The middle class in India are quite cautious in every aspect of their lives and do not prefer to take risks. For them, the cycle is birth-education-job-marriage-children, and this cycle continues for the next generation as well. This chain of events should not break at any cost and if it does, it takes a heavy toll on their life. Although there may be a new trend of addressing this issue by the middle-class, however, there is still a large section of the society that does not want to take unwanted risks.
The loss of a job, a matrimonial failure or litigation are just some examples which cause this chain of events to break. As the middle class is more risk-averse, they do their due diligence checks in all their actions. Ensuring the security/stable nature of the job, checking and double-checking the genuineness of the documents while purchasing a property, engaging with trustworthy business partners are just some of the risk mitigation measures that are adopted by the middle class due to their risk averse nature.
When it comes to marriage, it’s a once in a lifetime event for everyone. The middle class spends a substantial amount from their savings on weddings due to the importance of the day. They expect the relationship to last for the rest of life, which may not be true always. They often try to settle any marital disputes within the confines of their home, which at times may not prove to be fruitful.
While earlier compatibility issues were the only reason for divorce, times have changed where due to some critical reasons (E.g.: Mental health, Medical health etc.) the matrimonial relationship just can’t be taken forward.
Divorce in India stirs a tsunami of emotions and is often seen as the end of the world. The couple in question matters less than the opinions of the parents, grandparents, relatives, priest, neighbours, and society at large. The victims’ family is advised to avoid the divorce at any cost and later would be blamed for not having conducted proper pre-matrimonial enquiries.
This could include the victim swallowing the fraud element by living with a spouse whose sexual orientation is different or with a spouse whose medical issues are such that the doctor has advised not to have children. A spouse who might commit suicide anytime due to mental illness and is reluctant to undergo treatment due to social stigma. To live with a spouse who is in love with someone and was forced to marry by parents,etc.
The Second Innings
When it comes to a second marriage, nobody wants to believe that a matrimonial fraud had actually taken place. They often jump to conclusions that it must be the persons’ ‘fault’ or that there is an‘undisclosed issue’ at play in the marriage, due to which the marriage ended.
Latha (name changed) who was a victim of matrimonial fraud confesses that all the marriage alliances she received back home for her second marriage were to become a mother to somebody else’s child. There were people who tried to make her believe that she was not worthy of any better alliance and this is the best she could get. She was being forced, again, to compromise and settle down as her age was catching up. She finally left for Mumbai to find a job and build a life for herself. There she met and eventually married Ram (name changed). They are currently well-settled and living a happy life in Mumbai. But not everyone is as lucky as Latha when it comes to entering the second innings.
Urban and rural thoughts are different but the reality is that finding a suitable alliance for an average middle class for a second marriage, is difficult.
The stigma associated with divorce in India is severe, especially amongst middle-class and rural areas. The most that could be expected is sympathy from some. But lending a helping hand to start a new life is a rarity for the middle class. Several years are wasted waiting for the right alliances and rejecting some good ones because of a mental-block of being accepted. Some make huge compromises and settle down, ultimately blaming their fate.
Due to the importance of ‘age factor’ in arranged marriages, many have compromised even in their fight for justice in courts to establish the fraud element in their marriage. For the middle class, finding a suitable alliance is of more importance, than coming out as victorious after the lengthy legal fight. As the saying goes – you win the battle but lose the war.
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