Marriges have always been a vast and controversial topic to discuss in India.
Let's talk about what the law says first: The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and the Special Marriage Act 1954 are the two primary legislation governing the process of registration of marriages in India.
Certain conditions have to be complied before the marriage is valid in India: The person getting married must be unmarried or devorced from their previous marriage. The legal age for a women to get married is 18years while for men it's 21years.
Earlier, a task force had been formed to consider raising the minimum age of marriage for girls to 21years. I myself think that the age bar should be set same for both the genders. This would prevent girls to be pushed into marriage early. An increase in the minimum age to 21 years will be counterproductive.
When it comes to same-sex marriages. It is not currently legalised in India nor are the same-sex couples offered freedom and limited rights such as a civil union.
The law of the land sees members of the LGBTQ+ community only as ‘individuals’ and not as ‘couples’, due to which homosexual couples have to suppress their feelings of getting married to a partner of their choice. One of the major reasons that homosexuality is still not accepted as ‘normal’ in India is because it lacks a ‘stamp of marriage’. Marriage is a sacrosanct institution in India. Depriving the LGBTQ+ community of the right to get married solely on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is absolutely discriminatory and against the gist of "The Constitution"
Countries around the world have legalised same-sex marriages. The world is heading towards progressive LGBTQ+ rights, but "The government of India doesn’t seem to be in the mood for leaving the clutches of orthodoxy and conservatism".
Homosexuality has had an ancient history in India. These can be traced in the "Rig vedas" around 1500 BC. The "Kamasutra" also describes the incidents of the same. The Aryan invasion began to supress homosexuality as they kindled the dominance of patriarchy. Homosexuals were punished, beaten, and subjected to various physical and mental tortures. This eventually gave birth to homophobia and homosexuality started to lose its roots.
What actually is a marriage?
We have all grown up listening to love stories. Love is simple, it has no boundaries it just happens without us knowing. But when it comes to "Marriage" it's not just about 'love'. Marriages are complex they're not just between two individuals but their whole families are involved (specially in India). These are done mainly for the societal purposes, for the sake of society. As we are always told that we need to marry and not asked if we really want to.
Marriages then vs now:
Marriage comes from Middle English which was first seen in 1250-1300 CE. The main goal of marriage, was to act as an alliance between families. Throughout history, and even today families arranged marriages for couples. Most couples didn't marry because they were in love, but for economic liaisons.
As years passed people now have began to understand the meaning of marriages not only as an alliance for their personal needs But alot more than that. Mainly because in todays world everyone is independent either a male or a female no one's dependent on anyone for anything. So they prefer marrying when they're in love and not when they're financially in need.
Marriages are now seen as bonds between people and their families. It is much more than just a union. It is something which is accepted and respected all over the world.
Although still in some places all-over India, individuals (specially girls) are forced into marriages and furthur pressurised to have a male child.
Womens are seen as an object in exchange of money from centuries. The dowry system which we all know about was intended to help set up the couple's new household, especially in cultures where it was rare for a woman to work outside the home. If a woman died without having any sons, her husband would have to return the dowry to the bride's family, deducting the value of the bride price.
Although the dowry system was banned under the Dowry Prohibition Act,1961. It is still continued to be a very common practice encouraged among various castes all over India. Although there are many people who do not support or practice such awful things and I highly respect them and so will the educated and sensible people of India.
I would like to conclude by saying that "Marriage is meant to keep people together, not just when things are good, but perticularly when they are not. That's why you take marriage vows and not wishes".