand the term used and assume it to be a misunderstanding of our ancestors maybe. Well I will say that many dominating male consider this as a permanent cut off from daughters and even biased society also,so it is definitely a misunderstanding.
    What you did was startling but justified.
    In support with such mentality.. Love persons with such mentality.. Stay the way you are ma’am one day equality will come..

  87. Deepak permalink
    April 18, 2018 2:52 pm

    Why to do kanyadan or putradan, be stay with each other in living relationship, why marriage is necessary,why children are necessary ????

  88. srinivas permalink
    February 11, 2019 1:00 am

    If a female can ride (complete act till ejaculation or pouring of sticky substance) a man ….I don’t accept the word “Kanyadan” OR if a male attain menstrual cycle I don’t accept the word “kanyadan”.OR if a male can deliver a child, I don’t accept the word “Kanyadan”/”Garbhadan” (a new word now). I have an in-depth and very strong meaning with my statement. I am not worried about the postmortem on “Kanyaadaan”…….least bothered. The so called “Kanyadan word haters”…practice so many other rituals during marriage. I am bothered about offering dowry, sending one pair to accompany the girl after marriage to the in-law’s house, treating the grooms’ family as a top priority, sorry to utter the next words………..during “Nuptials”/”First Night” that too for three days…the parents offer their girl to the groom through a traditional religious process. The wasteful “Dhan (money) Daan” to the lavish function Halls, decorators, make up artists, photographers, moviegraphers, caterers,….what not …damn hell happens during a marriage and finally the expenditure drags the parents to the roads. Now,,,these so called haters argue on this unnecessary word.

  89. Easwar permalink
    November 12, 2019 8:44 am

    Lighter sense of above discussion in today’s world boy gets difficult to get a girl..therefore he by accepting girl is not a Vishnu in ideal sense but normal human being…if girl is more viertous than him she is Grihalaxmi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: