« Thread started on: Dec 6th, 2003, 10:35am »
I am reluctant to provide feedback as my experience has suggested that all information given to the adult "Desi" community is used against its youth. However, your piece has come at a sad time for me as another "Desi" daughter in my classroom is in my opinion being abused by the parents you describe. She is not the first and I know she will not be the last to tell a teacher what she can not tell parents because trust has become impossible in an atmosphere of conflict and control. This daughter has already attempted suicide once when faced with existing or simply being an object that does what it is commanded to do - in essence a slave. I am not at all happy at the number of accounts of extreme reactions to normal healthy development of a sense of self. Too often your "Desi" culture so narrowly defines the female role, and at times the male role too, that girls come to the classroom with no self esteem and little desire to see their future. They often describe their life in bleak and hopeless language of despair and fear. Sons often tell different stories that make it clear their freedoms allow them to have an independent sense of self. Their choices are not attacked and they are given trust far more often. I unfortunately know this from close contact with many "Desi" family elements.
You may not be aware that the open attack on "Desi" daughters leaves them with such low self esteem they actively look for means of escape. The very things you claim you fear are often used as such means. Although most "Desi" girls do not see substance abuse as an escape, they do see healthy relationships with boys as positive and worth examining for escape possibilities. Their sense of worth is built up by the attention of the boy and they then learn to set the value of that attention based on its motives and context. "Desi" girls are not stupid when it comes to boys - they know about these things because they allow themselves to experience these relationships despite parental threats. It is one of the few areas of life wisdom they have good command of because they experience things. Experience, trust, and compassionate support are the keys to a healthy relationships, and often the "Desi" youth find those elements anywhere but in the home.
I am almost ready to give up these days with yet another loss of a "Desi" student to an parental (and strange enough - most often the mother more than the father) extreme reaction to the possibility of their daughter experiencing life beyond their control rather than trusting their daughter is intelligent, has a sense of her soul and wisdom that will help guide her, and then allowing life to flow - trusting nature and healthy nurture will be able to respond with wisdom to the situations that come up.
I am Canadian, but your choice to describe Americanized life as "anything goes" suggests to me that you too may not be aware of the western wisdom of allowing our children to experience life and develop with guidance. From my point of view on this day, I must say I feel your "Desification" objective aims at perpetual childhood for daughters making them weak and always subject to the male dominance that is the result of males being allowed to become adults. Let your daughters live and grow. You are right - they are very intelligent and have more wisdom then you know. Trust them and the path they choose. Guide, do not control. Being there for your children is more important than attempting to be your children - as if you could be their mind and heart and think and feel everything for them. I often can not figure out how "Desi" parents can accept saying such hurtful and destructive things to their children who despite this behaviour still view the parents as their primary relationship for basic psychological reasons. I have known "Desi" parents to send their child from school to India because a boyfriend had emerged - had the daughter tell me how it broke her to be forced to a dance school for two years before being allowed to return - and to hear that she now looked for any opportunity to escape. My prayers are with her. I sadly find myself in a growing position of conflict with what seems to me abusive parenting.