Should We Support Ditched NRI Brides ?

Jun 16, 2010
My wants are many, and, if told,
Would muster many a score;
And we each wish a mint of gold,
I still should long for more.

 - John Quincy Adam, 6th US President (1767-1848).
This seems to be the attitude of NRI (non-resident Indian) husband–hunters. Their ambition makes them look beyond eligible Indian bachelors. Loaded with money to give obscene amount of dowry, the NRI husband hunter is driven by ambition of good life in the promised lands – USA, Canada, UK, etc. And, when wedding is over, the eyes are opened to realities and the new bride, in some cases, is either not taken to the promised land on many pretexts, or taken and made to work as domestic and, in worst situations, physically and mentally abused and allowed to slave away or packed off back to India. So, a new problem of desertion by NRI husbands has surfaced and is engaging the attention of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA). Is desertion by husbands a novelty in India? Why this over-concern for brides deserted by NRIs? But, first the facts, or status, on the subject.
 Indian missions in the above-noted countries are finding it difficult to implement the Union government’s scheme to help women duped or deserted by their NRI husbands, primarily due to strict privacy laws of these countries and exorbitant legal expenses.
A parliamentary panel had recently recommended that MOIA should make the ceiling of expenses to be incurred in each case flexible keeping in view the location-specific costs of litigation. It also asked the ministry to ensure wide publicity to the scheme and seek suggestions from overseas missions to get rid of the procedural hassles, ensuring that Indian women deserted by their NRI husbands could avail its benefits. The allocation for the MOIA’s scheme of providing legal assistance ranged from Rs.2 lakh in 2008-09 to Rs. 15 lakh in 2009-10. But Lok Sabh’s Standing Committee on External Affairs pointed out that as many as nine Indian Missions had failed to utilize the funds allocated for the scheme in the two years.
According to the scheme, the assistance is limited to US $1,500 per case and is t be released to Indian Women’s Organisations, Indian Community Associations and other NGOs,  which are ready to help distressed women in filing litigations against deserter husbands. But the High Commission in London wrote to MOIA saying that it could not utilize funds earmarked by the ministry “due to extremely low ceiling fixed in the budget for handling each case. The UK is one of the most expensive places in the world and the budgetary allocation is barely sufficient even for one hearing of a case”. The Indian Consulate General in Chicago wrote that all cases of abuse reported to it were governed by Illinos Domestic Violence Act and the legislation prohibited releasing the name, passport and social security number or other details of the victims. This was why the NGOs had not been able to reveal the identities of potential beneficiaries to claim for assistance. Similar reports have also come from Indian Embassy in Washington and High Commission in Ottawa.
Marriages with NRIs, particularly from US, UK, Canada and countries in Gulf, has led a large number of Indian women to trouble. Some NRIs desert their newly married wives even before taking them abroad, often after squeezing out hefty dowry from the bride’s parents. In some cases, the women are taken abroad, but brutally abused and battered.
The MOIA had launched the scheme to provide some assistance to such women, who find their dreams shattered and are rendered helpless far away from their home. If their condition looks pitiable on the face, they brought it on themselves by their over-ambition. They have taken a risk and they should face the consequences. Government of India is not flush with money to throw it away to rescue damsels in distress of their own making. It has other priorities back home to expend its resources.
Finally, we seem to go by one side of the story. It is not that all brides, dressed in pure white, are angels and all bridegrooms, in dark suits, are downright devils. What is promised at the engagement and during pre-nuptial liaisons and what is delivered post-marriage may have shocked the husbands to act as alleged. In this context it is apt to cite Robert Burns, Scottish poet (1759-1796):
Cursed be the man, the poorest wretch in life,
The crouching vassal, to the tyrant wife,
Who has no will but by her high permission;
Who has not sixpence but in her possession;
Who must to her his dear friend’s secrets tell;
Who dreads a curtain lecture worse then hell.
Were such the wife had fallen to my part,
I’d break her spirit or I’d break her heart.
We should remember that lapse of time (and in this case also distance of geography) makes a difference, as William Shakespeare, English dramatic poet (1564-1616) notes in As You Like It: “Men are April when they woo, December when they wed; Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.” He also tells us in Merchant of Venice that “Hanging and wiving goes by destiny”.
John B. Monteiro, author and journalist, is editor of his website (Interactive Cerebral Challenger)

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By John B. Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • Peter Rodrigues, Bangalore

    Fri, Jul 08 2011

    What about all those Indian guys who are gays or bi-sexual, but have to marry because of parental / societal pressures? Remember, 10% of the world's population is gay (whether they are open or closeted gays having multiple, secret partners). What about the poor girl then, who unknowingly marries a secret homosexual, or a person with schizophrenia, or some other psychological disease, or even an Alcoholic?

    In arranged marriages, even though parents and family do subtle background checks (which usually only end up in background checks only on the groom's family based in India, but not on the NRI groom himself because of lack of sufficient data) have their own list of problems. If one really analyzes facts, statistically there are more suicides of one of the spouse (usually the female) in arranged marriages than in love marriages.

  • Joyce, Dubai

    Mon, Jun 21 2010

    I have a different story to tell. My friend married a so called innocent girl from mangalore and 3 month after marraige she began misusing his credit card and when questioned threatened to file a case of dowry harresment against him. Since all the laws are against men, he finally had to settle an out of court amount to get rid of her and file for Divorce. He is in total depression and undergoing councelling.

  • Gauri, Mangalore

    Sun, Jun 20 2010

    Many NRI’s specifically Western countries now which is spread towards Gulf countries dupe their wife’s which is very true. In an arranged marriage there is so much of expectations but these men who have no remorse always believe that they have done the right thing. They should be brought to task….. Women these days are educated independent who can feed for themselves should never fall into the prey of these men who show that they are indispensable.

    I can speak about Dubai as I have seen Men who are already having pre-martial affairs with the Older women the so called Sisters or God mothers and also flirt around with every women they meet go to India and marry innocent women just to satisfy their parents. They also give false hope and later on abuse them literally physically as well as mentally. Such men should be definitely brought to task.

    Tom Cat of Saudi Arabia, may have a different view of this, as he does not understand women are strong, do not need the so called gulf money/their properties and understand their husbands ex-martial affairs well . All they need is companion to share and be loved because moneywise they are independent , well brought up and can earn as much as a man could. I seen men who make educated wife as domestic maids and leave them in the kitchen or wash their clothes as well as their relatives clothes. At a point it comes to divorce they abscond the courts summons.

    I believe law should prevail and punish these types of culprits.

  • zenia L, Mangalore/Qatar

    Sun, Jun 20 2010

    I just donot understand men saying when women lands up in Gulf state they are on Honey and Milk. Women these days are far more independent who can earn as much as a Man. They marry to get a good compaign and rightly so be a good partner to her husband. India is far more advanced and Women understand the work pressure as they themseleves are working. Men fail these days in thier responsibilities because when they land up in Gulf they get into all wises and fall into trap of older married women. When they get really get married to the real women they donot understand the essense of the women and how to treat them with lvoe.

  • Jimmy Noronha, Bellore, Lucknow

    Sun, Jun 20 2010

    What Shakespeare wrote during the 16th century regarding what the writer quotes about marriage is only to appease the groundlings go glee with what their strong belief in spirits and superstitions and the dramatist was playing on their innocence and ignorance, but in the 21st century things are not what they used to be, and while most are April/May (cheerful) before marriage they certainly aren’t December (gloomy) after marriage, at least in Indian context and I am afraid the writer is veering towards pessimism if one see things from a practical point of view.

  • Charles, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Sat, Jun 19 2010

    Prakash, Mangalore / Oman- What you said above goes 100% right in many instances, especially boys / grooms employed in the gulf counries. Sustaining the pressure from the woman in one's life / family & demands of the parents, extended family / siblings back home plus the pressure & tension at work where the employees in Gulf states are at the total mercy of the employer with No rights, makes the man's life nothing more than a hell while on earth.

    You rightly said that the such men then only just exists and does not live. This is very true and there are many such instances within our socities in the gulf but most of these are not known but only sufferers in silence. This may not be the generic statement but at large these are common in many families.

    Due to modern age comforts and lavish life style, people forget their roots and the past at once they land at the land of honey and milk. These days with the modern age and life style we have lost the core human values life and also as individuals have lost respect for each other hence, end up only in miseries.

    Those few are most lucky ones who understand the limitations as two different human beings & respect each other and share the burden collectively what ever comes on way of life to make the marriage & family succeed are surely the ones blessed from One WHO is above all.

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Sat, Jun 19 2010

    Jason & Prakash,

    Don't you think we are too generalizing in saying that the girls don't adjust or too dominating upon finding a well-to-do husband ? Are we not known to the persecutions by Mothers-in-law ? Men expect women to adjust at the new place like a factory-made bolt fits into its slot. Is there any imagination what the person undergoes when uprooted from her parents' place and planted in a new household ?

    Can you imagine playing the role vice-versa under similar circumstances ? Isn't it OK when our married sister smuggles things to us ? Instead of telling her to mind her new position, don't we take the help as a bonus ? Please do weigh both sides - it is incorrect to blame only the woman for the broken/unhappy marriages.

  • Joyson, Mangalore

    Fri, Jun 18 2010

    Prakash, Mangalore - Oman, what you said is perfect. Now a days bride's / women's expectations are too much and husbands are helpless. When there is no choice he can go and take extreem steps.

  • Prakash, Mangalore - Oman

    Thu, Jun 17 2010

    A successful marriage mostly depends on compatibility and clear understanding between two individuals.

    If a marriage is not successful, most of the time blame goes to boy's side. Since I am an NRI, my experience is that in most of the cases, the village girl or girl from a middle class family who used to be quite simple and well behaved girl with her in-laws, friends, neighbours etc., tend to change suddenly and start behaving weird, after experiencing the comforts/luxuries in a foreign land like AC accommodation, Car, rich food, parties, better living style, electronic gadgets so on and so forth...Gradually, this strange behaviour and selfish demands will make the boy's life miserable. This change in attitude generally happens after the girl realizes the weekness of the boy and when he is put into a situation where he can neither swallow nor spit out, especially when he has to manage wife, children, parents, his job and his self respect in the community. When he is in this kind of situation, he will just exist and not live.... which in turn pose a problem for the whole family in the future. I advise the recently married couple or would be couple to please not get into this situation.. As far as possible, try to become self content with whatever you have and lead a happy life together for years to come.

  • KP, Bombay.

    Wed, Jun 16 2010

    I agree with Lydia Lobo who rightly pointed out many brides are quick to ditch their NRI spouses to pursue their own independent lives albeit with an ex whom she has hidden quiet nicely or finding comfort in another man's arms in the foreign land.
    There are some parents who will go to any extent to hide their daughter's character with the aim of securing a NRI.
    Marriage for these imbeciles doesn't mean a thing, it's a medium of convenience to get what they want.
    Thankfully foreign governments are now well aware of such shambolic cases and impose severe penalties to the extent of visa cancellations, deportation and even imprisonment.
    The key to addressing these fundamental issues whether it's an arranged marriage, love or long distance relationship is by being proactive. Take the time to find out about this person, invest into some background checks. One has to be absolutely certain about placing his/her trust with a prospective bride/groom.
    Don't let greed motivate you.

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Wed, Jun 16 2010

    It is a reality of life, and thousands of brides are caught up in this trap. When we chase for more material things and pleasures of life, the ultimate outcome might be a real drama of total tragedy.

    Now in India, every material goods can be available like in the west, it is far safer to stay in India than leaving India to an alien land filled with more serious problems.

  • Antony Herbert Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney, Australia

    Wed, Jun 16 2010

    Well commented, Mr.A.D. Shenoy of Mangalore. The craze and attraction for Indians to go abroad and settle down there would have been there about 25, 30 or 40 years ago, but it should not be any longer, for, with so much advancement of India in various fields in the recent years, and with all those so called luxuries, foreign goods and materials liberally and cheaply available locally, why think of leaving your mother country any more?

  • adshenoy, mangloor

    Wed, Jun 16 2010

    Wedding to a NRI to go abroad and its a dream for many Indian girls and boys? Why such a craze? Money or just to go foreign to have good life without knowing whether indeed there is a good life and money there at all.

    Even when we see our bollywood films we crave to shoot scenes abroad for fun of it or to show foregn lands I am not sure. But what I am sure is most Indians attitude and mentality is to settle aborad, obtain foreign citizenship for whatever reason.

    Marriage is a convenient way for a girl or a boy to seek such dreams including the parents. Many end up in troubles and dreams shattered.
    Men to blame or women to blame. Does not matter. What matters is we humans are beasts, we go to any lengths including unethical means to satisfy our ego.

  • geoffrey, hathill

    Wed, Jun 16 2010

    Why single out NRIs? All the abovementioned marital debacles are more prevalent among RIs than NRIs. As for NRIs, What our own Budh said centuries ago is apter than than Quincy,Frost and Shakespearean quotes. "Greed is the root cause of grief"

  • Melroy, Dubai

    Wed, Jun 16 2010

    Handfull of such cases, specially from north India. Every case is not the same. How sure we are with Indian Resident grooms.

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Wed, Jun 16 2010

    Who will then support the genuine grooms who got ditched ?

    The matter of finding a NRI groom or an Indian bride for them is a double edged sword. It would be too generalizing if we say that the parents target NRI grooms with hopes for a lavish future. This is so because many brides turn out to be cheaters too. Therefore, it is unfair to be lenient on one side. We take many risks in life marriage too is one such risk with 50-50 hope. Man and woman are too lucky to have found a perfect match no matter which part of the world they make their abode. Well, we can make it perfect by adjusting in little things instead of complaining, when only the bigger problems seem petty.

    Meanwhile, we can't advise our daughters to totally ignore NRI proposals because then our young men abroad will chose foreign brides to end up with a marriage of convenience. Let us teach our sons and daughters to live life of adjustment, let our dreams be for a happy future than a lavish one.

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