West Bengal bride’s father gets threat calls for bucking ‘kanyadaan’ custom

Kolkata: A bride’s father has started getting threat calls from different people and fundamental organisations after he decided to break away from the custom and wrote on the wedding invitation card: “Kanya is not an object to given as daan (A daughter is not an object to be given as charity)”.

The bride – a resident of Nadia in south Bengal — is supposed to get married to a government employee in Kolkata in the second week of December.

In the invitation, the father also wrote “Kanya daan noi – Rakta daan (Daughter is not charity – blood donation is)”.

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With the invitation card seen as breaking away from the traditional Hindu custom of kanyadaan, where the father “gives away” his daughter, the man’s strong take at the age-old, traditional custom that challenged the patriarchy has met with strong reactions from fundamental Hindu organisation as well as from individuals.

The day the invitation card was circulated among friends and relatives, the family started getting several threat calls where the bride’s father was even given death threats.

Contacted on the phone number printed on the invitation card, the bride’s father, who requested several times not to reveal the identity of the family, told IANS: “My daughter’s marriage is purely a family function and I had no intention to invite any controversy. What I wrote was purely from my personal belief and I had the support of the family. I never thought that this would lead to a kind of a controversial situation.”

Asked whether they have approached the police, he said: “I didn’t go to the police because my daughter’s life is involved in it. I am also worried about my family. I can’t do anything now because all the cards have been distributed and I cannot take them back even. I only wanted to say that my daughter is not an object and that was my intention behind writing that in the card.”

Earlier, an advertisement for a lehenga brand featuring Bollywood star Alia Bhatt as the much-indulged daughter and granddaughter, fired debate on social media platforms and elsewhere on the age-old tradition of giving away the daughter after it showed Alia asking: “Why must a woman be commodified through the custom of kanyadaan? literally donating a daughter.”

The advertisement sparked widespread debate from Hindutva activists forcing the brand to remove the advertisement after receiving threats.

Asked whether he was inspired by the advertisement, the father said: “It was an advertisement where there is an involvement of crores of money but this is purely a family function where the life of my daughter is involved. I did it from my belief and progressive thinking.”

Though there has been no police complaint, police have started taking information in their own way. Asked about it, a senior district police officer said: “We cannot say anything at this point of time. We are trying to establish contact with the family.”

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