Customs are very much respected in the world, whether it is European culture or Asian traditional culture. They look beautiful and people maintain them for the sanctity of their feelings and for the respect of their culture overall. We also experience customs in our life in one way or the other. Like everyone else, we never question our customs; unless it is a real curse for the society. For many times, we overlook and continue with our lives while sharing customs with others. Life continues with peace and love.
However, in some of the societies of this world, there are some customs that prove unhealthy, harmful and crime. They are not beneficial and beautiful rather life threatening and ugly. Among these many dreadful customs, one is, ‘Rukhsati’ for the women; a custom that is very popular among Indian and Pakistanis. It is still in practice with great respect and love. You can just Google the word ‘Rukhsati’ and see the relevant pictures to get some idea.
As per Wikipedia definition, this is a somber occasion for the bride’s parents as they are departing their daughter from their home. It becomes an emotional scene when the bride says goodbye to her parents home and siblings to start a new life. See the whole definition. 1
This definition is not the complete interpretations of the concept that very systematically and unconsciously destroy a girls emotional and physical health. From the above definition, you might inquire the following:
a. Why is it a somber occasion?
b. Why is it an emotional scene?
c. Why do the girls say farewell to the home of her parents?
The answer is not very simple and state. A girl is constantly reminded in life about her ‘guestish’ (temporary) status in her parents home. When a baby girl is born, parents either cry with anguish, pain, or wish the baby should have great luck and blessings in her life. Parents think the baby girls is a responsibility to bring her up with care and education to hand it over to the groom and say goodbye.
When a girl among her siblings behaves like a boy, parents usually remind her of her temporary status with them and say, ” how will you fulfill your desires in in-laws house where you have to spend your whole life”.
The concept of ‘rukhsati’ makes the girl think about her future home combined with future husband along with future parents (in-laws). She usually feels sorry for leaving her parents behind to get married. Sometimes it makes her uncomfortable, depress and vulnerable to certain disorders like moody, hyper sensitive, obsessive compulsive, social anxiety, depression, eating disorder, sleep disorder and many others.
When a girl actually marries; she is ready to go for it or die. She knows she is leaving her home forever or would come back with great guilt, bad luck and torture. Therefore, she is ready to sacrifice, obedience and face the challenges of life for that she is unknown still. Her mental and emotional state is weak and vulnerable!
The after marriage experiences depend on largely groom’s own personal characteristics. In the patriarchal society of Pakistan and India, man is very much dominated in home affairs. He decides about most of his life matters independently while keeping women (wives mostly) totally separate from his financial matters. When a girl becomes a wife, her husband along with his family members expects from the girls total obedience in terms of doing house chores, going out and about, getting jobs, and other trivial matters.
There could be a difference of opinion on this among families; as some educated families treat women with respect and love. However, it is common wisdom that wives will not Live in their parents’ home (being a great crime) in any situation in life.Mostly wives suffer many kinds of abuses: emotional abuse, verbal abuse, financial abuse, attitude abuse, physical abuse, and many more. Ironically, they do not accept it being an abuse victim until the day of death. They simply think they must be having some weak aspects of personality to deal with. They blame themselves and never talk about their rights.
You might think it is not the case with everyone; yet it is also true that the women in such cultures observe the custom ‘rukhsati’ with heart and soul to make them and their daughter’s life miserable and vulnerable!