|People suffering from diabetes face a lot of problems when it comes to marry.|
|Neetu Agarwal (name changed), a research scientist with one of India's leading pharmaceutical companies, hates the word "marriage".
Twice in (2002 and 2004) her wedding was called off by the bridegroom's family hours before the ceremony. Her crime: She is a Type I diabetic.
What's worse, in both cases, Neetu had clearly mentioned that she was a diabetic in the matrimonial advertisements. Twice bitten, she has now drowned herself in work, spending over 12 hours in the laboratory.
This is not just a stray incident. Diabetes has started to wreck marriages. In some cases, it is also stalling them. In a shocking trend, both men and women, suffering from it are not finding a partner willing to marry them.
Nearly 45 such cases have been reported to the Delhi Diabetic Association m the last one-year. Neetu is just one of the victims.
"For me, diabetes is just a condition. But our society thinks it is an infectious disease that could pass on to the next generation. I get nightmares when I think of what my parents went through," says Neetu.
The health ministry is also waking up to this trend. Health minister A Ramadoss said, "India is home to around 40 million diabetics, the largest number in a country. That's why it's called the world's diabetic capital."
Another victim is Rohun Sinha who spent lakhs of rupees on his daughter Sweety's wedding in 2003. A year later, Sweety was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. After months of verbal abuse, her in-laws sent her back to her father. Just a week ago, after learning that she was pregnant, Sweety's husband decided to take her back with him.
"What is my daughter's fault? Her in-laws claimed we destroyed their son's life. They also accused us of keeping mum about our daughter being diabetic. But she was diagnosed with it much later," Sinha said.
Sunil Bhatt, father of 24-year-old Abhijeet, has a different story to tell. Because Abhijeet was diabetic, more than 11 women refused to marry him. Sunil Bhatt then went looking for a diabetic woman in Haryana for his son. Today, Abhijeet is happily married to Natasha. "It helps that both of us are diabetic. We understand each other's problems."
Confirming this trend, Dr A K Jhingan, Delhi Diabetic Association president, said: "A large number of Type 1 Diabetics are facing matrimonial problems. This trend is becoming acute, especially because people don't know about the disease and what it really is. We recently conducted a study to assess the magnitude of matrimonial problems faced by these people and how the prevailing social perceptions make their life miserable. Over 40 Type 1 Diabetic women, aged between 19 and 31, were interviewed. We found that only 7.5% are happily married as compared to 92.5% who faced matrimonial problems."
Says Ramadoss, "Nearly 12.5% of India's urban population is diabetic while the number is over 4% in rural India. A recent WHO report shows that India has nearly 19% of the world's diabetic population. The number is expected to rise to an alarming 80 million by 2030, posing an unexpected health and economic threat to India. We will soon launch a massive awareness campaign about diabetes."
Type 1 Diabetes is the second most common chronic disease in children after asthma. Those who suffer from it experience frequent urination, unusual thirst, especially for sweet drinks, extreme hunger, sudden, sometimes dramatic, weight loss, weakness, fatigue, blurred vision, irritability nausea and vomiting. People with Type 1 Diabetes must have daily injections of insulin to survive.