Recently I read a story from Andhra Pradesh (India) about a 21-year-old bride who protested against her parents on eve of her wedding. As a result she was subjected to violent abuse in public view by her parents trying to force her into submission. Sadly, the incident happened in front of the groom and her aunt’s son!
Under the domestic violence act marrying off a major without her consent is a violation in India. But everyday there are scores of children (especially women) who are married off without their consent. Marriageable girls are seen as a liability to the parents in India. The societal expecations, dowry, communal pressure, gender inequality, arranged marriage systems etc have worked against marriageble young people.
In Indian culture, it is parents responsibility to find a match for their children when they come of age. No matter how you have raised your children or how much educated them, if you fail to get them married at the “right” time, you are considered as a failure. Getting children married (so that you will have grandchildren) is often considered as the highest parental duty.
Often brides and grooms who are expected to live together for life, have no choice in this matter to express their desire or opinion about choice of their mate. This is tragic. Many parents do not have any clue of the children’s outlook or aspirations. Finding a match within a caste/religion, economic assets, social status etc are driving force behind parents choice, while young people looks for emotional compatbility, personal aspirations, like and dislikes etc.
It should not be be one way or other. I wish both parents and marriageable young people are able to see why they need to take both views into account. With steady rise in broken marriages in the Indian society, which once prided in strong family culture, we need to develop a more comprehensive approach to help future generations to find right mates and help them build strong marriages.