Family Violence and Abuse - I

October 29, 2007

About an year back, an Indian TV Channel aired a video secretly recorded by a man, who was brutally beaten by his wife every night for a prolonged period of time. As people watched this abuse shown on TV in a restaurant, the most common response was, “Saale, Ulta kyon Nahin Marta?" (Moron, why is he not hitting back?). In India, men who do not beat abusive women are considered as “Namard” (impotent).

Everyone needs corrective action in case of deviation. While society works to correct men and their behaviour through a legal system, it shrugs off its duty to correct abusive women, and in turn expects the men to somehow do this job for the society.

When women can be engineers, doctors, scientists and astronauts, they can also be abusers, drug addicts and criminals? If a woman is abusive, the society expects that it is men’s duty to correct the abusive women in case they abuse in-laws or neglect children. For example, if a woman leaves her kid in the car and goes for shopping in US, the society (law) corrects the woman. But, in India, the society expects the men to correct the women (by abuse) for neglecting the child. This has been brought out very clearly by National Family Health Survey-III, which says 54% women and 51% men believe that it is the responsibility of men to control women with use of force.(Link)

For example, disrespect and abuse of elders of the family is nothing but “domestic violence”. Calling the mother-in-law a slut is domestic violence. But, the majority of the society expects that men correct the abusive women. So, there are no laws in India to correct any abusive women.

Had it been Britney Spears, Indian society would have shrugged off its responsibility and would have expected Kevin to mend Britney’s ways. Had it been Paris Hilton, the society would have expected her father to mend her lifestyle.

In the meanwhile, the same survey shows that only 6% of women (between ages of 15 to 49), who have completed high school, had “ever” faced abuse in their lives in the state of Karnataka compared to national average of 37.2% women facing abuse at one point or other in their life(Link). The assumption here is that the men in Karnataka, who have completed high school, do not get abused by their wives at one point or other in their lives as the survey ignored the condition of men. Running an abused husband’s helpline, I do know that men get abused for not buying a car, not providing lifestyle, coming home late, drinking a beer occasionally or for disrespecting their in-laws. One out of 20 married men in urban India gets severely abused and gets threats of false cases and threats of abuse by police every year. That is 5% of educated men facing severe domestic violence every year compared to only 6% educated women facing domestic violence once in a lifetime in Karnataka. The NFHS ignores abuse against these men even though these men do not retaliate and go against the predominant societal expectation that men must correct their wives.

According to the first ever survey on urban educated Indian men conducted by the Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) on men, who eventually wanted to separate from their wives, 25.2% faced physical violence, 22.5% faced emotional violence, 33% faced economic violence and 18% faced sexual violence(Link,Link). On top of that, 79% have faced further legal violence post their desire to put an end to abuse by walking off the marriage. Still, the society denies men any protection under existing laws. This confirms the National Family Health Survey findings about the Indian society’s attitude that, when faced with violence at home, men are expected to deal with it through physical violence instead of asking the society to allow them to move on.

According to the SIFF survey, 22% of educated men also reported that the relatives of the women as well as counselors admitted that these women were abusive and said that the men would have been happily married, if they had just controlled them with a few tight slaps.

This attitude of the society explains why there is no support for any laws to protect husbands from abusive wives in urban India. The government of India is totally reluctant to restrain abusive and aggressive women as the majority of the society is convinced that it is the job of their husbands to restrain and correct the women using brute force. The situation can change for the better for both men and women, when society makes provisions in existing laws to correct women in stead of forcing men to control and correct abusive women.

Sumanth is specialist in Soft-Computing. He is also a researcher in the area of Cognitive Science, Complex Dynamical Systems, and computational sociology. He manages software projects for enterprise printers in an MNC firm. He blogs at SIF website.
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October 29, 2007
02:20 AM

"According to the SIFF survey, 22% of educated men also reported that the relatives of the women as well as counselors admitted that these women were abusive and said that the men would have been happily married, if they had just controlled them with a few tight slaps."

well you have it right here, folks... SIFF advocates hitting women as a method to fix issues in the home.

WTF, Sumanth? That is escalation. If the woman is being abusive, you recommend ESCALATING the violence? that is utter bullshit. Your organization is losing credibility by the second.

sex on the beach (kela)
October 29, 2007
02:37 AM

that fellow was indeed a namard,filming himself having kinky sex with his wife and falling miserably short

Ravi S
October 29, 2007
04:13 AM

I have a feeling that this is an urban phenomenon, and in the rural areas, even now women are far more oppressed. However I completely agree, that in the eyes of the law, oppression or abuse towards men and towards women should be considered in the same light. The problem/fault here is not with women or men in particular, but the outlook of society (both men and women) that women are meant to be dominated and men to dominate. This is an unfortunate assumption the society inherently makes whether it accepts it openly or not. Statistics apart, but abuse is abuse. The affect of abuse or the justice meted out should not change with the sex of the abuser/abused.

smallsquirrel: You might want to read that part again. What that para emphsizes is that according to SIFF survey, even some of the counselors and relatives of women advocated that the men would be better off if they had been more controlling of their wives. You like me, obviously feel disgusted. Read the next para- Sumanth too was explaining why this sort of demented mindset has led to no support of laws to protect husbands.

October 29, 2007
04:45 AM

hmmm, OK maybe I jumped the gun... I am willing to concede that is a possibility. but that paragraph itself was written poorly as it is comprised of one single sentence which leads one to surmise as I did.

October 29, 2007
04:56 AM

When I still lived in India, there was this old couple who had lived in the servants quarters (what a weirdly archaic name, huh?) forever. For years the fairly well-built and *tagda* man would beat the crap out of his wife.

One day she took up a stick and beat him up instead. From then on that man would be beaten up regularly by his wife. And, for some reason he was never able to defend himself against his 100 pound, five feet nothin wife.

I always wondered if this abusive role-reversal was, in this case, more psychological than physical. Once he was beaten up be could never regain the strength to be the abuser and became the victim instead.

Domestic abuse exists, and yes, woman on man abuse does as well. Strangely enough, whatever the abuse sexism comes into play.

When domestic abuse was something that could not ever be prosecuted it was swept under the rug as a *ghar ka maamla.* Now that we know that women are also abusers at time, that same sexism comes into play. How can a weak woman beat up a man? Why does the man let him beat her? Just as at one time women were told that it was okay if her husband beats her.

These are convoluted issues and can only be resolved if people are looked at as individuals and sexism is addressed by society.

Nancy Lee Gray
October 29, 2007
08:16 AM

After reading all of the words of opinion and comments, I find a few of Jawahara's words the most wise!

Jawara said, "These are convoluted issues and can only be resolved if people are looked at as individuals and sexism is addressed by society."

In my opinion domestic violence in all its variations indicates a failure in personal values and societal structure. I wish I could name any country to look at as a model of doing- it-better... Sadly, I cannot.

October 29, 2007
01:20 PM

#6 "I wish I could name any country to look at as a model of doing- it-better... "

Agreed. Its difficult to find one.

But if u are looking for the Worst model ever possible...look at India !!!

November 16, 2007
12:09 PM

Small Squirell Actually what sumanth said is clear . "Nachne aaye angan tedha"

November 16, 2007
12:17 PM

well, OK, but I don't really speak Hindi all that well... are you just saying I am at fault?

November 16, 2007
04:09 PM

I think both men and women are capabale of abuse. One would think women be less inclined to physical abuse, but women do not live in isolation, they do have parents, brothers, lovers, relatives, friends who can dish out physical and mental abuse on her behalf - plus they have laws on their side, all they have to do is to make false accusations and than it is her word against his, and women are so good at acting victim, her version will usually prevail. Gone are days when mon-in-laws used to monopolize abuse, now it is equal opportunity for both sides - you can find many horror stories how some bahus abuse their in-laws and turn their husbands hostile against their parents.

By and large, abuse is a reflection on breakdown of civilizing influences in the society.

Aditi Nadkarni
November 16, 2007
04:35 PM

smallsquirrel: even if you did know Hindi the saying is wrong...

bharati says "Nachne aaye aangan thedha" which upon translation would mean "came to dance but the floor was crooked" which makes no sense. The original saying is "Naach na aaye aangan thedha"...."(She/He) doesn't know how to dance and hence is claiming that the floor is crooked"....it almost seems like a Bollywood influenced choreographic version of "sour grapes" :)

Sumanth: this made me smile:

"According to the SIFF survey, 22% of educated men also reported that the relatives of the women as well as counselors admitted that these women were abusive and said that the men would have been happily married, if they had just controlled them with a few tight slaps"

You know what I pictured? I pictured SIFF asking approximately 2 SIFF men out of 10 and getting an immediate "Yes, definitely....slaps should work" response. :)

See, few tight slaps can work on quite a few men too and children and even some extremely ill-behaved pets. But thats not the point. The point is how many people actually give in to that anger and express it in terms of physical violence.

So the "Saale ulta kyon nahi marta" response at the very begining of your article is going to come from an uneducated, uncivilised section of society while the educated ones among us are thinking "Get counseling or get out!". If you turn a marriage into an "akhada" then whats the point? The love is already run out, there isn't any compatibility and there is pointless and growing resentment. So why patch it and keep it together like a municipality truck which will collapse any minute?

November 16, 2007
07:19 PM


I don't think certain attitudes have anything to do with education or lack there of. Being educated and being civilized are not necessarily the same thing. Educated women are more likely to not tolerate certain things and be rebellious and confrontational about them, rocking a relationship. Relationships do go thru ups and downs and people do change over time. I have seen many relationships that have had rocky start or rough patches worked out in the end. Patience and councelling from family and friends can help tide over rough patches - if after having gone thru it, the abuse is still getting worse, than drastic remedies may be needed and your family and friends are more likely to be with you and support your decision when it is taken after their councelling.

I myself was a counceller to a young couple that eventually ended up in a divorce. They were my close friends living next door - they always ran into arguments over petty matters(his drinking, smoking, meat-eating, tv-watching habits etc) as woman was more domineering and I was able to patch them up all the time. But one day their argument ended up in a guy slapping her and she called the police which didn't do anything as there was no sign of abuse - next day, while he was at work, she cleaned out all his joint bank accounts, all the belongings in apartment and left him, without taking councelling from anybody, without leaving any whereabouts of her new address - apparently, she did not want to patch up this time and avoided everybody who knew her. Both of them ended up spending over 150k in legal fees over 5 years, protracted child-support battles(she was pragnent when she left), the guy did not work for 5 years to avoid alimony and child support etc. That was 10 years ago. The guy remarried and has a happy family now. The lady did not remarry and is struggling to raise her kid by herself. I doubt she will ever get remarried as she is over 40 now. The child has never seen his father and never will. Was it all worth it? I doubt it.

You don't use sledge hammer to kill a fly. Like happiness, lack of it is also state of mind.

In my own relationship, when I am mad, she stays quiet and does not argue and when she is mad, I let her vent while I stay quiet and supress my impuse to argue or defend. It works.

Love and compatibilty are matters of cultivation and they take time to grow. You don't create litmus tests for them - that yah, I see love is gone, so let me run now. When you hold on to something by your tight fist, it might hurt a bit and your fist will turn red. To let go is easy and the pain will go away immediately, but your hand will be empty.

Aditi Nadkarni
November 16, 2007
07:43 PM

Kerty: Easier said than done. While holding onto something till your fist turns red (?) or cramps up requires that one know how much that "something" matters. If it doesn't then I think the whole "flexing the fist" approach won't work especially when one person's fist is turning red trying to hold onto someone who has their fist up their ass.

Your very romantic and idealistic approach won't work when an adult woman and man know that their incompatibilities are far greater than their love for each other. Just like there is no litmus test for compatibility, there isn't one for deciding what the right thing to do is in any relationship. What works in your relationship so wonderfully well can and will most likely fail in another.

Let me take the one example you stated: when you get mad your wife/ gf stays quiet and when she gets mad you let her cool off/ vent. Great. I say kudos to you guys for making it work so well. Unfortunately there are some pretty twisted people out there (men and women) whose idea of anger is physical expression. "Staying quiet" often translates to "Taking a beating". Thats where the fist is coming right at you. Your very nice and may I say even compassionate reasoning of "one has to make it work for a happy relationship" can eventually send a person to their grave in such a situation.

Also,for future reference: when I say "educated" I don't mean "qualified" but "cultured, informed and hopefully intelligent". My bad, I should've clarified.

November 16, 2007
10:06 PM

not only that, Kerty, but you seem to think the guy was telling the truth. He HIT his pregnant wife! What in hell is that about. He might have told you it was just a slap, but could it be that it was harder? And even if it wasn't, should she have to stick around for it? And how do you know if she was or was not counselled by anyone? And are you qualified to give counseling? Acting as a counselor without proper training is *very* dangerous.

Maybe she left because he had threatened violence when you were not there and this hit was her cue to leave. Once violence starts, it doesn't go away on it's own. I am sure she was scared. And when women go to leave, that is the most dangerous time. Should she have taken his permission and risked another hit? I am not saying what she did was perfect, but what other options did she feel she had after it might have seemed to her that no one was listening or protecting her?

Kerty, you clearly don't know much about abuse. You should not be counselling people on how to avoid it.

November 17, 2007
02:07 AM


Easier said than done is highly defeatist and easy-way-out attitude. Just ask any number of people who have successful and lasting relationship how many times they have had to surmount impossible odds within their relationship. All happy relationships go thru ups and downs. Common factor in all lasting relationship, you will find, is not giving up or run from it at first sign of problem in relationship. If one applied litmus test of love and compatibility on daily basis, no relationship would last.

Like happiness, abuse(not to be confused with physical torture) is also state of mind and what kind of orientation that has gone into that mind. One person might consider a slap to be abuse but drinking or flirting as not, while somebody else might consider drinking or flirting to be abuse and not slap received in heat of argument. Being slighted, breaking a promise, not being nice to in-laws, criticizing - there can be long litney of things that some may deem as abuse while others may not. In a relationship, there is natural tendency to expect other person to confirm to what he or she likes the partner to be, and often heavy-handed tactics are used - as soon as mission is accomplished or the other person gives up trying, relationship would get back on tract.

While abuse is subject to interpretation based on individual orientation and particular situation, physical torture is unmistakable - where person is subjected to extreme form of bodily harm. It is best to leave scene of harm, involve family members and not return to the relationship unless physical safety is assured by other family members and some sort of repentance and reconciliation can be confirmed. Families on both side have to get involved, give very long cooling period. When state of relationship has gotten this far, the problems are likely to be deep-rooted, relationship will need close monitoring by families, most of the time, it would end up in separation. Problems get worse when couple is cut off from family and have no immediate support system that can intervene or pressurize or shame the person to abandon such behaviour. Your prescriptions are reasonable in such extreme scenerios.

Your take on love and compatibility treats relationship to be highly conditional and tentative, subject to subjective evaluation and arbitrary litmus tests at every turn. Much like western style 'I love you' in the morning and divorce by the evening over some argument. Arranged marriages do not start out with love or compatibility, they are achieved over a period of time after lots of adjustments and compromises. As long as couples are committed, they will be able to ride thru turbulent times. If they take your advice to run at the first sign of incompatibility, no relationship can last. In the west, they start out with love and compatibility and yet most of them end in divorce, because they do not start out with commitment, they start out with conditional love. It makes the relationship conditional arrangement from the get go. In India, arranged relationships start out merely with commitment without love or compatibility at the outset, and yet they endure life time.

You are relying on highly extreme cases to make your point. Fist up her ass, beating her up to her grave - while I don't doubt some relationships are likely to face that level of physical harm, I don't think that is representative of majority of relationships. You can't generalize all other relationships based on extreme cases. Such extreme relationships signal break down of social support system around the couple, total atomization that has cut the couple off any civilizing influences or social pressure to confirm to values. It takes two to tango. people do not set out to beat up their spouses. There is always a trigger that leads to it - argument, rebellion, it could be anything that a person feels to be very critical at the moment. Before blows are struck, there is usually a heated argument - if that argument phase can be diffused by one party tactfully withdrawing from confrontation or disobedience, many situations can be averted from getting out of hand. If threat of physical harm still persists as constant terror, that is time to run for outside help.

BTW, I don't think there are any schools for what you define as 'educated'. Educated usually means persons who have passed thru educational system successfully. You might have special meaning to certain words, I have to go by their usage in common parlance.

Aditi Nadkarni
November 17, 2007
02:24 AM

Kerty: your comment #15 though long lacks any credibility. Common sense is all one needs to know that the golden pointers of one relationship fail miserably for another.

This very detailed and verbose comment of yours does not refute any of the points I make in comment 14. They only reveal your own perspective which is great when applied to your own circumstances but cannot guarantee success in somebody else's very unqiue situation.

In the 4th paragraph you have made quite a few baseless and astonishing assumptions about my take on love and marriage. I don't even know where this: "Much like western style 'I love you' in the morning and divorce by the evening over some argument" comes from!!

I do not believe in the line of thinking you have somehow concluded I hold and therefore your argument not only lacks any logic but is utterly misdirected.

My point was simple: Every relationship has its own baggage, priorities, 2 individuals caught amidst a very unique circumstance. Whether they should work it out or abandon the relationship should be upto their discretion. You and I cannot possibly decide what the right thing for them to do is.

How this has anything to do with "western" romance and "I love you" I don't know.

November 17, 2007
03:58 AM


He was my best friend and she was my wife's best friend and they confided everything, all their problems to us and turn to us for advise. It is in that sense that I used the term 'conseling'. We were inseparable, used to hang out together till late nite, ate together everyday. There were no secrets they kept from us. There was no physical violence in their relationship, we would be the first to know if there was any - the guy would simply stop talking to her and watch TV instead whenever he would get mad at her - that was his way of cooling down. We would talk to both of them individually, and within few hours, they return back to normal. She was very domineering and fought with him over small things and always had to have her way, always wanted to have the last word. If she couldn't have her way, she would have her brother scold him, or ask us intervene. This guy was raised in Africa and UK and this lady wanted him to be traditional Indian and religious while she herself was americanised and held very feminist views.

The only reason I know it was a slap on her face is because of police report that stated as such. The police that came didn't do anything other than giving the warning because there was no visible evidence of slap as normal slap does not leave any bruise on face. He didn't even know she was pregnant at that time as he was staying out of town during the weekdays for a short-term IT project, he came home for weekends. When he returned the following weekend, she was gone. He came to know of her pregnancy only thru her lawyer.

You seem to presume I knew not enough what happened. But that is not true. The guy is still my friend. Because of my continued friendship with him, the lady never stayed in touch with my wife after she ran away. But I knew many of her friends with whom she confided about what happened and why she ran away - it was that slap that pulled her trigger. So I know my facts about this case. You need not guess.

They fought legal battles for 5 years - she wanted to ruin him financially and he didn't want to give her a penny - she flew to UK and took away all jewelery from bank locker including jewelery belonging to her in-laws in that locker plus all the money in UK bank account. She had cleaned out all joint accounts from US bank. She had cleaned out all furniture and belongings from apartment - not a single thing left in apartment. This guy was left penniless when she ran away. In order to avoid paying hefty alimony and child support, he ended up deliberately not working for several years, borrowed money for lawyer fees. He was 100k in debt from legal fees by the time he got his divorce. I am sure she too much have spent fortune in legal fees, probably every penny she robbed from his bank accounts. Most of this drama of legal battles was played out in my own living room as the guy stayed with me whenever he came to town for court dates and lawyer meetings.

In America, most relationships meet similar fate. Qualified counsellers are dime a dozen in USA, yet large number of people have to run away from relationships because of incompatibility and abuse. They marry after they fall in love, after they get to know the person well, after they feel they are compatible, after they wait for so long for mr right - why do they suddenly become incompatible and abusive? I have found Americans in general to be genuinely gentle and polite people, not abusive at all. Than why do they suddenly become abusive to their own loved ones? Look at divorce statistics - they are out there in very large numbers. I believe it is the feminist paradigm that views relationship as battle ground and any bruise they receive as abuse and any excuse a good reason to cut and run. Divorce-on-demand. I am not talking about extreme cases. I am talking about average people in average circumstances not being able to make relationship work and seeking an easy way out. I wish somebody can slap some sense into them. I am glad, in India we do.

Aditi Nadkarni
November 17, 2007
04:07 AM

SS: Kerty remind you of Garg yet? :)

"I wish somebody can slap some sense into them. I am glad, in India we do"

Yes and not only do we as a society "slap some sense" into full-grown, independent adults who can decide their own fates, in India we bloody tie them to a chair and make sure that if they ever contemplate divorce we all immediately declare that it must most definitely have been the "easy way out". Indian sense of unity is indomitable when it comes to conquering personal satisfaction with societal statutes of what is or isn't the right thing to do in any given relationship.


Deepti Lamba
November 17, 2007
04:25 AM

any bruise they receive as abuse and any excuse a good reason to cut and run. Divorce-on-demand. I am not talking about extreme cases. I am talking about average people in average circumstances not being able to make relationship work and seeking an easy way out. I wish somebody can slap some sense into them. I am glad, in India we do.

Whoa!! I have yet to meet a consular who approves of slapping some sense into a person or a child.

November 17, 2007
06:45 AM

kerty... you're a garg/sumanth/SIFF clone spewing things that make no sense!

how anyone could advocate violence at any time is beyond me.

and your understanding of abusive situations is minimal to say the very least.

November 17, 2007
09:42 AM

Ha Ha Ha...
This conversation is making me LoL!
2 feminists and a sensible guy arguing real hard but no one seems to be listening to the other side... Just putting their own points across like tight slaps!
Madam SS and AN, so typically feminist of you! You ignored the whole sensible talk of Kerty, and caught hold of just the last sentence and hanging over it like a child on to a swing rod...

This is exactly he was referring to in the whole comment... Just one slap in the heat of discussion and the "life-partner" walks out of life!
But instead of accepting the fact, feminists and their supporters still hold on to the same age old paradigm that "Abala aurat to sab kuchh sahti hai. Par jab pani sar ke upar nikal jata hai, tabhi aisa kuchh karti hai"

Wake up ladies, today's urban women are not those "abla nari" anymore! They've grown as intolerant, and as abusive as the men are perceived as since ages.

I know with such a comment from me, you'll conveniently label me too as a wife-beater... But it doesn't matter to me what you assume me to be...
Only I know how much I love my wife and she knows very well, if I've ever even lifted a hand upon her!

Deepti Lamba
November 17, 2007
09:47 AM

Yeah eggie, what are a few slaps here and there. I hope you will let your wife also respond in kind but for both your sakes I suggest immediate therapy.

November 17, 2007
09:55 AM

Sorry Deepti Aunti,
Therapy is no longer possible for us...
Because she couldn't digest the love and care she got from me, so has left me already... even before I could think of counseling for us!

Go ahead make your assumptions based upon 100yr old marriage statistics!

November 17, 2007
09:58 AM

"I hope you will let your wife also respond in kind"

Oh yes she's done that, by threatening me and my parents of putting false dowry & DV cases against us! So typical...
Assumptions.. Assumptions.. that's all feminism lies upon!

Deepti Lamba
November 17, 2007
10:01 AM

And for that a few slaps would set us all 'feminists' right.

November 17, 2007
10:05 AM

Maybe, if you insist! :-)

November 17, 2007
10:07 AM

Oh btw, how come you sound so much like my sweetheart?
Is that just a coincidence or u r all really like that? ;-)

Deepti Lamba
November 17, 2007
10:14 AM

Eggie, I am someone else's sweetheart and if i remind you of her then she must have been as adorable as I am.

November 17, 2007
10:16 AM

Oh yes, to me she was (is) certainly!
But how do you know, I'm not that "Someone else"? :-P

Deepti Lamba
November 17, 2007
10:17 AM

Coz even in your dreams I would never be with someone like you;)

November 17, 2007
10:17 AM

'cause she's mine

November 17, 2007
10:29 AM

"Coz even in your dreams I would never be with someone like you"

Wow, I like that "labeling"!
See those "Assumptions"?

Hey Aaman, no hard feelings man... ;-)

Deepti Lamba
November 17, 2007
10:35 AM

What assumptions Eggie? I am with the kind of man I always wanted to be with, the rest all pale in comparison;)

November 17, 2007
10:41 AM

Ofcourse, I've no intentions to compete with your man!
I'm content with my darling! :-)

Just that the "Labeling" that you ladies do of men, either implicitly or explicitly, amuses me sometimes...
Intolerance at its best, in the 21st century!

Deepti Lamba
November 17, 2007
10:43 AM

Ah! and men don't objectify women. I have no axes to grind with men, never did since I don't hold them all responsible for the crimes committed by a few.

Aditi Nadkarni
November 17, 2007
10:43 AM

Egg-Jaktly: How any of my responses are even remotely "feminist" I don't know, really. I stated very clearly that what is ideal and perfect and good for one relationship won't work with another. Thats not feminism but I can understand why some of you would misinterpret it: its common sense.

This whole approach of "If you get a divorce it is simply coz you didn't work hard enough" is presumptious, judgmental and a little too optimistic. Of all the 3 labels I have tagged this line of thinking with, I did not feel the need to include "male chauvinist"...so I wonder why some men see this "feminism" where there isn't any.

I read Kerty's comment and the "tight slap" didn't bother me since it seemed more figurative. What bothered me is the whole tone of "Couples should be made to work harder to save their marriage and in India we do it".

My very un-feminist question is why should it be so important to society to contribute towards this whole "saving marriage" brigade. Can't two adults decide if their incompatibilities are bigger than their relationship?

What gives you, me, Kerty or anybody the right to prescribe a mode of action when a relationship goes sour? Who made us the experts and the pundits?

That was my point of view which for whatever reason you prompty labelled as "feminist".

I am a feminist, yes, but does that have anything to do with my aforementioned comment? Don't think so.

If you really were reading my comments you would've thought of the term "liberal" compared to "feminist"

I belong to the class of liberals who believe that marriage is nobody else's business except for the two people involved in that institution. As long as they are adults, they decide. This whole social interference and adulteration of such a personal decision disturbs me.

Ultimately when one is unhappy in a marriage it hardly matters whether the nation's divorce rates are escalating. The only thing influencing a couple's decision should be their own issues and the children if any.

November 17, 2007
11:38 AM

"I read Kerty's comment and the "tight slap" didn't bother me since it seemed more figurative. What bothered me is the whole tone of "Couples should be made to work harder to save their marriage and in India we do it"."

Relieving to know that you got the statement right!

Even I agree with your views that marriages should not be anyone else's matter, but that of the two married... But don't you think its a bit too ideal to be practical in the kind of society we live in?

Although its no one's business to be "judgmental" about another ones' marital issues, but its usually considered as beneficial for close friends or relatives to intervene when immature individuals who're tied into the knot without knowing each other so well beforehand, get a bit too judgmental about each other and their still-to -be built up relationship. Atleast for a year or two, after an arranged marriage there're always possibility of some areas of incompatibility between the two life-partners. Only very rare people would be completely incompatible to each other... Why would such people marry each other in the first place? Even in arranged marriages at least some level of compatibility is checked by both parties...

Such partial incompatibility existed 100 yrs ago as well, and will exist 100 yrs from today as well.
But being overly intolerant of such incompatibility and making a decision of fight or flight within a really short duration is what should be looked at more seriously by the society. And mind you I'm not talking of any kind of abuse here... Just plain incompatibility, which would lead to tiny quarrels between almost 100% of married couples.

And since last few years, even such tiny quarrels (may or may not be absolutely any physical violence involved) lead to a lot of broken marriages, within the 1st year.
Can a mature adult really label a just started relationship (meant to be life long) as so completely incompatible within such a short duration that they'd take such extreme decisions of breaking it? Did this happen so frequently even 30 yrs ago? I don't think so...
Wouldn't you interpret this recent tendency as pure intolerance?
And moreover, how is it a coincidence that this tendency has seen a sudden rise around the same time that some wife centric (and clumsily drafted) laws have come into effect?

Deepti Lamba
November 17, 2007
12:42 PM

Egg, sometimes two nice people just bring out the worst in each other. Happened to two friends of mine and we never could understand why within the first year of their marriage they came to hate each other.

That being said generally in fights one should avoid bringing up past issues, hitting below the belt, not involve parents/siblings or friends and use the term 'I' instead of you.

Sometimes people can't reconcile and at other times they do.

And sometimes they use all kinds of means to punish the person they think has done them wrong.

Thats the acid test to show grace and forbearance just when one has the weapons to destroy another and only a few have refrained from using lopsided law and thereby shown their strength of character

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