Work drives couples apart | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Work drives couples apart

An analysis of divorce applications by the Mumbai police has thrown up some startling factors behind marital discord in the city. On top of the list is growing economic parity between men and women, followed by dowry demands, societal pressures, and incompatibility.

mumbai Updated: Nov 08, 2011 01:48 IST
Debasish Panigrahi

An analysis of divorce applications by the Mumbai police has thrown up some startling factors behind marital discord in the city. On top of the list is growing economic parity between men and women, followed by dowry demands, societal pressures, and incompatibility.

The first-of its-kind study by the social service branch of the city police is based on data available with the police for the past five years, of which 1,354 divorce pleas were filed this year (see box). Five officers, including deputy commissioner of police (enforcement) BG Shekhar, took over a month to examine the records before arriving at the conclusions.

“According to our findings, the divorce rate is highest (over 40%) in cases where both the spouses are earning. Their financial independence, unfortunately, leads to ego hassles and the simmering differences culminate in a bitter separation,” Shekhar said.

Shekhar, an electronic engineer with an advanced diploma in software who has authored several books on crime investigation techniques, criminal behaviour etc., said: “The man expects his wife to cook good food and take care of the house, which is not possible since she, too, is working and has to meet professional demands. Both refuse to relent as both are financially independent,” Shekhar said.

The next most prevalent factor, equally surprising given the city’s forward-thinking image, is dowry demands from the in-laws. “If you think dowry is unique to rural or semi-urban pockets, you are mistaken — in fact, over 25% of divorce cases in Mumbai are a result of it,” Shekhar said.

The study has also thrown up a unique attribute of marital discord that is directly related to the economic pressures of city life. “About 20% cases of family disturbance are borne out of financial deprivation,” Shekhar said. “The desire or deprivation of valuables, ornaments or an overseas holiday, which are influenced by neighbours or peers, lead to problems at home.”

The incompatibility of lifestyles between spouses accounts for the rest, about 15%, of marital discord cases in the megalopolis. “It happens mostly in cases where spouses come from different cultural backgrounds — for instance, one is brought up in a liberal city atmosphere while the other is from a rural or semi-urban place,” Shekhar said.