Is our Indian traditional marriage losing its Charisma
by Ankur R Gupta
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)
My 28-year-old niece has no immediate plans to get married, as she feels that marriage is the culmination of too many responsibilities and commitments, especially for a woman. She is reluctant but not averse to the idea of getting married as she apprises me of her apprehensions.
“The day I get married, I will be continuously cajoled into having a child and following never-ending customs & duties for which I’m not yet ready. “My focus is on my career and to attain some financial stability, which I can pursue hassle-free by remaining either single or in living-in ‘’.
We must have heard similar generic views on marriage - too much responsibility, compromises, obstacles in freedom and career from every 8 out of 10 of the millenniums around us. So, why is it that today’s urban youth is feeling so and shying away from the Indian traditional norm of marriage that has been an integral part of our culture for centuries?
Is it because this generation is more pragmatic and less committed. Is, the relevance of permanence forever missing out from them. Or, it’s our social conventional system largely responsible for it? Well, I feel it is a coalescence of both says Vidhya Ramani, the yoga & holistic therapist at Yoga Bharati, who deals with the youth of all ages on regular basis.
What are the Gen X dilemmas-?
Dreams & career to pursue
The Urban woman of today is not confined to four walls and need not get married for social and economic reasons as it was earlier decades ago.
She can take care of her own economic and social situations. But the traditional expectations from a woman have not witnessed many changes. She is accepted as one of the bread earners, but, with a ‘conditional tag’, when it comes to taking care of the house, family, and children, the primary responsibility lies with her. She is still expected to take a back seat in her dreams and career for carrying out her role as a mother, wife, and daughter-in-law.
There is no denying that today Men, especially those living in urban is actively catching up in helping their partners. But such a percentage is still minuscule. As per the many Millennial Surveys done in the past few years (2017- 2021).
The majority of urban women in the age bracket of 18 -30 years, almost 75% believe that remaining single or cohabitating can allow them more time to focus on their jobs. As they feel that responsibilities in a marriage might become an encumbrance to their professional growth and personal choices.
Our generation is neither selfish nor detached from their families or reluctant to make a few adjustments or compromises, says Sachin Varshney a 25year old software engineer. What we simply expect is a personal ‘space and time’ to pursue our dreams, which decelerate with the present system of marriage. He further added,” Uttarakhand retired couple recently suing their only son for not giving them a grandchild is a classic case of personal intrusion by many Indian parents”.
Compatibility vs Complexities
Isn’t it justified to know a person first rather than marrying a stranger and later falling into the complexities of ending the marriage if things go wrong? questioned many millenniums.
The majority of urban generation X is not drifting away from Marriage, at least till another decade or so. They want to get married but are reluctant to a traditional arrange one. They either want to opt for a love marriage or want to have a live-in relationship to know their future spouses and test their compatibility.
The recent increase in divorce, legal complexities in getting it, and societal taboo attached to failed marriages are a few more reasons that are partially pulling down the curtains of marriage in the minds of the youth.
Moreover, the financial burden of arranging expensive weddings and social obligations even after it is enticing them to a convenient uncomplicated option.
Society needs to loosen up its strings of expectations–
Being a mother of two grown-ups (18 and 22 yrs.) the concept of cohabitating or uncommitted relationships is a little hard for me to digest. As marriage has its measurable benefits which as an older generation I am reaping in terms of stability, security, and committed partner. But at the same time, I cannot set a blind eye to the changing times and mindset of this new generation.
Today’s youth is poised to transform the relationship and marital world. They aren’t opposed to marriage, but the traditional notion of arranged marriages and the expectations and strings attached (especially for girls) does not appeal to them anymore.
As a community, we have to make efforts to ward off these strings of financial burden, heaps of expectation from a daughter-in-law, and parental interference in the young couple’s life.
Youth needs to understand that the Commitment is the key to long-lasting companionship-
As rightly stated by Sadguru- “If you are just living with one person, it is anyway a marriage, whether you have a certificate or not. But if you think you can choose your partners every weekend, you are causing serious damage to yourself”.
Today’s youth need to understand that whatever they choose-marriage or any other option of relationship none to be treated frivolously. Both require commitment, adjustments, and diligence. Moreover, the culmination of companionship generally leads to having children, who need a stable and secure foundation of a long-term committed relationship.
Getting married is purely a personal choice. Some couples want to test the water before taking the plunge, some want to dive in directly while others simply don’t want to. It’s all about choices, and our older social peers should start adapting to this new change of mindset of generation X. At the same time, Gen Z needs to understand that a long-term institution like marriage is a bond of emotive stability that helps two people to walk all challenges of life together.
The charismatic charm of Indian marriage amongst the millenniums though a little jaded, still outshines other options of companionship and will continue if we as a society loosen up our strings on them. *****