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Introduction :

is defined as “the legal or formal recongnisation of unification of two people
as partners involved in a personal relationship (historically and in some
jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman). Through time,
the process of conducting and carrying out this process has gone a phenomenal
change. All through the ages and centuries, marriage has witnessed a dynamic
evolution. There has been a major spectrum of factors for altering the process
of marriage and moulding it and recasting it into the way we see it today. As
we’ve read in biology, “every process is followed by a series of processes” –
be it the most complex phenomenon like the formation of celestial bodies and
the milky way galaxy and the mother earth itself and that how life originated
or the simplest of daily life examples that we come across in every walk of
life. Nevertheless, according to Hindu mythology, Marriage is one of the 16 “Sanskars”
or sacraments that a person has to essentially follow. In today’s respect,
marriage is no more a social need to unify two people but is also safeguarded
by several rights and duties.

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: In the historic era

This era is being referred
to the earliest of civilizations and in Rome and Mesopotamia. Marriage in ancient Mesopotamia was of
vital importance to the society, literally, because it ensured the continuation
of the family line and provided social stability. Arranged marriages were the
norm, in which the couple had often never met, and there were even bridal
auctions where women were sold to the highest bidder, but human relationships
in ancient Mesopotamia were just as complex and layered as those today and part
of that complexity was the emotion of love. Contrasted with romantic
love and a couple sharing their lives together, however, is the `business side’
of marriage and sex. It was reported by Herodotus that once in her lifetime, a
woman had to sit outside of the temple and offer herself for sex to any random
stranger. This custom was thought to ensure the fertility of the woman and also
continued prosperity of the community. A woman’s virginity was considered
requisite for a marriage, so unmarried women didn’t take part in this. The
practice was termed as ‘sacred prostitution’ by Herodotus. What could be a more
inhuman practice than this! Sex was considered essential and the couples were
forced to produce kids immediately after their marriage so that none of the
gets en gaged in extra-marital affair. Childlessness was considered as a
curse and the man could marry another woman in case his wife turns out to be
infertile and fails to produce kids. The first wife had to choose her husband’s
mistress and it was her responsibility to make sure that she chooses the woman
who succeeds in pleasing and satisfying her man. Divorce often carried a stigma
and the woman could seek divorce if her husband if he tortures her and causes
domestic violence. A husband could divorce his wife if she is infertile alongwith
the returning of the dowry.




Marriage in terms
of Indian context :


The Monarchial Rule :

During the rule of the kings and queen,
marriage was not only considered as a social and personal need but was also used
as a political tool. members of the ruling dynasties  There was a practice called as Royal
Intermarriage wherein it was a common practice of marrying into the already
ruling royal families. It was more commonly done in the past as part of
strategic diplomacy for political interests. The princess of another territory and
the queen-to be of her fiancé was considered as a treaty to the king and served as a
method for political ties and for maintaining healthy relations. The society
still used to be patriarchal and the male dominance prevailed in the society.
Though the royal women had a say in the family and in courts the but their say
was often considered as an interruption in the jurisdiction. Women were considered
as possessions and marriage was often carried by a huge amount and quantity of
dowry. However, polygamy had its roots clinched in the society. The king was
often complemented with a large number of wives and keeps.  the fighting
enemy-men were to be beheaded and killed and young (Hindu) women were to be
abducted to fill up the harem. As such the Islamic women were treated in Muslim
society as chattels only for creating progenies. The Hindu women taken as
prisoners were simple objects of sexual gratification. If anyone became a queen
in this process, it was a token. The Hindu women needed to be converted to
Islam first and yet she would be one amongst the other Muslim queens. This
actually questioned the dignity of women and challenged it. The decision of the
king could just not be questioned and there were no rules and regulations to
safeguard women and to provide them equal status.


The Pre-Independence era :

This was the time when the British rule existed in the “colonised
India”. This was the time when the Indian society was overshadowed by the
so-called superior British society. There were certain social evils prevailing
in the Indian society in the name of marriage like Child marriage, Sati, etc.
These social evils were strongly challenged, discouraged and abolished by the kings
and the British supremacies. The then Governor-General of India, Lord William
Bentick stood strongly opposite of the practice of Sati and succeeded in
plucking out it’s roots from the Indian society.This was the time when the Indian
society was undergoing massive changes. It was also the high time when the
Indian women actually started to feel the contrast between them and the British
women. Women actually decided to step out of their homes and fight for their
rights. This affected the scene of marriage in Indian society profoundly .Both
women and men were given equal status in the society and polygamy was also
controlled to a certain extent. Though there was not a certain set of specific
rules and regulations written down. However, there were certain ‘Acts’ passed
by the British government that actually safeguarded women and marriages. The
Acts like the Sati ( prevention ) Act, 1829 and the Child Marriage Restraint
Act which was passed in 1929 were some of the remarkable acts that changed the
face of history forever. Yet, there was another golden period on it’s way. It
was the Post-Independence or the Modern Era.


3.)  The Post – Independence Era :

The post independence era marks the time after Mother India
gloriously got freedom from the British rule. With this, came the framing of
the Constitution for the Nation. The Constitution guarantees certain marital
rights and regulations to it’s citizen irrespective of their sex and also pulls
a brake on marital evils like domestic violence, atrocities against men and
women, dowry and polygamy. Through the decades, ‘marriage’ has been through
several forms. Due to the patriarchy still existing in our society, it is often
the women who fall prey to marital evils. To eradicate them, the makers of our
Constitution have framed certain rules and regulations in the name of Acts. They
have been listed below along with what they state.


Commission of Sati Prevention Act, 1987 – It provides more
effective prevention of the Sati practice and thus safeguarding women.

Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 – It prohibits the giving and
seeking dowry from the bride and her family.

Protection of women from domestic violence Act, 2005 – It is an
Act to protect women from all sort of atrocities and violation and also takes
into account the case of women who have been or are in a relation with the
abuser and are facing violence in any terms, be it – sexual, verbal, physical,

Dissolution of Muslim marriages Act, 1939 – It grants Muslim women
the permission and right to dissolve their marriage.

Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 – It contains the various
provisions under which Christian women are safeguarded from the marital
atrocities and may divorce among the Christian community.

Indian Penal Code, 1860 – The IPC contains various provision
against dowry, dowry death, marital rape, domestic violence, etc.

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1855 – This was the first act to introduce
monogamy and divorce was allowed on certain specific grounds


Apart from the above listed Acts, there are still many acts that
are related to marriage and to safeguard them .



marriage is a very sacred and pious custom, but it has been hit and affected
severly by the various social evils of the society which were prevalent since
ages. This is a true fact that a massive change does not happen overnight. The
marital evils will slowly and gradually eradicate 

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