The (Im)Perfect Indian Marriage: Why We Need A Better Understanding Of The Institution Of Marriage

Posted on August 18, 2014 in Dowry, Society, Taboos

By Ankur Gupta:

Very recently, a dear friend of mine penned down his thoughts about marriage, further making it quite intriguing for me to think about the subject. For someone like me, who is yet to get over Narendra Modi’s landslide victory and Arsenal’s FA Cup win, the article came as a very different experience. The piece of writing spoke of the numerous niceties involved in a particular Indian style wedding, further making me ponder on similar lines.


They say, “Marriage is an institution”. An institution of relationship, trust, companionship, belonging, and love. In today’s society, it is considered to be one of the most important chapters in the life of an individual, if not the most important. Be it for societal, ritual, or traditional reasons, we in India have “larger than life” opinions about the much-talked about term. There is so much ballyhoo around the subject, that we have, indeed, forgotten the real essence behind “Marriage”.

Generally speaking, humans like to be clustered. Wanting to be social is one of the natural virtues we tend to find in the current race of people. For a major period during childhood and teenage, we are accompanied and supported by our parents and friends. But then a phase arrives in life when you find yourselves all grown up. A phase when you realize that your life, which you thought to be comprehensive, is incomplete. It is that time, when you seek stability in every sense you can think of.

I strongly believe that some way or the other, marriage tends to make you complete. Achieving happiness should not be the sole reason for getting married. Instead, happiness is the result of a healthy marriage. On the other hand, if you have a notion that your spouse will take care of all your emotional and physical needs, be prepared to get disappointed. Expecting your wife to just cook delicious meals for you all day, or for that matter anticipating your husband to give you all the love you’d ever hoped for, is uncalled for.

You are not a toddler who needs somebody to look after. You are supposed to be mature enough while you decide upon getting married. However, the relationship between a newlywed husband and his wife takes time to mature. It grows and blossoms through mutual respect and understanding. Thus, it is important to give ample time to your partner before you start expecting things out of him or her.

There is a reason why spouses are called “better halves”. They see the best in you, and help you identify the worst in you as well. Your partner provides an altogether new dimension and meaning to your life. But unfortunately, in our country, this special occasion is being used up by people for their selfish and individualistic gains. Dowry is one of the worst by-products of such fanatic thought processes. The reason for such a huge number of female feoticide in India partially lies in the previous statement.

It is time to take a firm decision- one, of boycotting the dowry system in marriages. We talk a lot about love and arranged marriages, and how the society has been forcing its own people to marry on the basis of caste and creed. These issues still linger around us due to the narrow sightedness of our elders, and the blind faith we continue to have in our historical ritual systems. We contemplate with our dear ones regarding how to go about choosing the right person for marriage, but never fret upon the heinous dowry ritual, which is an equally grave matter of concern.

Mostly prevalent in the northern states of our country, people consider offering money to the family members of groom, as a well-taken ritual. Even the educated grooms of today’s era take a sense of pride when offered money in accordance to their profession or educational qualifications. It is pathetic to see how we have stooped down to such low levels of humanity. The bride and her family find themselves at the helm of the groom until the ceremony is complete. Even some of my colleagues, who graduated as engineers from one of the premier colleges of India, have gone on to participate willfully in the sick tradition, by accepting huge amounts of money during their marriage. The situation has gone from bad to worse, and even though I would want to believe that the society is changing, it is beyond doubt that the ongoing transformation is too slow.

Though many people might resonate with my opinions, it doesn’t add up unless we follow what we preach. If you are still to get married, try your level best not to accept or offer dowry in your wedding. Moreover, you have a larger say when it comes to marriages of your siblings and cousins. Make your elders understand about the intensity of ill effects dowry has on the two individuals involved. Though it might be very difficult to infuse fresh ideas into the mindset of our elders, but unless we try, nothing will change.

The perfect Indian Marriages might live up to the romp and hype built around them due to the involved celebrations, but the dowry system which thrives under the artificial revelry, takes off the real charm and essence behind the fusion of two souls.

I will sign off with a quote by Mahatma. “Be the change, you want to see”.


To know more about what I think of this story, follow me on twitter at @Gunner_at_large