Ayesha Mukherjee Trolled For Second Seperation: Why Do We Make Divorce A Dirty Word?

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Ayesha Mukherjee trolled: Following the announcement of her separation from Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan after eight years of marriage, boxer Ayesha Mukherjee is facing a barrage of memes, trolls, jokes and scrutiny. For public figures laying out personal data in the open, this routine reaction isn’t unexpected. But the extent of it is considerably higher for Mukherjee, who is now a two-time divorcee.

“Being divorced once before already, felt like I had more at stake the second time round. I had more to prove,” Mukherjee said in a candid Instagram post earlier this week. “I realised my fear and the meaning I gave to the word divorce was my own doing… Divorce means choosing myself and not settling and sacrificing my own life for the sake of a marriage.

Does Indian society, famous for ranking near the bottom of the world’s divorce rates, share Mukherjee’s ideas about divorce though? Do we allow women to be confident in their decision to leave marriages when they don’t work out? Or do we pelt them with accusations of not doing enough, of not trying hard, of not being better women?

This is precisely what is playing out on the internet at this moment. Immense sympathy for Dhawan, a star cricketer, and disdainful mockery for Mukherjee.

Have a look: 

Ayesha Mukherjee Trolled: Must Women Feel Guilty For Leaving Marriages?

Incompatibility, in India, is made out to be an untruth. ‘What do you mean you cannot adjust?’ ‘The institution of marriage is sacred.’ ‘You have a child! How can you be so selfish?’ It’s far easier to project our own opinions, gleaned from thorough conditioning by patriarchy and what is perceived as tradition, instead of acknowledging that relationships – even those bound by saat pheras and contracts – are impermanent.

What are marriages if not an amalgam of choices? 

That some couples take their relationship through for years upon years is as much a choice as separation when things don’t work out is. And is there a ‘moral’ cap on how many times divorce is permitted? What ensures that a third or even fourth marriage will not turn out incompatible? Can that kind of guarantee ever exist?

So is it at all fair or justified to troll Mukherjee for taking that step a second time? Is it perhaps not indicative of immeasurable strength that a woman, despite daunting social mores, is choosing to walk ahead from what doesn’t serve her? “Divorce means I am stronger and more resilient than I ever thought,” she rightly says.

Views expressed are the author’s own. 

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