Why India Is Still Stuck Between Love Marriage vs. Arrange Marriage Dilemma?
We have made it to the year 2018, safe and sound. People are talking about humanoids and flying cars. Developed countries are even engaged in big-time space exploration projects to find a similar livable place like planet earth. So, in the coming years, humans can well imagine that they can visit other planets through a spaceship and may even plan to settle there.
However, back in India, our societies are still lurking in the age-old traditions of patriarchy and unequal rights for women. The impact of which is making matters worse by increasing the incidents of rapes, child rapes, domestic violence, and acid attacks. If that was not enough then, we still have cases of honor killings in our country. Not just social inequality for women, but dependency on parental guidance till a very old age is a common feature in most Indian families. It is one of the primary reasons why India as a rich nation produces the most number of engineers and science graduates, yet the much-desired tag of a developed nation is still eluding from us.
The joint family tradition has thrived for ages in India; the trend of the nuclear family could be seen only in the metro cities, however. Family structuring is extremely important when it comes to shaping up of a civilized progressive society.
What stops us from being called developed?
About 70% of the population in India belongs to rural parts. There are 3000 castes and 25000 sub-castes in our society, across all the states of India as a whole. And thus, the culture followed in families is essentially caste oriented.
Most people follow or are required to follow strict customs and family traditions. Matters of marriage are often subject to the approval of a large number of family members. In a societal set up like this, it is difficult to imagine a marriage purely based upon a couple’s decision to get married. Individuals living in a joint family or even in the nuclear families must obey their parents to marry a person of their choice. Though this may not be the problem at large for every family, yet it is a rampant issue of our “sanskari” society. This is taken to an extent that they are even required to avoid the initial marital bliss to be among their family members.
Daughter in laws, specifically, if from a different caste or community will go through immense family pressure to follow a set pattern of conduct within the marital home. Else she will be criticised to the point that she develops severe stress or depression. Many females, who are not mentally prepared to take up such challenges, often take dangerous steps of committing suicide. With dreams of marrying their loved ones, they go through the mental agony of being treated as an outsider, every day, even after being legally married to their husband.
At the other end, the young married male does not sleep on the bed of roses, either. He has to constantly act as a ping pong ball between his respected mother and beloved wife. This is equally traumatizing for the newly married male, who just wanted to live a healthy and peaceful post-marriage life. But, what he faces is endless nagging each day, for marrying as per his own choice and defying the caste and family traditions. Many marriages have fallen apart due to unbearable family interferences, leaving behind deep scars of separation in the mind of young couples. To avoid such painful circumstances, marriage-eligible people have opted for arranged marriage, in the span of past 7-8 years, either out of choice or due to social pressures. Marriages based on the consent of the partners or the so-called “love marriage” stands as a distant dream in our society. The “too-close” knitted family structures are to be blamed.
And, wait a minute! If you argue that family support is mandatory and social ties cannot be avoided then let us enlighten those who think so. Family ties or social ties are not meant to control our individual decisions. Such ties only walk with us until we are happy and comfortable. In our weakest hours, it’s a life partner or a few of our family members who provide the support we want. Pleasing the society is a myth; we have carried on with this for ages now. As a reason, our Indian society has failed to mature with the changing world.
Should this continue?
Marriage as a whole is a choice of two individuals who want to spend the rest of their lives based on mutual respect, understanding, and love. Whether a love or arranged marriage, every son and daughter will one day grow up and live their own lives. Parental guidance is an exceptional gift for a child, but if it poses as shackles and forbids individual growth, and then it may or may not go down well with the educated youth of today. At least, not for all the time. Parents should deeply examine, that their children will still be required to live in the society and face numerous challenge without their guidance when they are gone from this world. Then, why not start early and keep the children prepared for taking up responsibilities on their own and face the music.
Now, if we question the existing pattern of our society, several questions arise like –
- Why it should be difficult for Indian parents to understand the basic need of tying the knot forever?
- Consenting people can lead a happy and peaceful marital life and respect their family values and members, at the same time?
- Shouldn’t every mature couple be allowed to marry out of their wishes and not due to physical or emotional pressure?
- Why can’t the parental guidance be constructive and helpful for children to have blissful marital lives?
- When will parents learn to prepare their children to take up challenges in life without “spoon-feeding” them?
There are so many whys & hows, to be understood and answered in our society. In this matter, we hope our society and nation transform its reputation from a regressive backward bunch of fascists or Nazis, standing against the relationship of several mutually consenting “grown-up” individuals. Till then, we all need to be positive and keep persisting.