There is an old Sanskrit saying: Yatr Naryastu Poojayante, Ramante Tatra Devta – Where women are worshipped, there Gods reside.
And yet in India time and again we find that women are dishonoured, a girl child is not welcome and is discriminated against.
All this becomes all the more painful and inexplicable when a learned judge of the Supreme Court lists her daughters as liabilities as has been reported in The Times of India today. According to the story published by the paper, sitting Supreme Court judge Gyan Sudha Mishra, the only woman judge in the SC at present, has listed the marriage of her two daughters in the liabilities column while declaring her assets and liabilities.
Marriage of a child (I am not discussing the daughter angle just yet) can be viewed as a liability only if we look at the marriage as a purely commercial transaction in which you spend money. In a marriage two parties are involved – boy and the girl along with their respective families. Both the parties spend money to host friends and relatives, gifts etc. This means that marriage of a child – whether boy or girl – can be viewed as a liability – parents have an outgo of cash when they marry their children off.
If the above is true then we must treat the child itself as a liability –we have to spend on the child from day one – food, clothes, education, medical bills, entertainment, holiday… The list can be endless.
In that case I wonder why we bother about producing kids in the first place and that too at such a rapid pace as in India.
Coming back to the original discussion, as long as both sets of parents spend on the marriage of their children, then I would think that liabilities cancel each other and marriage must not be treated as a liability. However, if the marriage of a girl child is to be treated as a liability, then it indicates that the parent’s of the girl spend more than the parent’s of the boy and this difference is known as Dowry. The girl’s parents give dowry (outflow or expense) and boy’s parents receive it (inflow or income).
By acknowledging the marriage of daughters as a liability, we are giving in to the system of dowry and helping it perpetuate it. I think that is most unfortunate.
Also the moment you consider a girl child as a liability, you are stating that the boy child is an asset. And what does an asset do? It helps you earn in the long term. So it is expected that the boy will bring in dowry when he is married off. It is also expected that the boy will take care of the old parents when the time comes – a hope that is belied in a lot of cases.
Are relationships as sacred as parent – child now reduced to being asset – liability in the life’s balance sheet?
I have always wondered:
1. Why is it that in a country where most worshipped gods are females – Shakti, Durga, Lakshmi, Kaali, Parvati, Saraswati, Sita, Santoshi Mata, Vaishno Devi, Chamunda – are women treated thus.
2. Women themselves treat their own gender so badly – I have often heard that the biggest enemy of women are women themselves.
3. Why even educated and often times powerful women treat their daughters as liabilities.
In any case I would like to assert that daughters are not a liability:
1. Girls are as capable as boys and if given the same chance and treatment can in many ways outshine boys. A classic example of this is the fact that whenever I have gone to the annual function of my son’s school, I find that most of the prize winners in academics are girls across all age groups.
2. A girl child always takes better care of her aging parents than the son of the family. I am certain that if a poll is carried out to check the veracity of this hypothesis, most people will be surprised at the result.