Tying the knot

In India, did you know that there are more places of worship than schools or hospitals? Did you know that religious pilgrimage accounts for a sizable percentage of the total tourism every year? Did you know that studies have shown that the more educated we get the more the fundamental aspects of religion appeal to us? You may not have been aware of all that but you do know that everyone from cricketers to celebrities to politicians give generously to temples and other places of worship in the hopes of successfully bribing God into assuring them a good sporting series, movie or term in office. Right? So, does religion matter to us Indians? I don’t think I even need to answer that question…

VNY_4999Moving to marriage now, it’s a big step. It’s one of the most important responsibilities that a good number of parents believe they are entrusted with – making sure that their offspring are well settled so that they always have companionship and love in their lives. Most parents believe that that love will come only if the other person shares the same religious beliefs as their child. Perhaps, in a way, they’re not wrong. Any married person (unless they are really lucky) will tell you that marriage requires some amount of hard work. Even if you have matching horoscopes or have said the same prayers to the same God all your life; you’ll still have days when you want to wring his or her neck because you just can’t seem to agree on anything. It’s normal (I think). But, when you add religious differences to the mix, things can get dangerous. Remember, wars have been fought in the name of religion.

Being in love is beautiful. Finding someone who can make you happy and is there for you when you need them is a surreal feeling. I doubt that until things get really serious, religion even plays on your mind. But, when it does, suddenly knowing that there will come a day when you won’t enjoy the freedom to go to the place of worship you’ve gone to all your life seems like a frightening reality to me. The idea of having to compulsorily take a bath and perform a small religious ceremony before entering the kitchen in the morning, or having to wear a burqa and never venturing outside without a male chaperon, or eating with people who have no qualms about what kind of meat they are consuming or how the animal has been slaughtered becomes a very real future and one, which if it was me, I don’t know if I could handle. But, that’s just me.

Perhaps, all of it can be overcome if the couple is strong enough to face whatever or whoever opposes their union. Liberal enough in the way they think to adopt a lifestyle which is perhaps more spiritual than religious, in the conventional terms, and accept that their children will by default be registered with the same faith as the husband. Be willing to make compromises of a degree that I don’t think other marriages normally require, especially in our pretend-secular-tolerant India. Finally, to be so in love that the idea of being without each other is unfathomable. Without all of that, to my mind, the outlook of inter-caste/faith/race/whatever marriages succeeding in a country of such high religious fervour is not that bright.

So, I don’t think the concept of inter-faith marriage is entirely taboo. But, I feel that for it to become accepted as routine or normal, we need to abandon being religious and become spiritual instead.

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Written for Indispire – 25 hosted on Indiblogger. – “Inter-religion marriage still taboo among Indians. You’re take.”

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20 comments on “Tying the knot

  1. your last line is what I also believe we should become spiritual rather than religious

    Hindi Hain Hum

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  2. sharu4ever says:

    Brilliant Preeti. It is easier to write that love shall conquer all and all that, but not really practical in our country. Not in the vicinity at least. If freedom to choose your partner comes with the freedom to practice your own beliefs come together, maybe we’ll have a healthier bond. 🙂

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    • Preeti says:

      Exactly! Only in my romantic mind (greatly influenced by novels and movies) is there always a happy ending. Life doesn’t work that way and we need to understand and accept that.

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  3. shanx says:

    Liked your approach. Rather than taking it all out on stereotypes, you’ve written about the logical problems and have expressed it so well! 🙂

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  4. What’s not a taboo…ours is such a diverse culture…every few kms a different dialect…to assimilate all and continue to live being a part of society…a taboo is a taboo if you believe it to be….all faith arises where logic ends. Believing in God is different than setting rules to influence culture is another thing. Any rule which speaks against humanity has basic flaw….and marriage works more on towards mutual compatibility, respect and understanding. Marrying in same religion does not make ones’s life easier. Marriage is work in process which needs constant rearing

    Liked by 1 person

    • Preeti says:

      You’ve said it well Chaitali – any marriage is a constant work in progress- I couldn’t agree more and tried to say something similar in my post. Every married couple has it’s differences. But I think, in India, where there is so much (due or undue) importance given to religion, as flawed as the practices may be, it takes an extremely strong couple to battle through all of that and remain together happily. For the two of them, life might be beautiful but for the rest of society to accept them willingly, I think spirituality needs to take dominance over religion.

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  5. “we need to abandon being religious and become spiritual instead.” ..it says all…but it’s a pity that people fail to understand this making religion a big issue in everything…..even in love…

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  6. nimadas says:

    my parents had a love marriage.Both followed different religions. We never were told follow this God and that God.This was in 1960s! Still today also people are closed on matters like these. sad!When will we understand that God lives in the hearts.

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    • Preeti says:

      That’s great Nima. I mean, there aren’t enough people like that and I’m glad you were fortunate. But, it’s easy to let religion take over in India and if you aren’t strong enough you will get swept by the tide that tells you your religion is better than somebody else’s. My parents had a love marriage too and they are both Christian – just Catholic and Protestant. That difference, as minor as it is, caused them grief which makes me think that for real interfaith marriages – the obstacles must be huge and we aren’t ready yet.

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  7. A Nice take on the Topic , you have written with care and ease.

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  8. menons129 says:

    I feel if the parents are following different religions, it must be left on the child, which religion he/she wants to follow.

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    • Preeti says:

      It should be but it isn’t usually so. Additionally one of the two (usually the woman) converts or adopts the others faith. So making a choice really isn’t even an option.
      Thanks for reading. 🙂

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  9. nabanita21 says:

    I think a couple has to work on a lot of things when things get serious, irrespective of the fact whether they are together as a result of their own choice or are arranged to be together, religion is just another thing in the list just like eating habits or the dynamics within the family of each individual…But unfortunately we make religion such a big issue…Even relationships within the same religion or castes fail..so I think we should be matured and look at it in the broader perspective…Well written..

    Liked by 1 person

  10. well written, Religion is not bad being religious is not bad either unless we become blind towards humanity

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