Just as one swallow does not a summer make, so one horribly insensitive Gujarati community does not a nation make.
But nonetheless, I am sharing with you this horrifically bizarre story of a wedding that took 2 days ago in Bhavnagar, in Gujarat – whilst simultaneously hoping that the trolls who regularly tell me to “go back home” stay quiet this time.
Indian trolls take offence at every damn thing, however repugnant, especially if the criticism comes from a foreigner such as myself…but I’ll take the risk.
Here’s a brief outline of this disturbing story.
Bride dies during her wedding ceremony.
Her body is kept in cold storage, while her sister is married instead to the same groom.
Please note I did NOT use that terrible term “married off”, which always disturbs me, implying the girl is little more than an object, though in this case…
Even as the family mourned the death of Hetal, relatives proposed an alternative plan to ensure the wedding celebrations continued. They suggested the bride’s younger sister take her place and marry Vishal.
And this, below!! Just read it and try and stay calm…
Terming the incident ‘very sad’, corporator of Bhavnagar city and leader of Maldhari Samaj, Laxmanbhai Rathore asserted that the members of society convinced the family to set an example and not send the bridegroom empty-handed, even though the family of the bride was devastated by the death of their daughter.
You really don’t need me to enumerate the horrific implications here. But I shall do so, all the same:
- The bridegroom’s happiness is clearly paramount. One presumes that means he needs someone to have sex with, and must be satisfied, and it doesn’t really matter whether it is sister A (sadly dead) or sister B.
- The younger sister has no choice.
- The groom could have said no. But he didn’t. So clearly the identity of the bride was immaterial. He needed a woman, and one sister or the other, who cares?
- The power that “members of society” wield. Who the hell were these people to tell a bereaved family what to do?
- The notion that setting an example consists of trading one young woman for another. And, never forget, not sending the groom away empty-handed.
- The weakness of the bereaved family.
I find this story revolting on so many levels, especially the overwhelming need to have a wedding, death notwithstanding.
The reduction of women to objects here is just awful.
The pandering to the man.
But, as I said at the outset, this is – one sincerely hopes – an aberration.