June 3, 2023
“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.” --Richard Bach (b.1936), an American writer of numerous works of fiction and non-fiction.
The male dominance in Indian households had been traditionally accepted. But, with brides getting educated and employed and bringing loads of dowry to the marriage table, there is an open question as to who is the boss in the household. But, as that question is still alive, a new element on the scene is introduced in Karnataka (and announced on 2/6/23) and there is going to be some drama involving mother-in-law and daughter(s)-in law as reflected in The Times of India report dated May 31, 2023 and excerpted below.
Who’s the woman head of the family? Atthe (mother-in-law), Sose (daughter-in law) may fight over ?2,000 (per month) incentive
Belagavi/Bengaluru: The proposed implementation of the state government's ‘Gruha Lakshmi’ scheme, offering a monthly subvention of Rs 2,000, is said to have inadvertently sparked conflicts between ‘atthe’ and ‘sose’ in several households.
Instances of disputes between saas-bahu have begun to surface as family members argue over who should receive the monthly cash incentive. The lack of clear eligibility criteria in the Congress’ election manifesto, where they pledged to grant the monthly subsidy to the woman head of the family, has further contributed to the confusion among households.
On Tuesday (30/5/23), when women and child development minister Laxmi Hebbalkar was queried on the issue, she said it’s a decision for the family to take. But later clarified that the money should ideally go to the mother-in-law as she is considered the female head as per Indian tradition. “She can share the money with the daughter-in-law, if she wishes,” Hebbalkar added.
Public works department minister Satish Jarkiholi also concurred with Hebbalkar, saying the money should go to the mother-in-law as she is the head of the family.
Women activists felt the grant should be shared between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law if there is no consensus on who is the female head of the family. “This way there won’t be problems in the family,” said C Nagaratna, a woman activist.
“It is very difficult to take sides on this issue. The government should give money to both mother-in-law and daughter-in-law,” said Kavitha D, another activist.
Hebbalkar said it is too early to talk about terms and conditions in the implementation of the scheme, as the department has yet to discuss the modalities. “Some clarity will emerge after Thursday’s cabinet meeting,’’ she added.
It is traditionally accepted that the husband is the Lord in his house. But, even before education and female advancement came on the scene, some men were under the thumb of their wives. But the daily climax was in the bedroom of the couple, apparently not to scandalize their family members, especially children. They could hear the goings-in the bedroom and dominant voice was of the man who, after suffering the onslaught of his violent wife would say loudly: “Is that enough for you today?” Nightly drama over, they, mainly children, went to bed dreaming of their turn after marriage.