Late marriages: reasons and responsibilities!

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By: Er. Ishfaq Khaliq

In Kashmir, we are desperately concerned for a vast population of boys and girls who are at the threshold of crossing the marriage age while their parents, peers continue to look for the best among the best. Besides, the hyped ritualistic design woven around the otherwise simple institution of marriage and the amount of financial extravaganza associated with it is fast turning us into place with the highest number of late- unsuccessful- marriages.

While the practices and rituals associated with the institution of marriage vary as per cultures, societies and civilizations, there are, however, certain fundamental principles that are universally supposed to be followed to make this institution relevant and practical for society in its true sense. Towering among its universally admitted facets is the appropriate age of marriage which is a significant aspect of not just the act of marriage but its impact on any society.

Over the last decades, marriage and the structure of family have undergone dramatic transformations, both in industrialized as well as underdeveloped countries. In recent decades, new patterns have emerged, such as blended families and at the same time the divorce rates have also increased drastically. If fertility has gone down, the voluntary sterility also became more frequent in the present societal structure modifying the distribution of family types among economic and social groups. Abortions are on peak.

This transformation has been accompanied by deep value changes and modifications of women’s social status and roles in society.

Kashmir is on the brink of a social precipice as the trend of late marriages, for the past two decades, is taking a heavy toll on the very social fabric here. Poverty, unemployment, dowry, modern education and the conflict scenario are some of the major reasons for late marriages in Kashmir as per some very recent studies.

A recent study conducted by Kashmir University reveals that the tendency has had devastating impacts including rise in psychiatric issue, suicides, drug addiction, extramarital affairs, sex scandals and a rise in divorces besides issues of infertilities specifically due to late marriages.

It is obvious that when marriages have been made into grand affairs that involve a lot of money spending, gift sharing, outrageous ceremonies, the very thought of it discourages people to think about it as a normal activity. It often takes years for parents to prepare and make enough arrangements for their children to find a good match. So lavish is the rituality of it that someone intending to do it on his/her own, is immediately repulsed and has second thoughts.

There is also a growing trend among people to make their children wait until they get the best match- a doctor, an engineer or atleast a government employee- and in that wait, many cross the marriageable age and are subsequently left unmarried, alone!

The author hails from DadasaraTral

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