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March 7, 2010

Few days back I attended a function hosted by one of our family friends to celebrate the birth of a baby boy in their family. The overjoyed grandparents very proudly showed their new diamond ring and earrings and informed that the diamonds were a gift by their son’s inlaws. When asked the reason for the gifts by their daughter in laws parents, I was in for a shock with their casual answer, “their daughter has given birth to a son so the parents have to give gifts to our full family”.

I just wondered was the girl only responsible for the birth of a baby child? Didn’t their son contribute to it? And moreover why should the girl’s parents shower such lavish gifts on the inlaws and their relatives? If it is to show their happiness then aren’t the baby’s grandparents (parents of the boy) happy? Should they also not gift to the girl’s family? After all it is the girl who has given birth to a male child and the child will remain in their family and not with the family of the girl. so the boy’s family should be the one to gift it gifts are to be given.
But such are the systems of our society.

For any function in the family of the daughter’s inlaws the girl’s parents have to shower lavish gifts to the inlaws and their relatives.
At the time of baby shower (god bharai) the girl’s parents are supposed to give gifts/jewellery/ clothes to ever one.

Once the first child is born irrespective of whether a son or daughter again the girl’s parents are required to shower the inlaws with gifts. The only concession is that the quantity and monetary value of the gifts can be less if the first born is a girl.

Then there are various occasions like Mundan( first time hair cutting of the child), naming ceremony, ear piercing ( in the case of girls) etc. On each occasion the girl’s parents have to give gifts in the form of clothes, cash, jewellery to the couple, the parents, siblings and other relatives of the boy.

Not to forget the celebration of Karva Chouth or other festivals when again the girl’s parents have to send clothes, sweets to the boy’s side irrespective of whether the girl’s parents can afford it or not. But to save their Izzat and to save their daughter from the taunts of the inlaws the parents go out of the way to pamper the inlaws.
I am surprised at the indifferent attitude of the educated girls who let their parents follow all these rituals.

Imagine the plight of a father who is blessed with 2-3 daughters. He will have to follow the same rituals for all the daughters, and if the father is not there then the burden comes on the brother to meet the demands of the inlaws.

Not only at the time of birth of the child but even at the time of marriage of those children the maternal uncle is expected to give clothes, jewellery and gifts to the inlaws as well as relatives of his sister’s family.

If, so much pressure is there on the parents of the girls then, no wonder the birth of a baby girl is not celebrated in many families and parents dread the birth of a baby girl. Not because they don’t want daughters but because of the various obligations which they will have to fullfill once the girl gets married.

I remember my grandmother saying, “ girls are called Laxmi , they bring Laxmi to their parents house but once this Laxmi goes to another person’s house they take the existing Laxmi of their parent’s house along with them”

These days the educated parents don’t differentiate between the upbringing of their children be it a girl or a boy. They strive to give both of them equal education and comforts. They pamper both girls and boys with the same passion. Both of them are close to their heart.
Then why do the parents start differentiating between their daughters and sons after marriage? Why do they spend so much on giving gifts and following the rituals when it comes to their daughters and in turn expect the same from the inlaws of their sons?

It is time for the sons and daughter especially the daughters to get up and put their foot down. They should be the one to stop their parents to pander to the egos of the inlaws by giving them lavish gifts on various occasions. The young generation should come forward and vehemently oppose the practice of such rituals.

We, the women have come a long way from being the dormant door mats. We have our own identity. Then why not do something to do away with such rituals and save our parents from lifelong tensions of meeting the demands in the name of customs and rituals.
Wake up girls; don’t let the parents feel that the birth of a girl is a lifelong burden on them

We all will be celebrating Women’s day tomorrow. We will be partying, sending text messages, emails, greetings to all the members of our sex. Why not make an appeal along with the greetings to fight against these rituals.

27 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2010 10:42 am

    Yes. Now or Never. My Thumbs Up.

  2. March 7, 2010 11:48 am

    then go ahead and make an appeal to all those whom you know

  3. March 7, 2010 6:50 pm

    happy women’s day to you & all women in the world.

  4. March 8, 2010 3:03 am

    Happy Woman’s Day Anju !

  5. March 8, 2010 8:46 am

    Earlier kaka hathrasi once said also…one give sto daughter whether any birth or death even and thats the reason girls were considered a burden..but today times are changing, atleast in my family they have…but having said that i will say that I feel pleasure in traditional giving to my daughter’s me its my gratitude to them for loving, respecting and looking after my daughter, because my daughter lives with them, not their son with me, so its they who spend on her and look after her.

    • March 8, 2010 3:33 pm

      There is nothing wrong in giving gifts. even i love giving and receiving gifts. But why give on special occasions. why not give just like that. and why can’t the boy’s parents also give to girl’s parents? Why should it be the duty of girl’s parents to give gifts to the whole family whether on birth, inauguration of house/office etc.
      moreover ” its my gratitude to them for loving, respecting and looking after my daughter, because my daughter lives with them, not their son with me, so its they who spend on her and look after her..
      I don’t agree to it– why should one feel gratitude towards the inlaws for taking care of one’s daughter?
      rather the boy’s should thank the girl’s parents for letting their daughter go to another house and live there.
      I am sorry but this sort of thinking is the reason for inlaws to take advantage of girl’s parents. and what is “they spend on her” ? the boys side is not doing something extra ordinary.
      we the parents of girls give our heart to them, we cherish our daughters for 20 or so years, treat them like porcelain China dolls, never cause any pain to them and suddenly they are sent to live with strangers, borne child of their son, take care of them etc—–
      please dont ever feel obligated towards them.

  6. March 8, 2010 12:33 pm

    how much i appreciate this article on womens day..though not only the younger generation but even the parents should stop need not stretch themselves..its about time we started acting mature..i know of people who had to take loans for marrying their daughters and are paying it back with their life’ savings

    • March 8, 2010 3:42 pm

      Thanx Aniruddha.
      untill the young generation and the parties concerned rise and take a vow to do away with such old traditions, nothing can be done.
      it is upto the young ones to convince their parents.

  7. March 8, 2010 12:49 pm

    These idiotic customs are created by us, especially the “boys” side.
    I am not in favour of such stupidities and it is high time we got over it.
    And , my dear girls, it is up to you all to ensure all this must stop.
    Reject the families who expect such treatment from you.
    Happy Women’s day.

    • March 8, 2010 3:45 pm

      Chowlaji even the girl’s side are equally responsible. if they stop surrendering to the demands of the boy’s side and if they stop treating the boy’s family as some one to be looked upon I am sure some changes can occur

  8. March 8, 2010 2:46 pm

    Its unfortunate that despite advancement in education, we are still clinging to the old traditions. Our current Hindi serials are adding fuel to the fire. Jaago, Maa Behno and stop this nonsense on TV by not watching , just don’t appreciate this article for heck of it, do something.

    • March 8, 2010 3:45 pm

      You are right. most of the Hindi serials are advocating the age old customs. and every one is getting influenced by them

  9. March 8, 2010 4:07 pm

    Happy woman’s day.. I agree with you and I have done away with most of the rituals to save my parents or husband from wasting money on them.. BTW I don’t have TV at home and that must have helped LOL

    • March 8, 2010 5:59 pm

      there is nothing wrong in taking gifts from parents or for t hat matter giving gifts.
      but (1) why make a public display of it/, (2) why force?, (3) why put pressure on parents? (4) why not have a give and take process?
      why should the girl’s side only suffer?

  10. March 8, 2010 4:23 pm




    Apart from all the existing reasons, it is often a status symbol, its all about “apne apni beti ki shaadi mein kya kya diya apni beti ko” and the girls parent want to be able to give the best answer to that…sometimes even without any pressure from the boys side…this very act sometimes fuels the series of exchanges that follow after that!!!

    Amidst all this giving and receiving, the bottomline often gets neglected, a successful and happy marriage is made by the compatibility quotient of the bride and the groom and their respective families and not by how much the girls family gives!!!

    • March 8, 2010 6:32 pm

      you are right about the compatibility quotient
      but our customs are such. I have seen cases where once a marriage is fixed, the maternal grand parents and maternal uncle request the inlaws to send the list of all those whom they want to get gifts from maternal uncle.
      why should the parents give cash or gifts to far away relatives— i fail to understand

  11. March 8, 2010 8:23 pm

    Happy Woman’s Day…

    What you have said is correct and needs to change…
    but I dont see a change happening in near future at all… inspite of you feeling strongly about these things… dont u think that you will not be giving as much to ur own daughter …

    i think the thing is… more than expectation from the other family… is the daughter’s family who feels the more they give the happier their daughter will be…

    this tradition needs to be broken… and the biggest help in this cause is the education of the society… as the society moves towards educations… these trends will soon although slowly be broken

    • March 9, 2010 3:48 am

      Neha you are right. sorry to sound hypocritical and contradictory

      even I may do the same. But i will not be doing it just because by giving gifts to the inlaws my daughter will get more respect,love and recognition.

      Neither will I give because they are looking after my daughter or spending on her

      I may gift to my daughter’s inlaws on some special occasions but i would expect the same from them also . 🙂

      giving to daughter, son in law or parents in laws is ok but why give to all the relatives around
      and moreover what is generally given is not worth mentioning

      I think the people receiving should refuse to accept

      it need guts and strength to fight the customs and rituals. I just pray that i muster up enought courage and guts to fight these meaningless customs when the time comes.

  12. Atish permalink
    March 9, 2010 5:48 pm

    excellent write-up on a sensitive issue. Now, this is called an awakening call.
    keep the good work goin.

    also visit mine at

  13. March 10, 2010 4:21 am

    Excellent title to a thought provoking post 🙂
    Well done Anju, it’s high tine when we all (both the parents and the younger generations) start behaving in a more reasonable way. Education should make us wise and capable of standing for our rights at the same time fighting useless traditions that have been followed over the centuries without giving any decent thought to their relevance.

    Keep up the wonderful work.


    • March 10, 2010 6:17 pm

      what is required is guts and strength.
      there has been instances where uneducated , the so called backward girls raise their voice against dowry.

  14. March 10, 2010 4:38 am

    Wow!my first time here.

    This post is very relevant and its very true… we need to stop raising to such demands and also this whole attitude that “we are grateful to you for marrying our daughter” has to stop.

    I agree with what you have written.
    This whole “buttering” up the inlaws so that they might come around to treating our daughters right need to be stopped. They usually take the gifts/money and still ill-treat the DIL because they know they can get away with it!
    Let the Girl/her parents or weven her husband stand up for what is right, they usualy back down…

    my thoughts on this… 🙂

    • March 10, 2010 6:15 pm

      I think till the young generation stand up to old traditions nothing drastic can happen
      elders still think in terms of Log kya kahenge

  15. March 10, 2010 5:36 pm

    Hello dear Anju, thank you for your visit and your kind words. I so enjoyed a look into the customs of your land. I, in our own way, have seen our traditions pushed aside for newer ideas, but I think that is what makes for better understanding of the new families. No couple, when they establish their own home, should have to live by past rules and regs. Blessings to you and yours.

  16. March 11, 2010 2:28 am

    Anju many Indian parents bring up their daughters as a burdens and ‘paraya dhan’. They continue to feel she is not contributing in anyway in her husband’s family (it’s a common feeling that men work and women relax at home) and they must compensate the family that have been kind enough to let her ‘serve’ them.

    I feel when parents accept such customs they are hurting their daughters by reinforcing her being a ‘burden’ and by ‘bribing’ the husband’s parents to treat this adult citizen ‘kindly’.

    The girl is trained to see any freedoms and any kindness with gratitude and would think a hundred times before objecting to any abuse. Gratitude, humility, being undemanding, serving without complaining, being resilient in the face of cruel treatment are actually considered desirable in female citizens of all ages.

    If a girl is independent and has personal dreams, a career she loves, a husband who is a friend not a ‘guardian’ and in laws who respect her and give her personal space then it would be easier for her to change such biased customs. If she is treated without discrimination at home, she will be able to be assertive without needing to be aggressive, but if she has always been repressed she wouldn’t know how to handle bullying.

    Parents incorrectly think such gifts make their daughters happy. They don’t.

    Although suicide rate amongst young married women is high, there are no statistics of the number of girls who are not happy with their married lives. I only know I have never met a girl who is happy to live in a joint family. So obviously these gifts – which only underline our belief that a girl is a burden on her in laws are a custom that needs to be changed.

  17. March 11, 2010 6:38 pm

    Some Excellent ideas and thoughts that you have posted. I don’t see a reason why it should be any difference in gifts between the wife’s or the husband’s parents. Why is that so much more is always expected from the girl’s parents in our Indian society?. Come on both sexes are equal. In fact there are places where women are more successful then men.


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