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When we talk about love and the Indian Society, there are vastly different images that come to mind. One is the impossibly perfect love as depicted by main stream Indian Cinema – replete with beautiful people, exotic foreign or Indian locales and picture perfect love, for the person, the families. On the other side, there is reality which is full of repressiveness, blood, gore, violence and often heartbreak.
Love … Its not easy to write or talk about it, is it? It is a vast ocean of emotions. We have stories written on it, we have poems penned about it, we have movies made on it. Yet it is so complex that there has not been a clear-cut definition of love.
Wikipedia says Love is any of a number of emotions related to a sense of strong affection and attachment. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure (“I loved that meal”) to intense interpersonal attraction (“I love my wife”). This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.
In the context of Indian society, love has been twisted around many a times.
Take parental love for instance. A son, from the day he is born, is loved by his parents so much that not a day passes by when they don’t remind him of how much he owes them for all their sacrifices. Even after he is married he is expected to disregard his wife to prove that his love is solely dedicated to his parents.
Whereas a girl, from the day she is born, is conditioned to love not just her parents, her siblings but, when the time arises, is expected to love her parents-in-law also even if they don’t reciprocate her love. Even if they treat her like a doormat.
I would also like to mention a love that our darling children demonstrate towards us, i.e. the cupboard love. Since we control the purse strings, and make the rules they have to abide with, they spend a lot of time buttering us up, softening us so that we buy them the latest expensive game/dress in the market. Sadly this makes them very manipulative and self-centered.
Often when both parents are working, we tend to give them a lot of money and give in to their whims. We are not there to discipline them or check them when they go overboard. This adds to the problem and makes one wonder if we are raising a generation of children with very little self discipline and ethics.
Take our love for God ….We are so blinded by the love for our religion, that we are willing to go to any length to justify our beliefs, no matter how ridiculous and unreasonable they are. We agree to feed our idols, deities with laddoos, milk when there are millions of people who are deprived of food. We don’t even think twice before throwing small children in the well to please God. If only we realize the only way to please God is to love our fellow beings. We take our love for Gods to ridiculous lengths, constructing temples for not only our religious deities but even for Cine Stars like Khushboo, even though there is rampant poverty and perhaps the money spent would have been better utilized in feeding, clothing and educating the poor.
It would be remiss of me not to write about the negative types of love. These types are really poisoning our Indian Society. We all know about obsessive love, the kind that was immortalized by Shah Rukh Khan in the movie Darr. The person is so obsessive about the object of his/her affections that he/she becomes a stalker or even a killer. This is a disease called obsessive love disorder. The person becomes so obsessive that he tends to treat the object of his affections like a possession. If he can not get her, no one else can. The insane lover may try to kill, maim or even disfigure the object of his affection by throwing acid on her face.
On one side we move the progressive way by legalizing live-in relationships thereby giving a fresh, positive hope for people in love who don’t want to bind themselves to any institution. And on the other side there are sects in our society who still harbor the regressive thought that people having the same Gotra cannot marry each other. And if a couple challenges that belief, then the guardians of such ridiculous ideologies don’t shirk from killing in the name of community honour.
Yes, rapists also rape in the name of love. But I cannot call it love. It is more of a demonstration of power.
Our society is going through a state of change. On one hand laws have been enacted to punish the Khaps and also to legalize homosexuality. Yes, the society has become permissive, so much so that urban youth feel that it is necessary to have a boy friend or girl friend to be considered cool. On the other hand we have the so called guardians of society creating totally unnecessary furore on Valentine’s Day, damaging shops selling valentines and even accosting couples out together.
On one side you have Sania Mirza and Shoaib Akhtar ignoring the India –Pakistan enmity for the sake of their love, on the other side you have a mother being arrested for killing her pregnant daughter for loving and daring to marry a colleague belonging to the lower caste.
Love is a multifarious thing, said a poet. Yes it is, and it is the most joyous and positive emotion, but perhaps true love in which both the partners are free and respected is becoming a rarity especially in the Indian society today.
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