Divorce is still considered taboo in the South Asian culture. With the recent declaration of Bollywood actor Amir Khan and Kiran Rao’s divorce, the conversation around this topic was stretched to an unfathomable extent. Some think it reflects on the person’s personality and some consider age as a factor. Personality-wise individuals are perceived as those who cannot adjust to situations or are too dominant. Age-wise individuals are perceived as either too young and were not mentally prepared for the responsibility of marriage versus too old and were too silly to make a decision that will impact their quality of life.
As an example, the Indian TV Show on Disney Hotstar, ‘Anupamaa’, depicts the societal pressures a woman faces. ‘Anupamaa’ decided to separate from her husband after he cheated. Her family members and neighbors did not deem her husband’s actions wrong, but rather judged her decision to file for divorce as the wrong decision.
Not only are women impacted, but so are men. For instance, we go back to when Amir Khan filed for divorce from Kiran Rao, social media buzzed with all kinds of negative connotations. Although this decision was based on mutual understanding, the Bollywood couple was placed under the microscope. Some fans believe this decision is foolish, while others completely supported the decision.
Why is it that society still perceives divorce as such an issue?
It is because it is against patriarchal ideals and old traditions and rituals.
Why should society accept divorce?
Divorce is the decision for separation when two individuals have disputes and disagreements on many occasions. It is to note that constant conflict leads to unhappiness. This perpetual cycle can lead to mental health issues. Marriages can affect the livelihood of individuals, and this is a true public health issue.
Divorce is not only the older South Asians look down upon. For centuries, the culture has not evolved much around this topic and making the younger South Asians feel immense pressure. Millennials are constantly judged for having standards that are too high, when in reality, the society is just turning away from toxic traditions. While on one end, parents want their children to rush into marriage; on the other hand, they want them to stay in marriages so it does not tarnish the family name.
A human mind is fully developed by age 25-26, so why are families pushing for marriage earlier? Because of a better reproductive age? Marriage is not only about reproducing or upholding the family name, but it is to have a long-life companion who will enhance a person’s quality of life. As marriage is a commitment, it requires work, and it can only work if two individuals are compatible.
Every relationship can have an end, and the ending of two married individuals is termed divorce. Although, this term is perceived as a devil’s doing, it by no means is. Let us normalize divorce. Let us support growth. Let us value individuals.
Priyanka grew up in New Jersey. She has a strong interest in exercise science, nutrition, public health, healthcare, and medicine, as she is a physician. She also has an interest in skincare, fashion, dance, and many other aspects of lifestyle, and she loves to spread this knowledge through social media.