From matrimonial sites to your own family members, whenever the question of marriage is raised, there are always a few prerequisites to filter down the number of possible candidates: good looking, well educated, employed in a good job, and…from the same community?
Come on, guys. We are not living in the 1800s or even the 1900s anymore. India has seen enough disruption due to communal discord and lack of acceptance, so do we have to add on to it at the grassroots level too, by insisting that we only marry within our own community?
Ethnic Preference = Racism?
By insisting that your future bride or groom is from the same caste/creed/state/religion/sub caste/sub-sub caste etc as you, you are showing a preference for people of your own community simply BECAUSE they belong to your community, and nothing else.
Which then points to a latent feeling of superiority or that you prefer to stick to “old habits” rather than marry someone from a different state or caste or religion.
By showing this preference for our own community above all others when it comes to marriage, we are NORMALISING INTOLERANCE.
This is a practice that encourages each of the hundreds of different communities in India to think that they are somehow better than the rest- and this could be potentially problematic.
The Mindset Needs To Change
We need to see our fellow Indians as our own, no matter which state or religion or caste they are from. What was the point of unifying the country and overthrowing foreign colonial rule only to draw boundary lines amongst ourselves?
If we are to pull together as ONE, we need to start practising acceptance from our HEARTS, not just being secular at the surface level by visiting different places of worship or having friends from different communities, and ultimately choosing someone from your own.
It is important to understand that each community has its own vibrant heritage and culture to be respected and admired, and by marrying someone from a different community, you do not lose your identity- rather, you are still a part of your own community, and a new one as well. You become more knowledgeable, more accepting, and more loved by more people from your new family.
Acceptance Will Reduce Honour Killings
Several states in India have witnessed horrific instances of “honour killings”- murders carried out by the kith and kin of the couple to get revenge on them for “shaming” their family/community by marrying outside their caste/religion/state boundaries.
Such terrible acts get us nowhere as a country- no matter how much we progress, if we are still petty minded enough to kill for an “unsuitable” marriage, we are still regressive. Rather than do such terrible deeds, it’s better to develop an attitude of tolerance and acceptance.
No Confusion Here
Your children will not be “confused,” they will have the combined ancestry of two beautiful kinds of heritage, and will grow up as open-minded individuals.
If you wish, you and your partner could name them and assign their religion according to what one of you follow (if the partner is willing to do this), or combine the virtues of both.
Celebrities Who Dared To Break Stereotypes
Several celebrities have set the example of overcoming societal odds to get married to the partner of their choice. Some examples are Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia d’ Souza, Sunil Dutt and Nargis, and even Shashi Kapoor and Jennifer Kendal. These couples have now become examples of strong marriages.
To quote Chetan Bhagat (please don’t kill me), “We see a love marriages as a chance to either hate more people or love more people. But since when has loving more people been such a bad thing?”
Bonus points: If you marry outside your community, you give less fodder to politicians fishing for vote banks based on caste, religion etc.
So next time anyone asks you whether they can suggest someone from the same community as a potential match, tell them that you’d rather marry someone you love and be happy while standing above petty differences than have the perfect marriage on paper, but not the kind of happiness you want.
Image Credits: Google Images