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

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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

You must be to comment.
  1. Jigsaw

    Ankur, it could have been a gem of an article had you not, abruptly, brought the subject of dowry in the middle, which is not only irrelevant to the article but also against your very beliefs. You know well that women receive clothes, jewellery, and gifts from their prospective husbands, even those with financial limitations, and yet you chose to ignore it, compromising with truth for attention.

    Are you going to continue siding with women with lies and half-truths for recognition, or will you have the courage to speak the truth in a brazen manner?

    Make a choice.

    1. D Gill

      So mr.Jigsaw, if the gifts are coming from both sides equally as you seem to have suggested, then how do you explain all the dowry murders and female infanticide then? Why do people consider girls a liability? DOWRY. There is a reason why it was outlawed.

    2. Jigsaw

      Gill, for years you have believed that women give dowry without accepting the fact that they also receive it in abundance. You also know that female infanticide is because of lack of value for human life.

      Are you going to continue stating that women should not give dowry or will you also talk about their greed in accepting cash, clothes, jewellery, and gifts for themselves, their siblings, and parents?

      The choice is yours.

  2. Gaurav

    the article is generic and does not present anything new. the writer seems to be fighting shy of discussing the topic in detail and he seems reluctant to explore marriage / relationships / love. when you say you want to talk about marriage and then end up talking how we humans are social animals it is a dead give away that either you are not comfortable talking about marriage as an institution or you did not really have any thing to say or it might be you did not think it through as to what you want to say.

  3. Pallavi

    Mr. Jigsaw
    Have you ever saw a bride’s family demanding jewels, gifts or whatsoever from groom’s family. Any way whatever groom’s family present to bride that will automatically reach to groom’s family. So please get your facts checked.
    Moreover dowery is something very different and you can’t compare it with gifts at all.

    1. Jigsaw

      Women may not place their demands verbally and authoritatively, but they do so through other means, such as taunts, nags, emotional blackmail and abuse.

      Are you going to admit that dowry goes both ways or will you allow yourself to become a victim of the modus operandi of feminists?

      The choice is yours.

    2. Vishal Saurav

      Miss Pallavi, Do you know that as per Hindu Marriage Act 1956, it is mandatory for husband to provide for economic needs of wife? Why a husband should be made liable to fulfill economic desires of his wife? Even if husband is not earning or don’t want to earn, our court force him to do so solely because he can provide for economic needs of his wife. Isn’t it a sort of economic slavary of husband and marital forced labour of husband sanctioned by law? Do you know that there is something called ‘alimony’ which is like reverse dowry which a husband forced to pay to his wife in case of divorce?

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