When you complete your studies and get it in the professional career, “marriage” becomes the most obvious query of your family and friends. It seems that there is only one topic in this whole world and you get bombarded with suggestions and if you are somewhat introvert then people themselves start making assumptions. All the uncles and aunties around will keep feeding you with the priceless advices about your marriage prospects, whether you like it or not.

In short, there is no escaping marriage in Pakistan. Even after this unprecedented moderation in last two decades, marriage is highly regarded institution in Pakistan. Not only regarded but a middle class working Pakistani starts planning about future of his kids as they take birth. But, unfortunately like every other institution and tradition in Pakistan, marriages are not safe as well from complex cultural atrocities. Lets discuss some trends which are proving disastrous for urban marriage because if they are not tackled intelligently, future may become more bleak.

Gender Wars:

In schools, colleges, universities and offices the discussion about “which gender is better than other” is very mainstream. For me, nexus of media and NGO’s advocating the women rights are mainly responsible for such unnecessary gender wars. There are myriad of TV programmes, especially reality shows which keep presenting different competitions (singing, dance, cooking etc) under the banner of “Girls vs Boys”. These programmes visually look attractive but it unconsciously put wrong ideals in young minds and both genders become suspicious about each other. You can witness a practical manifestation on social media which has almost become a playground of battle of sexes. Men keep posting jokes about wives, and women keep posting stuff about how lame husbands are.

On the other side, many NGO’s dispense such material in shape of research papers and TV news clippings which present men as a complete villain, which in most cases is true but intent behind such portrayal of men lacks intent because in a society where almost everybody is extremist from left to right, every news becomes a sensation. More than men vs women, we should take this issue in a broader perspective because only healthy relationship between opposite genders can provide a better atmosphere for future generations.

Women Empowerment:

Anthropologists are agreed on the fact that in history there is no evidence of a complete matriarchal society. So, we can assume that since inception of civilizations, men are holding the affairs mostly and women lived in suppression for centuries may be because of the belief that women are inferior to men.

That’s exactly is the reason why a concentrated burst which was piling up for centuries is coming out with full flow. Theories like feminism emerged in late 18th century which revolved around empowerment of women and taking back their lost status. Many developed nations somewhat understood the philosophy and now we see that whether its America or China, women are playing a constructive role in overall well being of their respective societies.  But unfortunately, in our country, interpretation of women empowerment is misunderstood and a complex phenomena to describe. Those advocates of women rights which indoctrinate the specific ideas in women’s mind have their own material agenda behind it.  This is a open reality that women abuse in Pakistan is taking a dangerous shape with passing time but the solution such organizations present and their working has a very limited scope and lack substance. They take a specific case and sensationalize it, the issue gets hype through media and collects people sympathies, masses discuss it on social media until the new sensation, the core issue remains unsolved, result becomes zero, and in fact the affect is even adverse. These activities are not at all healthy for overall social fabric and young girls get most affected by such ideas as they breed hate seeds regarding marriage in their adolescent minds.

Asghari (protagonist of Mirat ul Aroos, a famous novel on marital relations by Nazir Ahmed Dehalvi) was not an ordinary household woman; she practically played a super woman role in bringing the economics of a whole family back to track with her simple yet visionary ideas. 

True essence of women empowerment is enhancement of those feminist tendencies which make women unique rather far superior than men. To understand the natural reality that women takes a burden of child birth way more than a man can even imagine. To realize the fact that every girl has to become a mother and only mother can bring up a child with true heart and soul. To embrace promise upon us that all the women must be protected and respected. Without women empowerment, no society can achieve its true potential.

Film, Dramas, and TVC’s:

I have seen almost dozen ads of various fairness creams in which the theme revolves around a “dark lady”  who is being denied of Rishtas all her life. This is as offensive as you think but maybe it is the mere reflection of our mind sets. Whatever the case is, media, whether dramas, movies or TVC’s are not playing anything close to constructive role in this perspective. In a society like Pakistan, which is bounded in culture but continuously striving for breaking the bounds, things get complex. West has almost negated the idea of marriages which we witness in almost every second Hollywood movie. India, which is culturally more close to us, has recently produced some movies in which they disregarded institution of marriages.  Consequently, young minds keep swaying between the long hold traditions of east and new and “enlightening” ideals of west.

Unfortunately, due to lack in research in different behavioral sciences it’s very difficult to create a consensus among people regarding a complex phenomena like marriage, which is the most obvious reality yet twisted and tangled in much paradoxes.

Valueless Customs:

There are too much valueless customs attached to the institution of marriage which are continuously harping the smooth functioning of society. Just like Kashmir issue, dowry seems an unsolvable issue. The extravagant arrangements on marriages makes the matter worse, those who cannot afford get stuck in following the main stream traditions which are getting expensive day by day. We love marriage functions with good food in fact it seems the basic priority of attendees. We have to let all these traditions go and replace them with more compassionate approach otherwise it will be too late.

Divorce rate in Pakistan is increasing with a rapid pace, tolerance level from both sides is almost zero and rationality seems a distant dream.Husbands and wives are member of a same team, after winning, they should share the credit and after losing they should share the pain.