Why am I writing this post because, this morning, I received an email in my inbox from one of the publishers asking me to express my views and experiences on “What stops us from loving?” in the Indian context. The description took me by surprise as it said something like Love in India is driven by who swipes right, what caste dictates, what gender you identify, the language you express your love in, etc. etc. Apparently, the context was almost set and I was asked to share my views around the same. Even better, some similar stories of friends and family that define India’s outlook and definition of love.
Needless to say, I’m a highly optimistic person especially when it comes to India. I’m as close to seeing only the positive side of India as a child sees in her mother. So, let me talk on some of those points and tell people how there are more positives about Love in India. I’d not talk about any other country as I belong to India and I definitely know my country well.
If you talk of love-driven in India by swiping right, it shows how progressive and openminded India has become. Yes, it’s same India, once known for the purdah system. Where women were kept in seclusions to prevent them from facing unknown men. Well, that was a time of loots and robbers who used to objectify women and has different layers to it. Hasn’t India come a long way from wearing a ghoonghat to swiping right for love, breaking itself from the clutches of orthodoxies that were then prevalent and where marriages used to just happen without even a girl or a boy seeing or knowing each other.
Yes, it’s a country where marriages to some extent are still dictated by caste, but love? And, the answer is known. Love marriages across caste and religion for that matter is extremely prevalent in India nowadays. I have an inter-caste marriage, and needless to say, it doesn’t matter at all neither to me nor my parents or in-laws. What mattered ever to the families was our happiness over anything else. Trust me, inter-caste marriages in India are much more successful than the same caste and I can share some examples close to my heart in person.
Coming to gender and language! Are we really talking about this in the times of LGBT? It’s been sometime when India repealed its colonial-era laws that directly discriminated against the same-sex or transgenders. Love in India speaks the same language for one and all. Language differences are not new to India and so is love. It’s not even a topic of debate. This only reminds me of a very famous song filmed on one of the great legends Amitabh Bachchan,”Angrezi me kehte hain ki I love you, Gujarati ma bole tane prem karu chhu, chhu, chhu, Bengali me kahte hain aamee tumake bhalo bashee, Aur Punjabi me kahte hain teree toh ha, ere bin mar java, mai tainu pyar karna, Tere jaiyo naiyo labnee, o sathee ho…”And, let me tell you this movie was launched in 1982 even before I was born. So, one can assume, where India is in terms of breaking barriers of love.
The number of zeroes in your bank balance? To some extent, this might be true, especially in cases where you don’t fall in love at first sight. And that’s what I call being realistic in love. Let’s accept that love alone cannot help you survive in today’s world and there’s no harm in being practical about your relationship rather than regretting later. This goes for both the partners equally. India has long come out of the adage that a man should be earning and a woman a housewife. In today’s time, it’s equally important for both the partners to be earning not just for running a household but to be financially secure and independent.
All these topics and more would never stop someone like me from loving someone. I strongly believe you’ve got just one life and you got to live it your way and live happily. I am never in support of an abusive relationship, and that certainly should come to an end rather than carrying the burden of it all your life for the sake of families or society. Love in India is driven by emotions; to understand each other in good and bad times, to soothe in pain and hold in tough times. Marriages without love may be driven by some of these; love of course not. India has a rich history of memorable love stories and stands true till date. Our modes must have changed with various advancements; however, the definition still remains the same.