Budding Love. Amar and Ritu (both names changed) studied together in school in Dhanbad, since kindergarten, but started dating in class XI. After class XII, Ritu goes to study Biotechnology, followed by MBA in Noida. Amar goes to study Mechanical Engineering in Gwalior and starts working for MNC in Gurgaon in 2010. Ritu finished her MBA and joined a company in 2012. The two loses touch gradually and remain out of touch until 2015.
Old Flame. Then they both happened to join a common school Whatsapp Group after 10 years of separation, which re-ignited their old flame. Few messages later, they were madly in love once again and wanted to get married. But their families refused for their marriage because of a different caste. So, Amar gave in to the family pressure and got married to Anita (name changed), who belonged to the same caste on 23 April 2017.
On 16 Mar 19, Anita was found dead in her apartment. It appeared that she had poisoned herself and left a suicide note saying she alone was responsible for her death.
Story Unfolds. Days before marriage, Amar told Anita about Ritu, hoping that she would back out. But, Anita herself was getting married under a lot of family pressure and was afraid to break off the match made by her parents, so their marriage started in a bitter note. Anita was willing to let Amar and Ritu remain, friends, if they would end their relationship.
Leading Circumstances. In October 2018, Anita was searching for a job, Amar introduced Anita to Ritu, they talked on phone and Anita sent her resume to Ritu. This gave Amar a pretext to remain in touch with Ritu and meet her after work. However, Anita found out that they both were still in love and often fought with Amar about it. By January 2019, Amar and Ritu decided to eliminate Anita.
Final Crime. On 16 Mar 19, after Amar left for office (to avoid suspicion), Ritu went to meet Anita to conclude peace. They had breakfast together. After her maid left, Ritu poisoned Anita, by adding rat poison in her juice. When Anita gaged on poison and tried to rush out of the house, Ritu dashed her head against the wall, after which she fell senseless. Then Ritu left a suicide note near her and left that house with juice glasses. Later Ritu called up Amar on Whatsapp voice call and informed him about Anita’s death. Amar went home discovered the “suicide” and took Anita to hospital. Police were informed and since their marriage was less than 7 years old a magisterial inquiry was started.
Outcome. Medical board’s report pointed out head injuries, Amar became suspect no. 1. Soon a story of Amar and Ritu was out. Cause of death was “Homicidal”. During the investigation, both Amar and Ritu gave conflicting answers and finally confessed to their crime.
1. Who are the main culprits? Amar and Ritu or their parents?
2. Can we blame society which forces the caste system down everyone’s throat?
3. Can we blame Anita also for accepting this matrimonial alliance, even after knowing the unwillingness of Amar to marry her for the sake of his love for Ritu? Yes.
4. What exactly did Amar and Anita’s parents gain by forcing both of them to get married just because they belonged to the same caste?
5. Can caste, race, religion, social status, business collaboration or surname be the ONLY parameter for a man and woman to marry?
Let’s dig further into this grave social issue.
We strongly feel that in case of forced arranged marriages, just before the first night, the father of the bride SHOULD tell his daughter:
“My dear daughter, although I have never allowed you to talk to any boy you knew throughout your life, I am asking you now to make yourself comfortable with the man waiting for you inside the bedroom.
Although I have always chased after your shadow to make sure that you don’t meet anybody by yourself, it is now time that I leave you to handle your ‘arranged’ man, all alone!
Although I have never allowed you to wear short clothes, for the fear that a boy will see too much of your skin, you must now please go inside, remove your clothes and be the most comfortable naked woman in front of your ‘arranged’ husband!
Although I have never allowed you to even touch, let alone kiss or have sex with, another boy and neither your mother nor I have ever discussed a topic related to sex in the house, you now have to go in and perform the best sex of your life for the sake of the first night of your marriage!
Today, I will step back from my duty to protect you under the social pressure of getting you married to a man, even though you might not know him properly!
Till date, I have taken all the decisions of your life. Now, I am handing you over to him. From now on, he will take all the decisions for your life!”
Phew! That was quite depressing, wasn’t it?
Firstly, we need to acknowledge the fact that parents never want anything bad to happen to their daughter or son. It is, more often than not, the society’s unreasonable pressures and their own experiences since adulthood, that generally lead to a situation where both families (the girl’s and the boy’s) end up doing something, they had never imagined.
Many a time, its fear in the minds of the girl’s or the boy’s parents as mentioned below:-
“What if our girl decides to marry someone outside of our community or religion? How will we face the society’s uncomfortable questions?
What if she gets physically involved with someone and gets pregnant before marriage? What will society say? Who will take responsibility for both? What if the boy refuses to marry her upon realizing her state of pregnancy?
(In case of more than one daughters in the house) What if my elder daughter, who has a Muslim boyfriend, decides to marry him? How will society react to it? Who will agree to marry our younger daughter/ daughters then?
What if our daughter-in-law doesn’t give us the proper respect and care that we expect from her?
…. and so on.
Roots of Problems. If the present generation, is made to go back to the time of their parent’s youth, they’d be surprised to see the type of restrictions that they had to face with respect to their parents, particularly their mothers.
Now, the seed sown during their younger days, which has now transformed into a thick-barked tree, cannot be uprooted as they grow old. Parents fail to acknowledge the impact of globalization and digital social media that doesn’t differentiate between race, caste, religion, etc.
In fact, in the case of their own daughter and sons, such mental insecurities take worse forms. Moreover, the modernization and liberalization of people’s social lifestyle, which includes being in live-in relationships, dealing with unwanted pregnancies, use of contraceptives, etc., when clashes with the society’s unrealistic norms, families tend to take drastic preventive steps like forced arranged marriages for their kids.
Bollywood – A Reflection of the Society. Have you ever wondered why a Bollywood movie like “Dilwale Dhulaniya Le Jayenge” became the blockbuster of all times? Perhaps because every single soul who watched the film could actually relate his/ her life with the narrative and identify with the characters of Raj and Simran, played by Shahrukh Khan or Kajol, respectively! In fact, this is how the entertainment industry cashes in on your emotions and makes fortune out of it.
Before continuing our discussion, let’s answer some uncomfortable but relevant questions:-
1. Which religious book or national constitution dictates the requirement of parents to force their choice or decision regarding their child’s spouse? None!
2. What exactly will your parents gain if you marry someone you don’t know, but is liked by them? Nothing!
3. Do your parents ever allow you to share a physically intimate relationship with a person before marriage? Not even in your dreams! But in case of an arranged marriage, the first and the most important activity after the completion of all marital ceremonies is the ‘wedding night’! And the next morning, everyone is eager to badger you about your experience!
4. Are you comfortable unhooking your wedding gown (let alone your bra), in front of a man who you have met only a few times (or perhaps at your engagement for the first time)? Probably not!
5. Even if you are not comfortable to carry out the actions mentioned above, are you left with any choice but to give in? No! Both of you are now married and ‘arranged’ husband has the license to do anything. In case you resist, the whole family will corner and gang up on you to convince or reprimand you.
6. In case you don’t find yourself comfortable in the situation and decide to raise your voice against it, will anyone come for your help then and there? Chances are, they will not! Everyone will push off to sleep with the assumption, that everything will eventually be fine.
7. Will, your parents, take on the responsibility if your arranged spouse turns out to be a disaster? Probably not! In the Indian society, it is drilled into the minds of girls that they are “paraya dhan” (property of the other) and that they will have to survive by all means in their in-Law’s house after marriage, irrespective of what may happen. That’s why most girls stuck in an unhappy marriage are driven towards committing suicide.
8. Let’s assume that you accept this situation anyway, conform to what is expected of you for the ‘wedding night’, and decides to bond with your ‘ arranged’ partner too. However, what if, your partner turns out to be impotent, sexually incapable, or of a different sexual orientation who had decided to remain silent all through the wedding process just to avoid social embarrassment? God save the victim! Many girls find themselves stuck in such marriages in reality.
9. Does anyone from your family bother to discuss or ensure the absence of such issues concerning your arranged partner? No, and never in this life! Parents from both sides discuss everything but the most basic and critical issues, which may affect the marital life of both the girl and the boy.
10. Let us suppose that you do eventually realize the grave mistake already committed by your family in deciding to get you married to this person, then what? Nothing! Compromise and carry on!
11. If the girl realizes this mistake, but also gets pregnant, courtesy the historical bonding of the wedding night, then what? What choices does she have anymore? This situation needs no further explanation.
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