A couple from Nagpur recently got married in a ceremony that may have looked traditional at first sight, but on closer observation revealed a bold stance on patriarchal traditions.
The marriage of Ashay Sahasrabuddhe and Shivada Chauthaiwale was presided by a woman priest and the ritual of kanyadaan was nowhere to be found.
A Hindu marriage is traditionally viewed as the “gift of a young maiden” (kanyadaan) from the bride’s father to the household of the groom. However, the Sahasrabuddhe-Chauthaiwale wedding left out the ritual altogether.
It was in fact the mother of the bridegroom who made the call to ban kanyadaan from the couple’s special day. She managed to persuade the couple as well as the bride’s family to cut it out of the wedding altogether. “I believe that a Kanya is not a commodity to be given away as daan. The ritual also takes away all sense of agency from the bride and is as though her parents are abdicating custody of her,” she told The Hindu.
“There are, pardon my saying so, several hypocrisies in our rituals. We do Kanya Poojan on the one hand and refuse to recognise the rights of a woman on the other. I feel it is important, at least in my actions, to weed out such hypocrisies,” she added.
Kanyadaan is not a concept reserved for Hindu weddings only. In a Catholic wedding, the bride’s father traditionally walks her down the aisle to where her husband would be waiting to ‘receive her’ at the altar. While many would consider the ritual as just that, a tradition to be respected and followed, others have begun to consider the gender bias underpinning the entire concept.
The marriage of Ashay and Shivada was a truly singular affair that managed to attract attention for all the right reasons.