By Anusha Majumdar
Incest…the word itself has a sacrilegious ring to it. How can somebody utter a word like that in public? How can someone possibly THINK of such a bizarre concept!? How can someone contemplate having sex with his/her immediate family members? These are the common questions that arise in our minds the moment we hear/ read of an incestuous incident.
Over the years, the word “incest” underwent such HYPERBOLIC exaggeration and severe criticism that gave it the notion of some contemptible and inexcusable sin.
While thinking about the word, one assumes that it is non-consensual or paedophilia. What if it is consensual? What if it involves grown-ups who opt for it out of their own volition? Isn’t the revulsion more rooted in our beliefs rather than cold logic?
INSTANCES OF INCEST IN EARLIER TIMES
According to Islam, Prophet Muhammad married Zaynab bint Jahsh, who was divorced from a marriage with Muhammad’s son, Zayd Ibn Haritha. After Zaynab’s marriage to his son Zayd, Muhammad went to visit him but instead found a hastily clad Zaynab. Though he didn’t enter the house, the sight of her pleased him.
Moreover, Muhammad also allowed the marriage of his daughter, Fatimah to his cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, who would later go on to become the fourth Caliph of Islam.
The Egyptian pharaohs used to have children from their daughters and sisters in order to preserve their royal lineage! Previous DNA studies revealed that king Tutankhamun was born from a marriage between siblings. The fact that his mother and father were brother and sister may seem bizarre today. But incest was rife among the boy king’s family because Pharaohs were believed to be descended from gods.
THE DEFINITION OF INCEST CAN VARY FROM ONE RELIGION TO THE OTHER
According to Hindu customs, it is legal for a man to marry his sister’s daughter. Now, that is marriage ACROSS generations. This custom is illegal in Islam and is considered as incest. An incest that is legalised is called consanguineous relationship. But it is incest nevertheless!
AREN’T WE ALL OFFSPRINGS OF AN INCEST?
If we remove all the nicely packaged, prejudicial and preconceived notions surrounding this word and strip it naked, there lies a fundamental, undeniable and rational origin behind this word which gives us a disinterested, new light to the rationale behind this practice.
According to the Abrahamic religions (Judaism Christianity and Islam), Adam and Eve are purported to be the first man and woman and the ancestors of all humans. They are listed as having three children, Cain, Abel and Seth, “then other sons and daughters”. How do you think the third generation came? There must’ve been incest among brothers/sisters of second generation or ACROSS generations, that is, between mother-son or father-daughter. Going by that logic, WE ARE ALL OFFSPRINGS OF AN INCEST COMMITTED CENTURIES AGO!!
WE MAY UNCONSCIOUSLY GET SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO OUR FATHER/MOTHER
You would be surprised to know that there is an unconscious tendency and inclination towards incest, prevalent amongst us. Scientists termed them as “Oedipus Complex” and “Electra Complex”. Oedipus complex is a boy’s unconscious desire to have sexual relations with his mother. Electra complex is a girl’s psychosexual competition with her mother for possession of her father.
It is the societal restraints; proper education and knowledge of familial roles, moral scruples that bring us back to reality and help us act with discretion. However, since incest is genetically unfavourable and inbreeding leads to weaker offsprings, it is NOT NATURAL and often considered as a serious moral offence. Ultimately, everything is subjective and boils down to perceptions!
Image Credits: Google Images
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