The gender divide can’t be more pronounced if the issue is remarriage. That’s what the organisers of Punarmilan — a match-making initiative for Marwaris in the age group of 18 to 38, with a background of failed marriages — have learnt from their experience.
With the number of divorce cases, once a taboo in the conservative business community, increasing in the city and assuming ghar-ghar-ki-kahani proportions, Punarmilan was conceived as an initiative to give broken hearts another chance to settle down.
But the response to the initiative has been skewed. While girls have come forward and registered with the International Marwari Federation to take part in the Parichay Sammelan — organised to give the boys and girls a chance to meet each other — on August 17, there is little response from Marwari males.
Of the 50 forms distributed from the federation’s youth wing offices in the city, only five have been collected by men, and whereas more than 20 women have already confirmed their participation in the event, only one boy has signed up with the organisers.
“We expected a similar kind of response from both males and females. The response is really surprising and has put us in a fix. For the moment, we have postponed the programme to give the males more time,” said Sundeep Bhutoria, president of the federation’s youth wing.
“We had made all the arrangements, like booking Jain Bhavan, on Sarat Bose Road, and roping in legal advisers for the divorcees. But what’s the use of such a programme with only girls'” he asked. The federation has informed the girls and their families that the next date will be communicated as soon as it is decided.
Though the initiative has drawn a blank, the organisers are determined to carry on with their effort and expect a few men to come forward. In a hurriedly-convened meeting of the federation, the organisers decided to make it a continuous effort. “We will shortly announce a Punarmilan cell, which will help people with failed marriages to find new partners,” announced Bhutoria.
Had there been a “similar response” from the males, the initiative would have yielded desired results and helped in settling a “few more homes and lives” in the city. The women, who have logged in with the organisers, are primarily working women, whose marriage had failed due to “alcoholism and physical abuse” by their partners. “The profile of the women, with some of them working in senior positions in corporate houses, is an indicator that Marwari women have come of age,” Bhutoria added.
For many, the conspicuous absence of males is a reflection of the psyche of our society, which is still male-dominated. “Failed marriages leave a long-lasting scar on the women, as most of the people think that there was something wrong with the woman and blame her for the divorce. So, there is reluctance among men to marry someone who had a failed marriage. Besides, there always exists the bias in favour of virgins,” explained industrialist and novelist Prabha Khaitan.