Saali adhi gharwali hoti hai.
You may have heard this saying before in movies, television serials and in casual family conversations. To roughly translate this phrase, it means ‘A sister-in-law is half-wife.’ This is a joke that is not just often told by men to their sisters-in-law but by society in general. However, this isn’t just a joke.
The phrase ‘Saali adhi gharwali hoti hai’ has a strong sexual innuendo. Instead of celebrating a relationship that has mutual respect, adoration and friendship, is it a socially-sanctioned license for men to make a pass at their sisters-in-law. Simply speaking, men can flirt (or even worse) with their sisters-in-law and if she takes offence, they can just say that it’s a joke and “saali adhi gharwali hoti hai”.
Why take this seriously? Because when inappropriate phrases like these are said over and over again, for generations, and oh so casually, it becomes an ingrained part of the human consciousness. It then leads to the sexualization and objectification of the women of the family (especially saalis and bhabis) which is just gross and can even lead to bigger crimes.
Hence, people on Twitter want this phrase to just vanish. When a journalist named Rituparna Chatterjee expressed how creepy this phrase is, a lot of people joined the conversation to condemn the mindset. Have a look:
I always felt creeped out by the phrase "saali aadhi gharwali". No she's not your semi-wife.
— Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) March 10, 2023
Absolutely cringe-worthy! Yuck!
— Rafiath Rashid Mithila (@rafiath_rashid) March 10, 2023
The leud expressions have been created by men to spread their wings beyond their monogamy. Women should repell that with full force without caring for the sweetness of relationship. If a man affects his relationship with wife due to this, is not worth.
— Naresh Kumar Mathur (@mathur_nk) March 10, 2023
Arekta achhe- Ghar me sali to Puri sal diwali
— Anuka Sen (@AnukaSen) March 10, 2023
It is very disturbing this whole culture of treating a woman as family property
— Grouchy Maxx (@softgrowl) March 10, 2023
I know, right! Even when Sooraj Barjatya tried to make this phrase look ‘cool’ in his family saga #humaapkehainkoun, with Mohnish Bahl saying it innocently addressing Madhuri Dixit, I didn’t find it comfortable then. I don’t agree with it now. Sorry, but no sorry.
— Monika Rawal (@monikarawal) March 10, 2023
I cringe when I hear that. It’s domination at a different level. And strangely accepted. I would hv slapped.
— Angshuman চট্টোপাধ্যায় (@awhetuk) March 10, 2023
And also saare adult friend circles me bas ek hi cheez hota hai maine dekha hai unwarranted flirting with each other’s wives
— Apurva Bansal (@ApurvaBansal077) March 10, 2023
My mother lost her elder sister at a young age with the oldest of her 3 kids being 6 years of age. They seriously considered marrying my mother off to her brother in law. Not only did my mother resist it, so did, thankfully, the widower, saying she deserved a life of her own.
— Kalyan (@kalyan_sundares) March 10, 2023
That’s absolutely nonsense. One should always treat SIL as younger sister.
— shashi Raj ششی راج शशि राज (@shashirajjj) March 10, 2023
There’s a reason why women, given a choice, would not want to live in a joint family.
— Mira N (@MiraNaik) March 10, 2023
Life is a continuous journey in learning and evolution . Glad to have reached a stage where I find it repulsive that growing up a few decades back, one accepted such things without getting creeped !
— AmazingHumanGeniusFakeParolta (@JeevesReginald) March 10, 2023
It’s time we stop using phrases like these.