Interfaith Marriage.

Naomi Schaefer Riley has this to say to conclude her article in the New York Times – “So while I recognize that the diminishment of religious institutions and a rise in marital instability could be among the long-term effects of interfaith marriages, I cannot wish for the tide to ebb. Nor do I think it will.”

In India, there are two types of marriages as shown in the cartoon on top. My own marriage is what was called a Love Marriage because, our parents and families had nothing to do with our selecting each other to get married to. Mine was also an interfaith marriage. I am a Hindu and Urmeela was a Methodist. Neither of us were practicing any kind of religion at the time of our marriage. Our son Ranjan for want of a better alternative calls himself a Hindu and believes that Ganesha looks after him. I disagree. Ganesha has provided Ranjan with me to look after him.

My interfaith marriage lasted a little over forty years and was what could have been called a successful marriage. We had no confusion about what rites or ceremonies to follow or festivals to celebrate. We did them all including Muslim ones as one of our very close relatives converted to Islam to marry a Muslim girl. Once Ranjan grew up and started going to college, we stopped following all rites and celebrating all festivals as we found them to be totally meaningless. I still do not.

In my family, interfaith, inter-caste, interlingual and international marriages are quite common and no one bats an eye lid when someone announces a marriage which could fall into any one of these characteristics. We also do have the arranged marriages and that too is perfectly acceptable. We also have one same sex marriage within our family and so that too is part of our tradition. We now also have live in relationships within the family without anyone batting an eyelid about them. All in all a crackpot family in the eyes of traditional Indians.

All Indian families are however not like us. Most of them are orthodox when it comes to marriages and all the negative things about marriages that Naomi writes about happen more within the arranged and same religion / caste / language etc combinations. Somehow the interfaith marriages seem to survive longer and in better condition. Or at least they seem to within my sphere of experience and observation. There are however commentaries that I keep hearing about or reading about that both arranged and love marriages have 50/50 chance of success/failure.

Our society, particularly in urban India is undergoing major upheavals and there is a lot of flux in all institutions including that of organised religion and marriage.

We live in interesting times and with increasing globalisation and wealth even events like the clip below have become passe!

13 thoughts on “Interfaith Marriage.”

  1. the words enchanting
    come to mind. i like what you said about ganesh sending you to take care of ranjan. LOL. so cute.
    i like rituals to a degree. so long as people don’t think of them as ‘necessary.’ i view them only as something lovely one might choose to partake in at will. only because they are artful and give pleasure.
    most of them are rather silly. but mankind still has need of them apparently!
    i do love posts about the culture of india. so fascinating.
    the people are exceptionally beautiful in your country. both male and female ~ young or old. lovely.
    tammyj recently posted..test post with charley

    1. A simple Arya Samaj ( vedic wedding with a total of fifty witnesses who stayed on for dinner after the ceremony and that was that. The choice was Urmeela’s as this was the simplest of the ceremonies available at that time. When Ranjan got married in 2001 he too got married under the Arya Samaj umbrella and that too was a simple affair with a family lunch and a reception in the evening to which about 100 people came.

  2. I am happy to hear that your own family is so enlightened. It is a measure of (emotional) intelligence.

    An engineered (arranged) marriage overlooks one vital point. Simple biology. Nature makes sure that we ‘fall’ for the one who ensures best genetic outcome for our offspring. I call it genetic compatibility. And, looking back over the timeline, there is no doubt that I used to be strongly attracted to one ‘type’ of man. They all had something in common. Not that I tried and tested them all. But you know what I mean.

    However, and this is where it becomes interesting and was drawn to my attention by GG (gay guy) who asked me: How come that once a woman leaves her childbearing days behind her she often develops a ‘taste’ for a very different type of man? His example being that of Leni Riefenstahl (Hitler’s court photographer) her lens (in her later years) having a penchant for dark coloured men. Yes. Who knows. I don’t. Let’s put it this way: I most certainly look at men quite differently now than I used to. The range being wide open as it were. It’s fascinating. Yet, I dare say my assertion only applies to the female. The male of our species, able to procreate into late life, I believe to have a much narrower spectrum of ‘mating’ partners. Know what: It’sl in the waist/hip ratio of a woman. Signalling fertility and all that.

    Ursula recently posted..At your peril

  3. Someone said all marriages are “arranged” and all weddings are a complete waste of money ! All “rules” in both are there to be broken -like most other things it is a state of controlled chaos ; some come out if laughing , others weeping , in the end dying . BUT everything becomes worthwhile if you can make the life of at least one other person happy ! And that folks just about sums it up for me !

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