As per the suicide statistics by National Crime Records Bureau for the years 2005 and 2006, close to 52,000 and 56,000 married men committed suicide respectively. Marriage is indeed a step toward family foundation, but can it substitute life itself?.
MARITAL PROBLEMS have started contributing to modern day stress in a big way. Day in and day out we hear cases of people succumbing to marital problems with the growing numbers of suicides among married people, especially males. As per suicide statistics provided by the National Crime Records Bureau for the years 2005 and 2006, close to 52,000 and 56,000 married men committed suicide, respectively. And the same years noted a splurge in the number of dowry harassment cases filed as reflected in the number of such cases filed – 58319 and 63128. Coupled with that, if a study conducted by Center for Social Research on the conviction rate of such cases is anything to go by, shockingly, there is only two per cent conviction in such cases. This means 98 per cent of such cases are false, and thus a false claim of dowry harassment was made. Not only that, based on that false statement, the husband and his entire family was arrested, put behind bars, made to cough out huge amounts to get a bail and had no choice but to fight a legal battle in an otherwise defunct and dead judicial outreach. They were also subjected to malicious prosecution. For the charge of dowry harassment being false, the concocted stories of alleged torture would also bear no ground. Having thus said, section 498A of Indian Penal Code, being heavily misused has actually turned out into an assassin’s weapon rather a protector’s shield as rightly pointed out by the honourable Supreme Court of India. Instead of making families, it is breaking families, for any woman who has falsely implicated her husband and in–laws in a false criminal case has lost their trust and the marriage has been dead for all practical purposes. A recent study in Mumbai claimed 40 per cent of marriages registered in Mumbai end in a divorce. And most of such cases involve filing of a false dowry case in order to get a quick divorce with a hefty alimony. Unscrupulous girls, supported by ill–minded parents, especially mother, pampered by a biased legal system that is highly de–sensitised to husbands (read married men) have found this as a very easy way to earn tax–free money. And to add, all of these so called marriages are performed on some auspicious date/time in consultation with some purohit/pundit etc. One can remember times when marriages could last so strongly for ages down the memory lane, and those too were conducted on some auspicious date/time in consultation with some purohit/pundit etc, what has changed so drastically in recent times that marriages have become a source of business opportunity for women and a source of ignominy and stress for men? Save Indian Family Foundation, the single largest Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) committed to the cause of spreading the message of ’gender equity’ and ’family harmony’ in addition to providing free legal, moral and psychological support to the victims of false dowry harassment and ’domestic violence’ cases, receives on an average of 200 calls per week over its various helplines spread all over India and abroad from battered and harassed men who are either victims of the misuse of these laws or are subjected to ’domestic violence’ at the hands of their wives. Have we come to a point in time when we need to consult a lawyer rather than a pundit or a purohit to decide a marital knot? Especially, a male does need to do so before tying the knot. For if the marriage does not work, which is quite possible in today’s dynamic socio–economic scenario, he will have to bear the brunt of the fallacy. A false case lodged with the help of the corrupt police force, sleeping judiciary and mercenary lawyers robs the man of his health, wealth, life, career and happiness. Even with a low conviction rate, the mental trauma that the man and his family including his mother and sisters and his father and other relatives undergo cannot be described in words and is by no means less than actual conviction. But does life end there? Is the end of marriage, the end of life? Perhaps yes, but probably no. Looking at the alarmingly high and surprisingly suppressed suicide statistics of married males as mentioned in the first paragraph, it is probably true that for married males, the end of a marriage is end of life. But seeing the spirits of a few thousand volunteers at Save Indian Family Foundation, reality shifts. Here people have not only gathered strength to fight against the system and stride against the tide, but have also developed high amount of positivity in their life and learned to remain happy despite a despicable and pathetic married life. Marriage can definitely be the first step towards family foundation but cannot substitute life itself. Life is too big and diverse and there are many things to be done in life than to waste it in crying over the split milk called bad marriage. The volunteers at Save Indian Family Foundation have taken cudgels against not only the biased laws and their faulty implementation but also against the mindset that a woman will not break away from a marriage without justifiable reason. This is a bitter truth, which the society needs to know, imbibe and live with, till the time it refuses to change itself.