Forced Marriage versus Arranged Marriage
At the tender age of nine, I experienced quiet a traumatic family breakdown. My cousin, the beloved niece of my mother, was to marry. Aged just eighteen, she was thought to be perfectly ready to marry, and create a family of her own. Nothing was to be questioned; she was young, beautiful, and many respectful marriage proposals came her way. She did not have a say in the matter whatsoever. And that was fine, as culturally parents had always decided who their offspring would marry. From the beginning of times, our culture would work towards children conforming to cultural norms, in which above all was god; but above the almighty, were parents. Our pathway to heaven. Our lives became a stretch between ourselves, and our parents. And pleasing the parents, till date is a matter strongly obligatory. Not a forced obligation, rather an obligation that is so natural to us, that it almost becomes an ambition.
However, when news broke of the eighteen years old’s soon approaching nuptials to her twenty something husband-to-be, chaos struck. My cousin broke all norms. She refused to marry the man chosen for her. With the invitations sent out, guests pouring in from all corners of the world, as far as India, and the groom’s side flying in from the United States, an atmosphere of mourning spread like wild fire amongst my immediate family. A young child myself, I did not understand why she would refuse. Why did she not want to put on that dress and glam up? Have a party were the centre of attention would be her? Why? Then, after two weeks of constant phone calls, arguments, and tears, my aunt’s reputation was saved. Her daughter went along with the proceedings, and married her twenty something husband. Twelve years later, she remains married to the same man. They have never shared the same bed, neither have they lived under the same room. His month-long holiday in Pakistan proved testing for their marriage, and soon after he returned to the US, whilst she grew ambitions of her own, and moved to Italy, living a lonely life, with her brother, who is to marry his childhood sweetheart during the summer of 2013.
Some years ago, I asked her, why she agreed if she knew she'd be unhappy forever. She replied with a simple "Would you want to see your parents dead because of you?" I later found out she was emotionally blackmailed. Her case is a classic case of a forced marriage. Where the parents go ahead with the proceedings, without having the discipline to ask their child for what they want. The reason behind this is the re-enforcement of orthodox rituals. You see, in a time were civilization was the subject of illiteracy, the woman’s job was to hold the family together; to cook, to clean, to lay with her man, and produce children. Yet, with changing times, females within the south eastern world have found liberty and freedom. They now enjoy educational experiences, working lives, and independence. However, just like some of the western world, a large portion of the south eastern world is still, as one would say "blind to changing times." For years, culture has been such an important counterpart of building history that even now some find it hard to let go. This is where the issues arise. Women now have become independent. They understand that life comes with a value factor, and that becomes a source of great concern. In a culture where women are thought to be prized possession and the route to honour, a little slip could come with a dangerous outcome. Sex, boys, alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes are something of a cultural no-no. A woman found indulging in lust or addiction is thought to be nothing more than a common prostitute. Harsh, of course, but these matters reflect families. If you’re found to be messing with the pride and honour of the family, the cure is marriage - a respectful occurrence.
Arranged marriage, however, is an affair much more pleasant and much more beautiful. This may be a personal believe but there is a certain excitement in the whole matter. The parents meet, then the parents meet the children, then the children meet, and go out to lunch, dinner, anywhere they wish to get to know each other better. If all goes accordingly, they find themselves well on way to married bliss. However, if things fall sour, the family talk, and tell one another, the alliance cannot go any further, and so that’s the last of that. In a culture were boys and girls must not mix together, this becomes the perfect way to perhaps meet the love of your life.
Islam has often been given the blame for this orthodox mind frame. But what some are alien to is that Islam encourages falling in love. The Prophet Muhammad, the sole most important person in the Islamic text and an inspiration for 1.2 billion Muslims, fell in love too, with his first wife Khudeja. Their love, a story of compassion, respect, honesty, and, above all, a beautiful bond between a husband and wife, has become a treasured story. If the prophet could fall in love, then Islam blew the trumpet for love. The blame truly is to be given to the orthodox norms, which are merely a production of illiteracy and men using power in a horrible manner.
The difference arranged marriage and forced marriage is apparent. One brings happiness and is a matter exciting and rather beautiful. The other has become something disastrous, ruining many lives.
May 17th, 2013 at 07:57pm
May 12th, 2013 at 06:28am
April 27th, 2013 at 05:54am
April 15th, 2013 at 11:32pm
April 14th, 2013 at 03:41pm