Marriage is a socially/ritually
organized union between the spouses which establishes rights and obligations.
Though the definition of marriage varies around the world between cultures ,
religions , history , the basic concept/principle remains the same. The
institution of marriage has been constantly evolving. It has gone through many
changes and has been redefined in
different cultures and religions. There are many factors contributing to this
such as economic factors, changing gender roles, post modernization, legal
Marriage has both legal as well as religious significance. Many see marriage as
being conferred holy orders on by God especially the Christians , as it is rooted after God’s
creation of the very first couple according to Bible Adam and Eve. While some other group
have a different definition of marriage. To them it seem as a religious
commitment of two people to each other who are living together with a vow till
‘ death to us apart ‘ but if the relationship/marriage gets toxic they
separate. Now in the recent times the law says that the spouse must not be
necessary of the opposite gender. And for some it is an absolute secular
institution which means that it has no religious significance. Different
cultures and religions have a different set of rituals for marriage which
has indeed a special meaning.
Evolution Of Marriage And Its
Marriage as a pair bounding started in
the stone age. Then, it was a way of organizing and a tool for controlling
sexual conduct and a way of providing a stable structure for child rearing . In
the ancient times, marriage was used as a primary mean to preserve power. The king
and the ruling class married their daughters to form strong alliances to gain
more power and second most important
reason was to produce a heir. The very first evidence evidence of marriage in
the ancient time was found in Mesopotamia according to the historians.
Later on during the 5th
century when the church grew strong and acquired power , it declared marriage
as a holy institution. As the power of the church grew alongside grew its hold
over the institution of marriage. The church even declared marriage as its one
of the seven sacrament. And after a few years in the 16th century it
said the marriages are to be performed in the public by a priest and in front
of some witnesses. This evolution was mostly a part of the Europe.
Couples in marriage are of different types and
even have evolved during the course of time in many decades. Most couple around the world are of one male
and one female. But there exist other forms as well such as :-
* same gender marriage – this type is not allowed in all the
countries. Though some countries have declared to be legal some of them are yet
to do so.
* Polygamous type of marriage i.e having more than one mate (which is
* group marriages i.e any gender
combination of more than 2 people
* Polygynous type of marriage i.e one
man many women
* polyandrous type of Marriage i.e one woman many men (a very rare case)
Most couples were of the same race in
the earlier times but during the course of time it has changed mostly since the
civil war. Some of the couples are of same religion and other are inter-faith
which is also a recent trend compared to the earlier times. Even the supreme
court has declared it to be legal. There are some couples who prefer living
together without any kind of ceremony or a license and on the other hand there
as couples who prefer getting legally married .
The changing trends in the marriage the
changing times have lead to emerging of various other concepts such as :
a) living together – which is an informal
relation which may or may not be permanent ;
b) common law marriage- it refers to living
together with an intention to form a permanent union;
c) a legally recognized marriage- it is a
registered marriage government
In the course of time the age of
marriage has evolved along with the other traditions.As the child marriage has
ended the age of marriage has increased for the urban as well as people in the
rural and tribal society.
In the earlier society divorce was not
so easily available. It was considered out of tradition and was not permitted
in certain religions especially in Hindus. But as divorce is now available to
all, the stability of marriage gas declined.
Earlier in the society the main of marriage
was Dharma. But gradually over the course of time it has change, now Dharma is
least of the concern in the list of mains of marriage.
And Customs Of
Marriage In India
The laws relating to marriage differ
from religion to religion. Under the Hindu marriage act all hindus of any caste
or creed, Sikh, Buddists and Jains for all legal purpose are considered as
Hindus. By special marriage act a Hindu may marry a person from other religion by any ceremony
provided fulfilling all the legal conditions , bt according to the section 7 of
the Hindu marriage act a Hindu marriage is complete and enforceable after the seven
steps of the Saptapadi ritual, in
presence of fire, by the bride and the groom, though some south Indian
marriages are an exception.
In the learning of the hindu marriage
the vedas , scriptures and the Puranas give a brief knowledge about the customs
and the rituals. It includes the literature and knowledge of an ideal human
behavior serving a definite purpose of ancient history. Gradually over a period
time the literature text were depicted in different forms by various people
resulting in conflicts among people with different beliefs. In order to undo
and rectify this laws were made to prevail demolished such as sati system ,
dowry, child marriage and domestic violence. These modifications did not occur
at once but in the gradual course of
In India where women are worshiped as
God in forms of God Laxmi, Saravasti, Durga, women still suffer under the cruel
laws and customs of the society. Sati
is an ancient practice carried by the hindus in which the widow were burnt herself on the funeral pyre of her
husband forcefully or voluntarily. The act was enforced to protect the women
and stop the practice. The sati ritual involved 3 staged- first the burning of
the widow; second the glorification; and lastly the culmination with the
establishment of a temple which was dedicated to sati.
According to this act anybody attempted
to commit sati even play a role even as a sighteers is a punishable act and is
entitled with life imprisonment and fine.
The Child marriage issue in India
is deep as it has its root in
traditional , cultural and religious
practices. Not to forget that the problem of child marriage bring along with it
the problem of dowry and child widowhood and is also associated with the
problem of malnutrition, poor health especially of the mothers. The act first
came in the year 1929. This act prohibited child marriage, particularly boys
before 18 and girls before 14.But according to the latest amendment the age
limit for boys was extended to 21 and for girls it was 18.
Earlier in the society widow were not
allowed to remarry especially among the upper caste. Though after the sati
prohibition act the widows were safe from the hands of death but they were
still exposed to existence in the year 1856.
As we all know India follows a rigid
system for marriage, there are certain rules that need to be followed. People
who do not abide by the rules were shunned by the society. Therefore a law protecting
such people who marriage going against those rule and marriage out of their caste.The
act was first enacted in the year 1872 but it was replaced by a new act in the
year 1954 with major 3 objectives. First, to provide a special kind of marriage for certain types
of cases; second, registration of those certain kinds of marriage; and third,
to provide divorce. The act has one major criteria to be fulfilled that the
marriage should not be violating any law.
In Indian marriages the bride’s family
gives dowry in forms of gifts to the grooms family along with the bride which
includes cash , jewellery, furniture, crockery, real or movable property and
other item that the grooms family demand as a condition of marriage. Sometimes
it exposes women to abuse in emotional and physical terms and even lead to
murder of brides. The act makes taking or even giving dowry an illegal act
which is subjected to prosecution under section 304B and 498A of the IPC. There
are cases where dowry is used as leverage to extract more from the bride’s
family. Dowry leads to a number of crimes against women and is a major reason
for violence against women. India has
the highest number of dowry related cases in the world. Dowry leads to crime such as:-
a) The crime Cruelty-
to order to force the bride and extract more property or money from her family
she is tortured and harassed in forms of verbal attacks or even beating her.
b) Abetment to suicide-
all the violence and harassment by the husband and the family leading to
emotional trauma, depression, women find ending their life an easy often.
c) Domestic violence-
women are often subjected to violence in
physical, economic and sexual term. There are laws protecting women against it(
the domestic violence act 2005).
d) Dowry murder-
all the violence and threats by the husband and the family lead to dowry murder
or dowry deaths of the bride. It is the result the domestic abuse. Bride
burning is found as a cause most oftenly by the police with a cover up story of
suicide attempt or accident. Apart from this there are other instances such as
acid attacks, poisoning and many more.
Same sex marriages
said earlier marriage have been at constant change and re evolving and so has
the laws governing them. Same sex marriage or say gay marriages gave always
been a very controversial issue in the society and a very divisive political
issue . The media and the society has always oppressed them to the best of
their ability. In some countries like India gay marriage is still considered
illegal, whereas countries like USA, France, Mexico, Norway, Denmark have
finally recognized their rights. The very first law giving same sex marriage a
legal status was Netherland. Even as many people opposes the idea of same sex
marriage as for them it is against the nature , they seem to have no valid
reason against it. The right to equality has been established and is protected
by the constitution, and the right to marriage is also our legal right. Even
though the section of gay people are in minority they still have the right and
should be able to exercise it as the majority.
we see the history in the time of early civilization like Mesopotamia and
ancient Egypt , same sex marriage was not considered as a taboo and as seen in
many cultures it was even encouraged. It was during the time of the rise of
Christianity that a negative attitude towards same sex marriage was introduced
and people still struggle under that.
Divorce As A Law And AN Option
is a termination of marriage. In the earlier society divorce was not available
to people as an easy option and was rather considered as a sin especially in
the Hindu religion and among Muslims only men has the option to divorce his
wife and the wife did not had any say in it. In countries like India divorce
needs a legal sanction so as marriage. Divorce along with it brings other issues
such as child custody, distribution of property and division of debt.
as the trends have changed, there has grown different forms of divorce
available by the law:-
Contested divorce both the parties are represented by lawyers who represent
their issued in the trail in front of the judges.
At fault divorce one party has to prove that the other party is at fault.
Summary divorce both the parties agree
to the requirements and the key issues of the agreement of the divorce.
d) In Uncontested divorce both the parties come to an agreement on the
issues such as property, children and support.
e) In Collaborative divorce the attorneys of both
the parties negotiate on the behalf of the partied they represent and come to
latest and most modern type of divorce -people in today’s life style are so
busy that they do not want to bother themselves by going to the court and going
through all the proceeding thereby in some countries like Portugal it is
allowed to file an electronic request for no fault collaborating divorce which
is known as electronic divorce.