If you watched Sun TV news earlier today you would have seen a special report on the decline of the Indian family. Now, I don’t really expect BBC level analysis from the likes of Sun TV, but I would definitely expect some sort of perspective to a phenomenon that is both complex and difficult to understand. The report claimed that there is an increase in divorce rates, especially among couples working in the IT industry.
We are all used to IT being reviled and blamed for all things from the devaluation of the Indian rupee to the breakdown of moral values ever since the boom of the late 90s. But, you would expect that journalists, visual media and analysts would bring in some perspective on this 15 years on. But, apparently not.
The report squarely places the blame for the increase in divorce rates and the breakdown of marriages on IT due to the long working hours, the commute from home to work and back and the lack of time for each other. This is not entirely untrue, I admit. However, the problem with such reports is that most of them tend to confuse correlation with causality. To say that divorce rates are increasing among couples working the in the IT industry is different from saying that IT causes divorce.
It is important at this point to understand other factors that have influenced this trend. A change in mindset is one of the most important factors. Divorce is no longer taboo. Even otherwise conservative parents are now willing to back their children in the decision to end a bad marriage. And, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Also, the newly-acquired financial independence (especially for women) gives them the courage to take difficult decisions.
Blaming IT without taking into consideration all the other societal factors at play is both juvenile and simplistic. The IT industry has changed the way we look at money and career. This change is here to stay. We need to stop making IT the villain of the piece if we need to really understand and tackle the changes wrought within the Indian family.

The IT industry and the Indian family

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