Monday, April 22, 2013

Marriage: An Artificial Institution

Marriage is an artificial institution invented by the human being in an order to put female-kind in permanent slavery. There was a time in human history when there were no marriages.  Sexual relations were as free as we find in the animals. In a way, when the human being was leading a tribal life, women of all ages were treated as a common property. During this era, it is believed by the Anthropologists that the females carried more importance over men folks because of her productive abilities. The fertility cults all over the globe originated out of the awe towards mystic abilities of the women. 

But as human civilization entered into the agrarian and settled life, like right over the land, he invented new social order called marriage to establish “ownership over the woman” to prove his right over the children produced from her. This was essential to him as he needed successors to continue rights over the land property perpetually.  In a way, man established a relationship between the productive land and productive woman. It was in a way an ancient capitalism employed in the social life. Religion had no hand in it. Rather all the religious concepts about the marriage emerged quite later. Prior to that, we can say that it just was a practical remedy to the material problems faced by the people.

We can find above assumption true as women used to be called as “Seeta” (Land) in Vedic era. Rama’s consort was named “Seeta” because she was found to Janaka when he was furrowing his farm. There was another reason to this.  Women were fertile and so was the land. If produce from the farms could be owned by the owner of the land, naturally offspring’s too meant to be owned by the man who seeded the woman to have them. Emerging of this thought to deployment in social order must have taken considerable time. In the transitional period, we find several types of the social orders, matriarchal and patriarchal being the major. However, the main purpose remained the same to which we call “marriage institution.”

In the beginning males could marry as many women they wanted, similarly, women too could marry as many men as they desired. Society in a way was divided into either matriarchal society or patriarchal society. We find many instances of co-existence of both the systems in Mahabharat era. However, we find that the issue of adequate inheritance became a major hurdle in carrying out the polyandry or polygamy. Both the systems had their own problem, male-female population balance being one. We find that wherever female population, at the particular time was reduced drastically, polyandry seems to have been encouraged. However, we trace that the polygamy continued but matriarchal system almost lost its original position as the society became male dominating.    

Thus, the patriarchal system of society finally won and a dark age for women began.  In this era, the religion played a major role in providing sanctity to the marital ties, making it a divine union.

Still, there was not any place for love between husband and wife. Husband could offer his wife to the guests, sages or anyone he thought could yield religious fruits to his benefit. Wife had no right to deny her husband’s orders, no matter how absurd those could be. This was because the wife was his absolute physical property and he could even sell her as a slave in bad times or wage her in dice games. Individual wishes or sentiments of the woman had almost no role in the society of those times. We can say that the religion was completely favoring males over the women. 

Not only over the wife, husband had absolute right over children as well. He could sell them too, as a slave or sacrificial beast and religion had full support to such deeds. We find many instances of child-selling in Mahabharata and other religious texts like Aitareya Brahmana.  

In the disguise of virtues, women were put in more and more tactful bondages. No matter what the circumstances, “wife must not even think of the other man even in her dreams” like theories were propagated through new myths. One myth that everyone knows that is of Jamdagni asking to behead his wife Renuka at the hands of his children, because she felt momentary sexual attraction towards other man bathing in the river.

Such myths inadvertently were stamped on the mindset of the women that “Purity” became the highest virtue over all others.

Medieval India witnessed a gruesome dark age that put women in the brutal clutches of male society. Hundreds of restrictions were imposed upon her. Child marriages were a part of it. Man of any age could marry 7-8 year old girl. The young wives were forced to immolate themselves in the funeral pyre with the corpse of their husband. Cruelty knew no bound when it came to the women.

Indian society occasionally experienced social equality and freedom for both the genders where sex was not considered despicable. The States ran brothels. There were festivals dedicated to the young boys and girls to facilitate their union with freedom to choose the partner. Even extramarital affairs were not considered unchaste. The sexual attraction of married women towards strangers had become favorite subjects of the poets. in "Gatha Saptashati" we find many verses dedicated to such relations but nowhere they are condemned. 

But this did not last longer. The clutches of male dominance caused by religious sanctions took over the free social system and dark age began.

In modern times, we find women have got more freedom. But still are they really free? The character of women is always under minute inspection than of the male. Still, wives are harassed. Women of young and old age are raped. Violence against the female is at constant growth.

The root cause of such evil is artificial marriage Institution.  Marriage essentially makes the woman a slave of her husband, no matter how sacred verses are chanted and oaths whispered of equality at the moment of the marriage. No equality is practiced…wife instantly becomes a secondary to the husband! No religion on this earth is an exception.

It is almost forgotten that women too possess same sensuous feelings as a man do. She too has the same urge of the freedom like a man. There is nothing like religious sanctity or virtues when it comes to the answering call of the heart. Religion rather has brutally crushed the freedom of the women. Men started deciding what women should think. How she should behave and act. In fact, this is not the business of menfolk, but to respect freedom of the women. The social order would be better if women are free from social restrictions and expectations. She has every right to decide on her sexual priorities and all other things those concern her own life. 

She is not at all an instrument to produce legal heirs to the man against her desires. In fact, the marriage institution has lost its significance in the modern era. Even if she or he marries, both has equal rights to establish conjugal relations with any other person of their liking and choice.

Feminist movements naturally are against male dominance. Sometimes,  they too go to the extreme, so much so that they want to eliminate entire male race from the earth!

How to establish real equality between men and women is a major question before our modern society. 


  1. It's good article. Which realises the fact in marriage life is completely artificial mutual cooperation between female and male having max/min stability/mindly/physically.