Family is one of the most important primary social institutions. Study of family and their behaviour has been extensively studied by sociologists for an extremely long period of time.The study of marriage is an extremely essential aspect during the study of family by sociologists. Marriage is a reflection of societal, traditional and religious norms which makes it imperative to study marriage.
In India, marriage and its customs has been greatly analysed by Indologists. Study of marriage brings to light certain important aspects such as the position of women in the society, the importance of religion and customs in the Indian Society and the importance of having children among Indian families. But with social, legal and scientific development; the institution of marriage has drastically changed as compared to ancient and medieval India. The contemporary outlook of marriage is much more liberalised which also entails empowerment of women and emphasis on personal choice and liberty. Studying these changes is important especially for law-makers as matrimonial and family laws are made based on the contemporary outlook of marriage.
This paper would first discuss the perception of marriage in ancient and medieval India in order to compare it with the modern times. It would then go on to highlight some major changes that the institution of marriage has been witnessed in the Indian Society and the causes of such changes. The paper would further highlight how the Indian legal system has also transformed in order to incorporate such changes by way of certain case laws. Finally, the paper would highlight certain aspects under marriage that still need to undergo changes in order to improve the institution of marriage as a whole.