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Second time lucky: Divorce and Remarriage among Indians

That marriages are no longer made in heaven is not news any more: for confirmation, just consider the number of divorce cases (9,000) filed in Delhi last year. But there's another side to this story: More and more people are game for a second innings at the altar. Says Anuja Agrawal, reader of sociology at DU: "The fact that people are opting to remarry shows that they do value the institution of marriage. The only difference is that earlier marriage was an unequal institution where one partner (the woman) had little or no choice. Today, that choice is available and socially acceptable."

Once bitten, but...

For Reema Srivastava, now 35, the first time was an experience out of hell. Fresh out of engineering college, all she wanted was a secure job and an engineer husband. Sure enough, her parents found her one: Reema got married to a US-bound engineer. But little did the girl from Allahabad know what lay in store for her: The man, it turned out, was impotent. Also, violent and pathologically possessive. "Things got to a point when I was not allowed to make calls to my family and my mail was scrutinised. I was almost a captive in a foreign land," she sighs. Divorce was the only way out. Reema later remarried through a matrimonial website and now has a little daughter. But she admits that she kept the marriage hidden from her relatives for over a year. "We were embarrassed about it initially."

Hush-hush affair

Although second marriages are on the rise, people are still reluctant to talk about it. Most of the middle-class people we spoke to didn't want to be photographed and requested that we change their names. But Agrawal says things are changing. "One reason why the divorce rate is up is because there’s less stigma attached to it." Changing gender equations are also a factor. "Educated, working women seek compatible life partners, only to find that men still have traditional expectations from them."

Meanwhile, some people smell a business opportunity here. "Every month we get 1,000 profiles registered on our website where people seek new partners," says Vivek Pahwa who started a website dedicated to second marriages in June this year. The site already boasts 7,000 profiles and counting. "Loneliness, early divorce, and a more mature outlook are some of the reasons that people cite for seeking a new life companion," says Pahwa.

Around 55% of the aspirants are from the big cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, and Kolkata. The rest are from places like Patna, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Chandigarh, an indication that the desire to find one's soulmate cuts across traditional divides. As Rashmi Anand, a former Meerut college lecturer and 'second-timer', points out: "Today, getting hitched to the right person and making a success of it is a difficult but not impossible task."

Older and wiser

Rashmi's marriage to her childhood sweetheart lasted 12 years. "We were both very young. Small issues and lies were seen as acts of treason. The fact that we didn't discuss our situation with anyone made it worse," she recalls.

Rashmi has since remarried and moved to Mumbai. "I am older and wiser now. I realise people work really hard on their marriage, especially in a place like Mumbai where there is no support system." Remarriage has been a "growing up" process. "It has made me richer emotionally. Also, perhaps I value relationships more now."

Rashmi, who has a son from each marriage, has clearly moved on. Yet she points out that second marriages are still not completely out of the closet. "For a long time my ex didn’t acknowledge to friends that we had divorced. And my current husband doesn’t like to mention that I was married to someone else once!"

Picking up the pieces

Vidya Ohri, a 33-year-old homemaker from Chennai, also had a lot of growing up to do when her husband of two years shot himself. No one knew why. With an infant son to take care of, Vidya got married again with the help of her family. "Initially I was in a state of shock. But life is about picking up the pieces and moving on for the sake of your future." And she was lucky to find a caring mate on this journey.

But Inderbir Singh, 35, from Delhi is still waiting for that elusive mate. The corporate trainer married for love, only to find that she loved someone else. "I decided to call it quits then," he says. What followed was an amicable divorce and three meetings with prospective brides. The hunt is on.

(Some names have been changed.) - from TimesOfIndia [Author: meenakshi.sinha@timesgroup.com]


Article: Marrying twice no more a taboo in India


New Delhi, Sept 16: Gone are the days when divorce was considered to be a taboo, as more Indians are now walking out of marriage and opting for divorce, says a leading matrimonial website catering exclusively for divorcees.

The increasing number of marriage seekers registering in a new Indian matrimonial web site, secondshaadi.com is an indication of this trend.

"Divorcees are considered to be a mismatch in a social gathering and now with the number of divorce cases growing in the younger generation, they don`t know whom to tell or where to approach for getting married again. So we thought of giving them a platform to get remarried," says Vivek Pahwa, the brain behind secondshaadi.com.

While adding that within three months of its existence it has more than 10,000 registered members from various backgrounds, he says, "The number is increasing rapidly with more than 5000 people getting registered in a month."

According to a study conducted by the website, about 9,000 divorce cases are filed every year in the Capital compared to 1,000 in the 1990s.

Kolkata and Chennai have both seen a 200 per cent rise in divorce rates, the study adds.

"Since, 30 per cent of our registered members are women, it can be clearly seen that second marriage is becoming more and more acceptable among women which was unlike earlier" Pahwa adds.

Dr Aruna Broota, Professor, Department of Psychology, Delhi University feels it is the socio-cultural and economic empowerment of women that is responsible for this increasing number of cases.

ZeeNews: Bureau Report


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