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By Ozma Siddiqui



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People from Nashik, Dhule and Chalisgaon joined the Malegaonians to witness the rarest of the rare phenomenon on Saturday June 9. It was a beautiful never seen before perfect colourful ring around the sun. Started at around 11:30 in the morning and continued till 02:30 in the afternoon, the incident brought Malegaonians, elders and children alike, out on the roads so as to experience a “miracle” and enjoy the solar vista...Read Full


Branding children, whipping or beating them up is not exactly the best way to discipline them but so common has this practice become that such news is making front page headlines nearly everyday indicating that these cases are on the rise.


Emerging from broken homes, a product of divorced parents, the children are nearly always the innocent victims of the anger and frustration of the adults. In most cases, the neglect often occurs because both parents are eager to jump into second marriages without really understanding why the first failed in the first place. Divorce is never really easy and can in fact be a messy business. The biological father is consumed by guilt at the sight of the forlorn child who serves as a reminder of broken promises while the second wife cannot bear living in the shadow of the first wife and probably feels threatened of her return by the presence of this child. On the other hand, the biological mother moves on to start a new family leaving behind the first children (either because the father has demanded their custody or because it’s the law). Moreover, more likely than not, the new husband is not willing to disturb this second alliance with a brood which isn’t his. In either case, it’s the children that suffer.


Studies have proven that children from broken homes lead lives of deprivation on every level. The effects of rejection, blame and compelling guilt of being the cause of their parents’ divorce is damning. Nine times out of ten, criminals are born from such circumstances and a disturbed or violent childhood is often quoted as the vortex of the whole. As adults, not having known genuine compassion, they repeat the vicious cycle in their own relationships and we are left to contend with a society riddled with paranoia.


Marriages are hailed worldwide cutting across cultures, beliefs and creeds as a celebration of the meeting of two minds and traditionally, in the east, at least, of two families. For centuries, it has brought people together and softened the divide between physical borders of country and passport. So, what is the hurry to annul such a significant alliance, which is not only a joy to the immediate couple but also holy in the sight of God? Moreover, marriage is supposed to bring happiness all around because it guarantees the continuity of life through procreation with responsibility.


It is much easier to get married than to divorce because by the time the two spouses decide to part, chances are that they have brought a child into the world; an individual with needs; a person with rights to a home, food, education, etc. However, instead of bringing the two together, the hapless child becomes at times, a sounding board for the intensifying quarrels, and at other times, a vessel into which his parents pour all their rancour, hate and bitterness. Finally they go their separate ways with little thought for the child who never asked for any of this and who is now literally thrown to the wolves. The parents both ‘move on’ and the child is abused further and this time, by a set of strangers- the newly wed step mother or step father. The biological parents probably afraid to go through divorce or separation a second time, often live in a state of denial while the child/children’s state gradually deteriorates.


The kids are right there suffering in silent agony while we ignore their cries for help. The police too, are not exactly sure of what to do when confronted with such problems as these dilemmas have traditionally been handled by the families themselves. It is the violence of the deed which brings them into the picture. In addition, the fact that in most cases, the children are minors, simply adds to the complications. There aren’t even any statistics on the number of such homes. There are families such as the ones above which will stop at nothing to inflict as much violence as possible. Then there are the ones on the flip side of the coin- those who are just unable to instill any sort of discipline in their children; rude, ill mannered with no notion of how to behave in public or with adults. Such a discrepancy should be seen as a wake up call to take a serious look at the way we are bringing up our children.


Clearly, something needs to be done. Most parents need very strong advice on parenting skills as well as therapy. Special centers need to be set up to help counsel and give assistance to young people during both the pre-nuptial and post –nuptial phase and especially when they decide to become parents. Divorce should not be seen as the only way out. The extended family should step in and take matters in hand, and where these do not exist, friends and neighbours should take the initiative and remind the partners of their responsibility towards each other, the children and everyone else in general. There needs to be more awareness of the downside of divorce and there should be stricter laws in place to prevent it. There needs to be more awareness of the downside of divorce and there should be stricter laws in place to prevent it.


The writer,  Ozma Siddiqui

is working with King Abdul Aziz University

English Language Centre







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