Love is the purest thing in the world which binds people together. It is impossible to imagine a world without love. But society has created barriers which prevent people from falling in love. I am going to write on barriers to love in India.
Indians have arranged the filters in a serial manner to fall in love. We have seen multiple instances when a couple in love committed suicide, or ran away from their hometown, just because they fell in love with someone, and that relationship was not acceptable to their parents. This happens every odd day in India.
Why does this happen? What forces couples to resort to suicide? What forces their parents and fringe elements to kill them? The answers to all these questions lead us to another question i.e., what prevents Indian youth from falling in love? And what prevents them from marrying each other?
“He/She should look handsome or beautiful” – this is a commonly held belief. The funny thing is, I have observed, that some people experience ‘love at first sight’ only when the person is ‘fair’, ‘handsome’, ‘sexy’ and ‘beautiful’. If the person doesn’t fit in this criteria, he/she is rejected in the first place.
For some people, age is a very important factor to fall in love. Some boys are conditioned to prefer younger girls or girls who are junior to them in college. I believe the basic reason behind this is our patriarchal mindset which continues, even today. This is not one-sided. There are also girls who prefer boys who are elder than them. Not everyone is like Sid in “Dil Chahta Hai” or Priyanka Chopra in real life.
This is a ‘Drakensberg’ (mountain) like thing standing in between you and your choice. Couples from the same religion are married easily, as compared to those who don’t belong to the same religion. There are concepts like “love jihad “ which have led to the harassment of many couples in India.
ये इश्क नहीं आसां बस इतना समझ लीजिए,
धर्म का दरिया है और छुपते छुपाते जाना है।
(This love is not easy, just understand this much, it’s a river of faith/religion and you’ve to pass through stealthily)
I will give an example here.
A girl and her Muslim boyfriend were targeted publicly on Facebook, along with about 100 interfaith couples. Each included a Muslim man and a Hindu girlfriend. The Facebook post included instructions: “This is a list of girls who have become victims of love jihad. We urge all Hindu lions to find and hunt down all the men mentioned here”
Interfaith marriage is like a sin for Indian society. This does not stop at religion. Many religions don’t allow couples from different sects to get married. But there are some who are breaking this norm and challenging the age-old outdated traditions.
Any write up about marriage is incomplete without adding caste to it. Caste matters a lot when it comes to marriage and even when falling in love.
“A young married couple was allegedly killed in Lakkalakatti village of Gajendragad Taluk here by the woman’s brothers for marrying a Dalit man, police said on Wednesday.”
“In an apparent instance of honour killing, a 22-year-old woman from Kalamadugu in Jannaram Mandal of Mancherial district, Pindi Anuradha, was beaten to death on Saturday night, allegedly by her father Sathaiah, brother and relatives, for marrying outside her caste”.
“Three relatives of a man who married a Dalit woman around a month-and-half ago were allegedly hacked to death by the woman’s kin in a hate crime in Naushehra village, 40 km from the district headquarters, on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, local police said”.
Manoj and Babli of Benwal caste were brutally murdered on June 15, 2007, and their bodies were thrown in a canal near Narnaul in Haryana. Leaders of the Jat community actually seem shocked that honour killings are being questioned because according to them the very basis of this case was wrong! The community believes, those same gotra marriages, in a village, are absolutely unacceptable, no matter what the consequences may be. (Source: India Today).
“Amrutha, 21, belongs to a wealthy, upper-caste family, while Pranay, who was 24, was a Dalit (formerly untouchable). In April 2016, they married despite her parents’ objections. Now five months pregnant, she finds herself saying the unimaginable. “My father killed my husband because he did not belong to the same caste as me”.
In our society, a boy and girl with the same surnames cannot marry each other, even when they are from the same caste. Subcaste also matters between caste marriages. So this is the state and fate of inter-caste marriages in India.
“Always marry someone with same financial status as you”. I think this is the topmost priority nowadays. Boys and girls from cities tend to fall in love with each other as compared to those from villages (where marriages are arranged).
The colony in which she/he stays, the rate of the bungalow, bank balance, type of job he/she does, how many people are educated in the family, whether he/she is from a joint or nuclear family, and their lifestyle, are some of the parameters considered before getting married. The list may go on and on.
This happens not only in love marriages but also in arranged marriages. So, many boys and girls when choosing a partner, cross-check all these things, before confirming the relationship.
Apart from these conditions, there are other reasons, like ego, likes and dislikes and even ideology, which stops people from falling in love.
The 21st-century youth is challenging societal norms that unnecessarily prevent them from falling in love.
Even the Supreme Court now stands in favour of the queer and transgender community. The scenario will change slowly and steadily because, in India, I think traditions and culture matter the most, and it is difficult to get over outdated or harmful traditions (For example, the Sati tradition).
The onus is on the youth of the country. Let us get over caste, religion, status, and all the things which are barriers to love. In the end, we, humans, need love and happiness to live.