India’s hate for love

The Tehqeeq
2 min readFeb 17, 2021

The Valentines week has just gone by. Almost ritually so, posts alluding to the trademark violence by moral policing brigades went viral; we even saw 'मातृ-पितृ पूजन दिवस ' or the 'Parents Worship Day' trend on Twitter!

For the uninitiated, this substitute for Valentine's was first proposed by the notorious godman Asaram Bapu to curb the west's influence that provoked the youth to partake in obscene activities. Yes, the same godman who has been convicted of rape! Ironic, right?

India's resistance to love is multi-faceted, primarily stemming from its orthodox societal norms. It can be argued that there are attempts to institutionalise this sentiment as can be seen in the recent implementation of the widely criticised 'Love Jihad Law' or the Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance. While it is on the courts to decide on the constitutionality of the laws, it wouldn't be too bold state that the law makes it very difficult for the interfaith couples to marry legally.

National Crime Records Bureau reported that 251 honour killings had been reported across the country although independent estimates peg the number to be significantly higher. The main reason for these killings marrying without the acceptance of one's family or their immediate society.

Whether it is marrying, or just being in a relationship, most of the anger is directed at young couples even having a choice. Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad released a poster just ahead of the Valentines Day celebrations and appealed to the youth to not partake in "any obscene activity in an open space" and also threatened to marry couples seen engaging in such acts with the consent of their parents." It is interesting to note that the poster did not define what these activities were or anything about the consent of the couples.

The courts — be it the Supreme Court or the Allahabad High Court, have observed time and again that two consenting adults have the sole right to decide on cohabitation and not even their parents can interfere. However, this has not stopped landowners from refusing residences to live-in couples.

When we talk about love in contemporary India, we talk of restrictions, battles, and fear. So how do we steer ahead? We can seek answers from one of the visionaries from the past, like Dr B.R. Ambedkar, who regarded marriage and love as a tool of social inclusion. I will not expound on his views more, as that is on you to find, read, and perceive.

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