Marriage, Mental Health and Indian Legislation

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 98
  • Published : March 7, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
MARRIAGE, MENTAL HEALTH AND INDIAN LEGISLATION
Dr. T.S.Sathyanarayana Rao1, Dr. S. Nambi2 & Dr. Chandrashekar .H3 Marriage is one of the most important events of life affecting social status as well as the psyche of an individual. It not only serves to satisfy the fundamental biological need of sexual gratification through a socially acceptable way but also helps the individual to achieve a higher level of personality maturation. Historically marriage existed in one form or another in every culture, ensuring social sanction to a physical union between man and woman and laying the foundation for building up of family. Nambi (2005)1 has reviewed it extensively. There are a variety of marital patterns such as (i) monogamy, (ii) bigamy, (iii) polygamy, (iv) stable marital arrangements/companionship, and (v) same-sex marriage. In most cultures monogamy is held as ideal. Same-sex marriage has been much talked about in recent times. Many countries abhor the basic concept of same-sex marriage; some countries have legalized it. Whether or not same-sex union should be recognized has been discussed in many state legislatures in the West. ln India, homosexuality and lesbianism are not only considered taboo, but also an offence. That does not mean that this practice is uncommon here. It should be noted that gay and lesbian psychiatry is one of the specialty sections of the American Psychiatric Association. The increasing acceptance of divorce has dramatically altered the marriage situation. While couples still marry at the same constant rate, more than half of all couples married in the USA are now divorced. In India, even though the rate of divorce is not alarming, it is rapidly increasing-presently it is 5%-7%. There are many in our society who believe that easy marriage and divorce cheapen the institution of marriage and threaten the structure of the family. This may or may not be true, but either way, laws in reality have very little impact on the rates of marriage and divorce. Laws are a reflection of people's needs; they make it easier for people to live with each other and try to ensure that everyone gets fair treatment. Society cannot dictate social and moral behavior through its laws. If laws do not fit, people will tend to disregard them. This is why so many people choose to live together in the West instead of marrying, as marriage does not fit their situation. Perhaps we would do better to make marriage fit the people, rather than trying to make people fit the institution. Urban society is highly heterogeneous as well as individualistic. The urban attitude is one of noninterference in the affairs of other people. Thus, the-social life of urban people also exposes them to a variety of situations that can retract from the bond of attachment to the family. These situations therefore make divorce much easier. 1. Prof. & Head, Dept. of Psychiatry, JSS University, JSS Medical College Hospital, Mysore 570004. E-mail: tssrao19@yahoo.com, 2. Additional Professor of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Madras Medical College, Chennai 600010. Email: siva.nambi@gmail.com, 3. Prof. & Head, Dept. of Psychiatry, Bangalore Medical College, Bangalore. E.mail: chanag2061@yahoo.com (113)

The status of women in the family and society is another factor to be considered. The modem woman, because of her opportunities for education, training and employment, and creative activity, has developed into a self dependent and self- confident individual. This can lead to difficulties in adjustment in marriages, especially for women who have lived an independent and creative life before marriage. Some countries have legalized same sex marriages, ln India, homosexuality and lesbianism are not only considered taboo, but also an offence. That does not mean that this practice is uncommon here. It should be noted that gay and lesbian psychiatry is one of the specialty sections of the American Psychiatric Association. The increasing acceptance of divorce...
tracking img