India · Life

Marriage, Divorce and Indian Society

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Take a few seconds before answering this — What if, one day after your marriage, you have to leave the “love of your life?”

Every kid in India, boy or girl, grows up in a kind of environment where s/he feels all s/he has to do is to study, have a good job (preferably in the public sector), marry and have kids. The job bit is more so for the guys. Girls are expected to work on their physical appearance. People from the West might find this to be absurd but that’s how we Indians are, or at least that’s how I feel we are.

Now consider that you’re in your late 20s or early 30s, the dream job in your pocket and your spouse by your side on the sofa. And consider that somehow, you have to divorce him/her. How is that for a shock?

As a culture, Indians are almost allergic to divorces. We tend to look down upon divorcees as lesser beings who are beneath us. Take a look around yourself and think about the divorcees in your acquaintance. You’ll notice the following :

1) Their number as a percentage of the total population is low, despite what scaremongers and doom predictors say.

2) The (especially) ladies in your locality behave with them fairly nicely on their face but will tear into them when they’re away as if they are spinsters or have questionable characters. If the divorcee is a young female, physically attractive at that, all hell breaks loose. The aunty would think 10 times before letting her teenaged son/daughter go to her home, lest she cast some spell on him/spoil her daughter the way she herself is. Sounds weird? It isn’t.

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The situation becomes even more critical if the person in question has a kid(s). A fractured family is the worst thing for a young, impressionable soul and having to be away from your own blood can be traumatic for the parents.

We strip divorcees of their humanity and consciousness and paint them with the colours of our own prejudice.

Think of that person as just that, a person. S/he marries someone her/his parents set up for her/him, a total stranger (most probably), then tried to adjust to her/his new life. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. So what was that person supposed to do? Honour and hypocrisy, the latter of which — as a dear colleague of mine never stops pointing out — we Indians are world-leaders in, will say the two should stay together and work things out. That it’ll all be rosy and hunky-dory in the end. But life doesn’t always work like that. What do you think? That that person deliberately wanted to break away from a lifetime of happiness and peace? Or that, since s/he was not resolved enough, s/he let the relationship fall apart? Or, as is the oversimplified and utterly pathetic way of society, it is somehow fashionable to say, “It’s not working anymore!” No. Absolutely not. That is not only a lamentable opinion, it is also disrespectful to the feelings and the conditions of the two people who are going through/have gone through a divorce. Generalization like that is fraught with risks. Everyone has some dreams regarding marriage — the sweet-nothings, the support and encouragement, the mushy moments, the stability etc etc — and as such, it is painful when those dreams have to be shattered, flushed down the drain.

Today, with rising incomes, late marriages, nuclear families, fast-paced lifestyle and better gender equality, people are more open to options other than staying in the same relationship for their whole life. It has to be accepted that sometimes that is not the correct option. Every relationship suffers strains at some point or the other. That doesn’t mean you don’t invest time and effort into easing the creases. Sometimes, people think they don’t need their spouse, that they are better off alone or with someone else. That might or might not be true, particularly when you haven’t tried to work on your marriage. But that’s their problem, isn’t it? That has nothing to do with your behaviour towards them. Divorce numbers are rising in our country. That much is borne out by the statistics. But try researching beyond that and you’ll see that it takes a lot more courage and conviction to split up than what we think the case is. Maybe it’s fashionable for film stars and celebrities (although I hope not!) but it isn’t so for everyday people, particularly those from the rural and semi-urban areas. People are concerned about what others will say (Log kya kahenge?). Being what we are, we are more concerned about warming our hands from the fire on someone else’s home than worrying about the sparks flying in our own backyard. Marriage might be said to be a bond for seven lifetimes (saat janmon ka bandhan) but preserving it for one lifetime is hard enough. I can hear you thinking, “How do you know? You’re single, aren’t you?” Well, ladies and gentlemen, you don’t need to go to the top of the Everest to know that it is the highest peak on this planet.

A person who divorced his/her spouse might have had compelling reasons to do so. And if you’re in any sort of relationship with them (romantic/platonic/business/social), take them as a human being first and foremost. You’ll probably be able to see that that person has qualities that can lighten up your mood. That s/he can be every bit as helpful as your best friend. That s/he has emotions like you do.

Don’t judge anyone before you know what they’ve been through. You’ve not been in their shoes, figuratively. Give people a chance. Sometimes a chance is all that’s needed to make a difference.

Share your thoughts on marriage and divorce in the comments section. You can also check out my post on Love Marriage vs Arranged Marriage in the Indian Context. Thanks for reading.

Images Courtesy : Google Images.

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30 thoughts on “Marriage, Divorce and Indian Society

  1. Really good post! Yup there are people who suffer the marriage just so that they don’t have to face the society alone! Let’s hope for that one day when ppl start working their saneheads and stop making them alone😐

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, but since you have tried to add your views, I’d like to hear them, how you think divorce and divorcees are viewed in society and your views on marriage and the post too. Go on.

      Like

  2. I feel bad that I missed so many good posts of yours!!! :/ Brilliant!!! Very thought provoking and meaningful post. Who ever thinks marriage and love are easy, are the ones who end up taking the worst step of divorce. Nothing in life comes easy, not even love. It needs effort from all fronts to get a relationship going. As the various factors mentioned by you might be one of the reasons for increasing divorce rates.

    Why don’t you try to publish this through some online publisher on some other platforms? Just a suggestion, as it will reach out more people, who aren’t bloggers. As such a meaningful and thoughtful post needs to be read and thought about! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all, thanks for the continued appreciation. I don’t know whether I deserve all of it or not. And try reading more posts from now on. Ha ha.
      This post came up with a few experiences I saw around myself, as most posts based on life experiences do. And yes, nothing in life comes easy. One needs to put in blood, sweat and tears to make things work, whether it be any relationship. God knows where we’re headed from here. Hope the future isn’t as bleak as I fear it is.

      To be honest, whenever I see posts from other bloggers that they’ve got published on other platforms, like yours earlier this week, I feel a mixture of confusion, envy and admiration. I tried mailing a few websites with samples of my posts from earlier on, offering to write for them but never heard back. And in due time, I stopped applying. And to think that one of the main reasons I started blogging was because I wanted a larger audience. I had written a review for MI : Ghost Protocol on my FB page and received a meagre response. So yes, I want my words to reach as wide a readership as they can. But, what to do? 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course you deserve appreciation! People who take time to read and mention good things about your writing, actually really mean them! πŸ™‚ First things first, I don’t know, how far it helps sharing your work on Facebook, as most people (specially the ones on your friend list, don’t really care!) I may be wrong, but this has been my observation. That’s the reason, most of us end up here on WordPress, as most of us are like minded. Wanting to write, trying to be read and willing to learn from fellow bloggers! As far as I know, your writing style and your work will definitely be accepted for publishing. You just keep trying. Don’t lose hopes. For instance, Women’s Web accepts writings that are not too complex and those that can be easily understood by an average reader. That platform has many male writers too! As long as you write about women issues/ gender equality/ relationships/ divorces anything that helps the society get better, will be published.

        Why don’t you try to apply writing for them, by sending one of your works? Because I see a good number of your writings about relationships, marriages and Indian society. I’m very sure, you will be approved as a writer there. They are quick to respond, unlike many who don’t leave a trace! This might just be the beginning step for you. Just a suggestion, I can help you give more information if needed! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It is reassuring to know that the work is appreciation-worthy. I mean, appreciation is we all are basically after, isn’t it?
          I concur with your views about the FB crowd. I mean, my own photos get 10-20 times more likes than that post got, and I’m not even either photogenic or very good with a camera. So that was sort of the last straw for me.

          I accept that I should have been more resilient and perseverant. A few cases of rejection doesn’t make a failure. And frankly, I’d be more than happy to be able to contribute to Women’s Web. I have never checked out their site/magazine so will do that. But regardless, I think the fact that they will provide me with a different and hopefully larger audience is the main thing here. A larger audience means more feedback, and that can only help me in growing more as a writer, which is exactly what I need. So yes, I’ll apply to them with a draft of one of my posts. Hopefully, I’d hear back from them.
          It’d be very kind of you if you could give me some more info, anything that could be helpful. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

          1. No problem at all! Facebook is more about photographs than content and it is more personal. Yes, Women’s web has a complete different audience and you will have more readership from various walks of life. It is an online community started by a group of women in Bangalore. They even organize meet and greets at major cities in the country each year. I was actually enrolled as an author long ago, even before I started this blog, lol. So, I just sent one of my original works and within a week or 10 days, I heard back from them. But I only submitted a post recently. I never imagined the readership I would get, it being my first post on other platforms. I got more than 460 views for one single article, which is way, way more than my blog here! πŸ˜€ Of course, I shared this on FB on my personal profile and most of them were curious as none of my friends know that I write, lol. I think that led to the views as well! Also, the community has about a lakh subscribers and followers. So, the reach should be good. It’s always encouraging to receive appreciation and recognition. Also, through this platform, I realized, how a content can be perceived differently by different people, irrespective of your idea of intention. So, I was taken aback, when I received some blunt comments, unlike the polite ones here on WordPress, :D.

            You can visit their FB page and also there website. You just need to create an account and send a post and your blog details. Let me know if you have any questions! I’ll be happy to share and help! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I am checking out their “write for us” page right now. Went through their terms and conditions before that and didn’t find anything out of the ordinary.
              You should try to be more frequent with your posts on that forum. The reason I say this is because the people who liked your earlier post will look forward to reading you again, either with a similar article or something different, but from your mind all the same. And eventually, it would lead to increased traffic for your blog too.
              I think the majority of your traffic for that post would have come from the subscribers of that forum itself, although your fb friends would have made a large chunk of the readership too, specially because they had no idea you were a writer.
              And yes, when we are putting our views on front of the big bad world out there on fora like that, we do risk facing some pretty blunt, vile and tasteless comments. But that’s occupational hazard, right? Plus that sort of experience helps us in maturing and developing a thicker skin.
              I’ll get back to you with questions, if I have any. Thank you again for the push. πŸ™‚

              Liked by 1 person

              1. True! Real world, real comments help us get better. Yes, majority of the traffic was from the subscribers itself! You are on the right track and looking at the right page! Hope you hear back soon after you apply. This should be a good place to start off for you! Yes, I have few ideas, but may take time before I write another post for them. Please feel free to ask any questions, when you have! Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

              2. I registered last night and even sent the link to this very post. Now let them analyse it and see how it goes.

                If you aren’t going to write in the immediate future for them, why not bulk up the number of your posts here, or apply to some other websites for contributing, provided you have the free time to do that? Should help you diversify, and increase traffic to your blog. πŸ™‚

                I’d surely contact you whenever I have a doubt regarding this. Thanks and enjoy your weekend. πŸ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

              3. That’s a good thought! But usually I think platforms like these prefer when we write content for them that isn’t published anywhere else. I’m glad you registered 😊

                Like

              4. You can bulk up on that too, provided you’ve got the time for it. Why don’t you sit down at your computer and start writing on the first thing that comes to your mind? Would be fun. πŸ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

              5. Yes. I desperately need to do that. I wish I can say I will right now. But, I’m afraid if I can’t publish it! Thank you for your encouragement. I will come up with something shortly irrespective of my satisfaction with the post. I think Im afraid, I’m losing my level of feel good factor of my content that I post. πŸ™„

                Liked by 1 person

              6. Again, I’d say the same thing I said to you earlier. Or what I generally say to people suffering from Writer’s block. Not each one of your post will turn out to be great, but if you write and post regularly, you’d ensure that more of them turn out to be amazing. Like all things, this writing also asks us to be patient, perseverant and determined.
                Hopefully this’d help you. Have a great week ahead. God bless. πŸ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

  3. I admit that I’m not well versed on Indian society so please forgive me if I say something out of turn. My exposure to the marriage culture has been television-driven. And American TV makes a spectacle of arranged marriage.
    I’m a Mormon convert, and in the past (like 1800s), marriages served dual purposes – protection for the wife in harsh living conditions and MAYBE love.
    Thank you for the post because it let me see a point of view of your culture that I wasn’t aware of!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Arranged marriages are a spectacle in India too. And a societal compulsion as well.
      Protection for the wife wasn’t a major reason in the society here. The woman was considered equal to the man, his ardhaanginii (half of his body and soul). But of course, that was a utopian thing and as time went by, conservatism and rigidity meant things got bad.
      Thank you for the wonderful comment. I myself don’t know much about the Mormon culture. God bless. πŸ™‚

      Like

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