Friday, June 1, 2012

Runaway Wife

Household members - Father, mother, son, daughter

Five years ago a young Sikh man found out his father was dying and that his father's dying wish was to see the boy married. The boy was requested to leave his studies and get married. The mother agreed and the boy was convinced he had to do right by his parents. So the search was set for a suitable wife. This wife needed to be the same caste and class status and approximately the same age. After several months the boys parents happily announced they had found her.

They son was young and had no idea what qualities to look for in a wife. Being inexperienced with girls, he reluctantly agreed to marry the woman. His only wish was to see his father happy before he died. So the wedding was set, everything went as planned and the bride moved into the family home. She began her life as a married woman, taking her place in the home and completing daily chores as expected.

Not too long later the girl became pregnant. She was cared for by the family and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She continued living in the home for several more months. Then one day she just left. The boy begged her to come back but she refused. Her reasoning? She didn't want to be a mother and have to take care of a baby all the time. He could keep the baby and she wanted nothing to do with the family any longer. She was back at home with her family and had no intentions of coming back.

The father is still alive. The sister is now raising the baby and the boys life was completely ruined. Without an education he can't get a good job. He struggle to provide an income for the family and his daughter as he builds up his own business.

What are your thoughts?
  • Was the boy manipulated by the parents to get married? 
  • Was the couple married too young?
  • What could make a mother want nothing to do with her child? Is it because it was a girl?


  1. Ronda ClassifiedJune 1, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    Interesting situation. I know nothing about how things work in India, but why is the Son's life ruined..can't he still return to school and get his education? Would the family (grandparents in particular) help care for the baby while he went to school? I do feel it was manipulative on the parents part to ask him to marry as his father's dying wish. I think sometimes marriage is not so much an age issue. I have a housekeeper that was born and raised in Mexico, and she just celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary...and she got married when she was 12!!! And I cannot imagine a mother leaving her child no matter what the gender or circumstances, but sadly (as you know) a lot of people are not cut out to be parents at all.

  2. He's now the only earner in the family home so I don't think he would be able to quit and go to school. He has to care for the baby, his dad, his sister and himself. College doesn't seem to be an option.

  3. Good insight. I don't think college is an option for him at this time. He's the sole bread winner in the family now. It also seems they are having trouble finding a new wife because he has the baby. Its just a

  4. That's really hard in India where it is such a limiting factor to not have a degree. Absolutely that was bad judgment on the parents' part. It would help if he could get a wife who also earned; could take some of the burden off him. May have to go outside the traditional arranged marriage route if he wants that to happen, or even find a woman who already has a child of her own. 

  5. I think it is a mix of the couple being too young and the parents being manipulative, the boy had no idea how to be around girls, probably clueless on what a wife means, the girl probably not ready for her new role as both a wife and mother. In this case I don't think her leaving would have been prevented even if the baby was a girl, she freaked out, she probably was young and inexperienced and motherhood is a big change for whcih she was not at all emotionnaly ready. 

  6. 'What could make a mother want nothing to do with her child? Is it because it was a girl?'
    The first thing that comes to my mind as a health practitioner is 'postpartum depression'.
    A young mother unable to cope with all the changes in her body (hormonal & otherwise) & the stress of caring for an infant as well.

    Given my first hand experience of the 'choti bahu' treatment by my Indian in laws- I wouldn't be surprised if this new mom wasn't a bit abused either- 
    Especially when reading this statement- "He could keep the baby and she wanted nothing to do with the family any longer. She was back at home with her family and had no intentions of coming back."
    Giving birth to a girl would probably further denigrate her already lowly 'choti bahu' status.