Probably one of the oldest attempts of social engineering in the history of humanity to preserve racial segregation is the institution of ‘arranged marriages’ in India on the basis of caste and religion. In all likelihood, the Hindu traditionalists don’t even see it that way, but the fact remains that segregating human beings on any basis is irrational and anti-humanist.
Of course deep love is possible after marrying somebody belonging to one’s own clan or race, and the question isn’t whether arranged marriages ( on the basis of race and clans) are comparatively better or worse than marrying after falling in love. The question is whether it is rational to continue allowing rampant abuse of personal freedom in the name of preserving tradition. Young ( and even the not so young) men and women have the constitutional right to choose their spouse or partner to start their family. Opposing such ‘ love marriages’ ( as it’s called in Indian English) usually happens in the guise of ostracisation from communities to direct threats and even violence.
Finally, an organisation which calls itself the love commandos has sprung up in India, whose fundamental aim is to assist couples who have fallen foul of their traditional communities by falling in love outside their demarcated caste / religious zone. In many cases they have provided shelter, legal assistance and moral support to these couples facing the risk of ostracisation. And in some instances, prevent honour killings too, which unfortunately carries on to this day.
Social reform or activism ? What is the right way to approach these flagrant human rights abuses to which society as well as the lawmakers often turn a blind eye to ? Marriage isn’t a personal affair, it affects society for generations to come. Activism to promote unobstructed ‘love marriages’ based on love rather than blind allegiance to ancient traditions without any modern relevance is likely to trigger off a social chain reaction in a society that has stagnated for centuries without any fresh ideas to combat the caste systems and religious divides.
1. The Love Commandos Website : http://lovecommandos.org/
2. BBC news : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18280997
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