I remember when I was young, my parents, especially my mom used to tell me how falling in love at that age was a stupid idea and how I should remain focused on my studies and career. In my early 20s the lessons were slightly modified and transformed into a more heart to heart conversations, in an attempt to explore if the learnings given actually worked or were in vain. On hearing a convincing answer, the next thing that I was told was it’s not at all wrong to fall for someone who’s right. Often at that age, you tend to counter question. I used to backfire by saying, “Now, what do you mean with the right guy?” And, the answer was anyone who’s not prey to bad habits, wrong company and capable enough.
I don’t remember my parents did ever emphasize on the fact that I should stick to choosing someone from my religion. However, certainly a couple of times my mom reiterated the fact that there are lesser adjustment issues if you marry within your culture. To some extent I feel that’s true and holds sense.
Marriage is a sacred constitution, where not just two souls, but two families become one. It would be wrong to say that inter religion marriage is a taboo among Indians. We have some great examples of happy inter religion marriages that turned out to be successful and have set an example for others. And, Bollywood, known to be the trend setter, is the best example; whether it is Shahrukh-Gauri, Saif-Kareena, Riteish Deshmukh-Genelia D’Souza, Aamir Khan-Kiran Rao, Imran Khan-Avantika Malik, Malaika Arora-Arbaaz Khan, and the list is long.
India is a country of diversity and with a population of over 1.2 billion; it is very difficult to say if a certain thing is completely acceptable or unacceptable. Something that’s acceptable in one community may not be acceptable in another. However, the changing trends have time and again proved that things are ever-changing and they are not the same as they were in the last few decades.
Being a part of a well-educated and not a conservative family, I was never pressurized to marry someone of my own caste. I mean, putting pressure to fall for someone only once you are sure of the caste and religion sounds absolutely absurd. Would you first ask the full name of a person before you fall in love? That sounds a bit weird. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed the similar trend and undue parent’s support within my circle, where my friends and peers were not forced to choose a partner within their community. Of course, choosing a partner within your community is considered to be a blessing in disguise as that saves you from the tyranny of so called societal norms and things like adjustments. But, if your case is contrary, then you are still not boycotted from the society. There might be cases wherein you are somewhat lately accepted, but people do accept you sooner or later.
Having said that, I’m completely against the motion that inter religion marriage is considered a taboo among Indians. Gone are the days when we would have said that, and accepted the fact. When parents were dominating enough to force you do things as per their will. But, now the changing time has changed their mindset too, and parents today are much more supportive and understanding. It’s good to see India progressing and liberating itself from the shackles of cultural and religious differences. In the end, we are all humans and that’s how it should be. And, I must say without generalizing, there’s always a good and bad in everything and so does every religion, caste or community at the micro-level.