People are increasingly preferring either “no marriages” or “late marriages” in valley!
Study :“Never married percentage” of the state higher than the national average.
BISMAH MALIK : SRINAGAR, May 9: Day in and day out, the people of Jammu and Kashmir, are preferring the status of being unmarried and happy. This is what the Sociology Department at Kashmir University concluded in one of its studies.According to census, 2001, 55 per cent of the total population in the state, has actually never married, even after attaining a standard marriageable age. This percentage is even higher than the national average of 49 per cent, thereby depicting a sorry stateThe total number of unmarried persons in the age bracket of 20-35 years is 8, 97289.Over these years, the sociologists believe that this number must have increased only, especially in the wake of political, socio-economic conditions which prevailed in the state.
The study says, “Concerned experts feel that number and proportion of never-married persons must have increased significantly in unstable and conflict-ridden valley of Kashmir. “Males, outnumber females when it comes to not having married at all. The percentage of never married male populace is 54. 7 per cent of the total population, and for females it is 45. 12 per cent.
The number of “never married “ persons in Jammu and Kashmir has been on a roll, especially for last two decades, due to the persistent armed conflict here .According to the study, “The perpetual armed conflict situation plays a negative role vis-à-vis marriages, i.e. it generally lowers the marriage –rate and, consequently, increase the number of “never married” persons”.Coupled with the disturbed situation, another reason for an increase in the “never married “ populace in J&K is the migration of Kashmiri Pandits and even Muslims over last many years.“Never married trend”, in Jammu and Kashmir is supplemented with the trend of late marriages, which again has seen a constant rise . The study observes, “that the “late marriages” have evolved as a significant trend in the Kashmir valley , in particular.On an average, the actual age of marriage of 31.53 years seen in males is way too higher than the desirable age of 23.6 years. For females, the actual age of marriage is 27.8 years, as compared to desirable age of 20.7 years.Significantly, in both the genders, the age at which people are getting married is actually a lot higher than the supposed age , at which they should get married.
With respect to the various reasons, which the study points towards, for such anti- marriage trends, acute poverty tops the list.” It was seen, that due to various financial constraints, faced by people here, they chose not to marry.
The second major factor has been an increasing unemployment which has again marred the normal course of marriages in the valley.
The aforesaid two major factors, seemingly are the direct implications of the turmoil period, which had a bearing on state economy as well.
Some societal stereotypes like Dowry in different forms, illiteracy have also been listed as the reasons for such trends. Interestingly, caste and class distinction, which are primary factors for “no marriages” in other places of India, do not figure in this survey at all.
The study has enumerated a series of consequences of “never married” and “late marriage” trends in the valley.
Amongst them, a decrease in household population is a major consequence.
This is followed by negative implications like mental depression, increase in suicide rate , emerging moral activities and pre-marital sex relations , in a decreasing order.
There are some important conclusions, which have been derived.
First of all, the increasing number of “never married persons” has dangerous implications for overall balanced growth of population in J&K, especially the Kashmir province.
The study fids, “In addition to moral, ethical, cultural and social implications, this increasing phenomenon has posed potential demographic threat to the local community”.
A suggestion put forward by this interesting study is a request to the local intelligentsia, who have been asked to initiate relevant efforts to restore credibility, applicability and respectability to the practice of marriage at the household and societal levels.