Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Only Daughters
September 3, 2007

Today’s conversation in my Bangla class was about a poor man from the villages who was smart and ended up marrying his boss’ daughter. Apparently, parents who have only one daughter and no sons want their daughter to continue to live at home with them even after they are married. (It is traditional for wives to move into their husband’s parents’ house after marriage.) Consequently, often wealthy families with only one daughter will look for poor, but smart young men. They will then pay for the education of the man so he becomes a doctor or engineer or something and then marry him off to their daughter. After the marriage, the father gives all of his land and property to the husband, so they all live together in the wife’s parents’ home.

Apparently this arrangement is also not uncommon if a wealthy family has a daughter who is (according to my Bangla teacher!) fat, ugly, or physically/mentally handicapped. Although dowries (or jotuk) are illegal in Bangladesh, this sort of arrangement still occurs.


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