So much has been talked about changing the way weddings happen, reducing the pomp and show, getting rid of customs which no longer make sense, changing the way women are treated and blah blah blah…But can really anything be done practically? Can we actually get inside each of the outdated minds and remove the many layers of societal prejudices and unwanted customs?
If the entire Indian society places men on a pedestal which is also the reflection in most Indian weddings, why cant men be the pivotal point of bringing about the much required change in weddings and for that matter even in society?
If the man getting married, the damadji, the one of the very very important persons of the wedding, whose wishes must be kept sar-aankhon par, raises his hand and says I don’t want any dowry/gifts coming from my wife’s house or I don’t want the wedding to be extravagant, or I want to contribute for the wedding proceeds, or I don’t want a car to be gifted to me, then surely 99% of the weddings would be headed for a drastic change. There would be a few swollen faces, no doubt, that too of perhaps the groom’s parents who would try to reason how they had envisioned their son’s wedding ever since he was conceived and how the society would start perceiving their family henceforth. But this would be short-lived. Soon the boy’s rebellion will be treated like this:
Grooms parents: He wants the wedding to be held in this way, X is a modern person and we don’t want to interfere with his wishes. We have asked the ladki-wallas to do the arrangements in this way! (Sense of pride in getting the things done the way their boy wanted)
Groom’s in-laws: X-ji has asked us to conduct the wedding in this way. We have to fulfill all his wishes. He is such a great man! (Sense of fulfillment)
So if men are considered the best thing that ever happened to the Indian society and they are the people who need to be kept on a pedestal then its high-time that men actually stand ‘on that’ pedestal and lead the change from the front. There’s no point ignoring societal issues as women’s issues in which they don’t need to get involved, they are the ones who can bring about this change and unlike women they will not get branded as rebels, too-modern or societal misfits.
Even if men face some serious rebellion from parents and kin, they can be sure that this would be short-lived and they will never be treated as outcasts.
Today’s men, although may not agree with many of the customs, traditions and ill-practices of marriage themselves, they would rather not breach the topic with their parents and relatives to avoid unpleasantness & discomfort. Talking things out will be uncomfortable no doubt, but its important!
One might think that why should the change come through my wedding when the world is sucked into irrational traditions anyway. But, every small change sets examples, gives confidence to hundreds of other men & women to bring about a change (many of them attending the wedding themselves). If nothing else, it will elate your heart to think about doing your bit towards the society, of setting an example, of telling your children how you tried to break the barriers of change.
This is not an overnight change but a gradual change. It’s like the ‘Swacch Bharat Abhyaan’, where each person has to do his job of keeping his surroundings clean and not put the onus of cleanliness only on the government. Societal dirt is similarly created by the society itself over many many years and needs to be gradually cleaned. Men can assert the importance that they get in the Indian society and can become the role models for bringing about the much needed change in Indian weddings.