My ex colleague R called me a little distressed the other day. She needed a huge amount of money urgently. She had applied for a personal loan which was approved and the bank was to give her the cheque next month. But R needed the money right then. I obliged by chipping in. The money was for a temple renovation work her Dad was undertaking in Kerala. I wondered why her Dad should go through so much expense when they were not well off, but refrained from commenting on the same. R returned the money today. She explained that her Dad had made promises to rebuild the temple and she and her sister had to support the expenditure with their meagre salary or incur the wrath of the devi. She wasn’t too happy about the situation but had accepted the same as any opposition would make her father go into emotional blackmail mode.
Another colleague and her four sisters, all techies would send money every month to their father in Kerala for various poojas and other religious activities that he undertook. They did it reluctantly because if they didn’t, then their father would borrow and creditors would soon come calling these girls for money.
These are not just two instances but among the many I have heard from my mallu colleagues. What is remarkable about these cases are that most of these girls are from “girls only” families and their fathers are usually unemployed, retired, small farmers or in low paid jobs. As soon as the daughters are employed they start flaunting their money and justifying the expense on religious grounds by sponsoring various festivals and poojas at their local temples.
As a non Hindu I really cannot comment on any of this as I do not know much about the religious obligations of Hindus, but from the girls own account these are unnecessary expenditure and they have no choice but to acquiesce till they are married and can hence say “No”!
This post has nothing to do with religion. Such exploitation happens in other avatars in Christian families too. Exploitation of girls happens irrespective of caste creed or religion.