Wednesday, February 1, 2023
HomeOpinionDeepika Padukone’s hearty laughter at her wedding has shattered an age-old culture

Deepika Padukone’s hearty laughter at her wedding has shattered an age-old culture

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I want women to wipe their tears and laugh on their wedding day. I want them to laugh like Deepika Padukone, says Taslima Nasreen.

The photographs of Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh laughing on their wedding day make me tremendously happy. In the Indian subcontinent, we rarely get to see the bride laugh. For this, Deepika Padukone must be celebrated. The popular cultural motif of Indian weddings is one where the bride leaves her parental home in tears.

Since my childhood, I have been witnessing brides looking sad and demure, but the grooms looking happy. No matter how rich, beautiful, educated or political she is, the image of a tearful bride is central to how we imagine weddings in this part of the world. Literature, movies and music reinforce this motif.

Also read: How Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh wedding became more important than ‘plot to kill Modi’

Brides are sad because they are moving to uncertainty. This also has to do with the fact that in South Asia, most marriages are unfortunately arranged by families. And almost all men, irrespective of their religion, demand or expect dowry. Though Muslim men need to pay ‘mehr’ or money to the bride, it is common to ask her family for dowry. We know how women are tortured, even killed by their in-laws if they are not capable of paying dowry.

Misogynistic patriarchal culture is so deep-rooted in South Asia that it is almost impossible to expect people to treat women as equal human beings.

As a part of Bengali marriage rituals, the groom had to tell his mother while going to a bride’s house that ‘I am going to bring a slave for you’. Bengali men may not say it nowadays, but many still hold on to that tradition – they marry so that their wives can serve them and their parents and siblings. Men do not go to live with his in-laws, women also should not go to live with her in-laws. Women do not need to be submissive only because society wants them to be submissive. A bride moves to a groom’s house, and she is forced to adapt with a bunch of strangers and accept everyone as her closest relatives and start cooking and doing all the household chores. She is expected to prioritise them over her own family. They are just unpaid homemakers.

Also read: Indian journalists failed miserably when it came to covering Deepika-Ranveer wedding

No wonder then that grooms look happier at weddings – they get dowry money, as well as a slave for the house, a free cook, a free cleaning lady, a free caretaker, a free gardener, a free nurse, a sex slave, and a free child-bearing machine. If they are beaten, most women still accept it as their fate. That is what makes a ‘good woman’.

The truth is that marriage cannot make her life secure. It is financial independence that makes her secure. Patriarchy has been telling women to be dependent on fathers when young, on husbands when grown up, on sons when old.

Deepika Padukone is an independent woman. Deepika and Ranveer are in love. They are not victims of arranged marriage. Deepika doesn’t need to be dependent on her father or husband. She is neither a slave of her husband nor a slave of her in-laws. She has her own house.

Also read: Nation wants to know something about fashion-daring Ranveer Singh’s wedding clothes

By releasing photographs of herself laughing heartily on her wedding day, Deepika Padukone has broken an age-old, entrenched cultural trope in the Indian subcontinent – that of the tearful bride. After her, Priyanka Chopra may do the same. I want women to wipe their tears and laugh on their wedding day. I want them to laugh like Deepika Padukone.

I want them to say NO to arranged marriages, NO to financial dependency, NO to dowry, NO to domestic violence, NO to marital rape, NO to patriarchy, NO to misogyny, NO to traditional joint families, NO to giving up her own surnames. I want women to become active and articulate sexual beings and not be subservient to their husbands’ desires.

I hope Deepika would not turn into Deepika Singh. I hope she would remain Deepika Padukone – just the way Ranveer would remain Ranveer Singh.

Taslima Nasreen is a celebrated author and commentator.

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  1. “…As a part of Bengali marriage rituals, the groom had to tell his mother while going to a bride’s house that ‘I am going to bring a slave for you’. Bengali men may not say it nowadays, but many still hold on to that tradition – they marry so that their wives can serve them and their parents and siblings….”
    Any specific reason why you singled out the Bengali community? Just because you are a Bengali yourself? I also do take due pride in being a Bengali but I would not do this. Either I would desist from naming any particular community or I will give examples of many communities if I must take names.

  2. Complete misinterpretations of the cultural values associated with marriage .Positive and constructive changes that make society vibrant , disciplined and lovable by all is important be it arranged or love marriage.Otherwise there would be little difference between jungle beasts and people living within the frame work of society. Time may come when everythings that shines and seems to be fine may fade and you may invite a junglee life and get crashed .

  3. +
    I wish a woman could laugh or cry without being applauded for either action! Yes a lot of wrongs happen against women in the world, but that does not make it okay to bash up men either. Let’s change the world one case at a time, with positive actions and not just negative words!

  4. I want only this in my life. I am an independent person by all means and I would not be subservient to anybody. You spoke my words

  5. I had an arranged marriage and I was laughing all the way! Crying is something that comes from heart. No longer the theory ‘get married to be a slave’ is relevant. My in-laws’ home is a joint family. It’s been 8 years. Till date it is my mother in law who does all chores. We help her for sure. She hates it and even shouts at us when we do the cooking. My father in law says men and women are individuals who must lead their lives jointly and carve an individual identity.
    I do not agree with Ms Taslima’s views. I personally never underwent this and nobody in my family has undergone this.

  6. I was laughing on my wedding day. I did not do traditional marriage. No mehndi.. no sindoor.. no rituals..

    I wonder why an independent girl like Deepika.. Anushka.. or any actor actresses have to follow rituals . When we are talking about breaking patriarchy this class of people actually promote it.

  7. I am all for independence but arranged marriage can be a choice to an independent woman’s Happy choice and joint families too aren’t necessarily the worst.The rest I am.woth her but by dictating everything the author wants other women to do isn’t she doing exactly what so iety has been doing to women telling them what to do.Feminism is about having choices but what choices we make are upto us not for someone else to tell us what to choose and if we choose arranged marriage it is still a valid Happy choice as long as it is a choice.

  8. Am sorry but I feel this article is biased and in many ways regressive. Although I agree and can understand the sentiment the author is harping on however, the crying and all demure feeling on wedding day is not necessarily a product of ‘feeling sad’. You become emotional for a lot of reasons, starting a new chapter of your life with someone special while looking back on all that your parents have done for you, may just simply be one of the reasons, among others. Another point to note is the bashing of so called ‘arranged marriages’. In India even today, there is a huge market for the like and not to say such marriages are not successful or happy. Er what’s wrong with an arranged marriage? Today we have a modified avatar of these marriages where they are not particularly arranged in the traditional sense. The two people do get to know each other for a bit before saying ‘I do’. Of course one can always debate is the time period enough, but what time span is anyway ever enough?

  9. Brides do smile and at vidai they may feel sad. Today parents bring up sons and daughters alike almost atleast in urban India. Girls are definitely independent and boys do meet them half way at every step. The effort is there to change definitely irrespective of how much money one earns. Yes it does feel good to be economically independent. A family and relationships thrive on love adjustment and understanding without EGO. Ego creeps in any relationship, it kills it. I have seen my father in law even at 80 helping my ma in law in our joint family. He helped me too. My husband, his brothers, his sisters and their spouses and now my son nephews etc., everyone does everything at home to help their female family members irrespective of whether they have professional jobs outside or not.
    Have seen so many other young boys of my son’s age, tending to their wives as well as mothers when they are even a little unwell or busy. It feels good. I feel proud of my generation men and women although we were less in number and I feel proud of today’s generation who are cooperative and thoughtful towards one another. My only request to all is never have EGO. It kills everything

  10. Gone are olden days in metro centres and big cities. Girls are independent now and the scenario is changing fast in Rural areas too.
    Outburst of emotional feelings for daughters are natural . This should not be seen as weakness anymore

  11. Well said, Tasleema Nasreen. No other journalist has noticed the smile of Deepika and its import for women. It is so true how most brides look tearful and sad on their wedding day!

  12. This is such a dumb post! Every Dulhan smiles during their wedding day you dimwits. The pictures that you say are not the only moments that have happened. And to say the least, indian Dulhans normally cry because they usually are moving out of their house. If a kid from your family left to go settle abroad irrespective of the gender, would you not get emotional?! Stop bringing in weird viewpoints in every little thing! Obviously, I’m not saying that it’s a compulsion to cry. have had a sister that didn’t cry during her Vidaai and that’s okay! But you’ve no clue if Deepika cried or not. So please bring this stooooopid post down. It’s so freaking irrelevant. CRINGE X9999

  13. If say something in this context, would be called upon a ‘prejudiced’. ‘feminist’ or else. In fact, don’t want to get labelled in any way. Whatever the details are in this story, are absolutely true. So far, weeping and crying is concerned, it is from the core of the heart. Not just for show. It depends on the bonding, not just a social stigma. Might be wrong, but do believe so.

  14. A man and woman makes a house. Each of them share a responsibility and hence make a family. Man generally is the bread earner, woman the bread giver. Try and change this arrangement and your life is disrupted, even if you inter-change. The question of subservience just does not exist. When one of them fails the other does switch his/her role. The institution and concept of marriage is then converted into a disaster.
    In the case of celebreties, the above does not matter. Both are experts in their field and successful.
    When you part ways with your beloved family for years together, tears are bound to spill. If not, you are not a sensitive human being, whether man or woman. When there is no attachment, there are no tears.
    Patriarchy has been telling women to be dependent on fathers when young, on husbands when grown up, on sons when old. There is a also matriarchal system wherein the groom stays with the bride. This concept is therefore notional and depends on your attitude towards life. Do not let ego spoil the atmosphere around you, and it will be fine.

    • Well said bro, today feminism has completely changed from women empowerment to some thing like men bashing culture n this thing sure going to destroy their lives.

    • NG Nileshwar, I wish you would explain how changing traditional gender roles ‘completely disrupts life’. Society evolves, and what was once considered the norm often slowly becomes inconvenient and outdated, only to be replaced by a new social order.
      The husband or wife does not have to fail at their role for the other partner to take over. I think a more logical way to see it is that most adult human being are capable of doing many things at once. Earning the bread does not make one incapable of ‘giving’ it, or vice versa.
      Not only in the case of celebrities, but in that of many ‘ordinary’ people too, both individuals entering a marriage are experts at what they do. If not, they are at least good at their jobs or enjoy what they do. They can earn a living while sharing the responsibilities of running a household.
      There is no reason to limit either men or women to a particular role.
      I think what the article is trying to say is that the sacrifices that women once had to make when they got married have now become choices at best. There is no burden, so there is a lot of joy in embracing the partnership that marriage is. I can’t see it as anything but a good change.

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