Monday, 21 May 2012

Where do I stay?

In an article published in the Times of India, based on the Bombay court's decision on adults requiring their parents' consent to stay with them, it has been stated that:

The court observed that in the case of daughters, when they get married they become part of the husband's family. "When a daughter gets married and leaves the house of the father to reside with her husband, she ceases to be a member of the father's family and becomes a member of the family of the husband where she has got certain rights under the law. After marriage when she goes to the house of the parents, legally she is only a guest in the house and does not have legal rights to continue there. She can stay there as long as her parents permit her but she cannot force herself on her parents in the house."- "Adult children need parents’ approval to stay with them"

This states that it is only the woman who has to leave the parents' house while the son has complete legal permission to stay with his parents. This brooks the question, why is it only the daughter? Should this not be applicable to children of both sexes? If a daughter, after a certain age, is considered only a guest, should not the case be the same for the son? In an article in Tehelka, called Why Indian Men Are Still Boys, Nisha Susan states, "Unlike Indian women who are trained emotionally and socially by parents and society to gear up for a time when they must leave their parental home and occupy their space in the adult world, and unlike their self-sufficient counterparts in western countries, there are no major markers to end childhood for Indian men." That adult daughters have to go to the "family of the husband" seems only to augment this idea, while the adult son can stay with his "family".

Nisha Susan believes that the son, is always that- a son. He does not have any prior experience (except the very few who do choose to go away from home) of taking care of his own self. She says, "Even marriage does not mark adulthood for Indian men in the same way as it does for Indian women." While she says that this is a stereotype that is generally promoted by parents, it seems that even our legal system endorses this discourse- where the son is allowed to be just that: the son.

I do not want to leave this article with a conclusion. This was just a thought that occurred to me, and I wanted to pen it down. I shall leave it with the thought that, maybe, what is applicable to the man should be applicable to the woman- either both ought to be considered guests, or both children...

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