Marriage, a fundamental social institution, is a culturally and legally sanctioned union between individuals.
Recent data from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation highlights a rising trend of youth, aged 15-29, who are ‘never married,’ indicating evolving dynamics in marriage in India.
Marriage as a sacrament is losing its value:
- Economic instability and the pandemic impact: Economic instability, exacerbated by the pandemic, has deterred many youths from considering marriage. Families with a monthly income of less than ₹10,000 are increasingly reluctant to engage in marriage arrangements.
- Delayed marriages: Higher education and career aspirations among youth have led to a preference for delayed marriages.
- Shift in attitudes: Changing societal norms have destigmatized single parenthood and promoted the acceptance of a single lifestyle.
- Increasing divorce rate: Divorce, once considered taboo, has become more socially acceptable and facilitated by legal provisions.
- Rising inter-caste marriages: Inter-caste marriages are on the rise, breaking down traditional barriers.
- Secularisation of marriage rituals: Increasing instances of court weddings reflect a shift towards secularization in marriage practices.
- Role of Live-in relationships: Live-in relationships have gained popularity as an alternative to traditional marriage.
Marriage as a sacrament is NOT losing its value:
- Religious and cultural significance: Marriage continues to hold deep religious and cultural significance in Indian society, with rituals and traditions playing a crucial role.
- Social acceptance: Greater acceptance of children born out of wedlock illustrates the enduring value of marriage.
- Legal protection: Marriage provides legal protection to couples, offering rights and responsibilities that are not available in other relationships.
- Role of technology: Matrimonial websites and digital platforms have modernized the process of finding suitable partners while emphasizing the importance of marriage.
While various factors, such as economic shifts, changing attitudes, and evolving marital practices, have impacted the institution of marriage, it would be premature to conclude that it is diminishing.
Economic development, technological advancements, and legislative changes have contributed to the evolution of marriage, but its core values and significance continue to endure in Indian society.