This article contains the views of a single person. It is therefore written in first person.
I always knew about the ritual of kanyadaan in Hindu weddings and never really paid much attention to it. Until one day a train of thought led me to dig deeper and think and understand what is this really about?
If I were to understand it simply, it is the donation of your daughter. Kanya – Girl and Daan – Donation.
But to understand it better, here’s a line that explains it well: The father gives away his daughter as it is the best gift he can give to the groom, who at that time, is considered as a avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin with my problem with this whole ritual. The fact that I’m being considered a commodity, or a gift that’s just being passed or worse still, donated?!
And the groom is treated like Lord Vishnu? Isn’t a marriage a union of two equal souls? Why does one suddenly become god?
Oh! And let’s not forget the fact that my father is now giving up my responsibility and just giving me away. Giving me away? Really? He is my father. He has brought me up. No ritual can just cut me off like that with him!
I get it, I will be starting a new life. I get it that from now on, I will be starting my own family. But that does not necessarily mean my father has to give me away like a commodity or a gift?
And let’s just take a moment to step back and think. Think what happens when Person A gifts Person B, say a shirt. Once gifted, Person B technically does not have any right or say over the shirt. This situation is no different. In Hindu customs, the father is giving away his daughter and giving away his rights over to someone else.
If I am marrying someone, why should my core relationship with my father change? Notice how I say core, as I understand there will always be changes. But like I said, why should my marrying someone change the basis of relationship between my father and I?