Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Kanyadaan

"Kanya" means girl and "daan" means "donate/gift". I've always been curious to know about this hindu ritual which implies that when the daughter is married off, she's donated by her parents. At least that's the impression that I had. One mostly donates inanimate things and sometimes animals; but have you heard of anybody donating their child? I wondered that how could the girl-child be treated like an object. Finally, as a result of my scouring the internet I found an answer which seemed quite satisfactory and made a lot of sense.

Here are some excerpts from it which also summarize what the author wants to say:

...it is been settled matter in the scriptures
that the parents do not have ownership rights over the child. The writ of the
parents does not extend enough to carry out their sale or hand them over as a
“daana”.

...The parental responsibility of the girl child
is transferred from the one performing the kanyaadaana to the prospective
husband.

So it's the responsibility that is being transferred and it is a reversible transfer. In the sense that if girl-child is divorced or widowed the responsility is transferred back to the parents. Now how many people know this? Till today I too didn't know about this and my thought was that a widow was the responsibility of the parents-in-law but that's not true. In today's age, most of the women are financially independent so maybe it's not so much of a problem but maybe a decade back it wasn't so. Parents married off their daughters and thought their responsibility was over. If she was left alone due to any reason she wasn't welcome back in her own house, the house where she spent her childhood.

I wish people would try to learn about rituals they've been following since ages. Or maybe that's why they don't.

2 comments:

LATA AGARWAL said...

Actually that's not how it was. this was just a system devised for the social organization. One gender had to leave the house. The sons used to till the land along with the father, so they decided it was the daughters that should go to the other family. It was called a 'daan', but was not really a daan. But still the sin was great as the parents practically threw one (or more) of their children out to others. That's why - the GANGA SNAN - to do the penance. That's why the groom's family was worshipped by the bride's family - as they were the ones accepting her in their family. The daughter was given her full financial share and the all the functions and all the gifts to her from time to time were just to tell her - you (and your family)are still a part of the family. In case of any problems (like widowhood), the girl were supposed to come back to the family.

So basically, it was just a social organization of life - for convenience.

Ankita said...

Interesting!!! Liked it...