Last weekend, we were part of a hindu wedding. The couple accepted 7 vows that have been written ages ago. Even I remember accepting these same vows (with full knowledge) at our own wedding 10 years back.

For the first vow, the groom promises the bride: “om esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman” meaning ‘You will offer me food and be helpful in every way. I will cherish you and provide welfare and happiness for you and our children’.

The bride complied in return:“dhanam dhanyam pade vadet”‘ I am responsible for the home and all household and food responsibilities’.

For the second vow, she says ‘I will be by your side as your courage and strength. I will rejoice in your happiness.

During the fourth vow, the bride promises, ‘I will shower you with joy, from head to toe. I will strive to please you in every way I can’.

We were so overwhelmed at that time, that we accepted and made promises that were not just fully relevant to us, but some were in opposition to our beliefs. While I took vows of “providing protection, a home and finances”, Suruchi’s vows focussed on “making sacrifices, children and food”.

Those who know us, know that we both are equally interested in and capable of either, any and all of these things. But at the end of the day, we were both equally to blame for accepting a narrative that didn’t hold true.

While we absolutely love the idea of these 7 vows, we got talking at the wedding – don’t these need a bit of an upgrade to be more inclusive to today’s times?

Isn’t this an opportunity to sow seeds of an inclusive, equal relationship at one of the holiest ceremonies that is supposed to lay the foundation of married life? In fact it is time to open our minds, and let our next generation couples write their own vows.

As we are all talking about gender equality, diversity, inclusion, some of these fundamentals of our religious and social fabric need some rewriting to make sure we are leaving the right legacy for our children. Jombay’s facilitators and practice coaches often use this ‘7 vow activity’ in our ‘the art of being independently together’ (Inclusive mindset), ‘leadership has no gender’ (women leadership) and ‘together we can do great things’ (Men As Allies) programs to awaken the minds of our participants.

We tell the participants of these workshops and #DevelopmentJourneys – Equality in our lives or rather flipping the scales to the other gender begins at home 🙂 What do you think?

Mohit

P.S. 40under40 is heating up this year. See the stellar jury for this year. Nominations are closing fast. Here’s a link to join the 40under40 process this year! This year’s journey starts with a ‘Future HR Leader’ certification on Business Mindset, Digital & Data mindset, Championing Mindset, Collaborative Mindset and Inclusive Mindset.