Not only in the old days but even today, a girl’s family arranges marriage for her and she does as she has been told. She respects her husband, bears his children, keeps his house- in a word she is a good housekeeper. If she regrets the bargain nobody knows it. On the contrary, if she makes the best of a bad bargain, everybody calls her a Lakshmi. It is found that now a days a few customary marriages run well. Though the idea of marriage without love is repellant and impracticable yet love without marriage is very rare case in our country.
In the western countries, living together before marriage is a custom. Through it they learn to know each other over a long period of time. They get familiar with each other’s family. They discover each other’s faults and decides how serious or important their differences are. Then they decide whether they will marry or leave each other, because they think it is better to find out one another before rather than after. But this custom is not prevalent in our country as most people are god-fearing and they cannot cross the religious boundary. Girls of our society cannot venture to express about their marriage to their parents even if they are on the verge of marriageable age. As there is no adequate job opportunities open to our educated girls, they cannot but leap into marriage with rash experiment. This type of marriage is likely to suffer from family problems, personality clashes, incompatibility of values. In the long run, it turns into a curse and sometimes ends in divorce. It is essential for a girl at least to get acquainted with the man before she marches down the aisle.
Love, where shall we find it? And how will we be sure when it’s real? In the movies, it is easy. Shahrukh Khan, I mean King Khan of Bollywood stares Kajol Mukherjee out of countenance every day in the college campus and Kajol cuts him dead keeping her own counsel. In the meantime, they fall in love with each other and get married. She loves him even if he beats her, insults her parents, says awful things about her relatives. It is love, After all, how is Kajol going to end up with anybody else when Shahrukh is in the picture? Besides, they have only got three hours to settle the whole business and if they live unhappily ever after, we shall never find out. Practical life, unfortunately, is different.
Mrs. Hossain is an MA. Marriage has stereotyped her character as a homemaker. She has today all the housework such as making breakfast, rustling up dinner that pleases both in-laws and husband, preparing collation for guests, be the perfect hostess, looking after kids and generally be around. At the end of the day’s work she has to keep her hair and smile intact. This monotonous work makes her life sometimes boring. Though she has no scarcity, yet things are going from bad to worse. It seems to her every now and then if she could turn back the clock then she would run miles away from marriage. It is a common episode that is prevailing in our middle class family. Being a wife and mother is not the only occupation that a girl can choose, though most still prefer it. This stereotyped preference is due to the socio-economic condition of the country.
Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain was the harbinger of women’s emancipation in our country. She was a planner who brought the veiled women into the light of education. She will remain as a guiding light for all of us. If the society does not change its attitude towards women, there is not much hope for the women of the country. In Bangladesh educated women are mostly engaged in teaching. Why not in the fields? They have talents to work in almost every field. The government should come forward to create job opportunities for women. The ministry for women’s affairs should rise to the challenge and reserve women’s right, women should rise above their difficulties and prove their ability. Sometimes women in our country cannot prove their ability as they have to take care of the house and children: A baby minder may be engaged where the grandparent cannot cope with the baby. The process of cooking must be made simplified and male members should help their women in the household work as if marriage is a sacred institution where she learns to cook, he learns to carve. We should get rid of all bias and superstition and allow women to work in all fields suitable to their talents. Marriage is not something to be taken lightly. It should not reinforce the stereotyped image of women as home makers. A woman should have the option of leading an independent life, pursuing a career, recognizing her achievements. It is up to a woman to decide how she wants to live, the kind of life she plans to have after completion of her study and the kind of wife and mother she wants to be. She must learn how to achieve the life she chooses. The maturity must come from within herself, if she is to be entitled to the independence she feels, she wants. The custom of arranged marriage will die when young people are independent. Most parents are not careful of their daughters. They should not marry their little woman to an upstart ready to override the wishes of the wife. It is just kidding. Many surveys show that men are more likely to suffer from depression if they are not married, whereas women are more prone to it if they are married. Perhaps ‘marriage is like a besieged port -those who are in want to get out and those who are out want to get in’.