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Wednesday 9 May 2012

Trials and Tribulations of an Indian Marriage

Marriage isn’t always easy and all marriages have problems. Some, unfortunately, end in divorce when the problems are insurmountable. However, this recent newspaper article made me realise just how different the problems can be in Indian marriages compared to western marriages.

The focus of the article is the hearing of an appeal in the Bombay High Court of a man (aged 30) seeking a divorce from his wife (aged 26), which the Family Court had declined to grant him.

The couple in question were married just two weeks after their engagement. Only four months into their marriage, the husband decided that he wanted a divorce on grounds of cruelty. So what exactly were the cruel deeds that the wife had done to him?

According to the husband’s divorce application, the cruelty started on their honeymoon when the wife refused to have sex with him unless contraception was used. Apparently, she didn’t want to conceive until the couple had settled down.

Then, after the couple returned to their matrimonial home, the husband discovered that his wife couldn’t cook properly. His petition claimed that she was spoiling food and “served half-cooked and half boiled” food to his parents and sister.

The husband’s advocate said that before marriage, the family was told the woman knew how to cook. The advocate also stated that although the husband insisted on a working wife as a precondition of the marriage, he objected to her coming home late from work.

Other complaints that the husband had were that the wife refused to share her income and was not religious enough.

What did the judges have to say about it? Apparently, they were amused, and were of the view that it was all too trivial to dissolve a marriage.

“It’s difficult to get a lady perfect in preparing food. Send her for cooking classes. Is there any judgment which says refusal to cook is grounds for divorce?” asked Justice Majmudar.

“Traditional days are gone when women wore a ghoonghat (veil) before their in-laws . We can’t be touchy about it. Show us any lady on the road wearing a ghoonghat,” said Justice Majmudar. “This is a woman of Kalyug and not old days,” he added.

The judges observed that the duration between engagement and marriage was short and said prospective couples should spend more time together before the big day.

The matter has been adjourned to see if there can be a settlement.

Article originally published from Diary of a White Indian Housewife.


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