Marriage is all about togetherness. It is about two different individuals coming together, of experiences, of the joys of starting a family, of tears and happiness. And fights too… Yet, when the basis of marriage- companionship and happiness- is threatened, I wonder why the option of divorce is scorned upon in society and considered a taboo.
Statistically, divorce rates in India are far lower than what it is in western counties. Of course there has been a general rise in the trend, but this is restricted to urban-metro cities. When we look at the teeny-weeny villages, tier 2 towns and other rural and semi-rural regions, divorce rates are minimal. Is this because, we Indians are happy in our marriages, and we don’t really have issues of compatibility and happiness, with our spouse?
Maybe there is an all together different issue that looms. Divorce in our country is still a taboo. I picked 5 reasons that were commonly echoed amongst people I have discussed this with.
Reason 1: The Family reputation
We Indians live in a close knit community. Family, friends, neighbours, society etc… are inter-linked and blended into our lives. Their influences are strong and opinions affect us. Thus, we have grave concerns about any kind of negative opinion they could brew about our family reputation.
Reason 2: Respectable family girls don’t divorce
Absurd as it may seem, a family’s respect lies in the conduct of the women folk. And divorce is look at as an “unrespectable” act. Walking out of a marriage could put a question mark to the respect the family commands.
Reason 3: Living alone is not easy. It’s a dangerous world out there
However financially independent a lady may be, living a life on her own isn’t going to be easy. A girl always needs the support of her man. And staying away from him would probably bring in more trouble. She could be tagged as “readily available” and unwanted men may pry on her.
Reason 4: The Social outcasts/stigma
Here is another absurd reason. The concept of being a “Suhagan” (staying married with husband being alive) is upheld high in Indian society. On most social gatherings and festive occasions, “Suhagans” are given importance and are well attended to in comparison to a widow or a Divorcee. Often such individuals are kept away from important rituals.
Reason 5: The question of remarriage
Though our society has opened up considerably to the idea of remarriage, there still are issues that crop up in case of divorcee remarriage, starting with a big doubt on the character of the divorcee. And a divorcee with a child? Well it could just get tougher.
Surprisingly I realized the rules were more flexible for a man if he were divorced!
In a country where we spend enormous amounts of money on a wedding, ending it is scorned upon predominantly because a marriage is coming together of two families. A divorce means a rift or split between the families and not actually the individuals concerned. Even if a relationship genuinely requires a split, it never does make it to divorce- the families just hush up the matter.
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