Sologamy: Act of self-love or threat to society?
While the concept is new to India, there have been many instances in the West, where people have married themselves
Recently, Kshama Bindu from Gujarat made headlines when she announced that she would marry herself in what is believed to be the first recorded case of sologamy or self-marriage in India. For the unversed, sologamy can be broken down into two words — solo, which means self and gamy, which means union. “I have learnt from other women that there’s a need for self-love. It is a different kind of happiness when whatever you would spend in a relationship or on someone else, you spend that on you,” says Bindu, 24, who married herself on Wednesday (June 8).
Sologamy may sound like a new concept to Indians, but one quick search on the web will reveal that it has its niche set of practitioners in the West. “It is difficult to say whether this is something we are exploring now or if it existed in the past under a different name. And while this may be the first documented case of sologamy in India, the Western world is familiar with it. In 1993, a woman named Linda Baker, a US resident, married herself, while Jennifer Hoes from Netherlands took the same decision in 2003,” says Soumali Bardhan, clinical psychologist, Mpower.
In a country where most people are still not comfortable with the idea of polygamy and having multiple partners is looked at with ridicule, the concept of loving and getting married to yourself seems drastic. “Not just Indians, society as a whole often finds sologamy hard to accept as a norm. Society has its own [fixed] concept of what a marriage is and it is likely that a large number of people will find it hard to go against that,” adds Bardhan.
How different is this for a culture that is deeply rooted in traditional heterosexual marriages? “Indian culture is very collectivistic and we are brought up in a society where ‘giving’ is a norm. Not being a part of that collectivism can be unpopular. Sologamy, in itself, can look like a threat to society as far as taking the lineage of a family forward is concerned, because in collectivistic cultures, making families and forming bonds play an important role,” explains Vamakshi Painter, psychologist, Mpower adding, “On the other hand, Western cultures are more on the individualistic side of the wheel, where they feel comfortable focusing on themselves.”