Arranged or Forced Crime?
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.
The Bride’s Father: A Great Motivator!
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?
Parents vs. the Unrealistic Society
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.
More Uncomfortable Questions
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.
A Lady’s Secrets (A Real-Life Anecdote)
We came across a girl who belonged to a wealthy family and had a preference for dark and hairy men when she was young. She wanted to marry an NRI so that she could shift to a foreign country after marriage. She kept these wishes as secrets deep inside her heart (In 1979, to discuss such issues was a distant dream).
In 1979, when she was 18 years old, her family started receiving a lot of marriage proposals for her. Finally, after enough of family pressures, she agreed to marry a man ten years older than her, from a comparatively poorer family, who had been working in an African country for last five years and had returned to India for self-marriage.
Real Reasons. However, the real reason for which she agreed to marry that man was that he was an NRI and his face and hands exposed very dark skin. Thus, she had good reason to assume that his entire body must dark (and hoped, with fingers crossed, hairy too).
Mutual Alliance. Alliance was established and the date was set. Everything was going as per both the families’ planning. The girl’s family was happy that she would get to shift to Africa after marriage. The man’s family was happy because they had found a rich match for their son. A huge amount of dowry, in the form of money, gold, and furniture was offered by the girl’s parents during the engagement ceremony.
All ceremonies were conducted well and they finally got married in November 1979 (To think about love marriage or speak out regarding one’s sexual preferences was out of the question at that time!). An enormous amount of money was spent by the girl’s family on all wedding.
First Night’s Surprise. Little did the girl know that a huge surprise was waiting for her on her wedding night. Left alone in their room, when the man removed his sherwani top, she got the shock of her life. His skin from below his neck was white as milk and almost entirely hairless, in stark contrast with his dark face and arms.
When she tried to ask him for the reason behind such a difference in his skin colour, the man laughed in amusement and clarified that while in Africa, he had been on a field job. Since Africa is a tropical area and naturally very hot, his face and arms had become tanned due to excessive exposure to the sun. The skin that remained shielded by his clothes and shoes remained naturally fair.
The girl almost fainted. Her dream of getting married to a dark and hairy man, crashed to dust, then and there.
With her ‘arranged’ husband now standing naked right in front of her, she could not even back out, but just kept quiet. Somehow she survived their wedding night, with the only remaining hope that she would soon shift to Africa.
Within three months of their marriage, she realized that she was pregnant. When the issue of a doctor’s consultation and expenses came up, she realized that the man was actually jobless, having been kicked out of his job in Africa some time ago. That’s why he had returned to India in the first place. Just because the girl was from a wealthy family and offered good dowry (which had helped the man’s family marry off his four sisters), he had agreed to marry her. Here crashed her third dream as well!
Wondering what happened next? They have been married for almost thirty-nine years now. Both sets of their parents are now dead. They have grandkids now, but the fight between them is still on.
History of Parents on Both Sides. We dug deeper into their story and tried to understand the nature of their parents’ marital life as well to understand the problem in a broader sense. Similar stories emerged in their cases too. Fake personalities and social images, lots of assumptions, unclear agreement, confused marriages, dowry, wedding night disasters marked their lives too, yet they allowed it to go on and on!
This article is for those girls (and, to some extent, boys too) who are forced by their parents, to marry an unknown soul and settle for arranged spouses, in the garb of ‘arranged marriage’.
A story of Two Sisters: Real-Life Incident
Two sisters with age difference of one year started getting marriage proposals in their early 20s. Both were beautiful and smart. The elder one was a teacher by profession and the younger one had just finished her M.TECH. They belonged to a very rich and conservative family, who were very sensitive to marriage alliances within the same caste.
A Different Approach. The elder was smart, who was very particular about her career and finally settled down as a school teacher (even though she had failed in class 12th in Science Stream and had to repeat it with Arts Stream. Why??? will tell later). Younger one was better in studies and managed to finish her BTech, followed by MTech. The younger one very careless about her career, as it was drilled into her mind that she will get married into an affluent family only, where the boy will be either a big businessman or a very high profile Government job like IAS or IPS.
Wedding Bell for Elder. It was decided that first the elder one will be married off, later on, a suitable match will be searched for the younger one. It was made very clear to everyone that only affluent families, where the boy is only posted in Government Job at very high profile, are to approach with marriage proposals.
Dream Proposal. One proposal came from a Judicial Magistrate posted in Gujarat Judicial Services, who happened to be from the same caste and surname. The boy’s father was also Judge in District Court and it was assumed to be a dream proposal. Luckily the boy’s parents were also eager for the elder daughter. But, the girl didn’t show any interest in the proposal and silent conveyed her reply to her father.
Secret Revealed. On being asked by her parents, she revealed that she was in a relationship with a boy (her school mate) since her class 10th and had promised to him for marriage. But, he kept this fact as her deep secret, as the boy was from a different caste and also not in a government job. That was the reason she had failed in class 12th.
The boy was also average in studies. After completing class 12th the boy did his hotel management course and joined as a male air host in esteem private airline.
Family Feud. Hell broke loose and everyone just went off the ground, as thinking about such issues were just out of question. Getting married to a boy or girl of other caste was supposed to be a sin.
After a lot of thinking and argument, the girl’s father finally decided to support her choice and he approached her lover’s parents with a marriage proposal. Fortunately, the boy’s parents too had no issue with caste difference. Reluctantly, the other elders of the girl’s family also agreed for this marriage proposal.
Wedding. They were married off. Since it was intercaste marriage, not many guests turned up. Since the ceremony was planned for 2000 guest, whereas only 300 or so turned, lots of money had gone waste.
Financial Support. Also, since the boy was not on high profile job, the girl’s parents willingly gave a lot of cash and other items, so as to allow the couple to settle down without any issue. But, everyone (including girl’s parents were doubtful about her successful married life.
Present Life. Since the boy was initially struggling in professional front, so elder sister decided to work as a teacher and both as combined earning sources are managing their lives in a good way. They both are extremely happy and content with life. Later on, the boy changed over his job to a better one and is now a very happy soul, professionally and financially. In short, they both are building their MARITAL BLOCKS together.
Wedding Bells for Younger One. Then came the turn of the younger one. This time, the parents asked her too if she is involved with anyone. She was also given free hand to marry anyone she wanted. Since she was a simpleton and never had a boyfriend, she told her parents to search for a suitable boy for her. But still, the parents had full doubt that like her elder sister, the younger one will also come up with some surprise at the later stage.
Old Dream Proposal, Once Again!!! Again the search for perfect groom started. The same family from Judicial background (who also approached with the marriage proposal for elder daughter), approached once again. This time with a marriage proposal for the younger sister. Everyone was too happy, as they never thought that this dream proposal will actually wait for the younger one. Everyone was surprised. Still, the proposal was accepted with open arms.
Wedding. Then the marriage happened. Everyone was happy. Since it was the “same caste” marriage, almost 6000 guests turned up. Due to money wastage in elder one’s marriage ceremony, this time the parents were not ready for that much crowd. Somehow the event was managed. A total amount of 1 Crore was burned off in the marriage ceremony, dowry and other expenses.
Bridal Dreams. Since it was an “Arranged Marriage” (by books), she was not well aware of the groom and his family. The bride started planning for a new stint of her life as a married woman, who will love her husband and look after her in-laws.
Happy days. After marriage and honeymoon, the couple shifted to Gujarat. After a few months, the girl’s parents went to meet the couple and everyone was so happy to see the loving couple. Since he was a judge (which is a very prestigious and powerful post), they had big government allocated house, servants, vehicle and lots of power to do great things in life.
Surprise Call. After 6 months of marriage, one day the girl’s father got a call from the younger daughter that her husband had slapped her thrown her out of the house and she was waiting at the airport, not knowing what to do. This outcome had the approval of his parents too. Without wasting any more time, the father told her to come back by air.
Shrewd Reply. When father called up her husband, he didn’t talk to him properly and just told him to stop troubling him. The family went in deep shock. They were expecting this outcome from the elder daughter, but by sheer surprise, this issue happened with the younger ones.
Baby on the way. Once the younger one returned back to her home, she informed her parents that she was three months pregnant. Immediately, the father called up the boy and told him about pregnancy. But he again told him the same thing. Even his parents were talking properly.
Panic Button Pressed. Immediately, panic surrounded the family. Since the boy and his father, both were in judicial services, so fighting a court case against them was a sort of impossible task.
Baby Lost. In the resulting stress and fight, the complications happened in her pregnancy and the baby didn’t survive the pregnancy and died in her womb. The lady had to be operated upon to remove the dead fetus.
The court is still going on for the divorce proceedings. Simultaneously, she is preparing for competitive exams to settle down professionally and financially. But since her husband and father-in-law are inactive judicial service, the case is slightly diverted in their favor.
Some Uncomfortable Questions After reading the above mentioned real-life incident, we need to find answers to some very difficult and uncomfortable questions:
1. Who was smarter? The elder sister, who in spite of failing in class 12th (Science Stream) and repeating it with Arts stream, somehow managed to attain professional and financial independence or Younger sister who in spite of her academic achievements couldn’t manage her professional and financial independence?
2. Was the elder sister wise in marrying off to her lover and somehow managing her life or the younger one, who blindly accepted marriage proposal without using her brain and had to face marital hardship?
3. Who killed the baby? The circumstances or the husband and his parents?
4. Who is to be blamed for the above-mentioned incident? The younger sister? Her parents? Husband? His parents? or illogical and unrealistic social pressures?
Please leave your answer in the comment box below.
The above-mentioned incidents are a real-life incident and NOT THE ART OF FICTION!
Just to have more understanding on this issue, let us try to understand the life’s experience of one more girl, who got married to an NRI, settled in the United States. She narrated her marriage ordeal live on Amir Khan’s Show “Satymev Jayate”.
Courtesy – Youtube
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