Saturday, August 31, 2013

Telugu girl's passport confiscated by parents for marrying a foreigner




As I was sifting through Telugu news this week, I came across this crazy story of a girl who eloped with a foreigner, despite her parents' opposition, and in turn had her passport confiscated by her parents. The young couple is now trapped as they cannot leave the country without her passport.

How terrible of her to marry a foreigner. What a life of misery, right? (sarcastic)

I thought this story was quite peculiar. Why would her parents care so much? With a foreign man, they wouldn't have to worry about a dowry, or ever losing their daughter as she shifts from her natal home (Western families cherish inlaws equally on both sides) Many Indian families are severely protective of the girls, and in some cases can be incredibly controlling. I doubt an Indian son from this family would've had as much opposition - it is funny how when a son marries a Western woman, they learn to accept it; and when a daughter marries a Western man, they question her judgement of even being capable to make such a decision (as if she is overrun with lust and desire). How typical is it - that when a family wants to assert control over a daughter - the first thing they limit is her mobility? Of course, there is the possibility that the family thought he was not a "good guy", whatever constitutes as that. I was not seen as a "good girl" by many of the extended family until after my wedding (as if that made me valid or chaste!) I feel bad for that guy, who came all the way to India to get her parents' blessing, only to be rejected in some ridiculous Indian family dynasty power play drama. I hope this young couple gets justice.

TRANSLATION OF THE VIDEO:
"Different countries, different languages...but love united them. They wanted to get married with the elders' blessings. Like all love stories, the parents' didn't accept. What happened next? What consequences did the couple face for giving the elders respect to ask for their permission? The girl is Maria, from Hyderabad. The guy is named Nikolai. They work in the same company in Dubai and fell in love. They came back to Hyderabad to convince her parents they wanted to get married. Maria's parents did not understand their love. They firmly refused to allow her to get married. They said it was a final decision. Maria & Nikolai went to Mumbai and eloped. Because of that, the parents threatened Maria, "We will see how you'll return to Dubai", and took away her passport. The couple complained at the Mumbai police station and a complaint was filed. The police said the couple has to go back to Hyderabad to file a complaint there. Maria is scared to go to Hyderabad - "What will happen? What will my parents do to me there?" The couple is demanding justice.
(In English - 1:11 - 2:05)
Is it wrong to fall in love? Is it wrong to marry the man you love? If the passport is given back, then they will live their life their way."

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What do you think, dear readers? Would she have faced the same thing if she was an Indian guy? Do you notice that some traditional Indian parents try to restrict a girl's mobility as a means of control?

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5 comments

  1. You know I am in almost similar situation-my parents have not yet confiscated my passport yet. This is something I worry will happen with me too if I do not approach the situation in the right way. Therefore, I am not trying to be insensitive when I am saying this. Indian families have a different approach to son’s love Vs daughter love. The reason is DIL comes into their house and have to live according to their traditions, but the daughter goes to her husband’s house and has to live up to new traditions. This might be a difficult and painful adjustment to her and may also end up in divorce. They cannot have their daughter go through that pain. Furthermore, if a guy gets a divorce, it is painful but not a big deal but if a girl gets a divorce, it is like she will be single for rest of her life. This is how Indian society works, though there is a little change in this attitude now. The parents still think it as a risk not worth taking. In my mother’s words “why play with fire and realize you burnt your hands later.”
    The guy being a foreigner makes it difficult because very few Indian girls marry a foreigner. This is an alien concept for the parents. My mother gets so anxious with this whole thing almost like someone is forcing her to live on Mars. The reactions of parents would be practically the same even if the guy is Indian. Instead of passport, they might confiscate birth and degree certificates. There is not much difference in that treatment.
    In addition, daughter is associated with family’s prestige. Therefore, when something like this happens, they feel like the family has lost its societal prestige. This is more common in the male members of the family-like dads and brothers.
    By no means am I saying I agree with her parent's actions. I am just saying I understand where they are coming from. Does that make things easier? Absolutely not. I know very well how hard this whole situation is but anyone who chooses to take a different path from what their society is on, faces these difficulties. We are the black sheep. When we made a decision to go our own way, I think it is our responsibility to help our family understand that our path is not dangerous. They are our parents and want what is best for us, and so it is our job to convince them that. As I said before everything comes with good and bad. That applies to Indian traditions too. We cannot thrust this foreign concept on Indian parents and then expect them to go along with it. We cannot blame them for having their reservations. This is not what I am saying about this girl in the video but what I tell myself every day. This helps me to understand that I need to put more effort in convincing my parents. After all, they are, were and will be a big part of my life. I just cannot imagine even a second of my life without my mother.
    My mom is absolutely terrified about D divorcing me after we have two kids. She worries that he will not like the idea of her staying with us. I already told D that I want my mom to live with us all the time. He agreed for that long time ago, but she still has her doubts.
    I do not think SILs should worry about entering Indian family dynasty because it is the daughter who leaves the house. DIL's, on the other hand, have that problem.

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    1. I know, I was thinking of you when I saw the news story, as you are my only Indian girl/white guy reader (that I'm aware of) it is definitely a minority within our Whindian community.
      One of our elder family members had a divorce and had a very tough life. Mainly because people in the community were so nasty to her even though she did nothing wrong.
      But nowadays people can move on from a divorce, two of our friends in India have gotten divorced and both remarried happily, things are changing...but the elders still worry. The concept of controlling the girls more than the boys really bothers me, it is difficult to digest, it is very foreign to me. But that is how it is in some families...what to do.

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  2. A lot of it is over-protectiveness on the part of the parents. They fear losing their daughter and probably losing their prestige in society. I came across your blog yesterday and have been reading it since then - very interesting. We are the opposite of you: I am a Tamil Iyengar from India and my husband is Canadian. My mother' fears ranged from he would leave me for somebody else as westerners are not committed to marriage to he would force me to convert to Catholicism. These parents would have reacted the same if their daughter wanted to marry an Indian from a different community.

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    Replies
    1. OMG love! So nice to meet a fellow "masala" couple :)

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