A Gendered Perspective of the Social Institution of Marriage in Colonial Punjab
Kulnaz Kaur Judge, Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences and Languages, LPU, Jalandhar (Punjab), India.
Manuscript received on 04 May 2019 | Revised Manuscript received on 16 May 2019 | Manuscript Published on 23 May 2019 | PP: 376-378 | Volume-7 Issue-6S5 April 2019 | Retrieval Number: F10630476S519/2019©BEIESP
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© The Authors. Blue Eyes Intelligence Engineering and Sciences Publication (BEIESP). This is an open access article under the CC-BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
Abstract: Marriage is a structured and patterned set of social relations and practices. It is embedded in norm and values regarding what marriage should be and is. There are explicit social prescriptions and sanctions by public bodies, the state, religion and community. At the minimum, a marriage makes legal and public, even if not always socially accepted, an intimate relation between two individuals. Further, it establishes a tie between two social groups such as family households, lineages, or clans and at times, reiterates an already existing tie between them. Whether viewed primarily as a contract or a sacrament, marriage establishes a relationship between more than just the two in the conjugal pair. In other words, marriage is an alliance between the two families rather than just two individuals. This characteristic of marriage gives it a social sanction. Marriage has long been a site for state intervention and the point of entry for concerted efforts at gendered social reform. In looking at the gendered implications of colonial interventions in class, caste and community relations together with law and legal practices, the institution of marriage was also thrown open for debates and discussions and also to be viewed through gendered lens. In the agrarian-cum-military economy of Punjab-Haryana, the British had acknowledged marriage to be an economic necessity. A single man was not expected to perform well agriculturally; and a widower was deemed to be ‘half paralysed’. In other words, marriage as a system of controlling the productive and reproductive potential of women was important. It could not be allowed to go out of control or waste and needed to be harnessed. Thus, the colonial perception towards the institution of marriage was an encouraging one, though for their own vested interests. This research paper aims to reinterpret the concept of marriage in colonial Punjab, particularly in rural areas, within this above mentioned historical and scholarly context. Further, tracing women’s voices and gender, rather than the mere fact of marital or other intimacy, is another important aspect which this research paper will cover. During colonial period girls belonging to high caste families were married off at a very young age which was considered as something of high repute. An insight into this situation is given clearly in the Khalsa Samachar. It was considered a customary duty of the father to wed off his daughter. In certain cases where the father showed less concern towards this practice the mother, determined to get her daughter married at an early age, constantlynagged him and made him realize his failure in performing his duty. Realizing his duty the father then rushed to the village priest.
Keywords: Social Perspective Gendered.
Scope of the Article: Social Sciences