So there has been a lot to write home about the Royal Wedding, complete with the Disney fantasy like feel to the whole event. “Dreams do come true”. Oh well!
Of all the trillion articles and news items on the affair of the decade – ranging from the royal kiss to the ring that wouldn’t slide smooth, from the lovely bridal attire to the over-the-top head gears of the guests, and what not, I thought I should talk about this one: Kate 'will not obey'.
Following Diana’s royal ditch to the royal protocol, Kate decides to steer clear of vowing to “obey” Prince William (I hear he is a Duke now). Instead she pledges to “love, comfort, honor and keep” her husband. A very honest lady! Why promise what you are sure you will not do, even if it is only ceremonial!
While the old school of thought continues to defend the use of the word, “obey”, emphasizing that it is not meant as “subservient” or an excuse for domestic abuse, I’d say one should rather be safe than sorry!
This news piece reminded me of my wedding. Married following the hindu vedic rituals, during the many “mantras and slokas” (vedic chants in Sanskrit) the pandits (priests) were reciting and translating for the benefit of all, one distinct vow or rather instruction to me was that I should never do what my husband prohibits. To do anything I should seek my husband’s permission, even if I want to visit my parents etc.
While the close knit family and friends laughed through it, I looked up to Vish to assure both of us understood that this was only “ceremonial”, and well, not to be taken as the word of law. The indulgent smile from him saved the priests from an argument session, which I am sure nobody had the patience to deal with at 2 in the morning!
Though I absolutely believe in the institution of marriage, I often wonder what an MCP the person who wrote some of these rituals/vows must have been. The inherent assumption that men know better and will do better - And hence, the lesser mortals (read women) should bow their heads in subservience so that these demi-gods can lead us and make sense of our lives.
In this day and age, there continue to be women who live as puppets with their strings firmly held by the husbands. Inequality, domestic violence, verbal abuse – all continue to plague many marriages in many households in India.
We need people to come out in the open and acknowledge the wrong/injustice when they see it. So what if it is dictated by religion or religious texts. Religion is a path to God created by humans themselves – If we can’t change it for the better, who else can?