By Sharanya Gopinathan
Over the last two days, there have been two horrifying incidents from Uttar Pradesh that really bring out how violent the home and family can be.
In the first case from Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh, a man named Jai Hind refused to marry a woman named Teeja after he heard a rumour from his female relatives that she had leukoderma, a skin condition that causes white patches on the skin. The groom’s family made a scene about it at the venue of the wedding, after which the bride’s father took the groom’s family to the police station. The panchayat and village elders convened at the police station, where they all decided that the wedding must take place, after it was proven that Teeja did not indeed have leukoderma. She was therefore taken to a room, inside the police station, and forced to strip before the groom’s female aunts and cousins, who ascertained that she did not indeed have leukoderma. Teeja then married Jai Hind, and Jai Hind’s family submitted an apology letter to the police.
In the second case, from Chillaghat in Banda, Uttar Pradesh, a husband pushed his wife off the roof of a building when she refused to dance. It sounds almost bizarre when you put it down in words, but that’s what happened: they were at a wedding together, and she refused to dance the ‘kalewa’ ritual with him and some other guests. Her refusal to dance on command infuriated him so much that he attempted to murder her by pushing her off the damn roof. She fractured both her legs, and sustained injuries to her stomach and hands.
These two horrifying cases bring out so clearly just how violent a space the family and the marital unit can be. The sequence of events in both cases also make it clear just how easy it is for family’s to treat women as property upon, or even before, marriage. It makes you sick to your stomach.