Mumbai: A couple from Mumbai stood out to break the patriarchal ritual to make a statement of equality on their wedding day. Both of them exchanged mangalsutras (sacred wedding thread) to each other, which usually is tied to the bride’s neck signifying nuptials.
The couple, Tanuja and Shardul’s love story began four years after they graduated college, when they reconnected on Instagram and found similar tastes in particular things. “We got to talking about feminism and I promptly told her, I’m a hardcore feminist”, said Shardul who spoke to Human of Bombay.
They dated for another year, before deciding to get married.
“In September 2020, when the first wave of the pandemic subsided, Tanuja and I started planning our wedding. That’s when I told Tanuja, ‘Why is it that only a girl has to wear a mangalsutra? It makes no sense!’ We were both equals, so I announced, ‘Even I’ll wear a mangalsutra on our wedding day!’, said Shradul, which got his parents a little shocked.
The relatives too questioned Shradul on his decision, yet he made another move towards equality by splitting on all of the wedding bills as he believed the girl’s side should not be the only one to pay for it all.
Shradul recalls, “Before the wedding day, Tanuja asked me, ‘Is it going to be a one day thing or you will wear it every day?’ and I said, ‘I’ll wear it every day!’.”
Few male guests at the ceremony weren’t happy about it, yet they didn’t say anything.
“But the next day, Tanuja and I woke up to a terrible internet backlash due to a digital newspaper who had picked up our story, people started commenting, ‘Now wear a saree also’, ‘Do you also bleed once a month?’ Even liberals started trolling me, ‘This is not the way to support gender equality’, these ridiculous trolls affected Tanuja in the starting but now these comments don’t get to us as much. Because Tanuja and I can define our relationship better than anyone else; we support each other’s work, believe in each other’s dreams, and are in this journey together. So, who cares what the world thinks?” Shardul says.
Now, as their story goes viral, the couple is receiving a lot of love and support from many around the country. Many commenting on the thread hoped that Kadam’s gesture can inspire others to do the same. The post on Humans of Bombay’s Instagram received over 1 lakh likes and several tens of thousands on Facebook.
“You made a powerful statement with the mangalsutra. It was your choice and people need to learn to respect it,” one of them said.
Another one said: “Amazing… who knows, maybe a new tradition just started with you.”
This story comes months after a bride in Kolkata drove her husband to the sasural after vidaai, breaking all stereotypes. All things nice!