Tag Archive for 'marriage'

The harassed husbands of India

Madhavankutty Pillai in Open magazine:

The harassed husbands of Borivali, one of the last suburbs on Mumbai’s Western Railway line, used to meet in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park until it began to charge Rs 30 as an entry fee. So they switched to the Veer Savarkar Udyan, a smaller park some distance away, where there is a pond in the middle, abutting which are a series of steps. The husbands take seats on these every Sunday, starting at 11 am. On the day that I go, there are about six of them, plus a mother-in-law and father-in-law. The numbers go up and down. Jinesh Zaveri, who coordinates the Borivali group, shows a text message from someone named Manish. It says, ‘might not be able to come. Meeting my lawyer.’ Another regular Rahul, is in Delhi because his wife has filed a case against him there, and he has to go to the city whenever it comes up. Another member is in Ghazipur for his case, and, says Jinesh, every lawyer he hires ends up being ‘bought over’ by the other side. Manoj is in Mumbai at the moment, but could not come because he got a call from the Indore Police saying they had started for Mumbai to arrest him. “He’s running around about this,” says Jinesh, “And to help him, Shyam (another member) is running around too.”

That same evening, in a park in Mulund, a suburb at the other end of town, there is another meeting of harassed husbands being held. It is a better attended one. There are 15 to 20 of them seated in a circle on the grass, and all their sentences are peppered with terms like ‘DV’, ‘498a’, ‘bail’, ‘court’, ‘case’ and ‘arrest’. A sallow young man says that he has 10 days to surrender in Jaipur. He wants to know about anticipatory bail. He is told it might be better for him to spend 48 hours in jail and then get regular bail. An old man arrives after some time. He says murder attempts have been on him by his wife four or five times. He is also being tailed all the time. He calls all wives ‘prostitutes’. Most present are not so bellicose. They have plenty to say on the subject of wives. But they speak sensibly and often sound helpless. More:

Muslim women in India seek gender equality in marriage

Nilanjana S. Roy in NYT:

For more than a decade, Muslim women’s organizations in India have been fighting for changes in the body of Islamic law that governs marriage, divorce and the property rights of women. But as the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board held its annual convention in Mumbai last week, the battle lines had never been so starkly drawn. Although the Indian Constitution guarantees equal rights to all citizens irrespective of their religion, Muslims are governed by the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937. Attempts to apply a common civil code have often been viewed as interference in the practices of India’s largest religious minority.

The Personal Law Board is one of the country’s more influential Muslim groups. Its chiefly male membership of clerics and scholars has rejected proposals to change Muslim personal law, and is opposing a demand by women’s groups that marriages be legally registered, as is mandatory for non-Muslims.

Zeenat Shaukat Ali, a professor of Islamic Studies at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai and the author of “Marriage and Divorce in Islam,” is blunt in her assessment of the current situation.

“We are asking for codification of the legal system within the framework of Koranic law,” she said. “The Koran does not support a system that is controlled by the patriarchy, and the government has to treat this matter on a war footing if they truly mean to bring about gender justice.” More:

Married to my rapist

There are places in India where rape is grounds for marriage. Shruti Ravindran in Open magazine:

Zareena Khatun, 19, looks like the sort of lovesick girl that you cast a fond eye over, half-seeing your own early romantic self. She sits outside her house on a straw mat, her knees drawn up to her chin, gazing at the rain with an all-absorbing melancholy. Intrude into her reverie with a question, and she’ll act like she didn’t hear you, chewing absently on a fingernail painted a 90s starlet-maroon. But ask her about the young man in the denim shirt whose framed photo hangs by her bedside, and she’ll say his name softly, blush and look away.

“Newton Patua.” The 22-year-old son of a silk weaver and a student of Bengali in Bolpur College, Newton used to live across the road from Zareena’s home in Jhilli village in Khargram tehsil of West Bengal’s Murshidabad district, and he is now her husband. But their first meeting could not be described as either neighbourly or domestic. “I was sleeping upstairs deep in the night, two years ago,” says Zareena, in a voice with flattened affect, “when he came in through the window of my room, caught hold of my mouth, stuffed it with cloth, and raped me. Then he ran away, and I came down and told my mother what happened.”

“We filed an FIR the next day,” says Zareena’s mother. That’s when the story took an unusual course. After Newton was taken into judicial custody, his parents approached Zareena’s and offered to get the two married. Sitting in on the meeting were two members of Bhalo Manush (literally, Good Men), a select group of worthy locals such as schoolteachers and government servants, who are charged with preserving the honour of Jhilli and the 17 surrounding villages. The Good Men, along with the two sets of parents and the girl’s lawyer, agreed that it would be in everybody’s interest to get the rapist married to his victim. Newton would be spared five to eight years of incarceration, the girl would get married despite no longer being a virgin and her father wouldn’t need to scrape together a dowry, even though the boy was from a better educated family and had well-off relatives, including a schoolmaster brother-in-law, and an uncle who was, Zareena says reverentially, “a doctor in Kolkata”. More:

Vedic rituals recognize the marriage of equals

Aakar Patel in Mint Lounge:

The wedding begins with the purohit addressing the gathered: “Say these words to bless the wedding: ‘May all be holy (Om punyaham), may all be successful (Om riddhim), may all be well (Om svasti).’”

The guests respond: “Om punyaham, Om riddhyatam, Om svasti”.

The man, karta, giving the bride away then welcomes the groom, who replies: “I am honoured (aham ase). The bride is blessed by the presence of divinity.”

The couple then receive each other with these words.

Bride: “I respect you with all my mind and all my heart, I respect your soul with mine. Inside the same as outside, and outside the same inside.”

Groom: “I respect you similarly in the presence of all.”

Bride: “My mind will move with your mind in love, like water flowing on the path of life. My life is linked with yours, my mind with yours and my vows with your vows. Let us work together as two friends, seekers of the same goal.”

The groom replies with these words: “Who is giving to whom? It is love that gives to love. Love is giver, receiver, an inexhaustible ocean. You come to me with love, and that is love’s doing.”

The purohit tells the bride: “As Sachi to Indra, as Svaha to Agni, as Rohini to Chandra, as Damayanti to Nala, as Bhadra to Vivasyat, as Arundhati to Vashishth, as Lakshmi to Vishnu, may you be to your husband.”

The bride replies: “May the path of my husband be spontaneous, and I shall walk on it with pleasure.”


Came close to getting married four times: Ratan Tata

In The Times of India:

Revealing one of the best kept secrets of his personal life, the bachelor industrialist Ratan Tata has said that he had fallen in love and had come seriously close to getting married as many as four times.

But in the hindsight, he thinks it was not a bad thing to remain unmarried and the situation would have been more complex had he got married, Tata said in an interview to CNN International’s Talk Asia programme.

“When you asked whether I’d ever been in love, I came seriously close to getting married four times and each time it got close to there and I guess I backed off in fear of one reason or another,” he said.

He replied in the affirmative when asked whether he had ever been in love. When asked how many times, he replied, “seriously, four times.” More:

And here:

Were any of the people you were in love with here are they still here in the city?


Zardari marriage rumours

From The Times of India:

PPP has condemned as internet rumour reports that Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari tied the knot with US-based Dr Tanveer Zamani in Dubai last week.

Websites describe Zamani, a practising physician, as “a Mediterranean descent American resident” who lives in Gramercy Park, Manhattan, New York. The posts claim she earned a PhD in international politics from Britain and owns estates in London, Dubai, Islamabad and Manhattan. They further claim Zamani is prohibited from attending “public political meetings due to security issues”.

The News correspondent in Washington had spoken to Zamani, who refused comment when she was asked, “Are you Mrs Zardari?” The newspaper reported that Zamani is a Democratic Party member in the US and had campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008. More:

Not true, says Dr Zamani

From The News, Pakistan:

Dr Tanveer Zamani on Friday denied her wedding with President Zardari and also claimed that she has never met President Zardari either in US or elsewhere.

“I have never met President Zardari and the only reason, I have refrained from commenting on an Internet hoax involving me is because I deemed it against my dignity to respond to such a hoax. Bloggers and journalists do not have the right to make up stories and disrupt the lives of people,” she said in an email message.

She explicitly and clearly denied being married or being subject to a proposal or notion of being married to the president, whom she holds in high esteem. Tanveer Zamani said in her email that this is her first ever denial on the matter while rumours and emails about her wedding have been in circulation for the last three weeks. More:

TV bed: too hot and warm

From The Telegraph:

Calcutta model Dimpy Ganguly, who became Mrs Rahul Mahajan through a televised swayamvar, walked out on her husband yesterday alleging domestic violence but he claimed today she was back in his bed.

“Right now, she is in my bed, sleeping and I am lying next to her. I gifted her a puppy for her birthday this week and by the time we celebrate our first anniversary next year, I will gift her a Pappu (child),” he said. “Many channels have approached us for shows where we feature as a couple. You will soon see us working together in a television project,” he added.

In the early hours of Thursday, Dimpy fled the Mahajan home in Mumbai’s Worli after she was allegedly roughed up by Rahul, son of late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan.

Dimpy’s cellphone remained switched off on Friday but she was quoted as saying: “I received an SMS on my cellphone at about 3am and Rahul suddenly got violent after he couldn’t read the message because the phone’s keypad was locked. He slapped, kicked and dragged me by my hair. I called up a friend who took me away from Rahul’s house at dawn.” More here and here

Will Sania wed Shoaib? The odds are…

From The Times of India:

Questions Sania and Shoaib faced. A Telegraph graphic. Click on the image to read the story.

This betting is on a different kind of match. As the controversy surrounding the forthcoming Sania Mirza-Shoaib Malik nuptials gets more and more bizarre, bookies have found a lucrative new avenue to make money.

A leading bookie told TOI that the ‘bhav’ or odds on Sania getting married to Shoaib on April 15 was 25 paise – in other words, for every rupee placed on the wedding taking place, a bettor would get Rs 1.25 paise. The ‘bhav’ on the wedding being called off is Rs 3.50. The general sentiment in bookiedom, thus, seems to be in favour of the Sania-Shoaib nikaah happening.

‘‘We are watching the twists and turns closely. The odds may change as the wedding date nears,’’ the bookie said, adding tongue in cheek, ‘‘There is no match-fixing.’’ More:

Pakistan’s foreign minister says his government is with Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik and fully supports him in this period of difficulty. “He (Shoaib Malik) is a star player of our cricket team and we are proud of him. I have asked the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi to look into this matter,” he said. Read here.

And in The Asian Age: Sania loses cool

I never met Ayesha. Sania will be my first wife: Shoaib Malik

Shoaib Malik, 28, the former Pakistani cricket captain, and Sania Mirza, 23, the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam tournament, are getting married on April 15. Another Hyderabad based woman, Ayesha Siddiqui’s family has accused the cricketer of conducting a telephonic nikah with her and later abandoning her. Shoaib tells his story in an interview to The Times of India:

When did you meet Ayesha Siddiqui for the first time?

This relationship started on the telephone, in the year 2001. I was in Sharjah at that time, with the Pakistan cricket team. She telephoned me, introduced herself as Ayesha, and told me that she was a fan of mine, who lived in Saudi Arabia. That’s how we got talking.

When then did you meet Ayesha Siddiqui?

As we started talking more and more, Ayesha sent me some photographs, which she said were of herself. I haven’t met the girl in the photographs, not to this day.

Can you explain that?

When I returned to Pakistan after the Sharjah tournament, I showed my parents the photographs Ayesha had sent me. I told them that I liked this girl. We spoke every single day. I kept pushing her to meet me, but she resisted it. She said we’ll meet at our shaadi.

Who is the girl in the photographs?

I thought it was Ayesha Siddiqui, the girl I was talking to. But now I honestly don’t know. More:

Also read: Shoaib at Sania home

India-Pakistan romance

Indian tennis player Sania Mirza to wed Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik. From The Asian Age:

India’s ace tennis player, Sania Mirza is to marry Shoaib Malik, the former cricket captain of Pakistan. The wedding has been scheduled within a month.

“The couple will be based in Dubai, where Shoaib is a resident, and Sania will continue to play tennis once she recovers fully from the serious wrist injury,” Sania’s father, Mr Imran Mirza, told this newspaper. More:

Also read The Guardian: It is difficult to fly between the two countries, let alone conduct a love affair across the divide. Yet, against the odds, Sania Mirza – a 23-year-old tennis player who in 2009 became the first Indian woman to win a grand slam title, when she won the mixed doubles at the Australian Open with Mahesh Bhupathi – has fallen for Shoaib Malik, the bad boy of Pakistani cricket. More:

The wedding sleuth

An AP report from New Delhi:

Ajit Singh knows about the lies people tell.

He has followed them through the littered, mildewed mazes of New Delhi’s middle class neighborhoods. He has photographed them as they leave their lovers’ apartments. He hears them exaggerate their salaries and hide their illnesses.

A thin man in an ill-fitting suit, Singh works out of a crowded office around the corner from a muffler shop. An incense stick burns behind his desk. A sign in slightly fractured English warns the staff: ”Walls Has Ears And Eyes Too. BE ALERT.”

Singh has spent years honing his skills: disguise, surveillance, misdirection. With just a few minutes’ notice, he can deploy teams nearly anywhere across the country.

Because in modern India, where centuries of arranged marriages are being replaced by unions based on love, emotion and anonymous Internet introductions, where would a wedding be without a private detective? More:

50 reasons NOT to marry a Bengali man

From The Telegraph, Calcutta:

10. They expect women to serve them at the dinner table. At least she should be urging him on to the right bowls.

11. They expect the women will carry the dirty dishes to the sink, clear the table and put away the remnants in the right containers.

12. If they do put the food away, the fridge looks like a battlefield, with several things dismembered, dismantled and oozing liquids. In any case, they would never clean the refrigerator. Ditto for the cooking gas.

13. When they are drunk they invoke Robi Thakur. Then they tend to go for the cosmic, namely, Debabrata’s rendition of Akash bhora surjo tara, after which they have dinner.

14. But then when they are sober why are they still discussing Sachin Tendulkar versus Sourav Ganguly, and backing Dada to win?

15. In public, they admire Nandita Das. In secret, they want to be Salman Khan.

16. Rare is the Bengali man who looks good in a formal suit. He stops midway into it. He looks square. Or round. But proud. If you ask him why, he is likely to say that intellect is inversely proportional to height in his part of the world. He can be smug, very smug. More:

And, 50 reasons not to marry a Bengali woman

45. She tries too hard not to look Bengali. She will never have the Punjabi oomph, or the south Indian sensuality. But she will persist in trying. What’s more, she will tell you with a big smile that so and so storewallah thought she was a Punjabi today. Contradict at your own risk!

44. Like the accomplished women of Pride and Prejudice, they all sing Rabindrasangeet and Nazrulgeeti, dance, paint and recite poetry. God help you if she takes her talent seriously.

43. She will never get along with your mother. It is a matter of principle.

42. They will pet and spoil their husbands like overgrown babies and then they’ll ask you not to be a mamma’s boy. The truth is they’d rather you be a “wifey’s pet”.

41. They hate being second to your mother but are still far too controlled by their own mothers.

40. They remove gift wrappers for hours and then preserve the paper under the mattress. If she had her way, she would keep the sellotape too.

39. She won’t leave a single mirror free of stick-on bindis. More:

To which Anvar Alikhan in Outlook adds some more:

1) She will give you a silly pet name (Oltu, Poltu, etc); 2) She will buy you a monkey cap and bed socks for winter; 3) She will feed you Hilsa, which is a unique experience, like trying to eat barbed wire through a mouthful of fish mousse:4) She will throw away your precious World War II movie collection, and replace it with her own collection of Tarkovsky films…More:


Forced marriage: ‘I can’t forgive or forget what they did to me’

Humayra Abedin, a doctor from east London, was held hostage and forced into marriage when she visited her parents in Bangladesh. She was freed from her vows on the orders of a Bangladeshi court soon after The Independent on Sunday highlighted her plight. She spoke to Nina Lakhani of IoS about her abduction:

humayra abedin“My face was covered with a piece of cloth by men who told me they were policemen, before they carried me out into an ambulance which was parked outside the house. They held my arms and legs, carried me like a prisoner, while my parents stood in the background.”

She was driven, kicking and screaming, to a private hospital, on the request of her family. During the journey, she was held down and gagged by three people as they tried to stop her shouting.

“This was the first time I thought, ‘this is it, I am dying’,” said Dr Abedin. “I begged them to stop.” And so began the nightmare.

For the next three months, every morning and every night, she was forced to swallow dangerously high doses of powerful tranquillisers used to treat people with psychoses. She was kept locked in the hospital, constantly told she was a disgrace by staff and relatives, and denied contact with the outside world. But she could make it stop, so her parents and psychiatrist told her, if she agreed to give up her life in England, marry the man her family had chosen for her and stay in Bangladesh. She refused. More:

Bhutanese take divorce in their stride

From BBC:


“The divorce case is very, very common. If you go to the court, you will see most of the cases are all on divorce.”

It may sound like a comment from Scandinavia – but this is Bhutan and the speaker is a young artist, Barun Gurung. His own parents divorced 10 years ago, when he was 13 and his brother a little older.

“I think during their marriage they used to have small fights which, you know, used to have bad impact on us,” he told the BBC.

“They used to fight and you know my father used to put hands on my mother. So it was quite bad to see that.”

We meet in the studio where Barun works – a collective of artists in the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu, its walls plastered with brightly coloured pictures.

At least one of his colleagues joins in the conversation saying he, too, comes from a family affected by divorce. Marriage break-ups are common in this tiny kingdom. So, too, are love marriages, not arranged by one’s family.


Modern love: Sudha & Narayana Murthy

In a world where platitudes often mean everything (“I would like to thank my beautiful wife for all her support,”), the Narayana Murthy and Sudha Murthy come off as a couple deeply, deeply in love with mutual respect, sacrifice and honesty as the main ingredients of their enduring marriage [via The Issue]. If you have a love story to share, do send it to AW via comments.

Narayanan Murthy about his wife Sudha Murthy:

My wife is a happy person with the ability to see the positive in a situation. Her cheerful disposition helps her make friends easily. She is one of the finest managers I have seen, meticulous about completing every task on time with quality and within budget. Sudha was the only female student in her Engineering class at Hubli, a conservative town in North Karnataka. She was a first ranker in all ten semesters in her Engineering degree, winning gold medals in every examination. Besides being a fine engineer, she is a great writer too. She has sacrificed so much for me and the children giving up her job as manager in Bombay in 1981 to move to Pune. Without that sacrifice, I am not sure if I would have been able to found Infosys along with my six colleagues. Her positive way of looking at things, being happy in every situation and her ability to relate to the poor are the things that I admire most in her. When you meet an interesting person like her it is very easy to fall in love.


Sudha Murthy on her husband, Narayanan Murthy:

It was in Pune that I met Narayan Murty through my friend Prasanna, who is now the Wipro chief, who was also training in Telco. Most of the books that Prasanna lent me had Murty’s name on them, which meant that I had a preconceived image of the man. Contrary to expectation, Murty was shy, bespectacled and an introvert. When he invited us for dinner, I was a bit taken aback as I thought the young man was making a very fast move. I refused since I was the only girl in the group. But Murty was relentless and we all decided to meet for dinner the next day at 7.30 p.m at Green Fields hotel on the Main Road, Pune. The next day, I went there at 7 o clock since I had to go to the tailor near the hotel. And what do I see? Mr Murty waiting in front of the hotel and it was only seven.


Matchmaker, matchmaker…

New sites are trying to connect people based on criteria such as geography, profession and marital status. Anushree Chandran in Mint:

Mumbai: Online matchmaker SecondShaadi.com (Shaadi is Hindi for marriage) was launched by Pahwa Knowledge Business Solutions (KBS) Group last year, targeting the potentially lucrative remarriage market of people who have been divorced, separated or widowed and are looking for partners with a similar background.

In another example of hyper-targeted online matchmaking, GovtShaadi.com was founded by Strikeone Advertising to help government employees find spouses. Strikeone also has a site called BPOshaadi.com meant for people who work in business process outsourcing firms.

And sites such as Metroshaadi.com and Metromonial.com are appealing to city slickers to find prospective partners in their city.


School for marriage

Getting married? Worried about ‘happily ever after’? Fear not, help is at hand with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences conducting a pre-marriage course. Read the PTI report [via MSN News]

In a first of its kind initiative by country’s premier health institution, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will conduct a ‘pre-marriage course for happy married life’ for people who are getting married.

The two-day course, scheduled for July 29-30, 2008, is being organised by the Health Promotion and Health Communication Unit of the hospital.

The course is open to any person more than 18 years of age and planning to get married, said Dr Bir Singh, Professor of Community Medicine and Convener of the course.

Rebel brides and ex-wives

As India gets more wealthy, arranged marriage is giving way to more love weddings, and divorces. From Newsweek:

Not long ago, 19-year-old Sreeja Konidela returned home to Hyderabad from Delhi to attend a family funeral-but didn’t get the welcome she expected. Konidela, whose father, Chiranjeevi, is a megastar in the Telugu-language film industry, had been disowned for eloping with Shirish Bharadwaj, 23, who was from a different caste. The two had married on live television last October in a bid to keep Sreeja’s father from interfering-they were afraid he’d accuse Bharadwaj of kidnapping her, a common tactic in such cases. But their TV wedding alerted police and a mob of angry fans, who trailed the couple from the temple to the registrar and scared them so badly they fled to Delhi. Now the lovers were back, but Konidela’s relatives weren’t interested in reconciliation. Instead, she says, they forced Bharadwaj to wait outside and tried to browbeat her into dumping him so she could marry a groom of her parents’ choosing. “They just tried brainwashing me,” she says. “So I got out of there as fast as I could.”

The story electrified India, where a rapidly modernizing society is changing its views on marriage.


In thriving India, wedding sleuths find their niche

Emily Wax in The Washington Post:

paliwal.jpgLike a lot of young Indian couples, they met on a matrimonial Web site and within a matter of weeks were picking out the wedding invitations, reserving the horse-drawn carriages and having the bride fitted for a pearl- and gold-encrusted sari.

Judging by his online profile, the groom was suitable and eager to be a good spouse: a quiet, stay-at-home kind of guy who never drank and worked as a successful software engineer. Perfect, thought the bride, a shy 27-year-old computer engineer. Too perfect, according to Bhavna Paliwal, one of India’s wedding detectives, who are being hired here in growing numbers to ferret out the truth about prospective mates.


With India’s new affluence comes the divorce generation

Anand Giridharadas from Mumbai in the International Herald Tribune:

divorce.gifThe Great Indian Wedding is succumbing to the Great Indian Divorce.

Few societies on earth take marriage more seriously than this one. Marriage comes early, sometimes even in youth, and is cemented by illegal dowries. Opulent weddings swallow life savings. So venerated is marriage that when bruised, beaten wives flee to their parents’ homes for sanctuary, they are often turned back, implored to make it work.

But now, in courtroom battles across the subcontinent, in cases brought by slum dwellers and outsourcing workers and millionaires alike, Indians are fighting in growing numbers to divorce. And as words like “alimony,” “stepchild” and “pre-nup” start to roll off Indian tongues, many observers bemoan a profound metamorphosis of values in a nation trotting toward new affluence.


Pakistan captain leaves his Indian maiden

The romance between Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik and Ayesha Siddiqui of India has turned sensationally sour. Jeremy Page in The Times, London.

They were supposed to be the Romeo and Juliet of the sub-continent: the dashing Pakistani cricket captain and the doe-eyed Indian girl who fell in love despite the enduring hostility between their two nations. But eight years on the romance between Shoaib Malik and Ayesha Siddiqui has turned sensationally sour, with each side accusing the other publicly of fraud and threatening to take legal action.

The young lovers – both Muslims – were fêted as a fairytale couple when it emerged in 2005 that they had started a relationship after meeting in the Middle East, where she was working as a teacher.


Kiss in the kasbah

Sex is blooming in India’s small cities, finds the Outlook-Moods sex survey in Outlook magazine

How old were you when you first had sex?

(Base 842 men who are willing to respond)

14-15 years: 4

16-18 years: 14

19-22 years: 18

23-25 years: 17

26-29 years: 15

30-34 years: 55