Secularism

Inter-caste Marriage and Patriarchal Society

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It was 2004, I was studying in Assam University,Silchar. I was in a rented house at Irongmara. Being a Muslim it was very tough to manage a rented house in the said area. My friend Santu, suggested me to use my nickname ‘Suman’ to get a house, I did so and got the room. The land lady was very affectionate.

Just few days before the Durga Puja, my birthday was celebrated very auspiciously and most interestingly as per the Hindu tradition. I wore Dhuti-Kurta, my room was decorated according to the Hindu mythology. My classmates and friends attended the function and gifted me lots of books, pens and show-pieces etc. They made the day immortal in my memory. My best friend who decorated the room with flowers and colorful balloons, wore a cherry red sharee. My land lady was passing comment “These two will be perfect couple!” We were happy and smiled each other. We became very close to each other during the Durga Puja, Mahalaya’s Prabhat Ferry was something exceptionally delighted to us.

One day suddenly, I came back to Guwahati and never visited Assam University and Irongmara. I lost every connections with my classmates and even with her too. We had never been couple!

Today, after 8 years, this Durga Puja asking me some odd questions. If we were really been couple? Were we been perfect couple or worst one? Would it be possible for me to refrain my self from religious affiliations? Would it be possible to me to honor her religious identity? Or what would our child’s religious inclination? his/her surname? etc etc..

I know, great thinker like Dr. Ambedkar also advocated inter-caste marriage and feast to combat untouchability and castism in India. Many state governments have initiated incentives for inter-caste marriage. After knowing all this how my mind dares to think such negativity??

You may summarily reject my negative thinking or can throw me to the hell of insanity, conservatism and even religious fundamentalism. But you can’t undermine the sufferings a girl.

Again, with due respect and apology to your secular setup, I would like to request you to wetness my imaginary conflict in my mind-

Say, I were in deep love with best friend, we were crazy for each other. We were ready to renounce the world for each other. Friend, family, religion and even society were not any big hurdle to our love. One day we got married as the provision of special marriage Act. Her family boycotted her forever, her society imposed an infinitive ban on her. I took her to our family. Though I was not sure, but my family accepted her! I felt proud (How liberal my family was!). Like a good bride she was learning each and every practices of our family. Knowingly or unknowingly I was ignoring all these process. Some times I thought there is nothing wrong if she acquires all those and sometimes I felt guilty, perhaps she thinks “Our marriage has come to grief because of you”. My mind was dwelling like a pendulum. I was in a great dilemma! Perhaps, Socio-cultural obligation has bounded me severely, I couldn’t stare at her. I do not want to rewind my memory to those romantic days. I feel ashamed, I am forced to think “Have I made a mistake 8 years back?”

Today, after 8 years, when she visits a Puja Mondap along with our little angel, I do not feel happy. I head off towards the complains of my family members. I diktat her not to visit any Puja Pandels, but to enjoy Bakri Eid.

Yes, in my imaginary battle, I was defeated by the norms of patriarchal society, I coudln’t honor her religious identity and most significantly, I couldn’t to give a secular identity to our child.

Thank God, we have never been couple. I wish she is happy as she was 8 years back. At the same time, I salute all those who have saved their love from the aggression of religion and norms of patriarchy society.