What are some harsh truth about Indian marriages?
The Glamour-Filled External Picture
Indian marriages are an extravagant show of glamour and opulence. The weddings sway you with beautiful décor, enticing food, ravishing outfits, and elaborative rituals. But there’s an old saying- All that glitters is not gold, and so is the case with Indian marriages. Surprisingly, it's the harsh truth; beneath these layers of affluence, there are some stringent realities. My intention here is not to paint a dismal picture or despair your spirits, but rather bring attention to some under-discussed issues that should come under the limelight.
Can’t Marry Outside Your Caste
Yes, India is a land of diversity and vibrant cultures. But this diversity also brings with it a rigid caste system. A prominent truth about the Indian marriages is that you're strongly expected to marry within your caste. Even though there are city folks who don't abide by this, the majority still does. Ideally, love should see no barriers, be it caste, creed or color. However, love is put to a severe test when it comes to marriage in India. In my case, Aarav, I remember when I fell in love with a girl who was from a different caste, and the whirlwind of opposition it stirred within our families. It took us years of perseverance and patience to convince our families; unfortunately, many aren't that lucky.
The Dreaded Dowry System
Marriage, often compared to a sacred bond, is not money trading business. However, if you're Indian, you may have come across the dreaded dowry system. Despite legal condemnations, the dowry system still thrives. It's a cruel practice where the bride's family is forced to provide often-unaffordable gifts or money to the groom's family. It's a naked truth of our society, and albeit funny at times when the groom's side demands ludicrous items, it's mostly worrying as it puts unnecessary strain on the bride's family. Also, this system has led to heinous crimes like domestic violence and bride burning. A healthy marriage should not come with such price tags.
Arranged Marriages Still Rule the Roost
Although you might have friends who are in happy love marriages, arranged marriages remain the primary mode of marriage in India. Parents and elders are the matchmakers, and in many cases, the bride and groom meet only a few times before the wedding. This implies that they have limited knowledge about each other before they tie the knot. Coming from a background where my parents had an arranged marriage, I can say, it's not easy. In fact, the compatibility issues that follow can create conflicts, compromises and adjustments, thereafter.
The Unpleasant Scenario of Child Marriages
In the 21st century, when the world talks about AI and Mars missions, the painful reality of child marriages still exists in India. The innocence of children is jeopardized when they’re wedded at a tender age. They're devoid of their basic right to education, health, and choice. Even in my extended family, I saw this happening in the rural parts. As a nation, we need to pull up our socks for ensuring that no child is robbed of his or her childhood.
Favoring Male Heir
Now, this might sound like a plot from a Bollywood movie from the 80s or 90s, but sadly, it's true even today. A male child is often favored more, and many often dream of a male heir. Also, the son-in-law is given more importance than daughters. Additionally, the tradition of 'Kanyadan' literally translates to 'give away the daughter' is followed in which parents give their daughter to another family. It's high time we did some introspection as a society and treat every gender equally.
To sum up, it’s undeniable that there are several harsh truths about Indian marriages. While there are efforts made to address these issues, the pace is slow. There's no panacea that can eradicate these problems overnight. Slowly but steadily, societal changes are taking place, and the grip of rigid traditions is lessening. However, it’s our responsibility as an individual, and as a part of this society, to encourage positive transitions. Only through joint efforts, Indian marriages can become truly about love, companionship, respect and the joining of two souls.