The controversial ‘love jihad’ ordinance recently enforced by the Uttar Pradesh government for the purpose of preventing ‘canny’ Muslim men from sweeping ‘clueless’ Hindu girls off their feet in order to get them to change their faith has provoked vehement opposition. This is an ugly measure that spits in the face of secular India and deserves to be overturned. Yet, these unholy methods implemented in the name of all things holy got me thinking about deep-seated issues related to the institution of marriage, that extend beyond the obvious bigotry and hatred that fuel these inane legal precepts.
Why do we persist in believing that falling in love and getting married are essential to a wonderful life despite evidence to the contrary? Practically, every popular movie or show features variations of extremely good-looking young people getting smitten, prancing around in exotic locales and dealing with messy matters of the heart before driving into the sunset towards that happily ever after—what the fairy tales promised was the inevitable culmination of every love story.
Every once in a while, the lovesick in reel life and more alarmingly in real life are assaulted or slaughtered by sick creeps. Terrifyingly, these lovebird killers are cheered on by fanatics who foolishly believe that it is not in keeping with Indian tradition to fall in love or have consensual sex outside of an arranged, endogamous marriage. These extreme reactions to cozy twosomes have always been perplexing to me. Lovers, even the interfaith ones, are mostly a self-indulgent lot given to stewing in a sickening syrup of all things sensual and superficial, sanguine in their deluded notions of the enduring power of that fragile, fickle emotion called love, which is as likely to last forever as an egg sandwich left in the sun.
Eventually when a relationship regresses to a legally sanctified union, even the most besotted come to realise that marriage is where affection goes to die, in a paroxysm of pain brought on by resentment, regret, and an absence of shared joy. Marriage was originally designed for boring practical purposes to serve a society devoted to perpetuating the human race by raising batches of brats together. It was never intended to be a perpetual source of personal fulfillment or an adventure ride, replete with romance.
Therefore, it is about time we stopped defining a worthy life in terms of finding suitable mates and fleeting connubial bliss to counter silly strictures governing mating rituals. Let us resolve to secure a better future by refusing to invest so heavily in the trivial pursuit of a nonexistent state of transcendental togetherness especially if there is risk to life, limb and more. We will do just fine without the love stories, tragic or even otherwise.
Anuja Chandramouli firstname.lastname@example.org
Author and new age classicist