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Infidelity in India has many forms

February 4th 2009 03:35


Infidelity has been as old as the institution of marriage and Fiza and Chand or Anuradha and Chandramohan are just another statistic. Yes a man can be tried under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code for rape under the clause that he obtained the consent of the woman by fraud or pretending to marry her and be with her permanently nut he cannot be tried for infidelity and neither can the woman. Only the Taliban tries people for zina or illegal sex which is sex outside marriage and the punishment is death by stoning. Not a very pleasant solution I guess but it just goes to show that the problem must have been a great one in even pre industrial society.

In fact sex and marriage and infidelity are greatly confused in human society since time immemorial. The Chandra Mohan episode prompts many questions? Under what circumstances does sex outside the first marriage become infidelity or socially unacceptable? Here we operate in the grey area.
Under Islam all manner of sex outside a proper Muslim marriage is infidelity and hence punishable under law. Atleast one religion gives us a clear answer. At the same time in this religion marriage is a contract and can be annulled by a divorce. A concept that was alien to humanity before the coming of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To get rid of a wife people used to beat, kill or simply drive away the woman in some societies there was no concept of compensation or graceful divorce.
Now in Hinduism before the day and age of Jawaharlal Nehru there were many forms of socially acceptable marriage and this included Gandharva Vivah or eloping with someone even if the man had one or many earlier wives. The limitation of four wives as imposed by Islam did not apply here. Kings, landlords, rich men and merchants had many wives today rich and corrupt politicians have many mistresses some even bear them children so where is the infidelity concept does it apply here? Again we are dealing in a grey area.

Before and after the advent of TV and electricity in rural India sex and the population explosion were a favourite recreation and with the husband away in search of jobs there were situations where father in laws kept their daughter in laws busy and still do in some parts of India, where brothers and cousins of the husband too were willing to substitute for him in his absence and saw nothing wrong in it? Again the law is silent on this issue. Then take the new Indian middle class today. From sex on the job to sex for promotions and sex for assignments and sex on posters sex is everywhere even on the internet. So what is infidelity and how do we stop it? Then what if the couple are partners in infidelity? A young couple went to a yoga camp of repute for upwardly mobile middle class individuals and indulged in group sex and couple swapping. All the sex took place in the same room. Now can they accuse each other of infidelity after all they even witnessed it? So what is infidelity? Can thinking of another person amount to infidelity or a crime after all it is a preparation for committing infidelity? I leave it to the reader to decide.

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Comment by Anonymous

October 29th 2009 20:06
one word- disgusting

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