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Marriage: A Hypocritical Status Symbol In The Indian Society

After observing dozens of cases about divorce rates and after reading an article by a friend, I too thought of writing my personal opinions about the issue.

So, what I’m going to narrate is something based on the experience I had when my sister’s wedding was being planned. But before vomiting my thoughts out, I want to ask a question “Is it necessary to get married?” I guess it’s not, but here in India, it is a ‘strong moral compulsion’ – something which is closely attached to our social status (Arre bhai! Naak ki baat hai).

More specifically, I’ll be talking about the marriage of a girl. The girl’s family has always been worried about her marriage right from her birth. Why? Maybe it’s because of dowry? Or is it much more than that? I don’t think it’s just the ‘dowry’ thing. I have seen people saying “Jaldi byaah karwa do warna ladki nae naam kar degi” after she attains ‘the age’ – or even before, if she looks mature enough.

“Nae naam” here does mean ‘fame’, but never in a positive way. There is a famous proverb in Rajasthan: “Dhore mai dhool milawegi ye chori.” After listening to it, I understood why this issue really does matter. If you’re comparing a woman’s self-respect with sand dunes (dhore), then it really doesn’t matter what people are saying about it. Everything is already transient and homogeneous, anyway.

So, what kind of a girl is ‘ideal’ for a marriage? A devi kind of girl, isn’t it? She should know how to cook and take care of old aged parents and grandparents; she should also know how to nurse the little ones, etc. This ‘etc.’ in today’s times probably includes the following: the girl shouldn’t drink, no past relationships, no short dresses, no ‘guy’ friends and she should always be ready to quit her job for the ‘home-making’ thing. The list is actually too long – and in my opinion, the demands never probably meet the requirements for a ‘non-ideal boy’ to marry a ‘yet-to-be perfect girl’. So, they ‘compromise’ by marrying off such a girl in the hope that the husband will surely change her personality after she is trapped in the marriage.

In modern times, we are used to using branded products in our daily lives. There are brands/tags for girls too – you know what I am saying, right? The tags here are the ‘virgin girl’ and the ‘slutty girl’. Yeah, for many people, there are basically two types of girl – those who have had sex before their marriage and those who are yet to experience it.

It would seem that in Indian society, only virgin girls are ‘eligible’ for marriage. That doesn’t mean that women from other category cannot get married, but they have to hide the kaand (deed) they did before. Some people claim to know several ways to check if a girl is a virgin or not. I won’t delve into the depths of this topic, or make it seem too dirty, but many such people generally ‘presume’ the virginity (or not) of a girl by trying to find out if the girl had a boyfriend for a particular period. Okay boss! You’re so choosy – and yep, it’s up to you to select a particular brand of girl. Good luck with that! But I think that a girl should never get married to a boy if he questions her virginity (or lack of it).

In my opinion, these are the most shakki (doubting) of all people. They wouldn’t believe you, anyway.

So, if a girl had a boyfriend, was in a previous relationship, wears a fancy-dress smoke or drinks, then they are slutty. That’s what society calls them, naa? But why are such tags only given to girls? Why don’t we ‘tag’ boys as well? Maybe, people think that ‘virginity’ is not for boys? Or simply because our society is so patriarchal?

Marriage: a sacred institution or an excuse to impose a status symbol? (Representative image)

Do men fear  independent women? Now, listen to my classification of men. There are some ‘cool’ boys who don’t care about this shit – let’s call them ‘slutty’ because they might or might not be virgins. The other category comprises of ‘decent’ men, and there’s still another category of ‘over-dominating’ ones.

Let’s talk about the ‘decent’ guys. Sweet, sincere, dedicated and innocent, they don’t seem to care about the ‘past life’ of a girl – and they can marry them even if they’re unaware or partially aware. But they fear the society, and the ‘tag’ the girl brings with herself. Even worse, there are some who can tolerate the ‘shitty, slutty girls’ only if their parents allow them to. It would seem that such people are yet to leave their parents’ laps!

But, are they really ready for this marriage burden? I guess not, for they are still not ready to lead their own lives. Can such guys make their own independent decisions? Marriages like these often lead to divorce – that’s what’s have been observed in many cases. Respecting and taking care of parents is one thing, but interfering with their child’s personal life, more than a certain level, is extremely toxic – even for an ‘overall-decent’ couple.

How can I forget about the other extremely-diversified ‘tag’ prevalent in India? I am talking about the caste system. People keep discussing about it now and then. So, I’ll just add a little to it. Whenever my family says that marriages should never be outside the caste, I reply by saying, “Kyu? Doosri caste ke ladke bacche paida nahi kar sakte (Why? Can’t boys from other castes produce offsprings)?” So, think about why a girl or a boy from another caste cannot be a part of your family. Do tell me if you come across a reasonable answer.

The last thing I wanted to address in my article is the issue of divorce. Two people get married due to whatever reason (be it a personal choice or family pressure), they’re forced to keep at it, and tolerate it even if it’s evident that the relationship doesn’t work anymore. All of us have seen many such elderly couples who have lived with each other for several years, but there doesn’t seem to be any husband-wife relationship between them.  When asked, I have seen such people say, “Beta, nibhana padta hai.” But, I believe more in the question of “Karna hi padega, ya nibhana hi padega?”

In my opinion, marriage is all about the meeting of two imperfect souls who then complete each other. That’s why the partner is called ‘the better half’. Marriage is a promise between two people to make each other’s lives more beautiful. It can’t be forced. It should always be one’s personal choice to get married to a person of their choice at an appropriate time.

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