Kisiki Amaanat?


The title of this post, literally translated would mean – Whose trust / custody / safekeeping ?

In a typical wedding scene in  Indian cinema , one would find either of these 2 scenarios –

1. The father of the bride telling the father-in-law that ” Aap ki Amaanat aaj aapko saump raha hoon”. Meaning – I’m today giving the custody of the bride to you, who was  with me for safekeeping , but belonged to you all this time.

2. The father of the bride telling the father-in-law that ” Meri amaanat ka khayaal rakhiyega”. Meaning – Please take care of my daughter whose custody I’m now giving to you.

One might believe that the first dialogue might merely be said to please the father-in-law. But actually, that is not entirely true. From the moment a girl is born, the parents start dreaming of her marriage. She is groomed all through, told not to play in the sun so that she makes a ‘fair’ bride someday, taught not to talk in a disrespective manner, given lessons of cooking, sewing etc. (Not that any of this is wrong, but the fact that none such training is given to the deity sons).

So, basically she is brought up by her birth parents, with the thinking that she doesn’t really belong to them, as they’ll have to hand her over to her in-laws someday, and they only have her custody until then.

As regards the second dialogue, it only reflects the concern of the father of the bride, which is indeed pleasing to know. But, the repercussions are felt by the girl in her matrimonial home, where her in-laws considering her to be the belonging of another house, which is in their custody, might take her to be a liability.

There are many disturbing aspects of this, I shall proceed in ascending order.

The first question obviously is – akhir kiski amaanat ?.. , After all, whose trust is she ? .. Secondly, why is she considered merely as a trust ?  and, if the contradictions of the first two dialogues happen to prevail from both sides, she might end up without a sense of belongingness at all ! Also,  If we look at the bigger picture, the fact that she is equated with movable property, or if human considered to be of the same mental capacity as a child (Custody in divorce cases) is also very disturbing. From times immemorial, women have been considered to be a part of the spoils of war just like cattle . This must end, and by “this” I mean the sense of “ownership” over women which is prevalent so much so that her own parents consider her a property. I will not limit myself to telling what must end, and therefore, go on to say that what must prevail instead is independence for women with a sense of belongingness .