The first statement '"We'd rather spend more on daughter’s wedding than on her education." stands true.
Not only that this statement also makes us reflect on lot of stupidities that we fail to acknowledge leave alone accept and rectify. They can be broadly classified as
1. The way we treat small girls either as daughters or as sisters or as students in schools.
2. Our obsession with marriage of a girl as if that is the only role of evolution or social obligation or sacred duty bla bla.
3. Our lack of attention to our role as a parent. Do we pay the same amount of attention as give to our profession, hobby etc. Parenting involves three important Ps:- patience, perception of your child’s/children’s inherent attributes, passion to participate and enjoy watching them grow.
1. Small girls- how we treat them and why we do so?
We have to accept with shame that we have not learnt to give them freedom to enjoy, express and experience life in their own terms with their own sensible or stupid approaches. We try to monitor, remote control, discipline etc whatever be the proclaimed justifications; it is still, interfering with the freedom a soul. So we are all , I mean the elders, especially most Indians are committing a very big mistake/vice [in in the name of parental responsibility, social discipline, traditional practices, sometimes in the name of pseudo religious justifications as well , by not allowing daughters to decide to do things as they wish.
We need to realize no human being can control another soul. We also fail to realize that what we are doing is trying to manufacture a person according to some preset specifications. Elders can and must give suggestions, some guidance, sometimes even advice out of their experience, concern, compassion, interest etc but too much of interference in every move or decisions of the life of a girl child especially is contributing subconsciously to create a sense of diffidence, sense of insecurity and inferiority.
If anyone has bothered to do a real research, not one guided by text books, mostly written by foreign authors, by merely observing the behavior, smartness of women, one would be surprised to find that many girls who had irresponsible parents and not subjected to too much of social conditioning in the name of taboos etc turn out to be more street smart, more creative, more confident, more adjusting, more sociable etc.
The most interesting part of upbringing and parenthood is enjoy the fun of growing along with them, by all means offering them all the opportunities that one can afford; interacting with them with interest and involvement; adjusting and learning with them, reciprocating and rejoicing with them informing through love your preferences, prejudices, priorities, perceptions and respond with equal respect to their priorities and perceptions which may look uninteresting, illogical, useless, irritating, insipid etc but then they could be feeling the same way about yours.
How can you expect a small girl not to have certain feelings which you think are the exclusive preserve of boys? Why should not they have similar feelings and aspirations? If only the hopeless, senseless and meaningless wastage that Indians splurge on marriages can be stopped, and that amount accumulated as an account, then, that can actually make India the richest country in the world.
The simple statement at the beginning also gives a peep into our pathetic mindset of not willing to come out of our past and not beginning to carry on life in the present moment in the present socio-political context.
We need realize that daughters look forward to your loving participation in their life not mere instructions and interferences.
2. The marriage obsession
I wrote this in 1979 after attending a marriage and showed it to my father who agreed with the contents and not the affected and labored bombastic style but which was liked by many of my classmates then who laborious copied as we did not have computers at that time.
There are some excellent practical books like this one ‘Your Growing Child: From Birth to Adolescence By David Fontana’