Being hooked on to social media & to mobile phones are some of the biggest contributors to breakdown of marriages.
Renowned Divorce lawyer and women’s activist – Vandana Shah from Mumbai today revealed that India as a country which has believed in a strong value system, has withstood many cultural changes over the last many decades, but now over the last few years, India is witnessing a huge socio economic change which is leading to a dynamic shift in the way human relationships and marriages are being perceived and are evolving.
The ever increasing mobile penetration and the need to be on various social media platforms surprisingly are impacting Indian Marriages.
Southern India which is considered a bit more traditional and holds very highly the institution of marriage is surprisingly witnessing an increasing rate of marriage breakdown as compared to other parts of the country and the primary reason is people being hooked to their mobile phones and to other social media platforms on which they are investing more time rather than on interpersonal relationships.
Earlier, out of every 1000 marriages – 13 divorce cases were filed as per the figures made available by the Government of India’s Census report 2011 but now according to Vandana Shah, this figure has nearly doubled to around 24 – 25divorce cases for every 1000 marriages.
Additionally the Mumbai Family court building now has over 7 floors with each courtroom having 60 cases being listed every day and that makes a whopping 420 cases every month from across sections of society.
A survey conducted in 2016, namely, “Marriage dissolution in India” published by the economist Suraj Jacob and anthropologist Sreeparna Chattopadhyay, reveals that there is a considerable difference in divorce rates between the Northern and Southern part of Country.
In North India, the divorce rate is comparatively less in states such Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana due to the huge societal pressure on women to adjust and accept an unhappy and abusive marriage, the women are also expected to adjust and compromise due to lack of financial independence and lack of social support and acceptance from their own families and this leads to extremely unhappy and volatile relationships which not only impact the current families but also unfortunately leaves a damaging impact on the children who witness such marriages and grow up believing that this is a norm.
Kerala, which enjoys being the 100 % literate state and accounts for less than three per cent of the country’s population has over 61,970 divorce cases pending in its family courts, according to information from the Ministry of Law and this is simply due the fact that women are no longer ready to put up with abusive and unhappy marriages and are ready to lead single but happier lives.
According to Vandana Shah, Some visible trends which are emerging are:
Men and women are spending an average of 1.5 hours in a day being hooked to social media and on their smart phones which are the crucial post work hours time, which should be spent with family and spouses, but due to the increasing need to be in touch – people are forgetting that real relationships are to be built offline than online. People no longer want to spend quality time with real people and prefer chatting online with strangers, posting happy pictures which may be far away from reality in this need of social acceptance and “Likes” not realising how damaging it be may become for real offline relationships.
India’s IT city is witnessing the maximum divorce cases on the grounds of illicit messages, calls, whats app chats or Facebook posts on smartphones getting tracked by either of the partners.
As per the data by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India and PwC, the penetration of smartphones is rising in India and is expected to grow by 84% to 859 million by 2022. Upgraded and latest SmartPhones are aiding the couples to become easy prey to social media outlets resulting in being addicted to social media and eventually unhappy relationships.
Women are now reporting divorce three times more than men, especially those with children, thanks to them being independent emotionally and financially.
It is also been witnessed that “separated” population in India is three times the “divorced” population due to the societal acceptance of “Separated” being more than “Divorced”
Age plays a pivotal role in shaping marriage dissolution and the risk of divorce is higher when the age gap between husband and wives is more.
Phubbing or Phone snubbing has also turned out to be a major cause for the couple seeking divorce.
In Southern India, the female literacy rate is as high as 93.91% and they are financially independent which allows them to opt out of physically and emotionally abusive relationships.
The demographic behaviour, gender biases and patriarchy operating in different states are also some of the big factors which influence the conditions of women and thus their ability to take a decision for themselves and their happiness. In North India, it is seen that due to higher sex ratio, low age marriages, higher infant and child mortality etc. play a role in deteriorating the condition of woman
Globalization is another factor that has resulted in Marriage dissolution. Increased mobility of people for jobs to different place has played a major role in moulding the attitude of people towards this social Institution. Socio- economic progress, new pattern of education, lifestyle and Human rights all these factors has changed the pattern of marriage.
According to Vandana Shah, People should let go of each other when there is point of no return rather than fighting ugly battles in court and letting their health and children suffer. She further adds that the Indian legal system should make it easier, quicker and faster for people to opt out for marriages rather than dragging lives of many people in the courts who suffer not just emotionally and financially but also end up paying a heavy price for not being able to move on and live peacefully.