Stories of India – Passion

Passion in India is something your parents decide for you even before you know the meaning of that word.

Passion in India is something that your relatives force it upon you because tour cousin and neighbors have done great in that field and hence you must do the same to have a secure life.

Passion is something your trainer decides how and what you do it, even if you are good at some sports, you wouldn’t even think of it because there is no future in that sports. Well alas I wonder why we struggle to get a Gold Medal ?

Passion is something you should have so you earn a lot of money in the future and have a secured life.

Passion is something with which you should be able buy a house, car and other livelihood.

Passion is something you should have to be able to get married and weigh yourself in matrimonial procedurings.

Passion is something that defines you are a good egg even if you were supposed to be a plant.

Passion is totally on the wrong track.

Someone who is good at music is forced to become an engineer.

Someone who is good at sports is forced to take up college and work over.

Someone who is good at painting is forced to become someone else.

There are only a few who feel the passion in their heart and then choose to do it and continue to do it till the end of time.

If a guy is passionate to cook and if he is let to do so, he can become one of the best chef of town.

If a girl is passionate to become a naval officer and if she is let to do so, then she can become the best officer of the wing.

If when a kid develops the thoughts of compassion and wants to help people around her, if given enough encouragement and support, we can expect another Mother Teresa.

There are things that shape us when we are young. As humans we are now not at survival war in the jungle, but we have built our own survival laps. We run in the laps without reaching anywhere significantly.

Passion is a word that does not exist from where I come. And when it comes into existence it looses its original form and is merely a word to say but not felt within.

Dowry – Social Dilemma

If we go back in time for say two decades, most marriages in India used to happen in the consent of parents and in most of the cases the girl would not get to see the boy until the day of wedding. The girl would be in her teens. Back then there were certain things a family would look for in others in terms of wealth, social status and the history of family. If all went well, the boy’s side would quote certain value for the dowry and the girls side would agree onto a certain final amount.

Fast forward time and come back to the present time. Today parents take care of their child equally well, whether it be a boy or a girl. Everyone gets educated and tries to get a job. Majority of Indians have gave up farming and everyone earns their bread by work or business. The average age of marriage has gone up by 5 years. We have come up to international platform. Now when a match making process is discussed, family looks for the background, social stature and the boy/girl education, job etc.

Things certainly seems to have improved but there are few things they have decided to stick around. Such as horoscope and dowry are certain things that come into picture in most of the communities when a marriage/match making is discussed. Certainly both of them seem irrelevant and unnecessary in this generation and the way we have shaped our life.

The people who dictate about the greatness of dowry need to understand that it does not apply to everyone and most cases today do not need dowry.

He who has gives it away, makes it difficult for he who doesn’t have and eventually the community has a hard time.

The average harmony in that community is never high, since it involves money, in turn revolves around greed, jealousy and all other dark qualities which make humans suffer.

Not every parent is in support of dowry. Over the years there have been many families and communities which have experienced deep complex problems related to money, dowry and after marriage issues related to this. Hence they have learnt the lesson a hard way. Such families and parents have decided not to support dowry in terms of taking it or giving it away. However when they come into the shoes of a parents whose daughter has been well educated and needs to be married now, they are confused. They get confused by the constant provocation and suggestions from their near and dear ones, neighbors and community heads. They wonder whether if they oppose the long held practice of dowry, will they be able get their daughter married in the community. They are worried about the classic Indian Clichy – what will the world say? (Duniya/Samajvale kya kahegi)

But if everyone thinks in this fashion, when will we see a change. And if parents don’t take a stand for their daughters, if families don’t take a stand for their child and if the girls don’t take a stand for their own life, we would still be in the same state back then two decades ago. All the fight and protest regarding the equality of females, equal opportunity and international platform everything becomes futile, since the problem rests at the core of the society. And those who have within them, those families who have made their daughters stand high in the world with education, hard work, sports they must make sure their daughters shines equally bright in marriage and in every walk of life.

It’s in the fundamental thinking as to who makes the move. Who stops thinking about the community and starts bringing a change. It is about making a mark and setting an example. There are communities where girls don’t get to study much but if a parent has made efforts to let their girl get graduate and secure a nice job, then they must certainly oppose the dowry. It should not be followed like a herd mentality. If those parents don’t oppose dowry and they give out huge sum of money since they now earn well, then they are making the biggest mistake.

Since many communities think that daughter is a ‘paraya dhan’ (someone else’s wealth) and that she must be married some day, they never let girls get good opportunities. They store all their lifes hard earned money just to give it away to some stupid family who wouldn’t even promise to take care of their girl. Whatever was being done, might be done blindly but he who has crossed the mark already and given a girl equal opportunity must not indulge in dowry as that gives a negative signal to the community.

They wonder that if getting the child is getting very expensive every year and the girl is supposed to be married with huge dowry in the future, they would instead stop her education and start accumulating all the wealth for the marriage. We will be thrown back decades. We will not be making any progress, instead we will be traveling back in time.

We need to see more examples. We need parents, families and communities thinking larger than self. We need to see girls get good educations and jobs. We need that such families oppose dowry. We can’t give up. We are here to stay for long and then why not be happy with people around us and share love and care.

Marriage is a great concept. The belief of going to someone’s life and staying together for the rest of life in good and bad times. It is a test of human emotions and qualities. Why do we need to infiltrate such wonderful aspect with stuff like dowry.

Please share your thoughts on dowry in the comment sections below.

Vijayadashami (Dussehra) – The Saga

Vijayadashami (Dussehra) is celebrated every year in India, right after the end of Navratri festival. It is marked as the symbol of victory. The victory of good over evil. The victory of Ram over Ravana.

As the story goes, Ravana was the king of Lanka, who kidnapped Sita, wife of Ram, who was the Prince of Ayodhya. Ram and Sita were in exile for 13 years, along with Laxman. The king of Ayodhya, Dashrath had 3 wives, one of them Kaikeyee got worried about her son, Bharat’s future as king of Ayodhya, as Ram was the eldest of all. On Kaikeyee’s wish, Ram was forced to go to exile. That’s how Sita and Laxman followed him.

Ravana on revengeful request from his sister, Surpanaka, kidnaps Sita and takes her to his kingdom – Lanka. Thus starts the beginning of the War of Ramanaya. Ram with the help of Hanuman and other monkey army goes on a fight against the army of Ravana. There are lot of episodes in the story, however the end marks by Ram killing Ravana, after the suggestion from Vibhisan (Ravan’s brother).

The end of Ravan, consider to be an evil person by his act of kidnapping a woman and going against the norms of the society had to meet a fateful end.

To symbolize the end Ravan, every year in India, Vijayadashami is celebrated. ( The Victory on the 10th day, following the lunar calendar)

The celebration starts by creating the idol of Ravana with the waste products and left overs of the year. The idol is kept for public display in the center of the streets or play grounds. At night, the idol is burnt with crackers bursting, symbolizing that people will end evil thoughts in them and start a fresh life.

The beauty of India lies in the celebration of Festivals. Every year, I find new things about the celebrations and everytime I get mesmerized in the depth and diversity of Indian history. This year I get closer to my community and know the people around whom I grew up.


This post is a part of series inDiscovering the Cultural Significance of various rituals and festivals in India.