Every few days, videos of brides and grooms fighting on their wedding day make it to our social media feed. The fights aren’t just verbal spats, but full-blown physical bouts, replete with slaps, punches and more. But what shocks me more is people’s reaction to such videos. Our minds, constantly in search of a quick fix for entertainment, often find these videos funny. But are they really as comical as we make them out to be? Is there an underlying narrative of forceful marriages, fragile egos, immaturity and normalisation of domestic violence that we are conveniently ignoring?
It is sad that our society never takes intimate partner violence seriously. It is always either considered a matter that doesn’t require an outsider’s interference or a laughing stock. Why do we tend to overlook domestic violence in our society? Why do we normalise it as wear and tear of marriage? In case of weddings, married life hasn’t even started and yet society tries to trivialise physical altercations between a to-be husband and wife as apas ka mamla.
Bride and groom fighting: Stop glossing over such encounters
Violence during weddings points out three truths of our society. The first is how we love to reinforce the idea that domestic violence is part and parcel of marriages in India. Secondly, it also shows how the pair is not right or the two-person are not compatible with each other enough to have a happy marriage. But still, two incompatible people are thrown into a life-long bond, and their fights are glossed over with advise to adjust in future. Lastly, if the groom and bride are fighting during the wedding, then it could also mean that the alliance is not happening with their full consent. The bride and groom might not like each other or are not yet ready to get married and so the pressure to be in a forced marriage agitates them so much that they vent it all out in the public.
But dear society, if bride and groom couldn’t wait for the first day of their wedding to fight with each other then instead of overlooking the rift, shouldn’t we put a pause on the proceedings and give it some more thought?
Another issue is how social media, instead of starting conversations about domestic violence and forced marriages, circulates such videos as “funny content”. Violent fights between a couple, whether happening privately or in public, should concern us because we are putting two people in grave danger, by simply forcing them to be with each other. What if these fights turn into a tragedy in future? Who is responsible then? Why shouldn’t society be held accountable in such a case, when it could have clearly avoided a tragic outcome in case of domestic violence with something as simple as early intervention?
Just last week, we saw a chilling video by a woman named Mandeep Kaur, accusing her husband of domestic violence that spanned eight years. Kaur said that her cries for intervention were ignored by her in-laws. She later died by suicide, leaving behind two young daughters. Kaur is not alone, society chooses to overlook domestic violence until it leads to an irreparable loss. Weddings, bedrooms, drawing rooms, hotels- our senses are impervious to fights between couples. If only we could stop abuse long before it becomes a norm in a marriage.
If anything, viral videos of bride and groom fighting on their wedding day are cries for help. What you might see are two people bickering, but in reality it is two individuals who are not happy in the direction their life is headed. Instead of laughing at such videos, perhaps we can start a larger conversation about unhappy weddings and marriages and save women and men from abuse.
Views expressed are the author’s own.
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