Hudaibia Iftikhar

The union of marriage celebrated as a significant milestone, often marks the alleviation of parental responsibilities for daughters. Yet, the critical element of consent in a daughter’s life journey is sometimes overlooked. Post-marriage, the daughter-in-law’s role can transform into an unpaid maid, diligently managing household chores and striving to maintain harmony within the in-law’s abode.

Despite their unwavering efforts, daughters continue to encounter societal judgments. If they remain at their parental home, society remarks, “Daughters belong to another household.” Post-marriage, any oversight becomes fodder for taunts, with phrases like “parents didn’t teach her anything at home.” The daughter’s commitment to the well-being of her husband, in-laws, and children often overshadows her aspirations and identity.

While fulfilling these responsibilities, daughters silently question why their consent wasn’t sought when determining their fate. Parents, who raise their daughters with love, sometimes neglect to consider their daughters’ desires when it comes to marriage. A daughter’s right to choose her life partner is often sacrificed, raising questions about her agency and autonomy.

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Arshia Ahmed from Nowshera embodies a narrative where consent is disregarded, leading her into a challenging marriage. Despite her educational background in Urdu, Arshia finds herself navigating a life she never envisioned, burdened by a discontented spouse. Reflecting on her life’s trajectory, Arshia shares, “I have stopped even thinking that I even have a life. I have forgotten how to live for myself long ago.”

Arshia, grappling with the harsh realities of her marriage, has become a mental health patient seeking treatment. Her pleas for understanding fall on deaf ears within her in-law’s home, and sharing her struggles with family members seems futile. Her predicament reflects the consequences of neglecting a daughter’s voice in the crucial decision of marriage.

Arshia’s story sheds light on the emotional toll exacted on daughters when their agency is sidelined. The narrative underscores the importance of recognizing and respecting a daughter’s right to choose her life partner, fostering an environment where her aspirations and well-being are central to the marital decision-making process.

Note: Hudaibia Iftikhar is a feature writer and blogger.