A city that welcomes people from around the world, Pune is certainly blessed with a fine mix of communities. Personifying unity in diversity, freethinking Puneites partake in an exchange of culture and cuisine across diverse communities.
Partially pious, yet deeply content about being born into their individual communities and faiths, these Pune women speak up voicing changes they wish they could make.
Khadija Saifi is an average twenty-year-old studying in a top notch girl’s college in the city. “Coming from a Muslim background, I am from a sect where we are not mandated to wear a full Burkha. A Hijab is a safe bet in places of worship as well as communal gatherings. But there is the system of ‘parda’.
I must wear long-sleeved apparel and have my arms and legs fully covered in any dress of my choosing. It can be the bane of your existence come summers.
My career of choice is fashion design and it hurts deeply to know that I design clothes I may never get the option to wear.”
“I’ve never been particularly pious. But I used to love the feeling of visiting the Fire Temple every holiday,” says Meher Bharucha. “It’s such a nice community vibe and a warm homely feeling. All the same, arranged marriage was not my cup of tea.
I married my long time partner Abhishek. This presented no immediate problems, yet I’m unhappy because the laws of my community dictate that my husband and children won’t be allowed in to the Fire Temple.
“Entrance is permitted solely to Parsis. So, not being able to share this tradition with my son is regrettable.
Anjali Pillay is a Tamilian by birth married into a Maharashtrian family. “I’m happily married, but hate feeling like an outcast at times. There is a particularly strong belief among my Maharashtrian in-laws and relatives (one I’m thankful my husband does not share) that all ‘South Indians’ are dark-skinned and ergo-ugly.
It is often pointed out to my husband at family functions that love is blind, because he couldn’t he find someone fair from their own community.
“As a by stander, it’s quite insulting to hear and it hasn’t improved after nine years of marriage.
A chirpy Marwari belle of 23, Heena Chowdhary maintains that her family is quite progressive. “I’ve never had my wings clipped when it comes to my ambitions.
Yet, I dislike the caste-wide tendency of opulence when it comes to marriages. You won’t hear a mention of the word ‘dahej’ today, but everyone knows that’s what it is!
“For starters, the girl’s family mostly pays for the whole wedding. Then they must gift jewellery, clothes, automobiles and other appliances to the groom’s family and relatives. Apart from this the bride usually leaves with several kilos of gold. I frankly find this insulting because marriages are broken should you request a small wedding.
# The views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents (names changed for reasons of privacy) and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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