The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, February 4, 2001

When home is hell

APROPOS of Mohinder Singh’s article "When home is hell" (January 14), wife-beating is perhaps the most unsavoury expression in the lexicon of married life. The very mention of it gives a rude shock to our sense of decency. Violence on women can neither compensate for any loss that the male partner might have suffered, nor does it serve as a deterrent or reformative measure for women. Many a victim of this barbaric practice is said to be taking refuge in extra-marital liaisons. Clinical examinations have shown that several unruly, peevish children and rather hardcore criminals are supposed to have been fathered by wife-beaters.

The incidence of marital violence is global, no doubt. But it is misleading to view the conditions prevailing in the West on a par with the ones obtaining in our country, as the writer would have us believe. There the number of such incuidents are not so alarming.

In India, where a majority of women tend to foster fantastic notions about family life, the situation is rather pitiable. Many women believe that an ideal housewife, a pativrata has no alternative other than to succumb to the will of her husband. Still others are led to think that an occasional dose of violence on them is normal, rather an integral part of married life. This is the reason perhaps why a sizeable majority of women advocates the use of violence on them.




Though there are a plethora of laws to protect the right of women in India, an equal number of loopholes and varied interpretations of laws of different communities provide enough grounds for their abuse.

For instance, there is no law on marital violence, which is on the rise in the country. Wife beating is widespread in Indian society. There is no legislation against it and it falls under the general category of assault under Sections 323 and 324 of the IPC. It is, therefore, essential to change the law and make wife beating a criminal offence and a ground for immediate divorce.

Researchers show that the persecution of wives is widely prevalent in urban areas because of the break up of the joint family set-up. In such families, the bride being an outsider is more vulnerable as she cannot get the support of other daughers-in-law. No community is free from this persecution, although the practice is confined more to Hindu homes where the institution of marriage has been commercialised rather than being sacred relationship between two souls. With marriage turning into a monetary transaction, dowry deaths all over the country have been on the increase during the past few decades.

The solution to the problem of marital violence or other similar problems of women does not end by mere bestowal of judicial rights, or by making them literate. Most urban women today are literate, yet they exhibit a lack of moral strength.

One has to begin at the beginning. Let the daughter be assertive and vocal. Let her handle her own problems. Overprotectiveness will only add to her burdens instead of reducing them. Everytime she complains to you about maltreatment by in-laws, do not shrug it off. Let her take some action. Teach her the meaning of education. Do not just make her literate and marry her off, but make her strong and independent.



Since the dawn of civilisation and the establishment of the institution of family, man seems to have received a license in marriage to rape and beat his wife. Whatever be the landmark achievements of women rights associations and human rights commissions across the world, human civilisation still remains miles away from ridding itself of this barbaric practice. If not all, a large majority of women — both in the developed and underdeveloped countries both in the East and the West — have been victims of domestic violence. Even the most ferocious of wild animals don’t display any such a trait in their relations with their females.

The solution to this age-old social malady lies not as much in the criminal justice system as in social awakening and censure of the guilty. A psychopathic person with an explosively disordered mind, needs to be aroused to a sense of shame and repentence than to be sympathised with, for beating his wife even in the worst of fits. If the whole community, where such a man lives and works, snaps all social relations with him, one may hope for a quick reform.

Secondly, women should not be tolerant of wife-beating or domestic violence. Such things should be made public at the earliest, even if no police or judicial intervention is sought. A fear of bad name and social boycott will surely keep many a bullish man in check.



It is sad fact that for most men, women still remain a not-to-be-seen-or-heard entity, one who finds herself at the receiving end of all sorts of digs and abuses.

What is needed is to give women their rightful place in society so that they are treated respectfully. Above all, we should think of, our women on all days and not just on Women’s Day.



A majority of women in India still live lives of insecurity and fear and have to live with mental and physical abuse from their husbands.

A question that needs to be asked is why Indian women put up with such violence? The main reason is in the Indian social history. Most people are still illiterate and social values are patriarchally determined. Here the patriarchal system, in a crude and violent form still predominates.

Though many women organisations are working in our country, and special cells have been set up in police departments for women who seek help, but there is very little improvement. This is so because the law tends to go by the book rather than actually try to give justice to women.

Then what is the solution? Until and unless the society as a whole, does not respect women and acknowledge their contribution, nothing is going to change.


Hidden energy reserves

This refers to the article entitled "Hidden energy reserves beckon you" by Amarjit (January 14) in which the writer gives some very effective ways to tap the energy within us.

True, we possess potentially tremendous amounts of energy which can be roused if we exercise enough. Movement is life, so it is no wonder that life has been compared to flowing waters.

But the energy thus produced has to be directed into positive channels. It is for channelising this potential energy in a constructive manner that a positive attitude is required. A very easy route to it is to adopt a humane attitude and meditate every day.


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