Marriages, beyond the ethnic boundaries, were a huge social stigma, in India. A decade earlier, inter-caste and inter-culture marriages were a big no-no; inter-religion marriages were considered blasphemy. Although the laws permit such marriages, yet majority youths of this country were under such extreme social duress, that they didn’t even dare to think about the opposite-sex of different ethnicity. Arranged marriages obeyed sheepishly such unwritten social commandments; love-marriages reluctantly tend to expand the horizon. But with education, travel, globalization and prosperity, the mindsets evolved, and hence love marriages between different caste, cultures and religions were now more acceptable. Our Indian society, although very slowly, was ambling towards anti-endogamy by breaking the social and religious shackles.
But then, bigotries leeched on to our evolving social wisdom, and coined the word “Love-Jihad”. Religious extremists venomously used it as hiring followers and attrition management tool. Media naively shared it, discussed it. Political parties tried scoring points by using it as vote-hoarding tool. And the progression of social evolution was pushed into coma. With the fear of family and relationships being bruised, in this communal crossfire, now every Hindu-Muslim Love-story, would be reassessing its future. Now no more a Muslim boy will dare to ask a Hindu girl out on date. Now no Muslim girl will say yes to Hindu boy’s proposal. Now again, “The Cupid” or “The Kaamdev” has to be selective before any love-infused match-making. Now no family would allow their children to have inter-religion marriage. Even if young couples would dare to go against it, if not the family, the religious extremists may kill them in the name of honor.
It took us ages for our society to gift freedom to newer generations of choosing their soulmates from any ethnicity, but it took only one chapter called Love-Jihad, to take us back to medievalism.