Marriage and Culture: Two sides of the same coin

Human beings transcended barriers of barbarism and jungle life in quick succession and modified the way they lived to evolve a life worth living. It is this space of contextual dimension where the law arose to place of prominence to satisfy the test of time. Ancient societies thrived on saga of ‘Mine and Thine’ despite relying on coordinated efforts in a specific community. This rhetoric changed its fate for better and more organized space of thinking in what at present is called as ‘Rule 0f Law ‘over rule of power. Moreover, the informal way was present already in place to what suited human beings in context of time. To its place religious sanction was thoroughly touching the dimensions on way of life in a threadbare manner. This dimension got the sobriquet of what we call as personal law of each community attaching with particular religion. As an analogy we have Muslim personal law, Hindu Laws and so many. Here the task is to bring to fore the intricate relationship between marriages to its superset Culture. In a layman’s language culture is synonymous to way of life.

Culture includes the multi dimensional manifestations of human beings touching their activities in much more wider manner than one would expect it to be. Simple to say, what we speak to what we wear and how we communicate or how we live in a specific society in a restricted manner is all termed as culture of a community along with art and architecture; the surviving legacy for entire generations. Kashmiri culture is cited here as an analogy. Now the debate for each dimension is a herculean task to conclude where does lie the connection bond-means to say on one hand Kashmiri is our mother tongue at the same Sheena Language is there say for example. But to a broader analysis the skew lines I would like to call meet at a point of resolution in a simplistic state of the way society moves forward at large. Where does lies the space for marriage in this context? As said earlier the conceptual maintenance of this attribute have an intricate and dynamic relationship with personal laws of community especially when dealing with relatively conservative Asian society , thanks to havoc played by western culture we do witness but to our misfortune.

Civilization thrives on certain attributes in whose sustenance marriage plays an essential role. The formal way of tying knot between couples is commonly known by the name of marriage which shares a place of immense significance in culture of a community. Herein lies the space for religious sanction barring the exception that what we observe is relatively a perverted form of nucleus. The way the institutionalization of marriage proceeded is a complex and a bit interwoven mixture of different cultures with reliance on attributes which suite the party performing such ritual. Ours is a different case of matter with indigenous institution, a bit modified version of Islamic concept of marriage as spiritual institution with nip and tuck progress for Hindus on same lines. As an analogy the right to property for girl child which is accorded by almost all religions is turned to notorious institution of dowry in present circumstances whose sustenance in top echelons became part of culture barring the exceptional case of its impending consequences on womenfolk. For better or worse the personal law in its present form is in crisis as the havoc played by liberal tradition deteriorated the cultural practices of Asia in easy manner. To its fate the marriage ensures a continuity of legacy in heredity for adoption of certain rituals like wedlock and parties at different times. The grand ceremony at the end are all part of our culture which are in fierce contrast to western culture where there doesn’t lies space for institution now with inception of wedding without lock or informal way of marriage.

The institution of marriage provides scope for thorough analysis on cultural practices on which society thrives. Though the institution is sacred part of life but like others it witnessed a mixed track on ups and downs on track of sustenance. The fault lines remains at core of debate to gauge it from materialistic or spiritualistic angle but the resolution does lie at the institution being inalienable part of our culture. The formal beginning of family starts with initial school where the modifications in behavior of child start taking place. Family plays prominent role in shaping of future member for societal makeup, thus laying foundation for legacy of adopted attributes in consolidated form. This search for place in humanity races through village region society and then society or whatsoever social institution we talk about but the initial reformation starts at home, thereby amplifying the significance for institution of marriage.

The cross cultural marriages are most often difficult to sustain if not seen through prism of liberal school of thought. To wider sphere the marriage is a complex net of attributes which spreads its wings to different cultures and resolves them into compassionate society. As an analogy we often witness cross religious marriages now like Kerala to cite as an example. Some principles are to become sidekick of life while others are to be left in lurch. Thus the said attribute both modifies as well as improves the cultural ethos of society as the formal beginning to pay debt to our forefathers starts afresh with its berth. At our doors most often witness the kids talking in Urdu and English shedding the Kashmiri Language to inferior status themselves, thus playing our part in deterioration of future to our cultural ethos.
Cultural practices of a community are essence of its life whose continuity depends on said institution in a crystal clear manner with inheritance of certain attributes from forefathers. In a broader context the adoption of new practices in economic sphere of thinking what we call globalization the cultural practices are supposed to bear the brunt in ist step along the line. The changes are there for us to visualize in plain white. To a deeper context the institution of marriage in particular to culture in general is the most auspicious and sacred institution with spiritual dimension but to worse the globalization doomed the fate of protection of cultures to clash of cultures. It’s universally acknowledged fact that deterioration of culture is deterioration of civilization; this field was exploited by West in quick possible manner for mastery of world. Our culture is facing the serious crisis period at hands of West in contemporary times and it may leave us in lurch without any back support to revive.

Here it’s noteworthy to mention that culture is the language which describes civilization in its entirety. The society which preserves her cultural essence is bound to succeed on March to mastery rather than adopting the cross cultural practices which impede our own progress at the core. I am not pessimistic to criticize western practices rather wish to preserve our indigenous model which has the potential to overcome such ideological ideas. Chinese rose once again to place of prominence because of their preservance of Chinese culture which stood against western tradition and now puts it under serious phase of crisis for mastery in near future. To conclude is to remind the saying that ‘Education Begins At Home’ which is fore runner of institution of marriage or the cause effect relationship of society and marriage is to work in tandem for preservation of cultural ethos; the foundation of our existence. With thus intricate relationship is linked our existence and our survival.

Mir Shabnum Farroq
mirsheebu591@gmail.com