Kiran Rao-Aamir Khan marriage: A Bollywood power couple, Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan, announced the end of 15 years of marriage and the "start of a new journey" in a joint statement on July 3.
"We began a planned separation some time ago, and now feel comfortable to formalise this arrangement, of living separately yet sharing our lives the way an extended family does," the two said, adding they would continue to co-parent their son Azad and collaborate on film projects. Read about their journey here.
Netizens, taken by surprise, had dramatic responses to the divorce. From evil insinuations of 'love jihad' to vacuous rumours of an extramarital affair, social media has erupted in speculation surrounding Khan and Rao. Read here.
Why does internet love to play this guessing game on reasons for a couple's divorce, every time a high profile couple calls its quit? Why is it difficult for us to accept that marriages don't come with a guarantee of lasting lifelong? How far do our prejudiced perceptions contribute to the stigma around divorce? Isn't this part of the reason India has one of the lowest divorce rates in the world, a paltry one percent?
A celebrity couple - by virtue of their status - feels obliged to announce details of their private lives to the public. It's not compulsory, but they do it. Must that announcement in good faith then be muddied with controversy?
Aamir Khan Marriage: Must A Third Woman Be Dragged In?
Fatima Sana Shaikh, Khan's co-actor from Dangal, has been dragged into the divorce too, by netizens alleging an extramarital affair between her and Khan. Does the idea of divorce make us so uncomfortable that the only way we cope is by pinning blame on a 'third woman' for driving it?
How deep do our sexist attitudes run if our first reaction to a couple's separation is finding a woman to hold accountable? Why is it difficult to accept that often, internal forces in a marriage are more often than not enough for partners to go their separate ways, without the influence of any external stimuli?
Then there is the question of love jihad. Interfaith relationships - especially high-profile ones, such as in Bollywood - have of late come under the scanner with extremists insisting it is detrimental to the cultural fabric. Marriages should stay strictly within religious ambits, they urge.
Are interfaith couples then, by nature of their partnership, compelled to consciously prove its validity?
Are they having to unfairly bear the extra burden of judgment for incompatibility basis religion? If ">divorce occurs then, is the couple expected to justify their marriage did or did not work owing to differing faiths?
Marriage is neither easy nor a simplistic equation. And it is definitely not stamped with an eternal warranty period. Some relationships just work better as friendships than marriage. If the decision to part is mutual and amicable, then must third parties have any entitlement to offer any opinion on it?
Views expressed are the author's own.