GROUND REPORT | NEW DELHI: Taboo Of Staying Unmarried; Why is she still unmarried? Is he not capable of producing offspring? Is there a fault in her birth chart? Today we hear all these types of interrogations from our relatives or neighbors. Staying unmarried is seen as a crime in Indian society.
Indian Society lives by the rule of being married when you reach a proper age. If you are a bachelor people will start questioning you. Our society doesn’t want to hear about our needs or decision. There are more single women in India today than at any time since records began, yet discrimination, stereotypes and the patriarchy still abound.
She is one of the women who stubbornly stuck with her decision of not having a husband. She lives alone in New Delhi, is among a growing demographic in modern-day India: women over 30 who choose to be single, despite societal expectations. There are more single women in India today than at any time in recorded history, with widows, divorcees, the never-married, and the abandoned accounting for an estimated 21 percent of the country’s female population.
Taboo Of Staying Unmarried 35 and (still) single
Forty-five-year-old ElsaMarie DSilva, Founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation (Safecity), believes a piece of paper should not define your relationship. “I have been in several committed relationships and remain unmarried. I have three wonderful nieces and I am a loving aunt to many of my friends’ children,” she says.
A journalist based in Delhi doesn’t view herself any different from women who are married with kids. She says, “Some friends, with whom I am barely in touch, find it weird that I am single. They feel that I am too choosy, stubborn, etc, and that is the reason I am not married. I feel I am a headstrong person – outspoken and firm in my personal and professional approach. But some old friends seem to hold me responsible for my single status.”
Battling stereotypes and going forward
Women all over the world face stereotypes of different kinds. Single Indian women bear the brunt of not conforming to an expected lifestyle, getting married, and having kids. (Taboo Of Staying Unmarried)
Thirty-eight-year-old Aaravi, a practicing lawyer in New Delhi, says people are not happy with certain life choices.
She explains, “People just assume you are married and with kids, and make very crude statements/random comments once you tell them your life choices are different. People treat you like you have missed some big thing in your life – which is not the reality. From service providers (banks, government officers like passport officers) to society (neighbours, acquaintances, colleagues), they don’t know how to deal with single women.”
Taboo Of Staying Unmarried (Staying Alone)
It’s 2021 and yet, single women in India are bound by rules and prejudices. They find it difficult to travel solo and need a guardian’s name on most forms. They are also considered incompetent when it comes to finances, denied hotel rooms, and are almost always forced to give in to the idea of marriage, whether they like it or not.
Alankrita Shrivastava who directed the movie in 2011 even before she turned 30 says society has travelled some distance from the assumption that being a wife to a Mr. Right is the goal of every woman.
“Even if you’re working, the patronising question is when will you settle down? No one believes that you can be complete in yourself, at peace with who you are. They forget that being single is an active choice, not an accident of fate,” she says. That’s why when she directed her next film, Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016), it was so important for her to give sexual agency to the 50-something widowed Buaji played by Ratna Pathak Shah. (Taboo Of Staying Unmarried)
By all accounts, India currently has the largest number of single women in its history. According to Census data, there was a 39 percent increase in the number of single women – widows, never-married, divorced, abandoned – from 51.2 million in 2001 to 71.4 million in 2011. The ‘never-married category in the Census takes into account all women aged 18 and above who are not married, so more realistic estimates put the number of single women in India at over 50 million. (Taboo Of Staying Unmarried)
Marching solo in the 21st century is no crime and should not be seen as a crime because it is an individual choice and society has no role to play in it all the judgments which are totally not required should be ignored because marrying under society’s pressure is a big no-no. There’s no wrong in staying alone and living your life with happiness and freedom,