My City Woman's blog on why marriage is overrated as an institution in India

Why Marriage As An Institution Is Overrated In India

Indian society is totally obsessed with marriage. With the birth of a girl in the family, the thought constantly looms over her parents minds- “One day she’d get married and go away! There is even a saying in the Hindu religion “Bringing up a girl is like watering the neighbours garden, she is never yours in the first place!”

With a mindset that is deep rooted in the Indian psyche, it is difficult to keep our daughters aloof too. She is constantly reminded that one day she “has to” get married. Right from the story books that scream “and they lived happily after” to Bollywood movies , all go on to assert it in her mind the notion that ultimately – she has to get married and “settle down”.

Rajdeep Sardesai once (in)famously asked Sania Mirza, ” Amidst all the celebrity hood, when is Sania going to settle down?” And pat came Sania’s reply ” You sound disappointed that I’m not choosing motherhood over being number one in the world at this point of time. But … that’s the question I face all the time as a woman, that all women have to face – the first is marriage and then it’s motherhood. Unfortunately that’s when we’re settled, and no matter how many Wimbledons we win or number ones in the world we become, we don’t become settled.’

Certainly a woman who is not married by the age of 25 is everybody’s business. From neighbours to relatives, friends and family, all come together with the single minded focus on finding her a right match. If the age is 30, it’s a red alert all over, “Is everything okay?” “Is the girl being rejected? Is she over or underweight? Or is it her kundali…oh wait a minute! I know of a good astrologer!!!”  The discussion around her life and marriage ceases to stop.

Why can’t marriage be when you find the person you fall in love with? Is it not about companionship, love and belongingness? Is all that a girl is born to do is to get married as soon as she completes her education and give birth to children. When will parents stop pressuring their daughters to “settle down”?

Manisha Koirala, the Bollywood actress just nails it down “People should marry for the right reasons, and not because they fear being on the shelves forever. I’ve single friends who are extremely happy. To marry out of social pressure or because your biological clock is racing away, or you’re thinking of security in your old age are all frivolous reasons to get hitched.” (Source)

Indian society may never get evolved to this level of thinking and letting their daughters be. Not anytime soon.

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