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Demonizing Love Marriages In India: Whose ‘Honor’ Is It Anyway?

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By Atisha Srivastava:

India, being a secular nation, is still surrounded by orthodoxies, conservatism and patriarchy. Even after 66 years of independence, right to choose our own partner is considered sinful. Today, most of Indian families expect their children to marry the suitor which they have chosen for them otherwise the child is blamed of dishonoring the family and society. Why so? Why we are not allowed to choose?

forced marriage

Today, when women are the ones being blamed for most of the wrong doings in a family, such restrictions prevail when it comes to marrying a girl child. Girls, meant to carry forth the tradition and honor of the family, are not allowed to choose their own partners.

The first issue opening up here is that the degree of freedom given to girls and boys are different. Secondly, no one realizes the fact that it is very difficult for a girl to adjust with someone whom she has not even known for a day. Going into a new family, a new place, a different environment becomes all together a different world for her. How can someone expect adjustment in such a short span of time?

In a society where a girl is not even allowed to meet her husband to-be just a day before their marriage, is made to sleep with the same person the other night. Has anyone ever realized the psychological pressure on that girl? Do you really know how she feels about the sudden increase in the level of responsibilities on her? The pleasure which someone is deriving from her, does she really enjoy that?

No. She has been made to learn that she is meant to satisfy her husband and family. It makes me feel very sad to imagine the condition of such girls who are deprived of all of their rights just for the sake of family honor. Why is she not allowed to choose that one person with whom she wants to spend her life with?

Honor killing is a burning issue right now. Just because she has chosen someone for herself, she along with her husband is forced to take the road to heaven. Is family honor and respect more important than a child’s life?

Even today marriages are considered a burden, a job which is to be finished as soon as possible. But this is considered to be the most beautiful relationship and in order to sustain its beauty, it should be showered with blessings, happiness, peace, care, respect and lot more things. Such things require compatibility between two people, which is only possible when those two people are at least aware of each other. Parents feel that their obedient child is happy with whatever they have chosen. But when it comes to understanding the psychology, they step back and expect the child to compromise. Again I want to point out, this is especially with females. They are made to compromise everywhere. They are made to be the subordinate to their brothers before marriage and to husbands after marriage. Where are their own dreams? Why are they shattered before they even think of working on it. Girls do dream about their future partners and this is very natural. But very few could make their dream come true. All because of long flourishing tradition of arrange marriages.

My voice is not against arranging marriages but I strongly feel the right to choose their partner should be given to each and every individual. Indian constitution has given legal right to adults but when it comes to family, only parents’ respect and honor is taken into consideration.

I strongly raise my voice over this issue which really need to be looked after. Hope this will at least make our conservative families ponder once over this issue.

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  1. Raj

    Hang on, since when did men start choosing partners in arranged/forced marriages? Do men have a say if they don’t want to get married at all? Do men like having to support a strange woman and the kids for the rest of their lives when they would be happy doing something else? Aren’t men forced to give up their passions to take up jobs which pay them more since now they have to think about the comfort of their wives and kids? Don’t most arranged/forced marriages have the man as the sole earning member of the family, but on whom the least amount of money is spent (given that he has earned all of it)? This gynocentric view of societal problems is very unhealthy as it distorts the true picture.

    I am firmly against arranged marriages since they devalue the individual. I believe that children who are being forced into arranged marriages should abandon their parents and break free from their tribal mindset.

  2. Vishakha

    I think even if it is an arranged marriage, the girl should be allowed to date the person in advance. Then decide further whether to marry him or not. This way even the family wont feel that the girl disrespected them and the girl would also be little more comfortable in marrying the person. Why is the concept of ‘dating’ still looked as a taboo.

    1. Raj

      In the olden days, marriage was a pact of blood-relations between two clans, not a bond of love between two individuals. It meant that both the parties gave consent to a child being born with a mixture of their bloods. That regressive mindset is still in play today and that is why dating is forbidden since both the man and woman now could find partners that their clans wouldn’t approve of.

  3. reetusrivastava

    i think your aproch is very good but its imposible for you and your youth society. ““““““““`ceremonies for a hindu marriage“““`WHERE SUCH RITES AND CEREMONIES INCLUDE the““““““““`saptapadi““`that is the taking of seven steps by the ““bridegroom and the ““bride jointly before the sacred fire.““““`the marriage becomes complete and ““`binding“““““when the ““““““SEVENTH STEP IS TAKEN““““`I THINK“YOU FOCUS,CONCENTRATION AND INDEPTH READING OF THE SUBJECT REGULARY, CONSISTENTLY AND PERSISTENTLY.“““““““` ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`.“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ REETU ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

  4. nisshant

    A few months or year back i read in news paper dat an IIM girl committed suicide cuz her boyfriend shoved her ,n dere r so many cases , now can u imagine d plight of parents of deceased girl,u r saying dat girls r supposed to b subordinate of boys, when some guy teases u who goes to save u ?its ur brother , who takes d risk of his life to save u ,? its ur brother ,who cooperates u in ur studies , who guides u in ur career , father invests his hard earned money on u send u to iims n u commit suicide for d person who u know for not more dan at most five years , if u have right to choose ,a boy have also right to choose , if he doesn’t like u ,u ll commit suicide!a boy is not ur chattel dat u order him n he ll squat on her knees offering u the wedding ring. Today we see no. of spinsters r increasing lips n bounds cuz girls r searching her husband she tries different boys but boys only play wd dem no body is ready cuz boys r obedient he has to protect d honor of his family by tying d knot wd right woman .U women r so selfish dat u dont think about others life u can sacrifice whole family’s life for ur happiness ,i have seen women sleeping wd her brother’s friend n there by making her brother a laughing stock in society, n d person with whom she is sleeping is telling d whole world look ! i sleep wd her sister ,her sister is a whore ! slut ! how honored her brother must b feeling ,mind it every body has right to live wd dignity n its constitutional right once a person’s dignity is bruised his progress is jeopardized,n no body has right to stifle someones progress, so in d process of getting a perfect groom she has to become a slut ,ya some women may b lucky to get one shot fire but mostly it proves to b many shot game leading dem to make a slut!n during this period whole family suffers ! ,These days women become 30 in quest of dere perfect groom ,do u know what is d meaning of 30 for a women ? she is now redundant! because of dese unfortunate circumstances marriage has to b arranged. I m telling u a story as u women r megalomaniacs ;a few years back a girl proposed me for friendship ,i didnt pay heed den again she insisted me to b her friend ,i thought whats bad in being a friend its ok! i didnt know her future plan,she slowly started her manipulation so she can make me her boy friend , n she did everything but i was not a child i cd understand her stratagem , but any way i had to get rid of her ,n i was amazed at her confidence she was sure dat she can ensnare any one n she had already a boy friend still she used to proclaim her piousness wow!so in getting a familiar groom a woman has to b intimate wd so many persons ,do u think such kind of women deserve marriage ? i dont think so!

    1. Raj

      You are blaming all women for being selfish and thinking all men protect women’s and family’s honor. Therefore you need to masturbate since you are clearly spasming with tension and anger. Go to youtube, search “Sunny Leone” and calm yourself down.

    2. Piya

      First of all Nisshant, if you actually want people to read and understand your argument in a public forum, you might want to use complete words, a grammar guide and maybe try spell-check before you post your rant. Aside from that, allow me to address your “points” one by one.

      You say a girl’s brother is responsible for hand-holding her, being her savior, protector, tutor(??) and career counselor – I don’t have a brother but i still managed pretty well in terms of protecting myself, doing my homework in school and choosing a good career path. Why does your argument make it sound like women are helpless creatures dependent on some male figure or the other to be her crutch throughout life – your view is extremely narrow-minded and idiotic. How one girl deals with her personal relationship has nothing to do with women in general. How many times have women had acid thrown in their faces because some guy can’t “handle” rejection? What happens when lovesick romeos committ suicide because a girl doesn’t like them? I’m sure your answer will be, she was asking for it or she led him on and drove him to suicide. The thing is your type is so goddamn chauvanistically PREDICTABLE, it’s sad AND pathetic.

      Secondly, your point about girls “trying out” different guys and guys being absolute saints and “obedient” to follow their parents’ wishes and protect family honor – I actually laughed out loud at this and then thought you must be really quite clueless and not to mention a massive misogynist to actually have deluded yourself into this state of mind. People like you who are ever ready to point fingers without knowing anything, should stop and take a good look at themselves in the mirror – and then start paying attention to your world today before jumping to stupid, baseless assumptions and making yourselves look like idiots in a public forum. In your case, the woman who slept with her brother’s friend is not at fault, but the asshole she slept with who announced their private affairs to the world IS grossly at fault. And if her brother was ANY sort of man with some sense, he would have beat the shit out of this scumbag “friend” for disrespecting his sister. It’s so easy for people like you to blame the woman without even thinking about the situation first and you make me physically sick when you spout your ludicrous ramblings in forums like this.

      Thirdly you say in the process of finding the perfect groom a woman has to become a slut?? Seriously? What planet are you from? Did you learn ANYTHING at all in the process of your evolution into adult thinking? Because it definitely doesn’t seem like it. What makes you think a woman has to sleep with men to find out if they’re potentially worth marrying or dating? Because in a world that makes sense unlike you, a woman can also spend time getting to know a man in terms of his likes, dislikes, attitude, character and THEN not find him suitable for herself. You sound like a grade-A, certified imbecile for coming up with this grade-A, certified bullshit.

      Fourthly, where the hell do you get off saying a 30 year old unmarried woman is ‘redundant’?? Being an adult yourself, I think a 5 year old can make more sense of this topic than you. Let me tell you something, I’m 30 and I’m getting married to the love of my life this year because I was not in a hurry to a) listen to idiots like you and b) get married to some idiot like you just because I was “running out of time” according to society. I happen to know successful women who got married in their late 30s and early 40s and are much happier and fulfilled than the girls whose parents were in a tearing rush to marry them off or those girls who marry early because it’s the “norm”.

      Finally, Megalomaniacs eh? big word for someone who can’t spell ‘leaps’. I have nothing to say except like your entire argument, it’s a massive-stereotypical-assumption-filled-steaming-pile-of-shit. However, it’s the one thing I actually buy out of your entire rant – you must make a lot of money because any woman who finds YOU attractive is clearly a “megalomaniac” or else she’s got some serious mental health issues.

      In my well-meaning opinion, Nisshant, people like you need to take a break from voicing your opinions altogether in any kind of public forum. Our society needs you to talk less and listen more in order to gain some acceptable level of moral intelligence. I truly hope you stay single as I’d hate to think you were making your poor/megalomaniac wife (as the case may be) put up with your stupidity and spreading this kind of garbage to your kids. If you HAVE done all of the above then… I’ll pray for all of you, but mostly you.

  5. vidhi

    in my opinion arranged marriages are not a bad idea unless they are forced…
    there is no harm in trying to know the person your family has chosen for u..and later if u don’t find him/her apt. for yourself you can justify yourself before the family.
    families obviously wont like a person who’ll not be able to fit in the family culture in the near future..what matters is just your approach and how good u are at convincing and understanding the human behavior..
    for those who find only men as the saviors of the family culture must know women and men both act as the wheels of a chariot and if even one is hampered..the situation is same as that of “Karna” in the battlefield of “Mahabharata” you are a dead man.

  6. Shilpi

    Raj …do you think this misguided man nissant has not done that!!!!! He must have..the only thing that distinguishes us from him is that..he is hypocrite..he will do everything but give moral lectures …and we are honest in what we belive and do!!!!! a woman or man gets intimate with one or 10000…its his/her one in the world has the right to judge that….piousness is NOT BEING VIRGIN…a woman’s character does not lies in her vagina!!! For all who think so…. you were born out of it…!!!! If you cant respect that…you cant respect yourself!!!!..He feels suffocated coz he cant digest the fact that youth are claiming thier sexuality and choice in the society ….and he cannot!!!! People like these will alwys pull you down,try to break you ,shake you..remain unaffected and awesome 🙂

  7. Kay

    I agree one hundred percent. ..the freedom of living life on your terms very important

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