India Insight

Happily single in India? Don’t count on it

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

“Are you a student or are you working?” asked a middle-aged woman who squeezed herself into the space between me and another in the women-only coach on a Delhi Metro train.

“I work,” I said, tugging a bit at my dupatta, which she was sitting on.

“Married?” she asked, still breathless from the dash she made for the seat after boarding the train.


“Your parents must have started looking.”

“Really? You know them?”

“Girls should marry by the time they are 25-26,” she said. “Otherwise later they will only get widowers and divorcees.”

Fear, too busy, too ugly: why India’s famous bachelors stay single

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

This verse on marriage from the Book of Genesis in the Bible is meant for men in general.

from Photographers' Blog:

City of joy

By Rupak de Chowdhuri

It’s festive time in Kolkata, with the Durga festival celebrated across the city, before Diwali celebrations fill the city with light. Kolkata has been called the "City of Joy," a title which was immortalized in a book by Dominique Lapierre. It tells the story of the poorest of the poor who still somehow find hope and joy in life. Little did I know I was about to come face-to-face with such a story.

I hunt for pictures every day. One day, I was looking for pictures when an old friend told me to go to a place where I was guaranteed to find a good story. Because of my curious nature, I started to walk in search of the story I’d been told about in the middle of Kolkata. I started searching among the food stalls because I wouldn’t believe it until I saw them myself.

At last I found them. And I stood stunned, like other customers in front of the food stall. I watched for half an hour.

Congratulate Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni smiles after winning a test cricket match against Sri Lanka in Mumbai December 6, 2009. REUTERS/Arko Datta/FilesMahendra Singh Dhoni married Sakshi Rawat at a private ceremony in Dehradun on Sunday.

Join us in congratulating the Indian cricket captain.

Women in technology – “unmarketable product in marriage market?”

I moderated a panel discussion for an in-house ‘Women in Technology’ event in Bangalore this month.

A generic picture of a woman using the computer. REUTERS/Catherine Benson/FilesThe three women on the panel were an impressive lot — a former defence scientist, a renowned mathematician currently on the Prime Minister’s panel and a former-CEO-turned-entrepreneur.

But there was one common thread that bound them together — their fight against society, among other odds, to gain their glories.

An easier end to unhappy marriages in India?

India’s cabinet this week cleared a proposal to amend the Hindu Marriage Act to allow “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” as a ground for divorce.

Hindu brides sit during a mass wedding ceremony in Noida December 26, 2009. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/FilesThe amendment had been resisted earlier and been pending for nearly three decades now. Other grounds for divorce, which can take anywhere from six months to 20 years, include cruelty, desertion and adultery.

The amendment, if approved by parliament, will make divorce easier for estranged couples, experts say, particularly in cases where a partner is deliberately delaying proceedings. Even family courts are notoriously ineffective and insensitive when it comes to separation, with judges often admonishing the woman to be more “adjusting” or offering advice thinly disguised as rulings.

What’s love got to do with caste, class or countries?

Love and marriage have always been subjected to societal norms in most communities and this is especially true in India with its myriad structures of caste, class and a historical rich-poor divide.

A couple chats on Valentine's Day in Bhopal February 14, 2005. REUTERS/Raj Patidar/FilesThe recent media glare on honour killings in northern India put the spotlight on the traditional system of local “khap” councils, who do not allow persons from the same sub-caste or lineage to marry.

Sometimes even marriage between two consenting adults from different gotras (clan or lineage) is banned if they are from the same village, and the diktat of the khaps can lead to ostracism and banishment to even honour killings.