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Monday, April 8, 2013

Divorces shoot up among Nairs as family values take a beating

The high profile divorce case involving former Kerala forest minister KB Ganesh Kumar and his wife Yamini Thankachy has been the main story of all televisions channels and newspapers in Kerala in March, and first week of April, 2013. The dramatic reporting was enjoyed by the public and for the political rivals of Ganesh it was an unexpected weapon to finish him. But lost in the din and bustle of the mudslinging is a painful truth. One more powerful Hindu Nair family in South Kerala is going to disintegrate.

Ganesh’s is not an isolated case in Kerala. More and more families are breaking up for reasons ranging from petty ones to serious ones. Available statistics prove that Hindus, especially Nairs bear the brunt. Kerala has the highest divorce rate in the country according to a recent report in Deccan Chronicle. A report appeared in the paper points out that 38, 231 divorce cases filed across 18 family courts in the state last year. Hindu majority southern districts are far ahead of Muslim dominated Northern districts in divorce rate and among Southern districts Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam with a significant number of Nairs top. In fact 10, 243 divorce cases were filed in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam in 2012 which is 33 per cent of the total divorce cases in Kerala.

Failure of NSS in inculcating family values

It is almost clear that Nair dominated areas are witnessing a spree of divorces and Nair organizations including NSS have failed to do anything to inculcate values in Nair families and cement ties. While Christians have the powerful church to mediate in family issues, NSS as a social organization has failed to do anything to build character among Nair youth. Divorce rate among Muslims is on the lower side in Kerala as solid faith in Islam and tightly knit society gives little room for disruptive elements to destroy families.

Let us compare example of issues faced by Ganesh Kumar, Kunhalikkutty, P.J Kurien and PJ Joseph powerful leaders who had faced similar adultery allegations. While the allegation broke up the family of Ganesh, Kunhalikkutty, Kurien and Joseph saved themselves with the support of their family. I am not supporting adultery, but is divorce the only solution when a couple face trouble. Many times allegation of adultery is being raised to facilitate quick divorce. Shouldn’t a person be given chance to reform? What about the rights of children whose parents undergo divorce?

Among celebrity couples in Nair community actresses Urvashi, Kalpana and Kalaranjini have divorced or going through divorce proceedings. In Thiruvananthapuram town among Nair upper middle class families according to reliable sources divorce rate is over 50 per cent which is shocking.

All these point to the fact that a social dispute settling mechanism is absent among Nairs in Kerala while active among Christian and Muslim communities. Nair couples going for divorce for silly issues forget the fact that it is not two individuals alone who suffer from divorce. Whole families involving aged in laws, children brothers and sisters and even friends will have to share the impact of their decision. Marriage is a divine bond and family is a divine institution to help humanity progress.

Absence of religious education among Nairs

While Sunday schools teach Christian children Christian values, Madrasas teach Muslim children values in Islam. For Hindus, especially Nairs there are no institutions to teach the importance of values to children. This leaves Nair children vulnerable to ideological brainwash by political parties and so called progressive and secular groups which try to destroy Hindu society by making use of existing laws selectively. These groups convince youth that respecting elders, helping each other in family in times of crisis are all unwanted obscurantist ideas. Youth who imbibe this culture slowly separates themselves from family and many cannot identify even their relatives. They have no faith in anything and will quarrel among themselves.

Often in divorcing couples in Hindu families, family is a place where they can express all their frustration without getting retaliation. They fail to realize that after divorce they will be more vulnerable to outside attack when they will have none else for support.


  1. Yes, while Nairs have ahead of anybody else given women a respectable place and lion's share of wealth - failed to 'educate' them. Not degrees, but real education for life. Plus - Nairs did not heed enough Mannathu Padmanabhan's statement "One who can not love his mother, can not love his family. One who can not love his family can not love his community. One who can not love his community, can not love his larger society. One who can not love the society at large can not love one's country'. Put it reverse and see. May educated Nairs failed to read this but some realized it too late. Key is right spirituality and pragmatic life.

  2. In Kerala, alchoholism might be the chief cause behind high divorce rate. However, it is the ego of women due to their higher stature and income these days are leading to more divorces. There are exceptions in our Hindu society where women even though have more power and income will respect their husbands and never think of a divorce considering the sanctity attached to marriage in Hinduism. Examples are Indira Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico, Nirmala Sitharaman, one of top ministers in BJP govt etc. Problem is that at young age, many are not matured to handle situations and ego clashes lead to breakups. Being part of spiritual organizations or service organizations like RSS, Art of Living etc may help in shaping one's character leading to better marriage retention rates.