Indian Mother  Breaking Marriage Tradition Goes Viral

This mother is smashing all patriarchal notions

In conservative Hinduism, when a woman gets married, a mother can play a minimal role in the marriage. Male members tend to do all the religious tasks while the mother of the bride or groom stands on the sidelines.

A particularly difficult issue is when the bride’s family does not have any males. The mother still needs a male authority to do the ‘kanyadaanam’. The word literally means giving away the bride.

Some Hindu scholars disagree with such a transliteration. They say that the word means a groom selecting a bride. The groom must also explain to all why he wants to choose a bride.

One Indian mother chose to break conservative tradition. Rajeshwari Sharma chose to marry her only daughter Sandhya by herself. Rajeshwari has had a history of forging her own path. She got married at age 21 to another Indian man and the couple moved to Australia. Her husband was 12 years’ older than her. During this time she pursued her educational goals for a career in the tech industry. This created a struggle for her because she came from a conservative Brahmin family. Her husband supported her and she was able to get a job at IBM.

Rajeshwari and her husband later divorced. She had two children to look after. Her family supported her decision.

Her daughter Sandhya later informed her that she wants to get married to Sam, an Australian. Rajeshwari knew her conservative family will ask a lot of questions about the marriage arrangements. The wedding subsequently happened in Chennai, with Sam clad in traditional Indian wedding veshti and tying thaali or sacred thread. At the priest’s insistence, the newly minted husband also chanted a few mantras. Rajeshwari did the kanyadaanam.

The rituals were conducted by Raghavan, a progressive-minded priest. When asked what motivated him to do so, he answered that the mother played a pivotal part in her children’s lives. He added that nothing could give him more satisfaction than watching her wishes get fulfilled.

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