Marriage is the act that is a legally recognized and socially sanctioned union between two individuals, typically based on mutual love, commitment, and the feeling of having a life-together partner. It is a formalized act that established obligations between the spouses within the context of a family unit.
In India, When an Individual marries there is a great number of participants in society, and society’s participation matters a lot otherwise Married one would not be accepted in society. Unlike in Western countries, there is no means of social participation matters but in India does. In Western society, the view on the individual is not a big concern as in India slight changes in the practice would be a big concern for society. May the participation of society would a reason for having the least number of divorced comparing the West.
TRADITIONAL MARRIAGES PRACTICED IN INDIA
In Ancient India, a total of eight forms of marriage were practiced i.e., Brahma, Arsha, Daiva, Prajapati, Gandhara, Asur, Raksha, and Paishacha. The first four marriages are approved as there is the participation of the parents, priest, relatives of parties, performance of rituals, and ceremonies. Society members used to give blessings to the married couple.
In the last four, there was no participation of the society, parents, and priests. Only in Asur marriage, there was the participation of the bride’s father which was for the wealth no means of ritual. In Arsha’s marriage bride’s father receives Sulka which is for religious purposes.
POSSIBLE REASONS OF WESTERN MARRIAGES ARE ENDING SOON?
- Legal Framework: In western Countries, the Constitution provides rights in the form of liberty while India’s rights are in the form of freedom. As their liberty provides absolute compared to India’s freedom. Also, family laws in Western countries provide a streamlined process for marriage dissolution.
- Individual Autonomy: In Western Societies, there is a strong recognition of Individual rights, personal freedom, and self-determination. This cultural value extends to the institution of marriage too, where individuals have the right to choose their partners and have the freedom to dissolve the marriage if they believe it is no longer fulfilling.
- Individual Happiness: The Western cultural practice of recognizing individual rights leads the individual to prioritize individual happiness and personal fulfillment. Once a couple feels unfulfilling to one’s well-being then there is an attempt of inclination to seek divorce for personal happiness, and satisfaction, & generally, individual pleasures are always observed to be less than those of others.
- Nuclear Family: The practice of the nuclear family makes married ones live separately from the family by which there is no elder one to guide them when they face issues in marital life. Which leads to deciding on their own without anyone’s guidance.
WHAT IS THE REASON THAT INDIAN MARRIAGE CANNOT ENDED SOON?
- Cultural Norms: India has rich culture and society which is reflected in marriage too which is often seen as a lifelong commitment. There is a strong emphasis on the institution of marriage as a sacred union which makes divorce traditionally discouraged. Social pressure, family expectations, & the desire to maintain a stable family unit can make it difficult for individuals to consider divorce as an option.
- Family and Community Involvement: Indian marriages are not just the union of two individuals but also the merging of two families. The involvement of extended family members & the close-knit nature of Indian society can make divorce a complex and socially challenging process. The fear of judgment, stigma, and potential strain on family relationships can dissuade couples from seeking a divorce.
- Joint Family Culture: In India, the concept of joint families or multigenerational households is still prevalent. Marriages often involve not just the couple but also the integration of extended family members. The dynamics and complexities of managing relationships within the extended family can make it more challenging to consider divorce as it may disrupt the larger family structure.
- Concerns for Children: The well-being of children is a significant consideration in Indian marriages. Divorce is often seen as detrimental to the children’s upbringing and can raise concerns about their emotional and social stability. Parents may hesitate to end a marriage quickly to minimize the potential impact on their children’s lives.
- Social & Religious Beliefs: India is a diverse country with different religious and cultural practices. Many religions, such as Hinduism, hold the belief in the sanctity of marriage and emphasize the importance of preserving the marital bond. Religious and spiritual beliefs, as well as the influence of traditional values, can deter individuals from seeking divorce.
ANALYZING HINDU MARRIAGE ACT (HMA) of 1956
- Section 9 of HMA states the action by the suit of Restitution of Conjugal rights under Section 9 can only be initiated by either spouse when there is withdrawn from society without having an excusable reason. So, when the party is withdrawn from the society with reasonable excuse there can be no action be taken.
- Section 10 of the Act defines that when a petition for the divorce is filed for the judicial separation grounds under section 13 and a decree is passed by the court it shall be obligatory for to parties as do not to cohabit with each other and if parties do then it shall be presumed, they are willing to continue the marriage and order shall rescind. Here Section makes a single life test between the parties so that they reconcile the marriage.
- Section 13 (1) (ib)of HMA, states grounds for divorce i.e., desertion, and ground for the same would allow when desertion is for continues two years.
- Section 14 of HMA states no court shall be competent for entertaining any petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce within one year of the marriage. The section also states in exceptional cases the petition of divorce is allowed. The section makes a condition that for at least one year they must keep their marriage alive as the parties had committed to same.
Clause 2 of section 14 states while entertaining a petition before the expiration of one year of marriage for the divorce the court shall observe the best interest of the children from the marriage and make efforts in all probability to reconcile the marriage before the expiration of the one year.
- Section 23 (1) (a) of HMA, 1956 states No relief shall allow when the petitioner is taking advantage of his or her wrong except in cases provided in section 5 (ii) sub-clause a, b, c. so except cases provided in section 5 the petitioner can avail the benefit. If one party willingly does desertion & after two years cannot bring the suit under the ground desertion and seek divorce.
- Section 23 (2 of HMA, !956 states before granting any relief under this Act by the court it shall be the duty of the court from the first instance in each case to make all possible efforts to reconcile the marriage between the parties. By doing this court is reconciling the marriage by which there are chances to reconcile their marriage.
Indian Marriage is the performance of an Act which holds serious commitment & obligation towards the marriage for the lifelong, duty of caring for each other and having a companionship during the life. Indian marriages are known for their culture, rituals, traditions, and customs that go on for years. Getting married is looked at for years, not for a week. Unlike Western cultures, where weddings are often a one-day affair.
India has a rich culture, tradition, and diversity. The participation of society from ancient times has been witnessed till today. Indian Marriage is seen as a sacrament that represents a spiritual, emotional bond between two individuals which symbolizes commitment, love, and companionship under the divine presence.
Unlike the Western country, Indian codified laws played a significant role in keeping the marriage alive to all extents. In Western countries, a marriage could be ended by divorce within two days of marriage but in India, a marriage could be ended by divorce at least after one year of marriage unless there is an exceptional case. In Western countries, there is no participation of their laws and courts. In India, the codified laws bring a duty & direction to the court for restoring the marriage. Where such duties and direction are absent in Western laws.
Author(s) Name: Sahid Sadik (The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Gujarat)
 Nitisha, ‘8 Traditional forms of Hindu Marriage in India’, (Your Article Library) <https://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/marriage/8-traditional-forms-of-hindu-marriage-in-india/47455> accessed 17, May 2023
 Hindu Marriage Act, 1956 S. 9
 Hindu Marriage Act, 1956 S. 10
 Hindu Marriage Act, 1956 S. 13 (1) (ib)
 Hindu Marriage Act, 1956 S. 14
 Hindu Marriage Act, 1956 S. 14 (2)
 Hindu Marriage Act, 1956, S. 23 (1) (a)