Indian woman faces backlash after announcing plans to marry herself: ‘I am my own queen’

·4-min read

A 24-year-old Indian woman who said she was going to marry herself is facing a backlash on social media over the decision.

Kshama Bindu is from India’s northwestern Gujarat state and will tie the knot with herself in a traditional Hindu wedding on 11 June in what could be India’s first reported instance of sologamy.

The solo wedding will include all the features of a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony – from the pheras (rounds) around a holy fire, to wedding vows and even a honeymoon.

“At one point in my life, I realised that I don’t require a prince charming because I am my own queen,” Ms Bindu, who works at a private firm and is also a blogger, told news agency Press Trust of India.

“I want the wedding day, but not the next day. That is why I have decided to marry myself on 11 June. I will dress up like a bride, take part in rituals, my friends will attend my wedding and then I will come back to my house instead of going with the groom.”

Having received blessings from her family, who will attend the ceremony, Ms Bindu said she has already booked a priest to solemnise the marriage.

“I have observed that unlike in the west, self marriages are not popular in India. Hence, I have decided to start this trend and inspire others. People may not like my idea. I am confident that I am doing the right thing,” she added.

“Self-marriage is a commitment to being there for yourself,” she told the BBC. “To choosing the livelihood and lifestyle that will help you grow and blossom into the most alive, beautiful, and deeply happy person you can be.”

Describing it as a “deep act of self-acceptance”, Ms Bindu said sologamy is “my way of showing that I’m accepting all the different parts of me, especially the parts of myself that I have tried to deny or disown such as my weaknesses – be they physical, mental or emotional”.

News of Ms Bindu’s decision set social media abuzz with support and criticism alike.

“If someone is so self-sufficient and want to break the stereotype… what’s the point of marrying to oneself?” asked a user. “Break the marriage stereotype too... But I guess then you won’t be able to make it to the news... all in the name of modernisation and publicity.”

“You can live with yourself without marrying yourself,” wrote another.

Some questioned whether Ms Bindu’s self-marriage would stand up to legal scrutiny. “As per Indian laws, you cannot marry yourself,” senior high court advocate Krishnakant Vakharia told PTI. “There has to be two persons in a marriage (sic). Sologamy is not legal.”

“The Hindu Marriage Act uses the terminology ‘either of the spouse’, which simply means that there must be two persons to complete the marriage. Sologamy will never pass legal scrutiny,” said advocate Chandrakant Gupta.

But Ms Bindu also received messages of support. “Cute how a country, where young girls are still forced to marry trees and animals for all sorts of superstitions, is judging her,” wrote one Twitter user.

While sologamy has existed as a concept for years, the idea is a new one in India, where traditional ideas of marriage still hold strong.

The trend of self-marrying can be traced back to 1993, when Linda Baker, a dental hygienist, married herself in a ceremony attended by around 75 friends.

In Japan’s Kyoto, a travel agency organises bridal ceremonies for single women, while a wedding planning company provides self-marriage services in Canada.

In the US, one can buy a self-marrying kit including a ring, vows and affirmation cards.

Alexandra Gill, the founder of Marry Yourself Vancouver, told CBC News in a 2016 interview that women can afford to build their careers and create their own lives for the first time in history.

“Our mothers and grandmothers didn’t have this option... The idea of sologamy could involve the practice of self-marriage, but it’s also turning the stigma of the sad, lonely spinster on its head. Women are tired of being told they’re failures if they haven’t married by a certain expiry date.”

Last year, Brazilian model Cris Galera announced she would be divorcing herself just 90 days after self-marriage as she fell in love with someone else.

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