UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 1 Mains 2023
History of Marriages in India- a Social Sacrament, unifying Relations, achieving Dharmas and completing Karmas, progressing towards Moksha. Its presence in Hindu Mythology as ‘GRIHASTHA ASHRAM’ yet signifies its holiness and approval of sexual union between two adults. Yet the rotting of Marriage as a sacrament in India can be attributed to 21st century lifestyle changes and preferences to Western Culture, Modernization and lack of commitments.
CHANGES IN MARRIAGE AS A SACRAMENT IN INDIA
- Urbanization fueling Individualization I.E. With Emphasis on Individual rights and Personal Happiness mostly in Urban Areas the prioritization of Personal Growth, Career Ambitions and Self- fulfilment is taken as a necessity rather than Growing as a Family.
- Change in Women Outlook with Job Satisfaction and Financial Independence ,numerous women are embracing Singlehood and supporting their parents in their old age. 81% of Indian Women surveyed are comfortable being single and on their own. There was also a 39% increase in the number of single women in India, from 51.2 million in 2001 to 71.4 million in 2011. There were 12.3 million single women, as per stats, who never married.
- Divorce Rates going up as stigma against Divorce going down . Though India has the lowest divorce rate globally, around 1.1% but, in past few years India is witnessing a rise of 50% to 60% in divorce rates especially in Urban Areas. The rate of divorce in Urban cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru is more than 30%. It has actually tripled .
- Technology Influence like Tinder, Bumble had completely diluted marriage as a sacrament. According to online global data aggregator Statista.com, the online dating segment’s turnover in India is expected to reach $783 million by 2024 from $454 million in 2021, making the country the second-largest national revenue generator for dating apps after the U.S .
- Goal for Marriage .Now its just for the sake of Companionship and Emotional Fulfilment. The old school may say that marriage means responsibility, deep love and a union of families, while the new school would argue that in modern day marriages , you are not bound, your wings aren’t clipped and families are hardly involved.
- For the sake of Companionship as an aim rather than marriage, people prefer Living Relationships, Single Parent Relations, Same sex Marriages , Sologamy etc. Ruling by the Supreme court of India in 2022 widened the definition of families to live-in couples. Gujarat women Kshama Bindu married herself in India’s first sologamy.
- Drift towards Western Cultures turning marriages as a Status and Class symbol rather than a cultural practice with introduction of Destination weddings, Pre-Wedding photoshoots, etc. 18% of Indian Couples hosted destination weddings in the last 5 years.
However Marriage in India still holds its substantial importance. Northern states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar , Haryana and Rajasthan which are known for their typical societies have relatively low divorce and separation rates .Rural Areas still have credibility and faith in Marriage alliances and they consider it as a basic necessary sacrament .
There is some erosion of the sacramental value of marriage in modern India owing to influences of westernization, urbanization and legal reforms. Despite this, marriage hasn’t become purely contractual and still holds value in Indian Society. Religious traditions of Hindu, Sikh, Muslims still behold the sacredness of marriage as evidence India still has lowest divorce rates despite the fact that diverse laws in India are very liberal .The evolving Nature of Marriage signifies Adaptation rather than Abandonment of its sacramental significance in Indian context .
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