Is the “Jamai” really a “Raja”?

India is multicultural and multi-lingual country and in many cultures in India, which are predominantly Hindu, the son-in-law is addressed as “Jamai” and is often called as “Jamai Raja” which when translated means that the son-in-law is a king.

In fact, many years ago, a Bollywood movie was also released named as “Jamai Raja”. This article is inspired by that movie. The crux of the story of the movie is the constant struggle between the son-in-law (the hero of the movie) and his mother-in-law (the villain of the movie) which appears to be a very commonplace theme.

However, in this movie, the mother-in-law is a very vicious, greedy, manipulative, egoistic and arrogant female who constantly tries to not only harm her son-in-law, who is a poor honest person with firm values, but also tries her level best to break the marriage of her daughter by demonizing the son-in-law and makes several attempts to trap him in false cases and also makes an attempt on his life.

The mother-in-law has also deserted her own husband. He could not bear her torture and led a life of solitude, away from his children, who grow up in a fatherless family, being raised by a single, abusive and feminist mother. The son-in-law traces the father and brings him back to the family. As the story progresses, he also unites the entire family and breaks the ego of his mother-in-law.

However, what’s important here to understand is that in the entire movie, the son-in-law undergoes so much of torture and harassment at the hands of his mother-in-law, risking his entire life and career that it really makes me think – Is the Jamai really a Raja?

The nature of abuse that is shown in the movie, though there are a lot of comic undertones to the presentation in the movie, is not unreal though. For many men, marriage is tumultuous and they mostly suffer at the hands of the mother-in-law who constantly attempts to prove her son-in-law wrong and keeps on instigating her daughter against the son-in-law.

Given, the huge number of men who suffer silently in their marriages, the abuse of son-in-law shown in this particular movie resonates with their wrath and espouses their concerns. The son-in-law takes up so much of responsibility in the movie, both for his family and his in-laws family, that it perfectly reflects the condition of Indian Jamai Raja’s who are often burdened with the responsibilities of extended families from both sides and they keep on taking the pressure upon themselves.

Let us now have an alternative view of the world. Imagine a story wherein a mother-in-law is out to abuse the daughter-in-law and is constantly making attempts to break her son’s marriage. First of all, such a movie would never be a comedy movie. Secondly, the son would be the prime target of abuse in this case as he would be expected to balance his wife and mother.

However, in this particular movie – Jamai Raja – the daughter never faces any problem at all; in fact, the son-in-law ensures that his fight with mother-in-law doesn’t affect his wife adversely. Hence, we see that in both the cases, it’s the husband who is expected to maintain balance and is supposed to protect his wife.

It’s this forced protector role on men, which is the root cause of abuse of men and also a major reason why crime happens. And this social pressure also explains the huge numbers of married men committing suicide in India. Every year ~ 64000 married men are committing suicides in India which brings the tally to one every 8.5 minutes!

And, yet, as a society, we are indifferent to abuse of men in marriages. As a society, we enjoy movies like “Jamai Raja” as mass entertainers, which in reality depict the despicable condition of Indian men in marriages and how much stress a man goes through, just so that his marriage keeps working and how much of a risk he needs to take, even endangering his life.

And even after, doing all this, all he gets in return is – abuse, blame, complaints, male hatred, anti-male laws and a stressful life.

So much for being a Jamai (a son-in-law), he is burdened more than the son of the family and is an unsung hero who suffers silently for the sake of his family.

Is he really a Raja (King) who just enjoys power without responsibility and has a pool of disposable males at his disposal for obeying his orders?

Whereas, our revered Jamai has a pool of expecting relatives who shower him with orders and the poor soul, soulfully obliges.

The phrase “Jamai Raja” is like an oxymoron and is another attempt to create an illusion that it is a respectable position so that men keep marrying and keep working for the family and the society. The gravity of the syncretism with which this phrase is used to deny personal space to married men is only condemnable at best.

The Jamai is not a Raja. And somebody with the mentality of a Raja can never become a Jamai. I guess, its time, we revisit our social notions and do away with such concepts as “Jamai Raja”.

6 thoughts on “Is the “Jamai” really a “Raja”?

  1. Good observation. Indian Hindu males are bestowed with such useless titles to boost their ego and put them in the wrong think track, while society tries to screw their happiness in every way possible. With the anti-male laws existing in this country, it could now be said that the Jamai is a kutta (dog) who should obey to every command from everyone and his contributions overlooked. He should have the patience of dog when the wife starts her tantrums like leaving the matrimonial home or files complaints with the Police and in courts, and he should do all the barking to explain that he is innocent leaving his job, business and other engagements aside. If fails me how narrowly the politicians

    and leaders of this country think. They frame laws directed for the benefit of a particular gender knowing full well what their contibutions are towards national indices like GDP etc. If that is the trend, I suggest that the laws mention exact percentages of property/assets each partner should get in the event of a separation, just like IT laws and income slabs (here it would be slabs of number of years in marriage without filing any complaint or cases, and children slab) and let the would be grooms decide if they would still like to jump in such marital bliss and if yes for how many years. Let PAN Card, PF details, and Bank details of both partners form an essential part of all marrige regsitrations. That would make marriages more simple rather than leaving everything that the Husband has in the hands of another anti-male male (in most cases)and the kutta running from pillar to post leaving his job and family to ensure that he gets justice to some extent atleast.

  2. This is reality of today’s Indian society Jamai has diminished as son-in-law and “Jamai Raja” is long gone.

    For many married men showing off as Jamai Raja or even husband, this blog is an Eye opener!

  3. My mother-in-law wants me to become Jamai – Naukar of wife’s house. otherwise they threaten me to false dowry case and trouble to my family ( to my old and ill mother-father and my younger sister suffering from asthma and spine decease )

    I am Rohit (Changed Name)- MBA- Job in IT sector – Father retired Army Men- i have 5 sisters 4 elders (Married) and one younger-single (Asthma and spine problem to younger sis).My Parents are in old age and in very critical health issue- Mostly my younger sister admit them in hospital manage all things. After 4th elder sis marriage on Feb 2013, My parents fixed my marriage in hurry for managing home. on May 2013 I got married – She(wife)was just 9th Pass.

    After 1 month of marriage she started to create problem in family- and increasing tension of my parents- she always fight with me and my sister- she wants to enjoy her life and wants to go out for shopping and fun instead of caring my old parents. She always demand to do all house work should be done my my sister, she will not do anything. she sleep long in morning and wake up very late -and in afternoon she do same with her sleeping and don\’t care my parents are hungry or not.

    After 2 months she started to threaten us to go back home at her house or otherwise she will commit suicide. She called up her father daily and told bed things about us and her father threaten me to blame – Dowry case or rape case of my wife. Her father and mother always told me to live saprate from my old mother and father and give full salary in hand of my wife,otherwise they warn me to create a false case of dowry and other related case to create problem for me and my family.

    This is just 14 months completed and she rarely live with me 3-4 months only at my home otherwise she lives at her father house when my parents are in hospital in critical conditions.

    (Her uncle\’s daughter told me something (understandable -secrete), wife refused and finally told me yes it was but 6 months before of marriage but not now) she ask me go at her home again and again and stay there for 4 months 2 months 3 months.

    her family is warning me to court case – what should i do – i am in very big trouble – i am not able to continue my job as high stress and tension, here my parents are not in good health and hospitalized. and here they (in law family) creating a big mind stress to me.

    Please give me advice regarding this. i will be great full to you. (in this stress i want to finish my life -because of my wife and her family threatens. )

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