Friday, February 08, 2008

Gotta be 18!!

Well, now all of you in tune with the latest news would have come across this debate that's going on regarding bringing down the marriageable age for boys from 21 to 18. Now, this actualy brings me to one of my questions. No answers found till date to be honest, but then I still have that question. Ready for it??

An Indian is deemed to be an adult at the age of 18 means, you can vote, you can drive, you can enter the pubs. Does it mean anything else to youngsters?? People who are about to step out of their teens and are not really worldly wise being given the license to marry?? Marriage is not a joke. It takes a lot for an individual to make a relationship click. And marriage is the most important one you'd have had since you started walking (parents happened when you were born, right?? :)) So now, does one really think that at 18, one is mature enough to marry another person and then settle down to a life with him/her?? Someone who hasn't had an iota of idea of being an adult is being allowed to marry, why?? Law Commission has put forth this recommendation... wonder why not the other way around?? I mean given the way girls do get packed off in India, I personally am of the opinion that the marriagable age for girls should be 21 or above. Likewise for guys. That way, one might ensure that the girl does get to complete graduation and opens her up to the world outside and helps her mature as an adult. And the guys too would get the time to grow up.

Now, another recommendation by the Law Commission is to raise the age for consentual sex for girls to 16 from 15 (I wonder what it is for boys??). My question is the does the general psychology of a 16 year old allows him/her to handle the emotional aspect of a sexual intercourse?? I doubt!! And given the nature of sex-education in India, I personally don't approve of this. but then, what to do for the curious teenage mind?? There are enough material out there to tell them about the basics of the show and chances are they'd be interested in trying it out. So, if we raise the age bar too much, loads would be breaking the law, if we make it too low we might encounter teens making out quite often. May be 16 balances it out, but then sexual awareness should also be spread and in a BIG way at that, then and only then one can ensure that the teens are at least responsible when engaging in the act.

I hope my rambling was sensible enough. Check out IBN Live :
Sex at 16, marry at 18: Big Indian adulthood debate

Do let me know, what you think!!! Be honest and frank....


Vandita said...

hmmm i didnt know abt this...but frankly i think 18 is too young to be married girls boys alike...21 i think shd be okay, considerin if its any higher then ppl wud be shouting of the whole biological clock tickin thing. atleast at 21 uve completed some kinda formal education and are capable of earning something lest the need arise in case of girls i mean coz we ought to be financially independent...its almost becoming a neccessity.
abt consentual sex, well one cud argue thats its only in india wheres theres an age bar i mean that high...and i know of kids wanting to experiment as soon as puberty comes knockin. to justify any age 15 16 whatever, the country's youth shd really be equipped with the relevant education needs to be given to students, in school and also at home in a big way...which is a long way in india as of now.

Pri said...

i think ur post pretty much sums everything i want to say about it...
both marriage and sexual intercourse requires the individual to be fully aware and responsible of what they are jumping into...they not only have to be chronologically mature but also pyschologically...

Its very rarely that i agree with ppl 100% but expressing my opinion about it would be literally typing out the whole post!!

Bubbles of FireWhisky said...

frankly... 18 is too young or both guys and girls... i dont think that this is an age where the emotional commitments and also the practical burdens of a marriage can be borne with sanity... and i'm saying this because i am in that age group... the mininum age sould be at least 21 for both the sexes... at least they know what they are in for... and as for the sex question... i think its absolute madness that in a country with the world's second largest population, and also rapidly spreading STD's (esp. AIDS) you put the age for consentual sex at 16... i think people are too vulnerable at this age and dont forget that its very easy to be duped into a flesh trade as well... to top it off, our miserable sex education scheme isnt going to help things...

ad libber said...

One aspect of decreasing the age for consensual sex is possibly juvenile rape. While most 15 year olds never probably realize the aspects of sex (at 15, I hardly had a clue), exploitation could be rampant specially is sex is consented.
Very important post, this.

Anonymous said...

Are government authorities joking ? Do we even need to discuss this ?

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Sam,
You have your point there. At 21, people are more matured than at 18. But then again, if legal marriageable age is pegged at 21, young couples may just live in thus circumventing the law. I can't seem to understand the idea of consentual sex. Young people will do whatever they want irregardless of what the law says. Thanks for the intriguing post. God bless you and your family always.

Raghu Ram Prasad said...

If it is really going to happen then our country becomes like America...Japan and Russia....and goes in a ditch

Keshi said...

Thats probably only increasing child pregnancies! A 16yr old dun and wont know the consequences of having sex, both emotionally and physically. And wut abt STDs?

Is this some sick joke?


Wielder of Rotten Tomatoes said...

I think you are taking the "age for consentual sex" too literally. The law, or at least my understanding of it, deals with Statutory Rape. It is the age beyond which a person can be said to be an adult (sexually) and hence the partner (mature) is not liable!

I don't think anyone can stop (legally) two 14 year olds from having sex. The law prevents a 40 year old from taking advantage of the naivety of a 14 year old. It means nothing as far as consentual sex for both underage parties goes.

I think most of the commentators are blissfully unaware of what I have just said and hence all the proclamations of an unintelligent government!

To add my own opinion in the mix, I believe freedom breeds maturity. True, certain restrictions are needed, but they should be in place just as long as they are needed and no more.

Sam said...

Pri, vands, bubbles: thnx a lot for ur opinions!!

@bubbles: wen r u mailing me dat info?

@ashu: they r not joking.... btw, wud luv to hear ur point of view!!

Sam said...

@mel: point taken.. but then isn't it upto us to make sure that whatever it is that they do, they do so with complete knowledge about it?? we can ensure that!!
As far as live-ins go.. in India it is still a concept not much in vogue!!

@raghu: hmmm.. care to elucidate that?

@keshi: not a joke.. but reality!!

Sam said...

ad-libber and weilder:

You guys have put forth an excellent point!!

While it does deal with statutory rape, one cannot rule out the license that we keep granting to youngsters... lets face it.. what we really need is a better sex education... something which is non-existent...

that way we can achieve a lot...
avoid teens from having irresponsible sexual lives, help them understand their bodies better, prevent teenage pregnancies, prevent "consentual rape".

What do you say on that?

phoenix said...

18?no way!im dealing with a 23 yr old bf is an engg but biggest baby of my life i cant imagine what wud happen if marriageable age is lowered to 18!!shesssh

shudder shudder

Sam said...

@phoenix: lolzzz... that's a different story!!! even girls to tend to become a baby.... pamper them nice and proper they become nothing but lil babies... enjoying every bit of affection... pouting the lips when things not going their way... can't describe that to you exactly.. why don't you ask your baby? he'll tell wot kind of a baby you are!! :)

:: Clouds :: said...

Firstly, this is a superb post. I am most probably taking up law after 12th so it's exciting to read and comment to something like this. Secondly,kudos to you for writing about this and discussing about it.

Last Sunday,there was a rather BIG argument(I'm not even calling it a DISCUSSION) on 'We,The People' on NDTV 24X7. According to the Law Commission,the (least) marriage age for boys is being reduced from 21 to 28 for two reasons :
1. For equality of sexes (Equality of Status And Opportunity) as the Preamble suggests.
2. Because in the rural areas villagers are marrying off their kids before the age of 18 owing to socio-economic problems.

However, I beg to differ from the Law Commission like you and many others. I mean the clause of equality of sexes could have been taken care of by increasing the marriage age of women to 21yrs. Moreover,if they are bothered about the socio-economic problems they should take proper measure to educate these people. This kind of a law will only result in regression,nothing better.

At eighteen,we complete our basic education. It is rather absurd to start such enforce such a law.

And about the consensual sex thingy,first sex at 16 - consensual or not - amounted to rape and now this??

:: Clouds :: said...

Oopsie - the (least) marriage age for boys is being reduced from 21 to 18 for two reasons

Mez said...

So much has already been talked about already.16 or 18 or 20 or bigger concern is rape. I guess prostitution shud be legalised,atleast there wont be so many rapes.

Sam said...

@clouds: based on the reasons you have pointed out, I would ask only one question:

Marrying off fellas at a younger age is going to solve the socio-economic problems?? Are they trying to telling us with couples going into parenthood by say 20 yrs of age economic problems would get solved??

The reasoning is so absurd!! Absolutely off the track!!!

Sam said...

@mez: that would hardly help!! i've heard guys claimin that they'll never pay for sex... how do you control in that case???
And most rape cases happen because of sudden/suppressed lust for a particular female. legalising prostitution wouldn't really help in that scenario would it??
I can give you situations if you ask!!

:: Clouds :: said...

Well, that's what they are being rather stupid.

And check my blog for the saree wallah post. :)

DreamCatcher said...

if you can vote and decide the fate of the nation, if you can drive and decide whether to put yours and other travellers life in jeopardy, if you can drink and be merry, why not marry? Being an adult is about responsibility and if you can be responsible for major decisions in life why not marriage? I don't support child marriage but they survive for various reasons longer than the 'seemingly adult' marriages. And coming to men, they are never really ready for a marriage, cause you need to grow up for that. :)

Cuckoo said...

Well, lots has already been discussed here.
I think the main point of contention which we are missing here is true rural India. Most of us talked about the urban India where we all know that 18 is not a correct age for marriage.
But go to rural India where child marriages are still the norms and I think min. age for girls (18 yrs) has been decided in keeping that in mind.
Mind you, that's the min. age, no one is forcing us to get married at that age and educated that we are, we won't do it also. But at least it'll compel/scare the parents of little girls below 18 down there in villages.
For 2nd pt though, I am at a loss for 16 yrs as min. age for consensual sex. I think it is to legalize the rapes of minors and to reduce the reported cases of rape, nothing else.

Good post, Sam!

Wielder of Rotten Tomatoes said...

As far as I am concerned, most people are well aware of sex by the age of 16. That is well into the 11th grade, and though it has been a while since I was in school, I do recall many that were sexually active. So what is the huge hue and cry!

I agree with the reduction in that age. Most 16 year olds know what they are doing! Most 16 year olds are even capable of manipulation, though it is a minor issue.

I find nothing wrong in these laws and I am surprised so many are against it, though I must add, for all the wrong reasons.

divya said...

Sam the laws are sure not for you and me :D not for those who understand....

Thas said...

this is one ridiculous law...18 is obviously an age of immaturity and having the urge to do many things without even thinking and aware of the if they get married at 18, whts gonna happen? nd also thre wuld be some girls/boys being in love and taking advantage of ths law nd getting maried as soon as they hit 18,(no need to wait till 21) while n college.

Garima said...

hey good post but i have a lil different take on this.
according to me this recommendation is not for people like us who understand the implications of marriage already..whether we r 16, 18 or 21. we can talk abt financial independence for the girls, maturity of boys but ppl back in villages don't have any idea about all this. marriages are taking place there with or without this law. if at all this law can do anything is maybe encourage ppl getting married at 16 to wait till they r 18! enforcement of all these laws is a larger issue.

(¯`•._.•[Raaji]•._.•´¯) said...

we struggle with the same issue here as well. Its this big question of where to draw the line? There are always pros and cons associated with the limits society puts on us but then again you have to draw the line somewhere.
ahh... dilemma's of life. :-)

Sam said...

@everyone: sorry for being for was too tied up with things!!!

@clouds: ok.. i will

@dreamcatcher: i agree with you largely eher, except for teh last part!!! you have your reasons for that i'm sure, but not all need be like that!!! and how do you define/judge a man being ready for marriage??

@cuckoo: i fail to understand your point here!!!

@weilder: I'm afraid, but I feel you have a microcosmic view of the entire population in question!!

Sam said...

@divya: quite right divya!!

@thas: exactly.. dats a pt of concern!!

@garima: u tread on a different path.. the implementation!! but a good point nevertheless!!

@raaji: u r so very right!!!

Wielder of Rotten Tomatoes said...

Microcosmic, HA. That is a new one, and I thank you for a refreshing breath of comedy. Name calling aside, you haven't stated one good reason as to why the age of consent SHOULD NOT be lowered. Everything you have said, is OPINION, and I assume you agree we both are entitled to one. If you opinion was based on facts and statistics, you might have been able to persuade me to align with your opinion.

Bottomline, before you name call someone, make sure you can defend your claim. Your opinion of the immaturity of 18 year olds (for marriage) and the 16 year age of consent, is just your opinion, and PROBABLY draws from your experiences from those around you, like mine have been drawn from the people around me.

And if you think people in smaller towns and villages are not sexually active by 16, oh boy, do I have news for you. Perhaps you need to read the stats about teenage pregnancies.

Please read up on your facts before you make a blog post and more importantly, before you name call people. If I were in the mood, I would go about quite destructively showing which one of us has a microcosmic view.

Congratulations, this is officially my first rotten tomato in the blogosphere.

Sam said...

@wielder of rotten tomatoes:

Firstly, I'm afraid I haven't seen any name calling here. None yet has happened on my blog!!! Cite the point where there has been a name calling and sue me, if you find that!!! Name calling!!! Do you even know what it is???

You are definitely free to express your opinion. Please do so. But I’m afraid not in the gruff manner in which you’ve done. You obviously are ignorant of the art of civility. My sympathies!!!

Secondly, through all your comments I've seen you reiterating the point that 16 yr olds know what they are doing, Am I right?? In that case, I ask you how come the case of teenage pregnancy is on the rise??? Rural or urban!! They know what they are doing biologically, but do they understand the impact of it all???

You say people are against it for the wrong reasons. CAN YOU DEFEND THAT CLAIM?? I’ll bet you can’t!!!

As for defending my claim, I can defend it better than you do!! Coz, simply I tend to look a little beyond what you are talking about. I happen to know the same facts; I’ve also seen how things go bad after that.

The point never has been whether they are active or not, point is whether legalising it would raise problems or not!!!! Or maybe aggravate existing ones. And in case you are unaware of them. Hold your horses; you might want to find out about them before talking!!! (or rather writing!!)

And I'm afraid, you FAIL to convince anyone!!! Being active and being responsible are two different things.. Unfortunately, it seems you've mixed them up!!!!

Oh btw, please show me who has a microcosmic view (in a destructive manner please, constructive might seem to a little out of your reach!!).

And thanks a lot for your rotten tomato, it’s my first. 

Some FACTS and research content for you:
Lower age of consent and marriage can give some very astounding results:
Would like India to be featured on that list too???

Would you curb the problems associated with teenage pregnancy by lowering the age bar???
Read this: Teenage pregnancy in India
Pregnancy in Adolescents

This one is from your fav source I guess: Teenage Pregnancy

Please go through them. The educated and aware lot going through an active sexual life doesn’t necessarily mean that the general population is at the same level. That’s the lot you and I we’ve always been exposed to. It needn’t be the global truth.

The solution to the problem of teen pregnancy is manifold and age is just one of them!! There are others too. But then, I’m sure you’ll again disagree.

And congratulations, you are first one in blogsville who has made me loose my cool!! You've got the ability mate!!!

Btw, try talking to people who are a bit older than you are, about this, adn please do tell us their opinion. I'd love to hear it!!

Cheerio.. c ya arnd!!!

Mrittika said...

hey...nice blog!i like ur style of writing n interesting topic u got here!i so agree with u dat a girls marraigeable age shud b raised to 21 too!or maybe more than that!but then whre wud the guys get girls younger than them to be married to..:P

n u know what,inspite of getting good sex education,youngsters still jump at the word "sex" n goin out for several days,they go arnd carrying condoms in their pockets not even knowing that they arent 100% effective!!!

n what about this law that the gov is trying to undertake?weird!its as if the gov is going thru puberty!!

n thnx for the comment u left at my blog.seems like we all love to write!!..:D

Sam said...

thnx for dropping by!!!
and i really appreciate your observation .... on all counts!! :)