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