Recently the Supreme Court showed its concern over the growing rate of divorce in Indian society. Earlier also the SC had passed such remarks. Just few decades ago divorce was an unconceivable word in our society, but now it has become very common. Suddenly what happened that a rare phenomenon like divorce became business as usual? Although there are many reasons behind divorce like incompatibility of partners, pornography, technology, extra marital affair, domestic violence and quick life style. Apart from these changed status of women in our society and men’s inability to properly respond is also one important reason behind growing number divorce cases.
Before we discuss divorce we need to discuss little about marriage. Marriage is not just a license to be intimate with a person of opposite sex; it’s a journey of two people towards same destiny. If we consider marriage as a vehicle then man and woman are two of its wheels, when both the wheels are balanced life will run smoothly but when either of the two loses its rhythm the journey becomes difficult. As we know from the inception stage of marriage as a social custom, status of women was never equal to that of men. Even though in marriage man and woman enter into a contract to become life partners women are never given rights and privileges of a partner. Women have mostly remained slave, submissive, inferior and secondary to men whereas men have always remained dominant, aggressive and superior person. Except few aborigine communities most of the societies had been male dominated in the past. Rules of the game were always determined by men and women had to quietly follow those rules. Women were not allowed to ask questions, take objection or contribute in the making of norms.
It was really weird that all rules were made by men but men themselves were not bound by any rules, like an autocrat men used to make rules but did not followed it. For instance mutual trust and loyalty are considered as two pivotal stone of successful marriage life, but men have never trusted women. Right from the cursed Ahilya and Sita’s Agnipariksha in ancient times to the chastity belts and witchcraft in medieval times men have always remained suspicious about women’s character. On the other hand men never remained loyal to their spouse, from polygamy to prostitution all the systems were invented to satisfy and justify men’s lust. Women’s condition was worse than that of animals, but still women never opposed this regime of atrocity, in fact most of the time she became a tool in the hands of men for the exploitation of other women.
Why women never rebelled against men? Why they never demanded their rights? Because men very tactfully used religion and education as tools for domination. First of all education was highly patronized in the favor of men and that too men of upper caste only. Hence women were never able to learn about their legitimate rights as a human being. Secondly all the religions which were established by men imposed such customs, rituals and rules which pushed women toward mental slavery. Standards of ideal women were established in such a way that if she keeps washing the feet of men than she is good but if she behaves otherwise than she is bad.
For millions of years women lived in such regime but the situation started changing during late 19th century when colonies of military superpowers like Britain and France started demanding independence. Although the population of Britain and France was small, because of their advancement in scientific and economic sector it was not possible to defeat them unless all types of classes and masses were united to fight against colonial powers. Because of this, for the first time people of ruling class felt the need to bring the downtrodden like women and Dalit's in the mainstream. Apart from this colonial education also proved to be a blessing in disguise. There were hundreds of defects in colonial education system but one major benefit of it was that it emphasized equality in education. Uniform dress code, common rules and treatment on the basis of merit created self confidence in those who were suppressed from the centuries. From this education system, early social reformers like Phule, Gandhi, Ambedkar and many others came out who fought to bring reforms in the social order.
In spite of their efforts in the initial stage women’s education started off with a sluggish growth, but as time passed because of the continuous push from social reformers, women’s participation in the struggle for nation’s independence, emergence of new class of feminist men and women who were striving for achieving equal rights for women and after independence encouragement by elected governments for women's education increased literacy rate among women. Women education on the one hand brought awareness among women about their legitimate rights and on the other hand also taught them how to fight for their rights. Now women have become confident about their status in the society, they are giving tough competition to men in every sector and because of education now more and more women are becoming independent financially. Now women have started demanding their rights, started asking questions and started taking objection on discriminating social norms.
The real problem starts from here, as I said earlier in last 50 years women have changed with rocketing speed but there is no commensurate change in men’s mindset. I have seen in many families that husband and wife both work but still when they reach home husband immediately sits on sofa, switch on the TV and orders for a tea because he is tired, but he never thinks that his wife has also come from work and she is also tired. Not only this, in spite of giving equal contribution in the household expenses I have seen very few families where husband and wife both have equal share in property. How many men take interest in their children’s education or getting their homework done? The answer is very few of them do. Because of growing education women also have become career oriented and she want support from men as much as men do from women, but men are reluctant to render help. Because of all these clashes occur and since modern women are not in a mood to tolerate anymore it finally culminates in a divorce.
Divorce not only spoils life of the Husband and wife but it also leaves bad impact on children’s life. Hence if we really want to save the marriage and family system then men and women both need to understand. Men need to understand that time has changed and they can’t treat their wife in similar manner as their grandfather used to treat their grandmother. Wife is husband's life partner so treat her like one.