By Mushtaq ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam
17 May 2017
Marriage is one of the cornerstones of any society, the very source of a family that comprises its basic unit. Marriage as an institution has been under tremendous strife during the 20th and 21st century. There are innumerable reasons responsible for this strife particularly a fact that challenged the very basis of marriage. It was voiced from various quarters that why it was necessary to legitimize sexual relations in the name of religious or social norms by tying the nuptial knot? The debate is still raging and it has its essence and valid reasons to articulate the views that institution of marriage should be discarded altogether.
Marriage in Asian tradition is one of the most sacred institutions that has survived the tumultuous of time. It is religiously sanctified and mainstream society accepts only that couple and children who belong to the legal institution of marriage. This institution despite being a best evolved mechanism of procreation and enjoying the sexual bliss has its deep flaws particularly for those who are living the reality of marriage. It is because of these sad realities most of the humour and satire is related with married couples, in which men are portrayed as victims.
Though most of the scorn is reserved for women and wives because of patriarchal culture in which we all exist. The marriage in Asian cultures mostly is an affair of two families with would be bride and groom just pawns in the whole affair of marriage. The choice of the real stakeholders is rarely taken into consideration. Further the relationship, though a beautiful one among a man and woman is retrograded to being a source of vice and depression particularly if the boy or girl wants to marry out of his/her choice. The situation is further complicated if the question of caste, region, religion, status and economic background is involved.
Some lovers fight, correct the wrong and get married leaving behind their home and hearth. Others bury their love and move ahead in their lives most of them marrying though with little interest in their life partners. Some do not opt for marriage and remain loyal to their love that they could never materialize in this world. A decade back if the breakup happened in a relationship, most of the partners snapped their relationship completely with no means to access each other. Further there was a mature realization that if marriage has been commensurated there is no looking back, harping about and lingering on with the past, despite the fact that the first love does not fade away till death though its intensity bleaks out. Also one would give up to the forces of fate and be content with the partner that he/she got as spouse and justified their suffering or happiness in marriage as Destiny (Taqdeer) that the Divine had already scribed for them.
Now with the revolutionary tools of communication that has made it possible to remain connected with a person 24/7. Thus despite marriage many couples even after breakup do remain in contact though initially they may block every means of communication. In every marriage there are hiccups, tussles and clash of egos that take time to settle down. But when you are in Love one tries to overlook all these clashes and brush them aside to forgive and forget, as love is in the air. But once in marriage, the door of second option is closed and one has to reconcile with the fact that the spouse has to be tolerated. The tolerance level has its breaking point, so at their lowest ebb facing a personal crisis, the married individual is very vulnerable to seek solace out of small misadventures.
One of them is trying to reconcile with the old, ex or previous lover or finding a new one either through social media or in work place. Each spouse is aware of the fact that meeting or finding a new love or reviving the old one will not have tangible results but despite that to escape the monotony and drabness of marriage they opt for this risky journey. If discovered as compared to early relationship of love the revelation can have disastrous consequences for the marriage and children.
But now it has become a common norm thanks to the quick means of communication and majority of women working that has increased their chances of exploring many options besides to their husbands. Men as they say are swine’s always on prowl but earlier due to patriarchy, lack of means of communication and economic disempowerment of women they rarely opted for extra marital affairs, but now as the trend is changing so we do witness a surge in these affairs but they being a taboo, thus very few are ready to accept and talk about them. With each passing day the cases of extra marital affairs are going to rise and society will have to deal with this reality and be prepared to face its consequences.
The fact of the matter is that among the elite and metropolitan cities extra marital affairs are no new thing, but now middle class is also exploring these options. Thus the crisis has become multifold though we still are in denial mode that these affairs are still rare and have not impacted the family structure as such but in the coming decade the demographics are going to witness an epidemic change.
The more we try to deny the reality of extra marital affairs, the more its vicissitudes are going to haunt us. Love if not present in the marriage will be sought after, outside its ambit despite the challenge of the society to call it illegal, immoral or licentious. Love, care, respect are the founding blocks of any relationship and for marriage if one of these is missing the relationship drags on without being a source of solace for both parties.
The boundaries of caste, colour, religion, region and status need to be cut loose and love needs to be made a priority while consummating a marriage. The parents need to understand that Love needs to be given priority instead of caste or society that gossips anyways about any issue under the sun. The marriages and its foundations need to be based on love rather than any other considerations, only then can extra marital affairs become a distant reality. The marriage is a beautiful relationship but we tend to base it on everything except the love. When our marriages are full of love and bliss only then we can have peace and tranquillity in our society and community.
M.H.A.Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir