As there has been a steady increase in love marriages these days, so is their failure rate. But what is disappointing is that only girls pay a heavy price as they have to carry the stigma of failed marriage all their lives irrespective of who is responsible for it.
Smitten by love bug, when she tied the knot in 2004 with her boyfriend Sachin in a court ceremony little did Bharti Kashyap know that her marriage would soon turn out to be a farce. So mesmerised by Sachin’s love that she believed in all the promises he made to her of a happy marriage with love, trust and care despite the fact that they belonged to different castes. While she belongs to a Kashyap household, he is a Saxena, a caste considered superior among Hindus. Nevertheless, her marital bliss proved short-lived as he left her a few months after their marriage.
Bharti was struck by suspicion at the time of the marriage itself when her newlywed husband refused to take her to his parental home. When she asked him about his reluctance to do so, he said his family is constructing a separate room to accommodate the newlywed couple. His reply was though not satisfactory, Bharti did not think it fit to precipitate the matter on the auspicious occasion. She agreed to live with him in a rented accommodation.
Post marriage, her life was bliss in the company of a loving and caring husband. However, this did not last long. Within a few months her nightmare came true when her in-laws landed at her doorstep declaring her wedding as illegal.
This was too much to bear for Bharti. She thought her husband would stand by her at this critical juncture. But to her shock and dismay he chose to side with his family. Strangely enough, in his eagerness to prove himself as an obedient son he lent voice to their suspicion about her character. All her entreaties fell on deaf ear. They all spoke in one voice and declared she has no stake to claim marital rights. She felt all her dreams coming crashing down.
Bharti’s is not a solitary case. As there has been a steady increase in love marriages these days, so is their failure rate. But what is disappointing is that only girls pay a heavy price as they have to carry the stigma of failed marriage all their lives irrespective of who is responsible for it. Under the circumstances, Bharti found herself alone to face this big bad world alone.
Crestfallen, she reconciled to the fate of leading a solitary existence working as a maid for living. Fourteen years have passed since then. She is still fighting for her right as a lawfully wedded wife. Her only solace was the hope that one day he will heed to his conscience and realise his mistake. But that was not to be. There is no change in his attitude. Leave alone getting justice for her and alleviate her grievances, he is a major source of all her problems.
Sachin continued his relationship with her and visits her regularly against the wishes of his family even as his parents kept insisting on his second marriage. The relationship between them resulted in the birth of three children, but he does not seem to feel his responsibility towards them. Brainwashed by her in-laws he still suspects paternity of his eldest child, a 12-year-old daughter. Last month, he verbally abused her and driven her out of the house.
Once, when Bharti was forcibly staying with her in-laws, her mother-in-law, Sarita, tried to burn her with the help of her sister-in-law, Chndaa Devi, and her husband, Gopal. Consequently, they spent five days in police lockup before being let off. Despite the gravity of the crime, no action has so far been taken against them. Bharti attributes the police inaction to the clout his brother-in-law enjoys with the police as he is the driver of a retired police officer. What’s more, they threatened to put her behind bars on the charge of suicide attempt.
There are many Bhartis in our midst pay for loving and trusting a men. We all face betrayal, at some point, at the hands of someone we trust the most. Whenever we do we get the moral support from the society. But in case of love marriage, we shy away from our obligation as a society. If our society stands firm in support of the victim, it will be a deterrent on such lousy and unscrupulous lovers who make tall claims while wooing the girls but run away at the time of adversity.
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The opinion expressed in the article is of the writer. Writer is a freelance journalist/journalist based in Delhi