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How to address the issue of ‘Marital Rapes’

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Rakesh Kumar Pandey
Rakesh Kumar Pandey
Professor in Physics at Kirori Mal College. Teaching in a DU college since 1989. Academic Council member in Delhi University from 1994 to 1998. Activist associated with NDTF activities in Delhi University. Former President of NDTF.

Those who consider ‘marriage’ as an instrument to provide legal protection for indulging into acts of exploitation are not fit to own up the responsibility of an institution as sacred as ‘Family’. However, it is also the duty of the society and the law to understand that ‘Family’ is an institution that helps individuals in broadening one’s vision. It helps an individual in acquiring some basic but necessary qualities of becoming a mature and civilized person. While for many, marriage may be a static contract, in Indian context – it is a ‘Samsakara’ in our tradition.

‘Contract’ is an agreement between parties who are trying to explore something bigger but with an assurance to get a relief when asked to make a compromise beyond what it was initially agreed upon by all. ‘Samsakara’ however, is process that helps you to prepare yourself for making changes and getting better equipped for facing some aspects of life that were unknown for you till that stage. It is an act of indulging into an affair where an unwritten contract is dynamically and continuously being improved with time. This ever-evolving contract keeps on continuously changing itself when some new circumstances are faced, whose possibility was not even imagined initially.

It makes up your mind to keep on discovering and exploring your limits to keep the ‘family’ – that includes (him)herself – alive, contended and happy. Those who pass through this ‘Samsakara’ and indulge into ‘Vivah Ashram’, learn the most vital human quality of finding pleasure in making sacrifices in the interest of others. In a ‘Family’, everyone has some rights while all others have the responsibility to provide the same. While ‘rights’ come to them naturally when others behave responsibly, those who execute their responsibilities in providing rights to others, also find satisfaction and pleasure in doing so by getting immediate feedbacks. In Indian context, ‘Families’ and not ‘individuals’ therefore, become the natural smallest unit to build up a responsible and civilized society.

Committing sacrifices and making compromises can find acceptability in any enlightened society but on ‘strict’ legal criteria, these can always be projected as ‘evidences’ of being exploited. Let us not utilize one to destroy the other as both are necessary components to establish a civilized and happy society. It must be acknowledged that ‘sacrifices’ make an individual compassionate and even immune to depressions. One who has learnt the skill of finding pleasure in making sacrifices for others will always find a way to get out of any depression.

Those, who are not prepared to make sacrifices for others, must hold themselves back from indulging into ‘marriage’ – a sacred affair in our context. Because ‘marriage’, according to our tradition is a one-way process that is impossible to get reverted. It can potentially leave a permanent psychological scar on individual’s mind. Those who are mentally not equipped to make compromises must think again before indulging into this otherwise they would be unrealistically expecting the other one to keep on making sacrifices and compromises, which will become unsustainable. It is time for the society also, to accept one’s inability for owning up the responsibilities of marriage instead of unrealistically ‘hoping’ a positive and pleasant transformation in individuals on the demands of sustaining a relationship and the institution of marriage after adventuring into this affair.

‘Marriage’ is not an ‘Adventure’ to be explored. If one is not prepared to make changes to adapt new situations, must understand that they are not prepared for owning the responsibilities of marriage. One of the reasons for more and more individuals finding them not prepared to own up this responsibility – is the absence of training that were otherwise provided to them earlier live, in joint family environments. To make the situation worse, our schooling and the syllabi also neither discuss the importance of the family institution nor builds up a case to protect them. It goes without saying however, that those who have already acquired the wisdom of finding pleasure in making sacrifices for others, also don’t need to pass through the ‘marriage samsakara’ only for this, as they are enlightened saints who are already perfect fit for the society.

A pervert, who can find pleasure in forcing a choice on the other for an act that is supposed to give pleasure to both is not fit to carry out a responsibility as sacred as ‘marriage’. Expecting such a pervert to change under the fear of law is neither desirable nor sustainable. Citizens who have ‘fear of law’ do not make them better citizens, they become better only when they develop ‘respect for law’. Let the society, the law and the government find a way to spread the awareness about the sanctity and importance of marriage.

We need to help individuals in developing the mindset required to save and protect the family institution. And till that happens, let ‘marital rapes’ be identified as a ‘good enough’ reason to ask for separation. Merely criminalizing ‘marital rapes’ will only lead to compromising the sanctity of an institution, as sacred as ‘marriage’. Our task is to find a way to protect ‘individuals’ and the ‘families’ both and not one of them at the cost of the other.

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Rakesh Kumar Pandey
Rakesh Kumar Pandey
Professor in Physics at Kirori Mal College. Teaching in a DU college since 1989. Academic Council member in Delhi University from 1994 to 1998. Activist associated with NDTF activities in Delhi University. Former President of NDTF.
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