ARE SHORT-TERM MARRIAGE LEGISLATIONS REQUIRED FOR TRADITIONAL SOCIETIES?

The changing trends in the matrimonial and family system in dilemmatic and confused societies like India are quite apprant when you observe different incidents that are taking place in the country.

Mr.Ramesh of Jeedimetla Industrial Area in Dundigal Village near Hyderabad city has been working in a private factory and married Mrs.Nagamani belonging to Kistapur in Medak District in Andhra Pradesh. But, prior to marriage Mrs.Nagamani had love affair with Mr.Santhosh in her village. After marriage Nagamani introduced Mr.Santhosh to her husband as her cousin brother and Santosh used to meet her every day. But on observing their physical intimacy Ramesh questioned his wife Nagamani about their relationship. Nagamani pressurised her husband to allow Mr.Santosh to stay along with them, so that all the three can live together in life. Suresh blatently refused for her proposal. Nagamani along with his father Mr.Sattayya and Santhosh came to matrimonial home and tried to take away her. Ramesh tried to stop her, but she went along with Mr.Santosh. Next day night Santhosh committed suicide and his suicide note stated “I like my wife very much but my wife wanted me to live with her and along with her lover in the same house, so I’m commiting suicide” Dundigal village police have investigated this case.

Mr.Surender is a software Engineer working in Australia and his wife Mrs.Soujnya was living in Vaddepalli village in Hanumakonda town in the Warangal District in the state of Andhra Pradesh. While Surender was working in Australia, he got a call from his wife that his mother Mrs.Swarna who was working in the Warangal Forest Office, dead due to heart failure. Surender came back to India to attend the funeral of her mother. After a couple of days he found that after the death of his mother the money from her bank account was drawn by using her ATM card. On getting suspicion he gave complaint to police at Warangal district. Police got suspicion on his wife and upon their intorregation, Soujnya revealed the truth that she had illegal sexual relationship with a B.Tech student Mr.Naresh, and became preganent. She planned to elope with Mr.Naresh and stolen the jewellary and ATM card of her mother in law and drew initially 3 lakh rupees from her bank account and hatched a plan on 10 October 2012 with Surender and killed her and depicted it as heart failure.  Kagipet Police successfully investigated this case. (Reported in N.TV on 4/December/2012)

Mr.P.Prasad is working as electrician in Eluru town in the West Godavari District. He got married with Mrs.Amala of Penugonda village.  But Amala had illegal sexual relationship with his sister’s husband.  So, she hatched a plan with him and played an abduction drama with her sister’s husband and got him murdered at Dongaravipalem village and thrown the body in the Godavari river.  But she reported to the police that her husband has been kidnapped by some people when they were coming back after watching a movie. Police registered a case and after several turns and twists the case ended as murder due to illegal sexual relationship of Mrs.Amala with her sister’s husband. (Reported in N.TV on 4/December/2012)

Mrs.Mangala (25) and Kumar (36) are wife and husband living in Bangaluru city in Karnataka state. On 19 November Mangala’s husband Kumar was hit by a car and when he fell down a gang of 5 persons hacked him to death and fled away. But Hunumanthanagar Police who investigated the case found that Mrs.Mangala had illegal relationship with one Mr.Kiran Kumar who is studying engineering and is four years younger to her. When Mr.Kumar objected to her behaviour, Mangala gave 60,000 rupeed is advance to Kiran and his friends to murder her husband and promised to pay remaining 2,40,000 rupees later. Accordingly they had murdered Mr.Kumar on the road, but finally caught by Hunumanthanagar police. (Reported on 6, December, 2012, The Hindu News paper, Bangalore Edition).

The above are only a few incidents reported. Several such incidents are taking place all over the country and are being reported by different vernacular news papers in the country. The cases like Mrs.Sahanaz of Bangalore a ‘serial bride’, Mrs.V. Sai Deepika of Guntur etc., are all such cases who involved in matrimonial and extra-marital crimes.  The general notion in any society is that ‘women’ are good and ‘men’ are bad, fraudulent and cruel towards women, especially in matrimonial and family lives. And all pro-women laws in the country are made, based on that notion only. But in the changed society, those laws are not reflecting the changed values, attitudes, and behaviour of the women and men and the change that the society has undergone in recent years. Laws are still backward in analysing the social situations and in penalizing the offenders and have not updated and modernized themselves to gear up to the changed values in the society. 

The social change is also quite visible, when you observe the number of matrimonial advertisements in the daily news papers and internet matrimonial web sites, out of which at least 65 per cent advertisers are second marriage persons (except widows) irrespective of the age groups. That means at least one or two marriages and one or in some cases two divorces have become common now a days in the life of some sections of women and men. That means due to the visible social change and chainging life-stlyes either our matrimonial lives have become “short-term” or “short-term” marriages are being preferred by us due to our fickle and unstable minds and life-styles.

So after observing the above incidents that are reported by the media, honesty and conscientiousness are required to look into and discuss on this kind of social issues “as it is”, based on the facts. Hypocracy should not come in the way to conceal the facts on real life-styles what we are practicing that is far away from what we speak and boast about our great orthodox culture and traditions. Social change is visible to our eyes very clearly in all walks of our life. But, what is being projected to the outside world over our grate traditions and culture is quite different from our real domestic life-styles and social change that has undergone in our urban societies and also in quite a good number of economically developing rural areas.

The fundamental questions in all the above incidents are:

1)   Why matrimonial relations are not lasting for life long?

2)      Why both men and women are establishing or continuing extra-marital relationships even after getting married?

3)      Why both men and women want to get rid off their spouses in the guise of divorce, separation or by other criminal methods?

4)      Are majority women and men not interested in the long-term matrimonial relationship?

5)  Are they getting bored and fed up with the long-term marital relationships?

6)  Are both women and men psychologically feeling that traditional marriage system has become obsolete?

7)  With a view to avoid the long term marital relations are they resorting to murderous activities to get ridoff their spouses?

8)      Is it because of lack of legally valid short-term marriage system, this kind of crimes growing?

9)  Is traditional marriage system and traditional laws are being imposed by society forcibly, even though the attitudes and mentality of both men and women have changed in recent times?

10)   If short-term marriage system is introduced, will this kind of extra marital relations and murderous activities, gets stopped?

11)  Are some sections of women thinking that they are born free, but still their freedom is shackled under the guise of traditional long term marriage system?

Today educated women in the world are realizing importance of freedom to them, instead of marriage. Quite a good majority of urban educated women says marriage is a hinderance to their freedom and progression. Women are feeling that they are born free, but still their freedom is shackled under the guise of traditional marriage system, through out their life. Eventhough the shackles of marriage were broken by the hard-core feminists long ago, it is only today majority women around the world are realizing the importance of physical freedom to them unrestrained by the institution of marriage. Today majority of them either prefer to be single or to have only live-in relationships with a view not to loose their natural freedom. This you can understand clearly when you see the number of single women living independently in the society, after getting a job. Increasing education and good employment opportunities are infusing confidence among the educated women that they are no more dependents on men. They firmly believe that marriage thoroughly hinders their physical movements and restricts their freedom of thought and do not want to mortguage their unrestrained freedom of movements for the institution of marriage.

Even in traditional societies like India, now a days growing number of educated young women prefer dating, live in relations, or temporary physical relations for amusement, instead of being capitive in life long marriage. This is apparent if you see the ‘dating’ and ‘singles’ portals, where millions of employed urban educated women seeking relationships with men for temporary economic support or physical satisfaction. Dating and friendship are preferred over marriage, by majority such young employed women as traditional domination of men in the guise of husbands, over the women, is no more tolerated issue now a days.. The matrimonial, dating, friendship sites in India show the number of Divorcees or separated or 35+ unmarried women keeping their profiles, but they remain unmarried even after they crossed 40+ years, because, their preferences, tastes are not liked by majority men as still 90% of Indian men seek that their life-partner must be like a traditional obeying wife to the husband, inspite of her good education and employment.

Candidly speaking women lose their freedom after marriage in orthodox societies as many husbands often looks their wives with suspicion, if they freely talks or interacts with any other man, in his presence or in his absence. This ‘suspicion’ is the very fundamental issue where women think that they lost their freedom with the marriage and being trampled by husbands. Her mind gets grilled between respecting the traditional role as a typical wife and her values, and accepting modern thinking based on equal rights, freedom of thought and movements unrestrained by any force. In this chaos, majority educated women preferring the ‘freedom’ over the ‘marriage’.

But still the hypocratic human socities are imposing the system of marriage on the women of which women are unable to come out legitimately. Any physical relationship if women established with a man, beyond marital purview, is being considered by society and law, as illigitamate relation and on par with prostitution. This is the important reason that is forcing the women into the institution of marriage. If chance gets several married men often enter into physical contacts with other women for physical amusement, but, if a married women enters into physical contact with multiple men, she will be called as ‘characterless’, and she will be given up by the husband in traditional societies. That hypocratic and discriminatory image is what the educated modern women want to avoid by avoiding the very marriage itself. Without entering into the matrimonial relationship, if a woman does have any number of secret contacts she can not be questioned in general by anyone, and her freedom of life remains intact. That freedom, infact some sections of women wanted even after the marriage, but the society is not accepting this and calling it as illegitimate. So, even today the women’s struggle for absolute freedom is going on. In a bid to acquire that freedom, even after marriage, if any any obstacles are coming in their way thay are mercilessly eliminating them, which could be found in the above cited incidents.

Her mind and movements are being controlled in the guise of institution of marriage for which the ‘husband’ is the Ruler and wife is Ruled. Now the rebellion is “why should we be ruled by the husbands”? “If we enter into the marriage we will be ruled, if we do not enter into the marriage we can not be ruled by men and our freedom remains untouched” this is the changed trend in women attitude, which is not digestible to men. Even if laws relating to equal rights, freedom etc., are enacted for physical control of the bodies, human mind and thoughts can not be controlled by the law and legal bodies. That freedom unrestrained by law or other humanly controls are being desired by the women. Therefore for majority sections of educated women institution of marriage has become outdated. They need something new institution.

Eventhough marriages are being solemnized under the traditional system of marriage for life long; the increasing divorce rate shows that marriages are lasting only for short-term. Some are getting separated one month after marriage some after one or two years. That means undeclared and unofficial short-term marriage system is already prevalent in the society. Various psychological, social, monetary and abuse reasons are already found for the divorce and separation of men and women after marriage. But, the remedies suggested by the learned people to protect the long-term relationships are not being welcomed by the people.

More and more freedom for personal life even after getting married and commercial attitude towards the marriage life are the two fundamental reasons that are making the marriages for short-term. Traditional marriage system is no more able to control the minds of people, especially of some kind of educated women are feeling that marriage system has become obsolete. So when the society has changed to such a radical level, instead of imposing the traditional marriage system, why should not we invite the Short-term marriage concept (contract marriage system), to minimize the problems and to decriminalise matrimonial and family lives.  Matrimonial crimes would get reduced if short-term marriages are introduced, and both men and women live only upto the period both like each other, and get separated after the stipulated period gets ended, and they would renew the relationship if they wish to continue the tie up for further period till they fed up with each other. This facility would minimize the crimes and mutural harassments in the matrimonial relations.  

If laws are enacted for short-term marriages, people would choose, wheather they want to go for traditional life-long marriage tie up or short-term marriage, before hand, at the time of marriage proposals only and they declare wheather they want short-term marriage under some terms and conditions and or long-term marriage for life long and sign on the papers and file them before the Family Courts. I think if this system is introduced, every one would go for short-term marriage, instead of sacrificing their physical and mental freedom for the life-long matrimonial tie up. Even if the short-term marriage system is not introduced, the incidents that are happening in the society reveal that marriages are lasting only for short-term, in one or the other way. The divorce and saparation rates are index for this situation and the ever growing number of divorce, sapartion and harassment cases being filed in the Family Courts and other criminal courts apparently reveal this trend. 

The continuation of this kind of situation would one day make every one to ponder that Plato’s communism of wives would be exigent for all dynamic modern societies in the days to come, to decriminalize the institution of family and matrimonial relations and to give a true meaning for equality of freedom to both genders.  Surveys and debates have to be conducted by law-makers on these issues to enact laws that are consistent with the changing society. By dchaitanya