Patriarchy has deep social and cultural roots, but one bride from Rajasthan's Jhunjhunu district is changing the status quo and how.
Gargi Ahlawat, who is soon to marry Delhi-based Kushal Gupta in Udaipur, is performing 'Bandori'- a wedding ritual - on a chariot, a privilege reserved only for the groom.
Gargi is an MBA from UK's University of Leeds. She's the daughter of Jhunjhunu MP Santosh Ahlawat and is set to marry in Udaipur. Gargi believes that only words are not enough to shape and change the patriarchal mindset of people and is therefore, riding a chariot and leading a procession.
According to the Bandori tradition, popularly practised in Rajasthan, both the bride and groom are invited to a feast by the relatives. The groom, however, gets to ride a horse.
Gargi challenged this ritual by riding a chariot drawn by a horse herself.
Gargi found immense support in the local people who swarmed to see the bride-to-be destroying the age-old belief of gender inequality.
She told Times of India:
People in rural and semi-rural areas can be influenced by action but not by articles in newspapers or TV shows. This action coming from the daughter of an MP can set an example for others to follow. A woman riding a horse carriage for the ritual is bound to be noticed and followed by other families soon.
One step at a time!