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More aware, women assert their rights
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 16
Marriages are breaking up fast. The divorce rate is going up especially in Punjab and Haryana. Why? Women have become more conscious about their rights and status; financial security and independence have made them more assertive; breaking up of the joint family system has contributed towards increasing marital disputes and the dowry system is also responsible for destroying marriages.

Lok Bhalai Party chief Balwant Singh Rammuwalia says most of the NRI marriages are breaking up because of financial considerations. Those coming from abroad to get their sons married seek a huge price for their wards. Often such marriages end in divorces, he added. He said the political, social and religious systems were loaded against women and they suffered most because of divorces. NRI bridegrooms walked out of marriages without fearing the law in the absence of proper laws in India to protect the rights of women married abroad.

Gurminder Sokhey, head of the psychology department of Punjabi University, who has studied the subject of divorces closely and has guided research on the topic, says spread of education has made women think for themselves. They have now got the confidence to live on their own. They want to live on their own terms and are not ready to play the second fiddle. Their improved financial status has empowered them. All these factors have resulted in the breaking up of marriages fast. “In earlier times, women were dependent on men and had no freedom”, she adds.

Bhupinder Pal Singh Dhillon, an advocate in Punjab and Haryana High Court, says frustration level in society is increasing fast. Ego clashes are becoming more pronounced. These factors are breaking up families. “Earlier making adjustments in a joint family was easier. But now newly wed couples prefer to live alone and in case of even a minor tussle between them no one is around to facilitate a patch up”, he adds. Then there are marital mis-matches which end in dispute.

Jagdev Singh Brar, another advocate who has dealt with several divorce cases, says new generation women are far ahead than their mothers-in-law. The gap in their thinking often becomes a cause of disputes, says Dhillon. He says that at least 10 per cent divorces take place because of medical reasons. Women walk out of matrimonial alliances when they find their husbands medically “unfit and incapable”. 

In different layers of society, reasons for divorce are different, he asserts. Suspicion with regard to social conduct of husband or wife is becoming another big factor in such cases. Marital fidelity and infidelity continues to determine the success and non-success of marriages especially in middle and lower middle classes whereas in upper classes it is fast becoming a non-issue.

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