Saturday, 13 January 2007

Marry outside your religion

(Warning: Am writing this piece sipping on loads of extra strong beer, so if this sounds like an emotional jerk-off, it probably is.)

I am often accused of being fanatically pseudo secular, and truth be told, am quite proud of this tag. Every time I hear a Hindu friend is marrying a Muslim or a Christian or a Bawa or vice versa, I feel elated. Not because I consider myself to be a flag bearer of India’s alleged secularism, but because I have come to the conclusion that the religion-busting friend of mine may be helping in her/his small way in sorting out a very serious global problem.

It’s a no brainer that Mother Earth’s greatest bete noire, the root of terror, is the religious divide, which seems to be deepening with every passing day. Once, on the night of bomb blasts in Mumbai, after a few Patiala pegs, a few of us friends decided the best way out is for the world to divide itself into three hemispheres, based on major religions, and then to live and let live thereafter. Once the nasha came down, we realised how regressive such a step would be, and that it isn’t workable either. We’ll simply find a different set of enemies to wage wars against. In the Hindu hemisphere, the ‘upper castes’ would continue their strife with the ‘lower castes’, and in the Islamic zone, the Shias and the Sunnis will be doing ditto, and so on.

Which then brings me to the point: perhaps the best way ahead is we totally do away with all religious divides, build a world where we hate each other for things like snoring, bitching, honking, spitting, whatever, but not over the gods we chose to pray. And we can only arrive at that future, even if it takes hundreds of years to get there, if we marry outside our own communities today. As people mingle and mate freely, with time, religion will become an irrelevant factor.

The bad news, of course, is that this isn’t going to happen in a hurry. Even today, in highly educated wealthy households of urban India, we see a raging desire to marry ‘within our own’. The newspapers are full of reports of crimes against ‘defectors’, and a cursory look at matrimonial ads would tell you how utopian and crazy the thought is.

So, yes, I am daydreaming, I did warn you about the beer. But one thing’s for sure: to all those of you choosing to break the divide, even if you harbour no noble desires of changing the world, and are marrying for love, lust, money, whatever, my salutations. Cheers!


sona said...

enjoyed reading your drunk dreaming. Though I too cheer those who
marry outside their faith, I am seriously of the opinion that marriage
itself is a bigger cause of misery than religion. It is the
misinterpretation and misuse of religion that has divided the world. While
marriage itself kills the individual. Don't believe me? Try once.

roxanne said...

well.. being a product of an bawa-catholic myself marriage doesn't really change anything but gives you an option of which religion you(or ure parents force upon ) wanna believe in.or sometimes leaves u to deal with the insanity of 2 religions.not that am against these marriages...i jus dont see it as a solution..

inferno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
inferno said...

i think the problem with tackling all issues religious is the fear of hurting people's sentiments. and it's not about ego pertaining to one's belief. its about RELIGION through and through. no1 gives a damn about political ranting and attacks on a political ideology one believes in. but attacks on anything remotely touching religion is taboo. in fact, such marriages might just defeat the purpose because of the unwillingness to sort out religious differences, which will crop up, no matter what. we prefer ssteering clear of religious arguments.we know, that once begun, such arguments are bound to get nasty cz eligious beliefs are the most deeply entrenched and personal of all.

Luke Edwards said...

Its not an easy thing to do, to marry outside your faith.

I am from a Methodist (Christian) background and am engaged to a Hindu woman.

Whilst my family have welcomed my Dhara with open arms, her family refused to even meet with me, and have disowned her.

I should point out at this juncture that I am English and so is she by birth.

To think that her parents came here of free will and sound mind to seek a better future, yet outcast their daughter for seeking to do the same is insane!!

I would also like to mention that our children should we have any will have no religion forced upon them, but be free to follow a religion of thier choosing once we have taught them about them all, should they indeed even want too.

Take that social divide!

But back to my point, in this day and age I find it mind boggling that any body immigrating to or emigrating from a culture should expect thier children to adopt a foreign culture to the one they are born into.

Not to mention how quick minorities here are to blame all there misgivings on our apparent inability to accept them.

Your blog post has cheered my fiancee up no end, as she has been very cut up over the whole thing.


anil said...

hi luke,
happy to have brought some cheer to your lady.
the beer helped i guess.