Kalpana Sharma writes in the Hindu magazine today on a different kind of breaking news; The story of a girl who succeeds in convincing her parents not to get her married before time, and allow her to get on with her plans for her life, which include a career of her own choice.
It is heartening to read about the determination of this young woman, though at one level it is sad to see how slowly society moves. The young woman says, "Recently there was an open discussion about my marriage with my parents and they were asking me, `What kind of a husband you want?' I could not believe my ears." Being consulted on an issue which will bear on her entire life, the choice of a partner, is still novel, although, as the article points out, attitudes are changing.
The write-up includes a letter from an older reader to Kalpana, and this older woman talks about how she was "lucky" to be rejected by a prospective suitor for being only average looking. This allowed her to study for a few years more and pursue an education and a career.
Finally Kalpana says, "Society, the government and even parents encourage them to study, to think of careers. And then just as they begin to dream, to 'aspire to come up in life', they are told that there can be no future outside marriage. Something has to change."
The contradictions in our society, where we are told throughout school, to study hard, focus, focus, do nothing else. And finally when the time comes for us to really do something with what we have learnt, somehow, when it comes to marriage, the fact of being a woman takes precedence of everything else, and we are expected to make all kinds of sacrifices whether we wish to or not. In this context, this girl's determination to make something of herself is so encouraging.
Read on then...