By easy settlement of marital problems and discord through legal divorce and widest social acceptance of divorce, the western world has got a head start by putting its acts together on a very contentious issue. Not all nations or countries are so fortunate. Take for instance, the case of my country, India. Since 1955 divorce has been accorded legal sanction. But divorce is not accepted socially. It is frowned upon and a lot of stigma is attached to the couple who go for divorce. As a result of which though marital discord and disharmony is as high as in other societies, the percentages of couples who actually divorce is less than 2 per cent of all married couples. Some Indians parade this low divorce rate as a great virtue of Indians. But this low rate of divorce is achieved at a very great price to warring couples themselves and to the country as a whole. The price is shockingly, murder of one spouse by the other. As no spouse would be agreeing to an amicable settlement through divorce, being fearful of courting a lot of social stigma, the daily spurring and warring between themselves inevitably reaches a point where one of the spouses murders the other to preempt the other one murdering him/her. This shocking practice of solving marital problems by killing one’s spouse and inheriting his/her property automatically in the absence of a legal system of inheritance through will, has now assumed gigantic proportions.

Just a month back, the Commissioner of Police for Bangalore, the famed Silicon Valley of India, quoting statistics opined that out of 200 murders in 2008-09 in Bangalore city among the techies only, leaving aside statistics for less literate populations around, more than 40% of murders were committed by the spouses themselves directly or by hiring professional killers. In thousands of other cases though the spouses do not go to the extreme point of murder, but it is always a warlike atmosphere that prevail in the homes and these spouses go through untold miseries and their children and other dependents are drawn into the vortex of despair and desolation. Some of these children take to criminal ways like drug taking and trafficking, gun toting, robbery etc.

In this respect how blessed are the western nations ! There people don’t have to murder their spouses to solve their marital woes, they simply divorce. How human, practical, energy saving and beneficial to the parties themselves and to the society at large ! There the divorce rate may be 40% of all marriages but none is murdered for marital discord. In my opinion what is touted as India’s strength is only its weakness. Considerable energy of young and active couples is wasted in these family quarrels and squabbles. A wide acceptance of divorce socially and legally could free these men and women for pursuing their individual goals and also enable them to explore and find other more suitable mates for themselves.

As one American bard sings,
“Plenty of fish in the sea,
I know some wanna swim with me”.

P.S. I too am one of those unfortunate Indian spouses who couldn’t persuade his spouse, even after trying for 25 years, for a amicable legal divorce.