My last week in India was very fast, I tried to compress everything in this couple of days.
I worked in the morning and in the afternoon I tried to discover those parts of Chennai that I had missed out, as well as film festivals and demonstrations.
This week I have been dealing with marriages, male – female roles and the dowry system, which was very interesting.
Although the number of love based marriages are on the rise, traditional Hindu marriages are arranged by families (parents, close relatives).
Choosing the right partner is done discreetly, which can take several months or even years.
Most of the girls will have been married by age 25.
Cast system, religion, culture, horoscope, education, physical appearance, etc. play an important role in the decision.
The couples are also studied by collating their horoscopes.
Although the dowry system is illegal, this habit is still exists in secret in many communities.
The large number of abortions in India (mainly girls) are a major cause of this assault, when girls get into the age of marriage, they take away a lot of money from the family …
It’s clearly visible – that men are the majority, estimating about 80 million women are “missing” in India.
What also was quite surprising to me that there are many transgenders in India.
So far, I’ve just heard about them and now I’ve met them personally.
Transgenders are people who are referred to as “third sexes” – either male-born women or male born in a female body.
I went to a film festival (Reel Desires Chennai) –they have been showing short films and documentaries about sexuality and gender diversity and as I was in Chennai, I was interested in this.
Also I have participated at a sanitary demonstration -was a part of my voluntary program.
I do not know if you know, but India is facing serious problems in hygiene, there are still no running water in hundreds of thousands of schools (mostly this affects girls) that’s why they are out of schools and there are no lavatory on the streets ….
We have tried to draw attention to the fact that drinking water, hygiene is a fundamental right, and their absence have effect on all areas of life.
I have often wondered what was really obvious to us at home … that is really not at other places.