By Srishti Chauhan:
India, since ancient times, has been a country thriving on traditions and customs. All of us, since birth, are introduced to some values and ways of life that are very unique to the Indian system. Since times immemorial, there are certain precincts that we follow- some of which are so intrinsic to our being that we don’t even think of them as confines.
Think about it- how often do you see a youngster who is otherwise a chain smoker; take a fag in front of his parents? Highly improbably, isn’t it?
As westernization creeps in, the values and restrictions are somewhat left behind and we look at life in a newer and less limiting manner. Not much long ago, in the 1990s, the divorce rates in India were as low as 7 failed marriages per 1000 marriages. As we stepped into the new millennium, the exposure that the developed parts of the economy gets has increased manifold.
Earlier a marriage, however tormenting, would go on for years and years and commonly till the end of a lifetime- all because of the multiple pressures that a person faces. The society, the legal system, parental and peer pressure and extensive moral policing by one and all could make a person continue the marriage even if the best way to define the relationship would be to call it a ‘farce’.
With the formation of a new structure, influenced strongly by the western value system, the moral policing by near-random strangers who hardly mean a thing in a person’s life has decremented largely. As women grow more and more sovereign, the need to rely on a man to earn the bread for the family has also nearly ceased to exist. With this new found freedom, women no longer have to spend eons thinking about the consequences of a broken marriage.
Still, the divorce rates in India post the beginning of the new millennium are as low as 11 failed marriages per 1000 marriages. I do not wish to put forward the theory that a failed marriage accounts for greater freedom of thought and action in the country. Certainly, not! However, we all know a couple who are quite unhappy with one another and still choose to stay together- mainly because of the reasons mentioned above. What the society will say or the shock their aged parents might receive or the desire to bring up their children in a normal family- all these and more make people rather reluctant to break matrimony.
There are two sides to the same coin. One school of thought might say that repeated broken marriages, which are seldom uncommon in the west, leave a deep impact on the subconscious. People tend to make this a habit by convincing themselves that they can’t find the perfect someone they would want to spend the rest of their lives with. It is said that recurring broken relationships cause a person to become cynical about the whole idea of being in a liaison.
Conversely, another school of thought regards this as a liberty to the individual that should be granted. A person should be able to move in and out of as many relationships as they desire in their search for the ‘perfect match’.
Both of these schools of thought are acceptable in their approach. As they say, too much of anything is dire. It is important for people to realize the importance of marriage, like they do in India and also realize the significance of personal happiness and freedom- like they do in the west. A combination of these two in the right proportions makes an ideal.
However, one thing that our elders have said, whose significance remains intact, is that every relationships- ranging from that of a mother-child to that of a husband-wife, requires certain amount of patience, adjustment and the will to make it work. Without these, every relationship is a failed one and every bond a charade.