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Polygamy: Is this a new trend?
Polygamy has existed in India since Vedic times. Even in today?s world, the practice continues and in fact thrives. Polygamy should be abolished and the people, who practice it, should be strictly dealt by the law

CAN A man cohabit with two women simultaneously? Yes, is the answer of the modern-day polygamists. The most recent name that we can recall almost immediately is the former Haryana deputy chief minister Chander Mohan, who publicly declared his love for his assistant advocate-general Anuradha Bali, now renamed Fiza.

But according to the latest update, the minister is back to his first wife Seema Bishnoi. This whole drama portrays the tragic story of the two women, who are the innocent victims of this social practice of polygamy.

Polygamy is becoming a new trend in contemporary, urban India. Is new age polygamy a continuation of traditional social norms? The Vedic scriptures, upon which the Hindu laws were based, clearly outlined that all classes could take more than one wife.

Polygamy has been a thriving practice in all parts of India. Even in the South, M Karunanidhi, the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, has married at least 3 women, the first of whom is dead. Moreover, in the districts of the state, men believe in the concept of ‘the more the merrier.’

Polygamy exists in the upper and lower echelons of our society unaffected by the traditional heritage and value system of our Indian society.

Film director Mahesh Bhatt’s film Zakhm was a flashback on his own life. His father married twice but as his mother was a Muslim, he couldn’t accept her openly.

In a hypocrite society as ours, does the ‘other woman’ ever become an accepted part of a polygamous treaty? This is such an unfair practice.

Bollywood couples Dharmendra-Hema Malini, Salim Khan-Salma Khan-Helen live by their own rules and conditions.

According to Buddhism, polygamy is discouraged and is considered a sin. It is said that ‘a man who is not satisfied with one woman and seeks out other woman is on the path to decline.’

In Hinduism, polygamy was practised by many sections of the Hindu society in ancient times. Even in Ramayana, father of lord Rama, king Dasharath, had three wives. But Rama pledged himself just one wife.

Under the Hindu Marriage Act, polygamy is banned by law and is considered illegal for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists.

Christianity enforces the ideal of one god and one life partner. It rejects the idea of a person to marry several wives.

In Islam, polygamy is allowed for men, with the specific limitation that they can only have up to four wives at any one point of time. The Quran also states that men, who choose this route must deal with their wives as fairly as possible, doing everything that they can to spend equal amounts of money and time on each of them.

So referring to the ancient times, the modern-day polygamists are doing nothing new but instead, they are carrying forward this age old ritual and practice very boldly.

Law should take its own course and strictly implement the Act against this practice in the Indian Society. Polygamy should be abolished and the people, who practice it, should be heavily punished and strictly dealt by the law.

Polygamy should end because its existence violates the principle of equality between the sexes and its ruins the traditional values and ethics of our Indian society known all over the world.

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Radhika, I never said that women don't suffer. But, I hate this one-sided propaganda by the media and women's groups about their problems and issues alone. About Kargil war, or Mumbai terror strikes, women didn't participate in it not because they were not given a chance - women are already into the army - in cosy jobs in peace stations. Why cannot women's groups protest against the Govt. for not giving them a chance to die? Its plain hypocrisy. Women had advantages of tradition and being dependent on men financially, they had no need to struggle for a job. In the past, it was very difficult to get a job. Not like today where jobs are available easily. Some 40 years back, it was extremely difficult to get jobs in India which was a developing nation. So, my point is that before pointing fingures at men and blaming "Patriarchy", understand that women benefitted from that and men were also discriminated. Women were not given education because their role in society was different. Today since it has changed, they are given. Its that simple. Further, in earlier centuries, machines were unavailable. Today, because of machines, women are asking for equality. Its not because they wanted to be independent. They could not do things such as hard labour. Even today, how many women can till an acre of land in a week? I know men who can do it. Empowering women without understanding the nature and role of sexes, the background is definately going to disempower men. That is what is happening today. For example, a man cannot sit at home. Its against his nature, illegal and anti-social. That being, how can women take away all jobs? What about fundamental rights of men to work and provide their families? Where will men go if 33% of seats are reserved for women? What is the role of men and women? Unless men's rights are taken into consideration, women's empowerment would have a disastrous consequence as we men would be discriminated and disempowered. First let society decide the role of men and women. Women are taking the advantages of tradition and modernity. That should stop.
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