We are living in the 21st century and we have the power of social media and communication. We are living in the era where clicking one button can bring the whole world in our hand. We are living in an era where we are talking about gender equality, feminism etc. All around, we can see many celebrities coming up to talk about things that our previous generation saw as taboo. We are talking of menstrual hygiene, we are talking of sexual harassment in public transport, workplace, home etc. But still, we can see social media, news channels, newspapers being flooded with the news of the rape and murder of girls and women all over the country.
Recently, we witnessed the honour killing of a boy in West Delhi. Be it a boy or girl, we are divided on the basis of caste, class, creed, religion, community, etc. The problem lies in our society. Even if we are living in the era of technology, progress and development, our thoughts are restrained, and we hardly think beyond the society or the honour of the family.
To add fuel to the fire, there are these matrimonial ads and commercials which have caught my attention recently. It was these ads that led me to pen my thoughts down. How do people not notice how regressive this entire practice is?
I see matrimonial sites and commercials simply playing with the cards of caste, class, creed, religion – all of which have been completely exploited by society. To draw some examples – I saw a matrimonial commercial promoting discrimination, as they suggested choosing the bride or groom from our own community. On most websites and newspapers, prospective candidates are also divided on the basis of a region – Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Tamil, and so on. This is simply unbearable. We are judging people on the basis of certain societal boundaries and not on the basis of whether they are good human beings.
Why do such divisions and discrimination even exists? One can marry a person outside their community or region and still have a happy and healthy life. If you want to marry, you just need a partner who understands you and that has nothing to do with the community they come from.
I saw another ad in my local newspaper that suggested that one should not be late and get married as soon as possible. For this, they urged people to register with their photo IDs. I think it’s fine to search for your partner if you are unable to find someone through a mobile application or advertisement, but the question is – why suggest to a person that they need to get married as soon as possible? The tagline itself is regressive. No one can force you to marry in the name of advertisement or promotion. The tagline should be changed. One can marry or not marry – that depends on the particular individual.
There is one more ad I’d like to share with you. I kept the best one for the last. It is a commercial which suggests marrying as soon as possible otherwise you’ll run out of ‘options’ as you grow older. Again, I think that the tagline of the ad and the dialogue it has are very regressive. When people fight for “Padmaavat”, or when they fight against censor boards for cuts and A-certificates, why can’t they check these regressive ideas promoted in the name of commerce and business?
In our country, we see marriage as a solution to everything and that had led to the growth of businesses like these.
The point is that there should be advertisements or commercials, but they should not promote this discrimination which works as fuel to fire. Individuals who wish to choose their life partners through these ads are absolutely free to do so, but it is the message that needs to be put across. We need to understand that marriage is not everything to life and life is much bigger. An adult should be absolutely free to choose their own partners in life and only when they want to.