Calling oneself a feminist and practising it are two different things. However, for a Pune couple, feminism was about tweaking the age old Hindu rituals of wedding rooted in patriarchy and sharing the responsibility. Pune-based couple Shardul Kadam and Tanuja Patil tied the knot earlier this year, but there was a twist.
Unlike usual Hindu marriages, where the groom ties the mangalsutra to his wife that symbolises her marital status, Shardul decided that even he would wear the mangalsutra to show that he is serious about equality. Talking to Humans of Bombay, Shardul said that in 2020, when the couple was planning their wedding, he asked Tanuja why is it that only a girl has to wear a mangalsutra. He further said that since they both are equals, he will also wear a mangalsutra.
At first, Shardul’s parents were surprised and a few relatives asked him why he wanted to do this. Explaining his reason, Shardul said that for him, marriage was about equality. He did not stop just there, Shardul even said that he would like to change the tradition of the girl’s family bearing the wedding costs and told Tanuja’s parents that both the families would split the expenditure.
With all these progressive steps taken by her partner, Tanuja asked Shardul if it was going to be a one day thing or if he would wear mangalsutra everyday. To this, Shardul replied that he will wear the mangalsutra everyday. On the wedding day, when the bride and the groom tied the mangalsutra around each other’s necks, a few male relatives were not happy, but they did not say anything. However, the couple received a lot of trolling online.
The Humans of Bombay post showed the kind of harsh and insensitive comments received by the couple. Some asked Shardul to wear a saree as well, while others said that this was not the way to support gender equality.
However, the couple has risen above hate and continue to support each other despite the trolling. The duo said that they knew somewhere it might happen but the widespread backlash surprised them. But 4 months after their wedding now, the couple has learnt to ignore the trolling.
“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 said.