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Why I wore a mangalsutra at my wedding

By ANITA AIKARA
May 10, 2021 17:43 IST
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IMAGE: Shardul Kadam and his wife Tanuja on their wedding day.
Photographs: Kind courtesy Shardul Kadam/Instagram

Shardul Kadam decided to take the unconventional route and break masculinity stereotypes by wearing a mangalsutra at his wedding.

"Why can't I wear this auspicious thread as a symbol of our relationship?" asks the 29-year-old Pune resident as he explains the emotional significance behind his decision.

"The word mangal means auspicious, and sutra means thread. When put together, mangalsutra means an auspicious thread uniting the souls.

"It symbolises the married couple will be mates for life, until death separates them."

The philosophy behind the mangalsutra seemed absolutely impressive to Shardul, but he was uncomfortable with its interpretation.

"It is considered to be an ornament worn by women to signify marital status. I wondered, why can't I wear it as well, to signify my love towards my wife?" he says.

When Shardul tied the knot with Tanuja, he got his mangalsutra especially designed by Sayali Marathe from Aadya Jewellery.

His mangalsutra features a pendant inspired by the sun, and it symbolises something that is constant -- today, tomorrow and forever. "The same pattern has been reflected in a bracelet too."

When Shardul announced his decision to Tanuja, she wanted to know whether it was a one-day affair or something for life.

His answer was that he would wear it every day. "My wife and I love each other equally. So shouldn't we think twice before differentiating on the basis of gender?" he asks.

Shardul took to Instagram to share pics of his mangalsutra and his post received mixed reactions. While many welcomed the decision, there were others who reacted negatively.

"Everyday I am getting several messages from people who tell me how my action has given them the hope of equality. Many men mentioned that they may do what I did."

Just the fact that people are speaking about how his gesture is one small step towards squashing gender stereotypes makes Shardul happy.

"The public discourse about equality is good enough for me. I don't expect or want people to follow what I did.

"It was my personal choice. But yes, the positive feedback I am receiving from people inspires me and gives me strength."

According to him "the mangalsutra is just the tip of the iceberg. I know just wearing a mangalsutra will not bring about gender equality."

"My wife and I have decided to divide our work at home by ability and willingness, and not by gender."

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ANITA AIKARA / Rediff.com