MIDWAY: Daughter’s pain

The squabble over ‘son versus daughter’ has been going on for a long time. Feminists have shouted themselves hoarse demanding equal status for daughters, and numerous daughters have even proved themselves worthy. But no one has thought it fit to demand equal status from the parents for daughters and sons. Are parents of a son and a daughter treated equally in society? The answer is a big no!

When my friend Anita gave birth to her first daughter she realised that she was not well received even by her educated in-laws and neighbours. The treatment became even more discriminatory when she gave birth to another daughter. The discrimination begins from the very day a daughter is born and continues throughout her life. The parents of a girl child are not flooded with best wishes. Even the so-called modernn people cannot help giving sympathetic looks. Such behaviour dampens the parents’ spirits. Within the family too, the mother of a daughter does not get the respect, which the mother of a son does.

Most educated parents shield their daughters from unfair treatment. But the difference becomes stark and ugly once the daughter is married off. Even today the most progressive parents avoid visiting their daughter’s house. They neither feel welcome nor feel comfortable there. However, parents don’t think twice before descending on their son’s house and expect a royal treatment but feel obliged to give explanations for their occasional visit to their daughter’s house.

It is high time we got rid of this injustice. The disparity between the parents of a son and a daughter is glaring, and equally obtrusive is the situation when the daughter wishes to visit her parents. She does not just rush to their house but has to find excuses. It is a son’s duty to look after his parents but if a daughter does the same, her behaviour is questioned.

No wonder why parents want their sons to carry the family name. Even a daughter can do so by retaining her maiden name. The only reason for having a son is for ensuring security but how far the sons fulfil their duty is another question. Our society, therefore, cannot progress unless the daughters are given equal status.