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Changing  Scenario of Family and Marriage in India After Independence:-

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There are various pillars in Society. From those pillars, there are two pillars ie. Family and Marriage on which Society is built. Family is considered as the Primary group of Society. Family forms when people are connected through relation in marriage, blood, or adoption. It signifies that marriage plays an important role in the formation of a family. Marriage is legally recognized as a social contract between two persons who have a sexual relationship. The members of the family living together are called a household. Family is considered a subjective concept that is recognized by society as individuals who joined through blood, marriage, or adoption. In our society, there is the various important scenario of family and marriage earlier also and after independence also. So, we will discuss both of them here.


It is the key institution that is social all over the world that’s why it is a cultural universal. It is the group that is socially recognized as it has many relations such as blood, marriage, cohabitation, or adoption which develops a relation emotionally. Family is of various types which I will discuss in further words.


It is the social contract between two people which is legally recognized, like Family it is also a universal culture and it also has various types of forms. There are many acts established on the forms and rituals of marriage. We will discuss almost all the acts related to marriage in further words.

Now I will discuss the scenario of Family and Marriage in Detail.


As in our society, various things have both Structures as well as functions. So, in the same way, Families also have both Structure and Function. The structure is that which gives shape and size to a family. Different functions are essential for the family to be healthy. By this, we can see that society is a complex system whose all parts work together to develop stability and solidarity.

There are various definitions or meanings of Family by various Scholars:

*M.F. Nimkoff says that “Family is a more or less durable association oh husband and wife with or without a child, or of a man or woman alone, with children”.

*Eliot and Merrill say that “Family is the biological social unit composed of husband, wife, and children”.

*MacIver says that “Family is a group defined by sex relationship sufficiently precise and enduring to provide for the procreation and upbringing of children”.


  1. A Common Habitation: The home and household are the requirement of the family for its living healthy and wealthy. And we all know that without the place of residence the task of bearing and bringing up can’t be adequately performed.


  1. A system of nomenclature:  In this world, there are several families, and each family is known by its name and has its private method of revoking descent. Male members of the family or the female members of the family can add up the descent. Most of the time the female member of the family joins the husband’s relatives but some of the time male members of the family also join the wife’s relatives.


  1. A form of Marriage:  There is a various relationship which is developed through the institution called Marriage which can be solemnized properly or can be celebrated in a long period because it is generally done in our country India. Marriage has taken the various forms of monogamous and polygamous. 


  1. Mating Relationship: It is the relationship which is developed between a man and woman and it came family into existence. This relationship can be for a short period or it can continue for lifelong. But a problem is that if the marital relation breaks then the family falls apart.


  1. An economic provision: Every family requires to satisfy the economic needs of the family. In our country India generally, the family member who is the head of the family carries certain works and earns money to maintain the structure and functions of the family.


  1. Selection of Mates: In almost every part of the country there is the selection of mates by the parents or the elders or the choice may be left with the individuals who are going to marry. There are various rules for marriage.



  1. Nuclear Family: There are other names also for Nuclear Families such as Conjugal Family or Family of Procreation. Nuclear Family is the Family in which there are married parents and their offspring. This type of Family is found in industrial societies more but this type of family is not common in the world. Some of the anthropologists found a different type of nuclear family, in this type of family, there is one parent with dependent children. In continuation of this, there is a polygynous family, in which there are multiple numbers of spouses with their dependent children.


  1. Extended Family:  This type of family is the most common type of family in the world and the type of family is Extended Family. Extended Families consist of different generations ie. mainly three generations which are Grandparents, Married offspring, and Grandchildren.


  1. Joint Family: This type of family consists of many generations. In this type of family, children get unconditional love and support. This type of family is termed a Joint Family. These types of families are composed of several siblings, their spouses, and their dependent children.


  1. Blended Family: Blended Families are developing more commonly, especially in industrial societies like in the United States of America. This type of Family is formed when divorced or widowed parents have their children independent and married.


  1. Family by Choice: This type of family is newly recognized, this family also especially in industrial countries like the United States of America. The family is popularised by the LGBTQ community to discuss the family which is not legally recognized. This type can include adopted children, live-in partners, and close friends. This type is mostly practiced by unmarried people.



Marriage is considered a Universal social institution. The concept of Marriage is established by human society to take over and control the sexual life of man and woman. It is merely connected as well as has a concern with the institution of Family. Marriage and Family are complementary to each other. It is an institution of society that may have a very variety of implications in different cultures. We can see that the purposes, functions of Marriage may differ from person to person, but it is present all over the world in the form of an Institution.

               “Marriage is a socially approved way of establishing a family of procreation”.

               “Marriage is rooted in the family rather than the family in the marriage”.

There are various definitions or meanings of Marriage by various Sociologist:-

*Edward Westermarck says that “ ‘History of Human Marriage’ defines marriage as the more or less durable connection between male and female lasting beyond the mere act of propagation till after the birth of offspring”.

*Malinowski says that “ Marriage is a contract for the production and maintenance of children”.

*According to Robert H. Lowie “ Marriage is a relatively permanent bond between permissible mates”.

*Duncan Mitchell says that “ A socially sanctioned sex relationship involving two or more people of the opposite sex, whose relationship is expected to endure beyond the time required for gestation and the birth of children”.

*Alfred McClung Lee says that “ Marriage is the public joining together, under socially specified regulations of a man and woman as husband and wife”.

                       “Marriage is a social arrangement by which a child is given a legitimate position in the society, determined by parenthood in the social sense”.


There are various forms of marriage but we will discuss here the main forms of marriage which are as follows:- Polygyny, Polyandry, Monogamy, and Group Marriage.



Polygyny is the form of marriage in which one man marries multiple numbers of a woman at the same time. This form of marriage ie. Polygyny is more popular than Polyandry but it is not popular as a Universal form of marriage which is monogamy. This form is under practice in many of the ancient civilizations. It occurred in between the Hebrews, Assyrians, Babylonians, Indians, and others. In today’s times, it is widely spread between primitive tribes but it is often confined to the wealthier classes. Polygyny the form of marriage is practiced among the Eskimo tribes, Crow Indians, Hidatsa of North America, African Negroes, the Nagas, Gonds, and Baigas of India. This form of marriage is permitted or allowed in Muslim Community.

*There are two types of Polygyny Marriage:-

  • Sororal Polygyny: In this type of Marriage generally the wives are the sisters. It is often called ‘sororate’.
  • Non-Sororal Polygyny: In this type of Marriage the wives are not in a relationship as sisters.


Polyandry is that form of Marriage in which the marriage of one woman with multiple numbers men happens. This form is much less common than polygyny. This form is practiced between the Tibetans, Marquesan Islanders of Polynesia, the Bahama of Africa, the tribals of Samoa, and others. In our country, India, tribal people like Tiyan, the Toda, the Kota, the Khasa, and Ladakhi Bota also practice polyandry. The peoples who were known as Nairs of Kerela were Polyandrous previously. 

*There are two types of Polyandry Marriage:-

  • Fraternal Polyandry: This form of marriage mainly occurs when several brothers share the same wife means that they had married the same girl, This practice can be called alephic or fraternal polyandry. It is mainly practiced among the people like Todas.
  • Non-Fraternal Polyandry: In this form of marriage the husband doesn’t have any relationship like brothers. In this, the wife spends some of the time with each husband. When a wife lives with one of his husbands then other husbands don’t have any claim over her.



This is the form of marriage in which one man marries one woman and this type of marriage is known as Monogamy. This form of marriage is mostly widespread form among the primitives as well as civilized people. If this form is very popular in earlier times then it has become a universal practice nowadays. This form is mostly practiced among the tribals like Kadars, Santals, the Khasis, the Canella, the Hopi, and many others.


This form of marriage is theoretically described by the scholars that the marriage of two or more men with two or more women. But this marriage is seen rarely. In this marriage, the husbands are considered to be common husbands, and wives are considered to be common wives. The offspring ie. the children are regarded as the children of entire husbands and wives. All the men of this group are called fathers of the children and all wives are called mothers of the children. Few tribal people in Australia, India, Tibet, and Ceylon believe in this form of marriage.

*Social needs of people must meet by legislation. Laws made on family and marriage in India depend on various factors i.e. age of marriage, the field of selection, breaking of marriage, number of spouses, remarriage, dowry, etc. Let’s know what these laws were before independence and are after independence. Many acts are established for various religious marriages but we will discuss a few of them here.

  1. HINDU MARRIAGE ACT 1955:-  This act is made for the people of Indian Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Schedule Caste, and Scheduled Tribes and for those people who are living in the area in which this act is legally established but the people should not be a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion. This act strictly banned various forms of marriage such as Polygamy, Polyandry, and Child Marriage. In this act, it is legally mentioned that the right age of Girls and boys for marriage is 18 years and 21 years respectively. This act grants permission for inter-caste and inter-religion marriage. This act doesn’t provide the rights or rules of this act to those who were of Hindu religion but converted to other religions.


  1. MUSLIM MARRIAGE REGISTRATION ACT 1981:-  According to section 3 of this act “Every marriage contracted between Muslims after the commencement of this Act, shall be registered as hereinafter provided, within thirty days from the conclusion of the Nikah Ceremony”. The legal documents of Muslim Marriage which consisted of the essential information and the details of the marriage are known as Nikahnama. In our country India the registration of Muslim Marriage is mandatory and termed a civil contract. In the relevance of Muslim Marriage Registration Act Niahnama contains various things like Full name of Bride and Groom, Age, Address, Full name of Bride and Groom’s Father whether he is alive or dead, all the details if they have divorced then the name of Vakil, Previous partner’s detail and the details of the Nikah-Khan with other official details related to marriage.


  1. CHILD MARRIAGE RESTRAINT ACT 1929:-  This act came into existence before the independence of India and this act mentioned that it is an offense if a boy under the age of 18 years and a girl under the age of 14 years get married. This act was finally got amended after the independence of India in 1978 and clear that the correct age for the marriage of boys and girls is 21 years and 18 years respectively. The main objective or purpose of this act is to remove the danger to the life and health of a female child. This act is replaced by another act which is termed the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006.


  1. INDIAN CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE ACT:-  According to this act “, a preliminary notice is to be issued 14 days before the marriage if the marriage is to be contracted between minors. After the expiration of the said period, the parties can go on with the marriage without the consent of their guardians”.


  1. FAMILY COURT ACT 1984:-  The main motive or objective of this act is to protect women from family disputes. It helps women to take equal rights as men take.


  • India is a country known for its diverse culture, unity, and diversity. According to Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, every citizen is protected from racial and other discrimination. But it is very bad to say that still, we don’t have any law for the marriage and family of the LGBTQ community it is considered a crime to have a homosexual relationship. After the Independence of India Government put some steps forward for the wrong deeds against people and laws are also established for the same. People should see everyone with one eye they should not discriminate especially with the LGBTQ community because they are also a part of this society.




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