The Institution of Marriage
The famous “Indian” English writer has stated some months back in an interview that “marriage” is not necessary. Whether it is not necessary to him or it is unnecessary as a social institution is unclear. He himself has married four times and divorced all the four times. And, of course, he is currently dating with another “girl” much younger to him. He also derogatorily said that women have fascination for wedding and not for marriage and women crave to wear wedding gowns.
The truth of this is debatable.
Celebrity and rich person can live as he likes. But can we take his statements on marriage seriously? Shall we have to review the social institution of ages freshly again? An attempt is made here in this direction.
Marriage is a social institution which has evolved with civilization. Marriage seems to have economical, social, cultural, though not religious or spiritual, aspects. Marriage is based on faith though not is a dictate of the faith or religion. Marriage is a commitment and responsibility. In Indian context it is a life-long bond and association. In view of changed perceptions, the cultural or religious aspects seem to have relegated to the background and marriage became a mere social institution.
It must be noted that marriage has essentially been an economic transaction, the chief and more important aspect than other tags like cultural or religious. The spiritual aspect is completely missing now. Dowry has come into being because of the economic nature of the institution. Father has to give his earnings, however meager they might be, equally to his sons and daughters. Daughter is given dowry as her share and sons are getting the rest of the earnings and property as their share. But in our country most of the families do not have any property to share. The meager earnings of the father are the sole property. Under these circumstances families not having property or are poor blame dowry for all ills.
Human-beings by nature are selfish. When they give their daughter in marriage they think in one way and differently when they arrange the marriage of their sons. Ignoring economic aspect of marriage is naivety. The celebrate talks the way he or she talks, because they are economically sound and independent, and marriage is just a tag to them. Many of them do not at all think of the commitment and responsibility aspects of marriage. But for ordinary people this example is not suitable and can not be imitated.
Equality of genders, sharing of house-hold activities etc., are fine, but bringing up children is a great responsibility and sacrifice by itself. Not only women but men also sacrifice a lot for the sake of family and family members. This aspect cannot be ignored at least for now.
After India also becomes a socially “advanced” country like the west, when marriages and divorces happen casually and are faced and looked at with a “matured” awareness, and equanimity of mind and one is ready to marry and divorce any number of times, the institution of marriage can serve a different purpose. For the present it is a commitment and responsibility to most of the Indians.
To destabilize or play with the institution of marriage in the absence of another institution which serves the emotional needs of individuals and also takes care of the offspring, marriage has to serve the noble purpose it is serving, by taking care of the infants, the sick and the old and the infirm in the families.
Faithlessness in wed-lock, incompatibility, cruelty practiced by one of the spouses (may be many times by men and some women do not lag behind in this aspect) will rock the marriages and then divorce can be taken. Until then adjustment, compromise and sacrifice should be inbuilt in marriage for the good of family, society and nation. The individuals who do not want to be committed and desire to live devoid of responsibilities concerning infants and old and infirm in the family, can live as spinsters or bachelors, as the case may be.
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Dr. Varanasi Ramabrahmam
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