Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Review: WHY WE NEED NOT MARRY

‘WHY WE NEED NOT MARRY’ by Kingofhearts (ISBN: 9781311638243/1-311-63824-5) is more than a book about marriage. The First Part of the book starts with chapters on love and infidelity, happiness and id, ego & superego. Here the author finds that love, infidelity etc are natural to humans and have a genetic cause. He ponders further. He finds that the monogamous system is not an ideal system. Love is under control of our genes and genes are not under our control, and hence it is natural for us to show infidelity. Why do we make monogamous faces? Why don’t people accept the truth?  Are there circumstances in which people should not marry? What is the role played by spirituality?

In the second part of this book, the author investigates into different marriage systems. At the outset, the author provides an interesting twist when he says, ‘marriage is a tradition flawed from the beginning of the civilizations.’ Historically, males have been fighting among themselves for three things, Piece of Land, Food, and Female. Is the allusion place marriage as a leftover of prehistoric violence? Is it that now we have stopped fighting among ourselves on this count (females), marriage is assuming an agitating role with a possibility of dispute - polygamy, polyandry, same-sex marriage? Next two chapters are on options other than marriage, live in relationship and live apart relationship. Here, an example is given of a living community - Mosuo in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in China, where marriage system does not exist. In the next chapter, costs and benefits of being single, married life, live in arrangements, live apart relationship as well as the Mosuo marriage system is explained briefly. “Mosuo men and women continue to live with and be responsible to their respective families. The couple does not share property. The father usually has little responsibility for his offspring. It is the job of men to care more for their nieces and nephews than for their own children.” This is quite similar to the social life existed in some other parts of India as well – for example, Kerala, where it exists even now, in a much-subdued level, of course.

On the basis of the costs and benefits, you can decide which path to choose. The last chapter tells you the responsibilities towards family members. Finally, the book ends with the final conclusion that marriage is only one of the forms of living, which necessarily need not be superior to others.

This book examines the sociological relevance of marriage in a completely new frame. However, it fails in addressing the role played by marital alliances in the physiological domain. Being an important part of life, and even more significant when it comes to peace, harmony, and happiness in our society, marriage has to have a close link with the physical dimension of our life. And it should have found a place here. But for that, the author has done a commendable job that can lead to dispelling many of the social myths, human society is always reeling under.

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