Why Is Divorce Such A Taboo In India?

Posted by Sidra Islam
January 10, 2017

How embarrassing can it be to be divorced?

I admit that it’s not a pleasant experience to go through but I also am sure that when two people have given their heart and soul to their marriage they would definitely do anything that is required to save their marriage . Also, that when one demands a divorce from his/her spouse there has to be or at least there should be a valid reason for it.

Then why does our society overlook the just reasons behind any divorce and label it as a No – No? After all what really is a divorce ? Simply walking away from the person who wasn’t meant for you and ending the relationship which distressed you enough for long. One may call it evil but at times it becomes a necessary evil .

This is a story  of two women I wish were divorced for their betterment. One who’s life is tortured by the demand for dowry and the other by her mother-in-law. Both are victims of patriarchal subjugation.

Naz (name changed to protect identity) comes from a well off family of Benaras , having lost her parents too early in life she moved to Bihar with her siblings where the rest of her extended family resided. Her cousin brother fixed her marriage with this man from Bihar who was living in Delhi in search of better jobs. Before their marriage Naz’s  sister-in-law assured her family that they do not want any dowry. However on the day of her wedding as a sign of blessings her husband was given a good amount of cash and some gold by her extended family and there her sister in-law commented that this much blessing (read dowry) wasn’t enough! Well from that day onward her life became miserable by the constant demand for dowry by her husband so he could start his own business.

Naz currently lives with her siblings in Bihar and often bursts into tears on receiving her husband’s messages where in he mentally tortures her to the extent that she gives up on food for several days after receiving her husband’s texts. I suggested Naz’s eldest sister to file a complain against Naz’s husband for mentally harassing her to which she replied, “Hame banane wali baat karni hai. isse to rishta toot jaega (We have to take initiatives to mend her married life, this will break the relationship)”.

Such is the mentality of our society where saving the marriage is more important than an individual’s health.

Shefali (name changed to protect identity) got married to a wealthy man who is an adopted child. They own a school in Delhi. Like any stereotypical mother in-law this woman didn’t let her son spend much time with Shefali. She was often treated as an inferior in the house and disturbed by her mother in-law ‘s and husband’s behavior towards her, she left the house for several months. Nobody called her back when she finally returned with her new born daughter. Again deeply traumatized by the treatment and mental torture that she was met with, she went into severe depression. Even then, she was told by her well wishers, “Try to win their hearts.” When finally she was hospitalized because of her  health issues due to her husband’s and mother-in-law’s treatment, her mother filed for a divorce.

I ask these people, what’s more important to you, your daughter’s marriage or her life? Parents should teach their daughter’s to never accept disrespect by any one. Today we live in a society where if not physically women are tortured mentally. Through this platform I urge all the women out there to label any form of disrespect as a “No – No”  instead of labelling divorce as one.