Review: “The Story of India” by Michael Wood

By Sandhya Shyamsundar, WBNUJS, Kolkata.

It is only seldom when one gets to see a documentary series which is visually so extravagant, narrated with such depth and one that almost covers the entire historical saga of a country that has withstood the ravages of time. Michael Wood’s ‘The Story of India’ is a BBC TV documentary series that covers the 10,000 year history of the Indian Subcontinent in six episodes. Wood traverses the length and breadth of India, meets the local people, archaeologists, historians and gathers immense information and showcases them with his own knowledge, adding flavor to the episodes.

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From Sacrament to Contract – The Changing Nature of Hindu Marriages in India

By Sandhya Shyamsundar, WBNUJS, Kolkata.

Marriage has been, since the ancient times, one of the most important social institutions. It implies the union of man and woman in body and soul. Sociologists have offered various definitions of marriage, among them being Malinowski’s i.e ‘a contract for the production and maintenance of children’ whereas according to Robert H Lowie, marriage is ‘a relatively permanent bond between permissible mates.’

The Hindus attach religious sentiments to marriage. To them, marriage is a sacrament which must be performed in order to attain salvation. Being catalyzed by the explosive economic, social and cultural changes that have molded the needs of people in Indian society, the aims, functions and motives of Hindu marriages have kept on evolving with the demand of its constituent members. Arranged marriages are shattering, divorce rates soaring and new paradigms of sex and relationships are being explored. New norms are being formed and we live in a constant molten state of confusion. The concept of Hindu marriage has undergone a drastic change – the entire focus has now shifted from marriage being a holy sacrament to a formal contract.

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