SEARCH

Opinion » Open Page

Updated: April 18, 2012 14:23 IST

Why hustle us into marriage?

Karthika Nair
Comment (52)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The Hindu

For thousands of metro-bound women like me, wedded to their work, home-coming is an event in itself; especially if you are in the 25-30 age bracket, with a “single” status. My friend Rajani's home-coming is even more eventful. Hailing from a small village in south India where traditional injunctions require girls to be married off before 18, her status is indeed pitiable by her community's standards, though she doesn't care in the least. (She is only 22) Yet unwittingly, she tries to boast of her career achievements and plans to buy a new house, which might take another two years by her estimate, leaving her people gasping. On top of that, she declares that she would marry late, a scandal by her community's standards.

Pat came the angry reactions at her provocative decision, for what is this, according to them, if not a stupid idiosyncrasy? Her poor mother cribs and pesters her unsuccessfully to drive out from her mind the hideous monster she believes has distorted her daughter's clear thinking. But she remains obdurate, earning the title of black sheep of her community. These events turn her introspective and make her resign herself to the role of a compunctious girl, expected to be penitent about her new fangled ideas.

My own situation isn't any better notwithstanding my urban upbringing. Many a time, I become the object of sympathy in my hometown for my “yet unmarried” status. Nothing irks me more. My aunts zealously dish out stories of their early marriage and the advantages of early pregnancy, as if they married only to beget children. I eagerly wait for more of conjugal gyan, but no, nothing more than the importance of filling the family nest as soon as possible. These are not just our stories, but of thousands of women in the age bracket 25-30, who seek a decent level of financial independence before marriage, risking their being branded selfish careerists.

But women like Rajani are not cosmopolitan enough in the ways of the world to be mocked as careerists. The premise of her delayed marriage plan is not so much ambition as a feeling of financial reassurance, justified as it is, given the not-so-happy conjugal relations she witnesses in her village. In one of her confiding moods, she quipped, “I don't want to end up being like my cousin; she was publicly humiliated for her bad cooking, and for her mother-in-law only high-born, financially well-off girls had the privilege to err in it.” No wonder, such insults provoke girls to put a premium on financial stability rather than on marriage.

Interestingly, a television debate concluded that divorce rates and women empowerment are directly proportional. Empowered though, women's status has not been any better, thanks to honour killings, call-centre atrocities, female infanticides and you name it. Imagine a world without it!

I'm not a tendentious feminist declaring war on the sacrament of marriage. The fact that hundreds of young women in India choose to be either spinsters or prefer late marriage mirrors a social reality and the changing marriage patterns. In our culture, marriage is not a contract but symbolic union physically and mentally. But if two parties are forced into it under duress, the resulting incompatibility will only rip apart the relationship. Indeed, there are genuine health concerns about the consequences of late marriage which both partners need to acknowledge. But when this union is intended only for child-bearing, it loses the sheen, denying the couple, its due privileges of companionship and bonding.

Elizabeth Abbott in her seminal work, A History of Marriage, says that late marriages can last longer when the partners have education and independence than when they are young and uneducated.

(karthika.sn03@ gmail.com)

More In: Open Page | Opinion

Nice article, but in my view,though families in India are now providing professional education to there girl child but still somewhere it is lagging in providing broader outlook to their male child.Still a male wants a younger partner to marry and i think this also forces female to get married early leaving their dreams.

from:  sweta
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 13:51 IST

I would consider this as an article of less importance in 21st century world. But attained significant attention in a 1.2 billion democratic country, how did it happen? Resiliance to come closer to this cilivilization or is it 'her' slow pace entrance to this civilisation.
Having been lived, enjoyed and hated the western world for its own reasons, for 6 years from the prime age of 21, I do like to make a comment about marriage in my home country.
I like to assume that ones exposure restricts him/her to emotionally realise the essence of a married life. Western world search themselves for their partner, it just get better and better after each relationship and finally they find the perfect partner and get married. 'Sex' is not the only criteria, which is been wrongly interpreted due to media or confusion between entertainment and information given by the media to its audience in India.

I welcome independence through self sustainability to all women, educated people should embrase it.

from:  Rajan
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 03:00 IST

I think the society starts paying for the sins of past. In the past (25 years ago) A women was subjected to an absolute pitiable state when marriage use to take place. The girls parents would be in absolute terror during the marriage and would be praying that no unhappy event takes place or else the marriage will be in the dock.
There was unnecessary ego balloon created for a boy and a marriage was always a favor done by a boy to a girl. The equation was that a boy was briging financial fruit to the household by working and women being a housewife, was looked down as a burden in spite of dowry.
Now this has come to a full circle, the boy alone does not carry the financial torch of bliss, so it is now the turn for women to be empowered as to what they want out of marriage whether or not liked by community or hypocritical society.

from:  Krithika S
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 01:48 IST

Probably this comment is going to be unpopular. Women in developing countries start
giving excessive importance to their careers over family. We have seen this movie before. It
ultimately leads to lower marital rates, lower fertility rates, higher divorce rates...all the
ingredients for the slow collapse of society. While forcing down marriage on women is
definitely a no-no, women need to make the right choice for themselves and not 'rebel' just
for the sake of it or because it is in fashion. It is indeed unfortunate that educated women
these days think that marriage is a form of slavery.

from:  Praveen
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 17:37 IST

Being in my late twenties and unmarried i can relate very well to the
article:-)i have faced the stark reality of the south indian attitude
towards marriage.if not for my extremely ambitious parents who wanted
their daughters to excel in studies and find good careers i would have
been long married by now-to a guy branded as the best by relatives.
Now pursuing a phd and being far away from home have not changed
anything for me. Things have worsened and in each phone call i receive
from aunts and uncles and everytime i visit india the first question
from anyone is "when are you getting married?" My mom has fallen prey
to the pressures and dad has stopped going to weddings not able to
face the question of my marriage. how nice would it be if people
realised that we have a brain of our own and enough sense to find
happiness in life which they think will come only from an early
marriage.And after all i do want to be married but only when i feel
the need to settle down

from:  Nandhini
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 15:01 IST

One side the married life is a miserable life of bondage to someone.
Elders said that in Indian married life the love came after marriage
and that kind of love was a strong one as it was not infatuation. But
wherever I observe the majority of couples lead adjusting living for
the sake of society or children. I wish the men and women who are
planning to get married think hundred times or more whether they are
ready for this binding for life. In India we find it horrifying to
discuss frankly issues like premarital sex, living together, single
parent, or divorce but in our presence the noble moral values we
boasted for decades are crumbling. Basically the men and women are not
fully happy with the married life and they feel suffocated in this
relationship. How are we going to find a way out? Please bring more
issues like children, financial stability for women (now for men
also), etc in this debate so that at least in the future more and more
couples are happy.

from:  chandrasekaran
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 10:30 IST

Good argument - I think the time has come for parents to step back a
little bit and let their children decide when they are ready to share
their life with someone. Life is not a race and no medal is awarded
(thankfully!) for parents who get their daughters/sons married at an
early age.

from:  Kokila Ravi
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 23:26 IST

The author is right about preparedness of the girl and mistaken statistics of divorcees. But the author is completely wrong to have glorified those who delay marriages. It is right that nesting is not prime criteria of marriage. There is a scientific reason to bear children before mid 30s. And do you prefer your adolescent children to see you as a old woman/man? Don't you prefer your young children are supported when your adrenalin is at your best?

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 19:35 IST

I used to think just like the author 6-9 years back. Now I am 34 I am financially independent now but now i am finding extremely difficult to find a decent man to marry.

from:  Aarti
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 16:25 IST

Its a great idea.. But reality is, if you are older than average
marriage age, then you lose your value in marriage market.

Total arranged marriage system need to change ..

Otherwise there is a chance that you will become a victim of
revolutionary idea.. So play safe.. :-)

from:  Binu
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 15:42 IST

Experts say, late pregnancy is risky and rate of infertility is higher in late married couples. A step ahead of the writers view, why we want marriage? people can just live together without any commitment.
These kind of radical thoughts have always been there and not going to help a happy social progress.

from:  Binu
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 15:18 IST

Karthika,
Mind blowing Eye-Opener................Every word of this article speaks what it feels like to be sympathized for being single.A late marriage but a lasting one is what matters and what has age got to do with been a good life partner............at the end of the day we all need a person who can accept us as we are.....So we just need to believe that we are worth much more than an early disastrous marriage.Thank you for your wonderful views.

from:  Rency
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 14:41 IST

Boys do not give birth to children and girls do. Boys as a rule have to stabilise the future, while girls have to build a future. Children need a loving mum more than an educated mum. We have progressed as a natio to where we are not because of our politicians or diplomats, but because of our loving mothers. Marriage had a meaning in our lifes before, but with increasing education it has sometimes become a burden.

from:  Kamaraj Radhakrishnan
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 11:18 IST

Kudos a great article.I completely belive an educated and self sufficient makes a great spouce and family member, she knows what she wants and is willing to work for it.There are a few decisions that deeply impact the rest of our lives choice of education,vocation and marriage. these decisions have to be well informed thought out and mst importantly self made.An indepent women is free,free enough to make this decision, whether to marry or not.Being married to stay married or not. It is a sad life to endure a failed marriage only so as to not financially burden ones parents.self respect begets respect from othets.finally it is completely possible to find a spoce who is a friend partner and lover .you will find such a person for you deserve it. all the best

from:  radha
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 09:45 IST

Kudos.Great article.An educated and self sufficient women will have a fulfilling life, she knows what she wants and is willing to work for it, this makes her a great partner and family member,Whether with her parents or parents in law.There are a few decisions that shape our life choice of education, work, when and how many kids to have.These choices should be self made and not thrust upon.As regard rate of divorce and financial independence, well many a women suffer a silent agony of failed marriage of being finacially a burden on parents Finally karthika a word of hope it is certainly possible to find a spouse who is a friend a partner and a lover at once.you are worth it so u will get it all the best.

from:  radha
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 09:27 IST

The Author of this article needs to revisit this article after 15 years from now and
come to a conclusion. Just basing your arguments on a book written by a
Canadian author is not the way you should base your thought process. If you
come with a home grown idea then its fine, just don't assume what ever is
done/said in the west is THE in thing.

from:  Krishna Kumar
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 09:18 IST

Good Article...Though I agree with karthika,I dont believe "in our culture, marriage is not a contract but symbolic union physically and mentally."And when u want finanacial freedom beware of prospective spouses who may appear to support your thinking but really is targetting your finanaces.Shoba De's Surviving Men gives you more conjugal gyan..as the author puts..its the first and last word on Indian men..You are really firebrand gal..Dont let anyone clip your wings..Fly high..

from:  Deepa Jose
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 08:56 IST

I sincerely thank the author for her honest opinion although it might
provoke some trouble from the elders. I completely agree to the idea:
women should be married only when they have proper education and to
some extent financial stability, even though it may be late marriage.

from:  Pushpak
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 07:29 IST

The article is highly relevant in present scenario and personally I
think those who compel to marry wanted to get rid of their parental
responsibilty. I think its not the matter of age that should be
amended legally. And I wish if there is a strict law, that all girls
should work for a minimum of 3 years before getting married. This may
improve a financial consciousness in them and they may wish to have it even after marriage.There are lot of educated girls from orthodox families, who do not want a financial independence. When I asked about their jobless situation, their reply was,they knew that they won't go for a job even from the beginning of their studies, and their
professional qualification was just for a matrimonial benefit.If there is anything like mandatory working, i feel atleast few percentage of girls will change.

from:  Meera Suraj
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 07:27 IST

Good article. What is not apparent and needs attention is how the pressure on girls to marry at a certain age by parents and society, can completely skew their thinking regarding love and marriage. Victims of such pressure bungle on for awhile and some finally run away from the very society, unable to tackle it.

from:  Rana
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 04:54 IST

Karthika,
Thank you for writing this progressive article. Your ideas, I hope, will propogate to the educated, English literate, middle class first and then eventually to the poorer masses. Unfortunately, we the educated middle class number only about 5 to 7.5 crores out of a total of 110 crores of people. But, we have to begin somewhere. We need to lead the revolution. I am hopeful that the concepts of gender equality in all aspects of life will eventually dissipate to the poorer masses. For eg. Many maids who do the chores in multiple middle class households watch the middle class and learn from them. Many maids are having only 1 or 2 children these days. Thanks to availability of contraception, which really liberates women. Disclaimer: I am not a proponent of middle class using cheap and plentiful supply of labor to its advantage. I am merely stating the current reality in middle class households. Expanding waistline among the middle class is visible proof of this. :-)

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 04:15 IST

I think its not a case of early marriage or late marriage or no marriage at all. Every individual requires some space, and parents and relatives should understand that. For example, people here in U.S. get married at various ages: some at 18, some at 40, 50 ...never, but always as their own choice.

It should be the choice of the girl or boy, parents can definitely advise them to settle down, but should leave it at that. Its this eternal pressure from parents, get married get married, and then have a child, have a child, it has resulted in our country having the largest population in the world, and its related problems!

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 03:09 IST

"In our culture, marriage is not a contract but symbolic union physically and mentally."

Is it indeed? Just go back 60 years when penicillin was not available widely and women died (as they probably still do in poor communities) during childbirth, men had no qualms taking second, third wives etc. If you go back further, a purebred upper-caste male could literally have a harem....but for Rammohan Ray's intervention, this sad status of women would never be expunged...I am speaking of "Sati". Let us therefore not romanticize much...marriage in our society as in all traditional societies is not for mutual company or pleasure but to keep the genealogy tree going, preferably only with a MALE child. Hah!

The solution to me is rather humdrum but it is not going to be acceptable easily. Premarital sex! There should be no requirement of marriage to have sexual relationship which is a natural urge.

from:  Pradeep
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 02:12 IST

I appreciate the authors point of view, she has a very valid point in
stating that society frowns down on independent single women,
especially those that hail from a rural background. At the same time I
disagree that the only solution is for more women to be fiercely
independent and shun all thoughts of finding a partner. One look at
the American society would tell us that this path only leads to
loneliness, frustration and depression.
I think parents should be a lot more supportive and allow their
children to have the independence in deciding when and whom they want
to get married to. Youngsters on their part should try and find a
partner who will respect them for who they are and whose company they
will cherish and enjoy. A few errant mother-in-laws should not cause
you girls to give up completely on marriage.

from:  Siva Annamalai
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 23:32 IST

The article has a very good perspective. Beyond the legal age limits, that are set of a
good reason, I think everybody should be presented with the pros and cons of getting
married at any particular age (I refrain from using early or late because that can only
be decided after the fact). In the end it is hard to say that one works better than others.
It is also hard to say the older we get the wiser. I think marriage is a subjective
institution and it takes two to clap hands.

I also believe we should be allowed to make the right choices with the right set of
inputs and then live with our choices. Societal pressure is just plain ridiculous reason to
make any choice.

from:  Somu
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 21:57 IST

All the thing about financial status is very well..But once you have
the money you will reach your late 20's.Then by the time you settle
down in marriage and think about kids..you are bound to be in
30's.Human bodies by nature slow down once they are in their 30's.If
you once look at the society around you will come to know that
Infertility is major problem affecting so many of them.I guess this is
nature's way of controlling population.You can earn money in your 30's
but cannot get back a youthful body.Our elders were right in stressing
a early marriage.If that is not possible at least marry in your 25's
people.Making rounds to doctors for kids is not a pleasant experience.

from:  Kamala
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 21:33 IST

There is a slow tendency in women to be assertive and they have
started voicing their critical ideas about the standard way of living
that was continued for several decades. Especially in the past ten
years after the IT/ITES category of jobs created in India the
employment opportunities for women increased a lot. They have started
obtaining good education and entering employment in various fields.
They also earn better salaries. It is good to see the women excel in
several ways. Hope they will start questioning many things not
acceptable to them and let the society slowly change better for women
-and men also will be benefited if women are happy.

from:  Ramasami
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 21:18 IST

It's amazing how so many people in India behave like reproduction is their only purpose in life. Even as a man I get my share of pressure from family and friends.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 19:39 IST

While I agree with the author on the sheer ridiculousness of it all,
an early marriage ( not just for having kids) has its own advantages.
If you have a steady boyfriend that is different, but otherwise one definitely needs a companion to spend life with, to contribute to the
society as a householder, raising kids who can further bring up
creative , healthy , confident children who can bring more positivism
to the society. So its not always about the 'little me'. When marriage
is seen in a larger societal and, personal growth perspective it gains
meaning. Otherwise just for financial dependence, sexual needs and
sticking to societal norms is a very poor, narrow minded and stupid
way of looking at marriage.

from:  Shiva
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 18:19 IST

Yes! This is THE article for the eligible spinsters out there who are
pressurized every single day by their families and friends. And on a
personal note, I could relate to each and every sentence of this work.
I have a sister who faces the same situation and is often scrutinized
by my parents for being 'independent','carefree' and refusing to open
the marriage topic. And you have these inquisitive relatives in every
house who ignite this issue if there is an eligible bachelor/spinster.
While most of the experienced people in this field who prefer an early
marriage, I would like to defer their stance by saying that times have
changed. Women, for generations, have been placed second in the
society. Maybe we should open up our minds and let THEM decide their
future. Yes, a late marriage has its own consequences, but marriage is
about two individuals who should live happily for the rest of their
lives! I think we should give them their due time and space!

from:  Arjun
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 17:58 IST

The author's views are a natural corollary of the increased education, a very good thing, of women, and their place in the realm of employment. It will lead to declining birth rates as we have seen in the West. The only negative consequence is a disintegration of the structure of "the family" as we know it since separation, divorce and children out of wedlock will not be unusual occurrences. Women are treated terribly in India, and this needs to change. It's ironic that the worst perpetrators of crimes against Indian women are possibly other Indian women, e.g. the mother-in-law, sister-in-law, etc.

from:  Samir Mody
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 16:54 IST

Really nice article, She relates somewhere that divorce rates
increasing because of women empowerment...
Let me share one biggest thing, still today many people don't give
much priority to girls as they give to boys from childhood on wards.
They put boy in english medium and girl in local medium schools. They
buy new books to boys but old books to girls. Good tution, good food,
good school..... every where girl child is discriminated compared to
boy child.
Days changed now, actually in fully educated or upper middle class
families there is absolutely zero difference between a boy and girl.
Girl enjoys equal and sometimes more freedom than a boy. But What is
the percentage of that kind of families?? Hardly less than 10%. So my
point is girl freedom improves only when education and living
standards of the country improves

from:  Vamsi
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 16:48 IST

Yes Rajani, we must learn from the mistakes committed by our elders, living, dead or the so-called ancestors. Stick to your point and progress. Marriage is not only producing children and regret throughout life.

from:  Mani Iyer
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 16:18 IST

I do not agree with Ash's late marriage and late children. There is a huge risk of Down's
syndrome and other genetic diseases, when you have children nearer to menopause.

On balance 30 years appears a reasonable age.

from:  Dr RKRAO REBBAPRAGADA
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 15:35 IST

Marriage is made in heaven to create a hell on earth.
Boys and Girls should be allowed to mature, and get in to marriage at their own will
free from the family pressures.
Divorce, and again the couple should be allowed to take their own decision if they
would be better off going separate ways.
The worst scenario is a copycat marriage 'we married early, our children also should do
the same'. Women suffer the most, their career comes to a grinding halt, as the
continued family pressure, leads to immediate pregnancy, child birth, and child care.
Financial insecurity, leaves her vulnerable.
To the outsiders young couple with two little kids, looks brilliant, while the couple
suffer from reduced income, dissatisfied wife, and a broken relationship.
They stay together to look after the children, and out of family pressure and all the
excitement of marriage comes to an end.
Most of the couples stay together for the sake of the outside world, and would really do
well being apart.

from:  Dr RKRAO REBBAPRAGADA
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 15:11 IST

Dear Karthika your article is an representation of the thinking patterns
of your age-group. Yet, instead of denouncing the very word marriage,
give it a thorough clinical thought and then decide your future path.
The Y-Gen of today has information as a solid resource and so do your
own research as well as have a open discussion with counsellors, if at
all you plan to get married. In case you have decided not to marry at
all then its a different matter of course.

from:  Nirmala Narayanan
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 14:57 IST

PTL, Dear Karthika, let us understand HUMAN BEINGs are designed to love and support. Marriage is not only receive but also to give. If some one is not willing to sacrifice and adjust, better not to get married. Early and late marriages have advantages and disadvantages. Every individual have to evaluate the situation and decide.
Early marriage allows you to face tough challenges, provided wisdom prevails.
Late marriage reality is both Husband and Wife hold stable career, Now comes the critical wise decision of one of them to compromise and quit and accept a lesser career job to be together. But many make mistakes of clinging on to career and blessed married life.
Another important factor as one grows old, the idealogies gets stronger and compromise becomes difficult.
BOTTOM LINE IS THERE IS PLEASURE IN SACRIFICIAL LOVE

from:  balakumar
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 14:13 IST

The article shows an interesting change in the mindset of today's indian woman. I think there is no right age for marriage- be it 21 or 61. One size fits all formulae cannot be applied. There is no point is waiting for years if one has found a soul mate early in life just as there is no sense in rushing into marriage just for the sake of being married.

from:  Revathi
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 13:57 IST

recently my friend was paranoid about entry age to first std which has
been made six ...because that would delay her daughter s education n
hence marriage.{daughter is three now} .how can we rule our children s
life to this extent?i have seen cases where parents try to brainwash
their children n force them into the marriage {when they themselves
have not yet understood the true meaning of marriage}which later turn
to be disaster.at the same time delaying marriage to late middle age
is not advisable...if you are planning to have children ..then it
becomes difficult to take care of them as u age.

from:  REWA DUBHASHI
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 13:26 IST

Karthika, thank you! @Aditya Changavalli - completely agree that correlation does not imply causation. The bigger question that scares a lot of conservative people here really is about the institution of marriage itself. Some people seem to have it in their plans, no matter what the other plans are.

Some of us just don't want the responsibility of marriage, or an exclusive relationship. To those of us, it is nothing but slavery. There are many viewpoints and examples to support as well as counter this opinion.

I do know a lot of successful women, who are much happier to be single and mingling after a divorce. Invariably, all of them seem to express a gratitude for their new found freedom! They all express that marriage is not for everybody and that it is an overrated institution. The more our younger women are educated and independent, the more opportunity they will have for dreaming dreams other than one can from within a marriage. Why should we be unhappy about this?

from:  B S Kumar
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 11:47 IST

We, the parents probably do not understand the next generation well. They do have their own planning and clear goals. This author has clearly brought her perceptions in a nutshell. Well girls, may God bless you in you endeavour. My best wishes to your generation and the posterity for all round prosperity.

from:  balaji vp
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 11:20 IST

I'm one of those women in the 25-30 age bracket that the author has mentioned. I'm doing my PhD and I have partly convinced my parents that I want to marry after I complete my studies. But, kin and kith add to my troubles. Be it marriage or funeral, my parents are treated as if they do not care for my life because I'm unmarried. Everytime my mom talks to me after attending a family function, I have to convince her that she is not a bad mom, on the other hand, the best mom to give me the freedom to choose for my life.
When I discuss these problems with my well-read friends, I'm told - Why do you want to go ahead of time, things change slowly.. If we have to allow things to happen at their pace, why do revolutions happen in the first place?

from:  Sowmya Dhanaraj
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 10:27 IST

I believe late marriage in itself is not the problem that every parents or the society in India worries about. It is sexual pleasures that goes along with marriage. Westerners have no problem in late marriage because sex is not serious for them. but that is not the case in India. Sex is considered serious and most men would be offended if the women of modern age, giving career as an excuse, starts to live together before marriage with their new found financial freedom. Now, I am not against women freedom and I have no grudge against such women. I cannot accept it if I end up with such a woman in the end, after years of hard work and discipline to have a great future for my future wife and myself.
Now, many girls can refrain from such sexual activities and give everything to career and future. But sexual pleasure is serious and we are only human. So why play with fire. Give up to the pleasure, but in a the way our society and parents would be happy about. Marriage is not the end!

from:  sunder
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 09:58 IST

Yes, I really appreciate the writer for the opinion of article. I have seen both cases
early marriages and matured marriages. It not only gives time to think about career, path of their life, think about the requirements of their perfect match, Financial freedom, Matured individualism. All these factors not only improves the relationship with their spouse,Their own individual life but also can give good startup life for children. Regarding health concern, wat's up when Aish given birth to baby @ 38. She is just one example and there are many apart from her.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 09:36 IST

The article is very interesting. the current phenomonan is not new.it started some 20 years back itself. the parents should change their mindset to marry off their wards only after 30 in respect of girls and 35 in the case of boys and govt should also raise the minimum age for marriage.But in reality, after the advent of I.T field ,boys and girls now start dating at the age of 22 and marry at 23,and divorce at 24.Education and career have not given the emotional intelligence to the couple in the modern times

from:  R venkataraman
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 09:28 IST

Nice article. One point I would like to mention is the trend that is pointed out about divorces and confident women. Correlation does not imply causation. Besides, it could also mean that though women have become more assertive, society has not changed in the way it treats them - leading to higher tensions. It is a tough battle for women against exacting social mores. For them to succeed, they can use all the support they can get. I am sure guys also appreciate a woman having the self-confidence that comes along with a successful career and financial independence. It gives us someone to bank on to share household responsibilities and professional problems. All the best! India needs more people who think like you do!

from:  Aditya Changavalli
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 08:28 IST

Superb. When a boy crosses 22 everybody asks what job, what are the new plans for the career etc, while for a girl everyone asks what is the marriage plans as if getting job, being financially independent is culturally not meant for women who either has to live dependent on her parents or spouse, they don't keep any such expectations. This culture is more prevalent in middle class.
There is a lot to be done, there is this huge cultural wall that has to be pulled down. Even now they make movies that tries to heroise the protagonist who tries to tell that "greatness" of a brother/father is when he fulfills his biggest responsibility of marrying of his sister/daughter...mostly 18yr old. Irony is that they don't even think that better is to do something that will let her be on her own feet so as to decide on her own marriages

from:  Arvind
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 08:27 IST

I was shocked and surprised at the words in your article "in our culture, marriage is not a contract but symbolic union physically and mentally." Hardly some small percentage of couples in India live with mutual love and sharing of views. Most of us, bonded together by marital ties, somehow pull on for decades and the children result in that bondage. We have never understood the true meaning of love or sharing of the pleasures of man and a woman - both physical and mental union. No wonder you are disgusted with our way of married life presently.

from:  chandrasekaran
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 06:11 IST

Karthika,I throughly enjoyed reading your article in "The Hindu" on young women being pressured into marrying early. It is heartening to hear such clear logical dialogue without over enthusiastic feminism. Unfortunately, I think you are possibly 5 - 10 years ahead of the Indian society in this regard. I think India and indian women are going through a seismic shift - and that continued financial stability will empower women to break such social norms - and thus blaze a path for younger kids of the family.
I am going to be married later this year - and I am trying to encourage a lot of independence in my would-be. For instance, her preference is to call me "Aap" when in presence of elders - and I loathe the fatherly term. It throughly lacks in romance and the spirit of friendship that I believe to be the essentials of our partnership. So I insist - she calls me "Tum" and refers to me by my first name regardless of surroundings - what she calls me - is a personal choice of "ours".

from:  Sanket
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 05:35 IST

Karthika Nair seems to have penned down the biography , though full of
grief , of thousands of bachleors and spinsters who stay away from
their home-towns . Every visit of mine to my city starts with my parents prodding me into getting clean-shaven and spruced up as somebody is coming over to scrutinise me from head to toe for their doll. It riles me to the core when i tell them that i am not up for marriage and even then i see somebody or the other to interview me against my wishes . This show of affection has detached me from my parents as i haven't triped to my city for long . The height of love was seen when a grey hair man turned up unannouced to catch me off guard only to be sent by my parents . I welcome the demonstration of being concerend towards their wards but let them decide whatever they wish to do with their life judiciously .

from:  Shivnarayan Rajpurohit, Bikaner
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 05:32 IST

A very well-written and well-balanced article. I totally agree with the author that the social conditions in many communities only force women to put a premium on financial safety for themselves, and rightly so. All the ills that she has mentioned--dowry, female infanticide, honour killings, eve-teasing etc.--are a big menace in our society and people's attitudes need to change towards women.
There is nothing quite wrong in women wishing to have some financial stability before getting into marriage. In fact in today's scenario it is only advisable that both partners should continue to earn in a marriage.
At the same time, late marriage does have some consequences, as the author has pointed out. Quite a few studies have shown that late pregnancies negatively affect the growth & development of the child and affect the mother's health too. I think we need to find a proper middle ground in terms of the 'marrying age' for women to be both financially and physically healthy.

from:  Shivalik
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 04:34 IST

Other things being equal (e.g. compatibility, mutual sincerity/ honesty, acceptance by both sides' parents, etc), I feel an early marriage is a wonderful thing to help a couple along in fast tracking several aspects of modern day living: -'building' a home together (purchasing stuff together, choosing, budgeting, designing, project managing the actual renovations, etc), - helping each other in daily chores, - 'covering' for each other, - enjoying fine things in India (esp. Chennai) like classical music
concerts, and generally, - financially saving for that unexpected rainy day....I know from persional experience, it happens.
Best of all, it is wonderful to be able to go on vacations together, sharing the same double room,and yes, what joy there is in the best gift of all: passionate intimacy, when you want it, where you want, 24
X 7!

from:  raj
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 02:07 IST
Show all comments
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note: Submissions on the Open Page are the extended comments of readers and in no way do they reflect the views of The Hindu.... »

O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in Open Page

Jawaharlal Nehru addressing the conference of non-aligned nations in Belgrade on September 02, 1961.

Jawaharlal Nehru: a legacy revisited

It is more important today than ever before to know him, his imagination and idealistic vision »