Dear parents, please let your daughter return home.
The headline is depressing — “ Another suspected dowry death, third in the past 72 hours”.
It is more than depressing.
It is tragic.
It is heartbreaking.
But above all it makes my head hang in shame. What is a nation of 1.3 billion people doing to its daughters?
Google “India + Woman + Dowry + Death”, and hit the news section. Not a day goes by when a horrific case of dowry related “death” is not reported in the media.
From the hinterland of rural India to metropolitan cities that are global technology hubs, the entire nation is suffering from an epidemic of dowry “deaths”.
And I fail to comprehend why these cruel murders are still called “deaths” ?
A death is due to natural causes — due to old age, poor health, or the wrath of nature. Throwing your daughter-in-law off the balcony of her own home, burning her alive with subsidised kerosene oil, or strangling her with the very “saree” she wears does not qualify to be labeled “death”.
It is murder — cold, brutal, pre-meditated murder.
Your son having a penis does not entitle him to thousands of dollars in dowry, fancy cars, luxury condos, or capital for his fledgling business.
A few inches of extra meat between the legs is not worth much. Stop murdering someone’s daughter over it.
Your daughter is not a burden that you have unloaded on her husband and his family. She is your daughter for all eternity. Take responsibility for her life. If she is being harassed, traumatised, and brutalised by her in-laws for dowry — bring her back home.
Help her get a divorce.
Help her start her life anew.
Don’t care about what society has to say about your daughter’s divorce.
You are probably in your late sixties. You are going to be dead in a decade or two, and if you choose to let your daughter suffer, I pray to every Goddess and God known to mankind that it is the former.
Pick your daughter over the oppressive patriarchal societal norms that treat her like a commodity to be traded for material goods.
It does not matter if you are not invited to the next social gathering. It does not matter if your relatives start visiting you less often. It does not matter if your friends are suddenly too busy to take your calls. It does not matter if your neighbors gossip or pass a hurtful remark.
You will survive it. Harsh words may cause emotional pain, but they have hardly ever killed anyone.
Eventually it will pass. The society will forget — the collective memory of humankind is appallingly short-lived.
Your daughter will probably not survive the torture. She is enduring immense physical and psychological pain. Her suffering will never end because the greed for more material acquisition never ends.
Eventually she will be dead. The society will forget — the collective memory of humankind is appallingly short-lived.
Allow me to correct myself. Eventually she will be murdered.
Dear parents , I implore you — Let her come home.
Better still, bring her home yourself.
Welcome her with open arms.
Be her strength.
Give her hope.
Because if you don’t, the last emotion your drowning consciousness will experience before you depart from this world will be a blend of deep regret, unbearable guilt, and infinite shame.
And in that moment of unimaginable despair you will realize.
A Divorced Daughter is Better Than a Dead Daughter.
Thank you for reading this story. Your patronage inspires me.
You might also consider two stories in which I tell the tales of extraordinary heroism by ordinary people.