There are centuries of tradition (something of utmost importance to most Indians) which people fear will be lost as a consequence of an inter-faith marriage.
My good friend Varun’s sister married a Kashmiri Muslim a few years ago. Both of them went to Engineering college and completed their studies and went to the United States for higher studies and picked up a good job in a Fortune 100 company. Varun’s family is from the Brahmin community and the family has a software company in Mumbai. His sister is absolutely fine with her interfaith marriage. No issues.
Perhaps one of the good movies that I watched was Bombay. It was a 1995 romantic drama, written and directed by the legendary Mani Ratnam, with actors like Arvind Swami and Manisha Koirala in the lead. The film was also dubbed in Hindi, Telugu, and Malayalam with the same actors.
The storyline was a good one. The film tells the story of an inter-faith family in Bombay (now Mumbai) just before and during the Bombay riots which took place between December 1992 and January 1993 after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. It led to religious tensions and between Hindu and Muslim communities.
It is difficult for us to get quiet without much of an agenda of activities, or without some kind of media, news, Hollywood, Bollywood, or gossip activities entertaining us, isn’t it? Because we are part of an active culture, it has never been easier to meet every person, every ethnicity, every being, every creature than it is today. In your neighbourhood and workplace, you likely have people representing a diversity of ethnicities, races from around the world.
Ancestrally, I think that Islam is against inter-faith marriages, and there have been very few inter-faith marriages that have taken place in the subcontinent, and besides, since a great majority of South Asian Muslims are pretty close to Islam their religion, accepting inter-faith unions become hard for them.
Hinduism, on the other hand, has a relatively more tolerant stance on interfaith unions, and they seem to be cordial but by and large, inter-faith unions are frowned upon in the community.
Both Hindus and Muslims in India are highly tied to their religion, but this is slowly changing in the urban areas and in bigger cities like Mumbai, you come across people who are cosmopolitan and who are becoming less traditional. This is where most of the interfaith unions happen.
I’d say give it another 10 years and interfaith marriages will be way more common than you could imagine.