As we all know that Pakistani society is rapidly transforming from agricultural to the industrial one, and the people are extremely conscious of educating their children in order to enable them to find a suitable place in the changing world, which is possible only through modern education. But there is no denial of the fact that the modern western education has also damaged the old institutions such as family and marriage. The days are gone when the parents used to arrange their children’s marriages and the latter were not supposed to question their decisions. Astonishingly, the divorce rate was extremely low in those days despite the fact that marriages used to be arranged ones. 

Now, most of the parents not only consult with their children about their marriage but also give them the freedom to chose their life partners, even then, the divorce rate is alarmingly increasing among the educated youth. There are many reasons to this negative development: 

First of all the western education is the major cause which has introduced the notion of individualism and freedom of choice among the educated class, which is a positive development, but it has also challenged the old relationships. Now, couples have different world views and perspectives to understand the world; they have different priorities in life, which was not the case in the past. Secondly, the onslaught of western consumer culture is also responsible for this social change. Contrary to the past, now the people are more concerned with material aspects of life than anything else. Now, a person material position determines everything rather than his character. Consequently, nowadays most of the marriages are based on material considerations which change with life resulting into divorces and separations. Thirdly, marriage institution is the product of economic forces: it changes with the change of economic forces. As it is mentioned earlier that Pakistan is rapidly transforming from agricultural to industrial society, this change has caused delayed marriages, which is obviously due to the time spent on education. The untimely and late marriages have also eroded the importance of marriage institution which results into divorces. Lastly, in the changing society, both husband and wife have to work in order to meet their household expenses. They have a little time to spend together which weakens their mutual bond. Moreover, a working woman cherishes her newly got freedom and is not ready to perform the typical social roles assigned to the women. Resultantly, disputes occur which end up with divorces. 

After having adumbrated on the causes of the increasing rate of divorces, now the question is that what should be done? First of all, the government should use electronic media to aware the people of the negative repercussions of western culture which we are blindly following. Intellectuals and social thinkers should be given a voice to educate the people so that our social institutions could be saved from the onslaught of western culture. The consumer culture, which is also the part of western influences, should also be discouraged: our obsession with material goods while ignoring spiritual aspect of human life would wreck havoc to our society. There is no denial of the fact that woman emancipation is a positive development, the pursuit of western notion of gender equality for women or equality would ravage the very fabrics our society. It is the major responsibility of our government and intellectuals to save our eroding social institutions and values in the face of rapid social change caused by western education and culture. 

TAYYAB BUTT ADVOCATE,  

Sialkot, July 18.