Saturday, 17 June 2006

Situation Faced by Dilip Neeronthiyil

It is true that social pressures govern one's life even today. In this world which is increasingly that of individual freedom and fortunes, it is sad to see the influential role religions play to pull back noble and innocent intentions.The article on Rediff regarding intercaste marriages was right to the point I am facing a similar situation, and the pressures I face are more or less the same. The pressures of the system are carried to us by parents, close relatives and friends. It is obvious that there is a generation gap and a difference in the style of thinking. There is no reasoning with them, so I keep quiet. My logic is; how one can change a mindset that has been molded over 50+ years. There is no point in either arguing or shouting to make your point, they will just not understand.Let me give you an e.g.: If an astronaut comes and tells us the experience of being in space, will we be able to omprehend what he speaks? It will be possible only if we have had a similar experience which we can relate to. elders have adapted to a world which has clear boundaries and these boundaries are strong when it comes to religion and communities which they belong to.Just like any change that brings in a level of discomfort, Intercaste marriages, or the proposal itself could bring in a level of uncertainty in the mind of our elders, who would take a long time to adjust, or would never adjust to it (if they are pertinently adamant in attitude). Their other concerns, some of which I have to ponder on, are:# Problems during my sister’s marriage. This is true in every family where there are siblings. v Alienation from a society, which they were a part of. The feeling of being looked down by fellow brotherians.
# The effort, to give an explanation to the society every other time regarding son/daughters decision on an intercaste/ religion marriage.
#The sympathies that would be showered by the crowd and the sick feeling of having to be a part of a gloomy sub caste ( one that deviated from principles)
# Problems faced during old age and ill health. The feeling of people giving a deaf ear, and staying away in times of need.
# Having to bear the brunt of not bringing up the son/ daughter in tune with community norms.In short the situation boils down to that of drawing that fine line between the love for ones children and deviating from the set norms of the system and facing the wrath.I believe, it is all about one’s attitude. If a parent loves the child and boldly stands by his/ her decision, then there will be no body, who will raise a voice or complain, because parents are the final authority when it comes to their child’s life. This is possible only if:# There is a minimum amount of trust in the child, that he/she is capable of taking his/her life’s decisions. i.e., if they realize that raising a child is not just about holding the reins and guiding the right way, but, also letting go of it when the time comes.#The parents have to realize that at a turning point in the child’s life the parents are looked upon to guide and show light. A time when the child needs that comforting pat from their parents, instead they are thrown into turmoil and deeper problems. Most parents never consider their child to be an adult even after they grow up and that they are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. Many a times it is an adult to adult talk that the young ones expect from their parents.# Respect is not a virtue of blood relations. To respect the child’s intentions and decisions is also, I believe is part of parenthood. In case of marriages if the young one is interested in an inter religion/ caste alliance, rather than considering it an immature thought, the parent/s can consider the circumstances that led to the decision and the life’s principles that the \young one has set, based on his observations and years of survival.# Forcing the young one to change his mind (from marrying the person he/she likes) and marry a person from the same caste/ religion/ community is injustice to both the people who are getting married and the life they are going to lead. I believe that life is more about emotional attachment than physical attachment or adhering to a community’s norms. If emotional attachment is missing in either of the partners, then marriages often lead to divorce, and further mental turmoil for the parents on a personal level (of having made the wrong match for their child) and societal level (of having to explain the problem and finding remedies).