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Hindu Dad Refuses To Participate In Orthodox Ceremony With Son To Appease His In-Laws

Hindu man holding his son
triloks/Getty Images

When it comes to children, religion and culture, a lot of family members voice opinions and apply pressure on parents to conform.

While some may think complying to appease family is no big deal, others think remaining true to their own values is important.

A father found himself facing pressure from his in-laws, then after several visits to see her parents his wife joined in, then once his wife agreed his parents advised he acquiesce to keep the peace.

So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Esoteric_delusion asked:

“AITA for being pissed for not wanting an orthodox ceremony for our son?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“This may sound pretty stupid, nevertheless I want to post it here and hear your opinion.

My (male, 36) parents, in-laws and wife (female,  34) want to have this [Hindu] orthodox ceremony for our son (2), and I am against it. While my wife was pregnant and during the first few months after birth, she agreed with me.”

“Later, my in-laws visited us, and she visited them a few times and suddenly she changed her decision and now wants to have this ceremony. Or rather, she wants to do it for her parents.”

“I am against this, because it celebrates the orthodox hierarchy [caste] system and all the hypocrisy that comes with it.”

“A year or so back, my wife agreed to it as I wanted my son to be out of this age-old orthodox mindset and to be better than that.”

“I lengthily spoke to all my family members about why I want to opt out and why I have another opinion and that I want my son to grow in a different and a better way.”

“Now, if I do it (because of their pressure), I will be a laughing stock as my words mean nothing and it would just be seen as an immature rant.”

“Additionally, this ceremony must be done by the father as the mother has no rights (a patriarchal mindset). So, I am in a way, just the last piece in the puzzle.”

“It was also shocking to hear that my wife is ok with the patriarchal mindset for this ceremony because it makes her parents happy.”

“To summarize, I am the only one not happy about it and everyone is angry at me for making a big fuss about it.”

“We are a Hindu family and my parents and in-laws are of Brahmin [the highest] caste. The ceremony is harmless but if I do it, there will be many more to follow with similar arguments.”

“I even offered that I will be out of it and that my wife can do it in my stead. But no, the religion does not allow women to do it.”

“Only the father should. And that is one of the many views I completely reject.”

The OP added:

“We have discussed it many times and the only thing important here is that my in-laws and my parents will be happy with this ceremony. And therefore my wife wants it. She has no belief in this and if it is only her, she doesn’t care as she is not orthodox.”

“My question is, what does it bring to my son? Nothing.”

“What does it bring to us? Nothing.”

“Why do something to satisfy few people who would comment bad if the ceremony does not take place?”

“Most important of all: is that how I want my son to grow?”

“I reject the whole caste system and I do not want my son to adhere to it too. Of course I will inform him about it in neutral terms as like any other information.”

“But thinking on the lines of caste and other such stupidity is an absolute no-go for me.”

“My wife gets emotional and says she wants to do it for her parents. Period.”

“Her parents want it because the relatives will think bad of them if we do not do it. As you can see, it is not for my son or my family. It is to show that they are conforming religious citizens.”

“The bigger problem is, there are more ceremonies to come at different ages. Where does it stop?”

“I (and I am sure my wife too) want my son to be better than us and not fall to the religion and caste dogma which is very bad in my opinion. Therefore, I am against all those things that try to bring him into it.”

“I have grown up with the religion and caste mindset. Seen family look down on others based on this.”

“I am not preaching anyone in my family to do anything. Rather, I am asking them not to expect me to follow what I do not believe in. And that is how I put my points why I do not want my son to have the ceremony.”

“However, it is a matter of emotions and what the society thinks of them.”

“‘How should I answer when people ask if the ceremony is not being held for my grandson’ is the only strong point they have. The ceremony is not for my son or for my wife or myself. It is to appease the society that they are conforming.”

“If I start here, they will start pushing for every ceremony and before I know, I have raised him that way, which I very much do not want to. If he later chooses it by himself, then that is up to him.”

The OP summed up their conundrum.

“I might be the a**hole to not agree with everyone about the ceremony and to be angry at them trying to make the ceremony happen.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.

“If it’s a patriarchal mindset they’re into, then you—the father—have already made up your mind and they should accept it. It’s a bit of a joke if the father has to be bullied into this ceremony. NTA.” ~ SnooBooks007

“It’s also good to draw this line in the sand with the ILs now because they will see that they can pressure OP into doing their bidding otherwise.” ~ Heavy_Sand5228

“NTA. It is fair for you to be able to choose what religion (if any) you want to expose your child to.”

“It would be really frustrating for your partner to at first support you, and then switch teams as soon as she talks to her parents about it. If she is only doing this to appease her parents, then it’s even worse.” ~ dngisborne2

“Stand firm, my friend. I’ve seen this countless times.”

“The family ‘appears’ to be accepting of your views but then just bide their time and then weasel their way in with ceremonies and such. ‘It’s only <whatever>. Why are you making such a fuss?’.”

“Like you’re the one with the problem. Eventually, they all gang up on you which is what they are doing now.”

“Draw a clear boundary. I wouldn’t even discuss it with them. The wife is a different story, but I wouldn’t let her change the terms she already agreed to either.” ~ Mister_Silk

“I’m glad you reject it. The caste system has zero positive to it except for keeping the top at the top.” ~ peachesfordinner

“NTA. Your wife needs to realize that making her parents happy can not be her first priority anymore. Her child and her husband need to come first.” ~ r_coefficient

“NTA. I don’t think children should be forced to undergo religious ceremonies they neither understand nor can consent meaningfully to.” ~ namesaretoohardforme

“NTA. Don’t do stuff that doesn’t sit right with you, especially when it involves your children.” ~ DutchDaddy85

“Absolutely NTA. This should really be a ‘two yes, one no’ situation—that is, you only proceed with it if both parents say yes, if one says yes, end of it.”

“And no, your in-laws do not get a vote. They can express their opinion, you can hear them out….And then it’s down to you and your wife.” ~ Alan_Prickman

“NTA, your wife agreed with you and for whatever reason, changed her mind afterwards. It was agreed the entire time that you would not do this ceremony, and I think she should respect your wishes, and decision, to not want to be a part of it.”

“Sure, talking things over if she changed her mind is okay, but to then join with everyone else in trying to pressure you to do something you don’t agree with and you voiced your uninterest in the first place, your opinion should be respected.” ~ Temperbell

“NTA. Never compromise on what is best for your son to appease others. Especially not your inlaws.”

“Also if they actually believed this othodox system then they would respect your choice. Their subversion of it for their own priorities is more damaging and disrespectful to that system then your outright refusal.” ~ LiesTricks

“Ask your wife who she would prefer to make happy. You or her parents. NTA.” ~ life1sart

The OP added a message after receiving judgment. 

“Thank you all for your support and honest opinions. I really appreciate it.”

“Best thing is, my parents did not do the ceremony for me or my brother.”

“In a way, sharing it here did help me. Wish you all a nice day!”

If the parent considers a tradition or ceremony counter to their beliefs, doing it to appease family is ill-advised.

These parents—andnot the grandparents—need to decide how they want to raise their child.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.