Imagine you wake up in the morning and find that your better half – your husband, your soul mate -is not beside you. Where has he gone? All of a sudden, with a sickening jolt that numbs your senses, you realize that he might be (and surely) is with someone else, with another woman. You want to scream in anger, but you can’t. Your voice has been subdued. You want to protest against such nefarious deed but you can’t. Society is against you; even your own family either doesn’t support you or is helpless.
Ask anyone the meaning of ‘Marriage’. The immediate picture it forms in the mind is of a man officially tying nuptial knots with a woman to form a personal relationship. This relationship is not only physical but subtle and emotional as well. In the context of ‘Indian Marriage’, this relationship takes on even greater meaning and essence, accentuated by intricate customs and rituals. In our country, marriage is not just about securing knots between a bride and groom but the holy union of two families. This union is considered deeply sacred bound by emotions of love, faith and respect. While both sides have equal responsibilities to honor, it is particularly the ‘bride’ – the ‘LAKSHMI’ of the groom’s home – whose sacrifice is worthy of admiration. Ever since childhood, she is taught that her place in her parents’ house is temporary and one day, she has to leave behind all and settle permanently in an altogether different home, at a different place with entirely different set of people. It is indeed a tough task for her to do so.
She looks for a man – the ultimate love of her life – who would understand her, would support her unconditionally in such transition and love her the most. She needs a family, where her in-laws would treat her as their own daughter. But when she gets a husband and a family who betrays her, she is broken.
Yes, you might say assuredly that we have laws against such adultery or betrayal or dowry, and that domestic violence against women is a punishable offence, and that the system is no longer corrupted and justice is given to the aggrieved.
The point is – it’s not really about the fairness of the law or justice system. The question is – why such an act gets committed in the first place. All in all, it is the women who have to bear the brunt of such brutal betrayal. She might win in the court of law and even get compensation. But has she really won? Can she really wipe off the stains she suffered? Can she restore her broken faith and belief? Will someone else accept her in the future? Will she able to accept herself? These are the questions with no straight answers whatsoever.
There are many instances where the accused man gives the compensation and moves on with his life. It is funny, darkly ironic, that society forgets the wrong deeds by an immoral man but remembers very well the victimized women and even questions her character.
We live in a patriarchal country, where male dominance is major. Yes, we say to ourselves, that we are moving towards equality. But crime and injustice against women speaks otherwise. It is high time we change that. And even, if we do try to change, only time will tell whether we have really changed or not.
– Neha Agarwal