Do you also find it weird or offending to understand why only women are made to leave their everything behind, after marriage? What is the reason and significance of Vidai in all traditions? Do men also follow this tradition in any part of the world? Well, the article is here to answer all your questions. Keep reading to find out!
Marriage is one of the most crucial decisions in people’s life. It is said to be one of the most sacred institutions with a lifelong commitment. However, a few rituals and ceremonies have always been a topic of debate and confusion. So, we are going to address one such issue in this article, i.e. why only women move in with their in-laws or life partner after marriage?
What is Vidai?
Vidai, as it is called in Indian tradition, is a ritual where parents bid goodbye to their daughter after marriage. In return, the daughter expresses gratitude to their parents for taking care of her till that time. It also signifies the completion of her unmarried life and the beginning of a new life with a whole new set of responsibilities.
Also, the bride has to throw rice and coins from her both hands while leaving her parent’s house as a thankful gesture. Moreover, a girl is considered equivalent to the Lakshmi goddess in an Indian tradition. She is a bringer of prosperity and happiness to the family. So, the throw of coins and rice depicts her prayer and blessings to her paternal home. She prays that, may the family be blessed with the same amount of peace, happiness, and prosperity even after she leaves the house.
How Vidai Tradition Started?
The very beginning and the reason for the Vidai system in India is in itself pretty disturbing. It all started in the royal era when the prince or kings were given the girl or bride as a trophy for their win over a land!
The girls were also used as a weapon to compromise win or loss in a particular situation for the settlement post-war. Women were offered/presented as a peace treaty to the winning party or king to avoid more dire consequences. The prime purpose was obviously, to satisfy the male ego and let them feel superior over other beings around him. Sounds gross, right? But that’s how it all started!
However, the surprising fact is that we are all still following the tradition blindly without questioning the reason behind it. Such rituals are a sure-shot violation of human rights as per Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Our constitution states both men and women are equal in society (right to equality, Article 14-18) and have a right to live the way they want. But have you seen anyone questioning or trying to understand the women’s wish about Vidai? No, right?
Should Vidai be Banned from India?
Vidai as it appears is a major violation of human rights in India. It explicitly pulls the matter of ‘Consent’ from women’s hands and makes them a mere puppet of this grand and ever-lasting patriarchal system. To make this even worse, her life partner’s family even demands a heavy dowry and cash in exchange for the marital vows with their sons.
Not only women are unknowingly enslaved in this patriarchal system but also they are expected to act and please everyone around. A recent court case has presented a great example of the men’s world and the contrasting culture and experiences of both the men and women in society. There was a supreme court verdict, on 7 Oct ’16, by justice Anil R Dave, where a husband was granted divorce for compelling him to “leave his parents. Height of hypocrisy!! Isn’t it?
Vidai for Men!
Surprised to hear that? Well, don’t be. A few parts of India have this system of male Vidai in their marriages. For instance, a town named Khasis and Garos in Meghalaya, Karnataka’s Bunt Nevada, and some royal families of Kerala follow this matriarchal system of Male Vidai. Also, it is men’s responsibility in these places to push the generation. This culture has been prevalent since Vedic times in these places.
So, this is an overall insight on Vidai in Indian marriage. However, the question still remains the same. Why do only women leave their parental home after marriage? Why are they not given the freedom to live where they want like men? It’s high time we try to change these existing norms and un-slave Women Now!