India has always boasted of having a patriarchal society. Most festivals of India celebrate the importance of the male as the head of the family through elaborate customs and festivals. For example, Bengal’s Jamaishoshti festival celebrates the son-in-law. The North Indian festival called the Karva Chauth requires the wife to hold fast for the long life of her husband on that day. Male centric customs and festivals have always been a part of Indian life, mirroring the special social status given to men. Unfortunately, these male-focused customs also paved the way for the practice of demanding dowry on behalf of the male. Indian law treats it as an offence to give or receive dowry but it is practiced openly in the society.
The tag line of the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) says “Regulate yourself, or someone else will.” How true! So many ads with explicit scenes and double meaning words make it an embarrassment for families to sit and watch the TV together. Yes, it is a fact that advertising agencies tend to go overboard, when it comes to selling a product. Double meaning words, sexuality, violence, misleading, false and offensive advertising videos are now a part of our life. For parents and teachers, the greatest worry pertains to how children will perceive and incorporate the meaning of these ads in their young minds.
So many traditions and beliefs govern the institution of marriage. In India, religious beliefs play a stronger role because each community is governed by personal laws stemming from these beliefs. Inheritance and succession in every Indian family is governed by these personal laws.
The Holy Qur’an recognizes ‘nikah’ or marriage as a sacred and vital institution. However, since the distinction between the sacred and the secular is not explicit in Islamic law, marriage is largely considered as a contract, breaking the terms of which could have legal ramifications.