|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 6, Tuesday July 8, 2003|
today's world, inter-religious marriages are not uncommon. Even in Bangladesh
we encounter examples of them through our own acquaintances or otherwise.
itself is a tough deal on its own, and on top of that, having to deal
with "inter-religious" issues certainly does not make for
the smoothest of covenants. Especially when the concerned parties have
strong religious affiliations even at a personal level. Let's face it,
it is not customary for Bangladeshi culture to endorse arranged "inter-religious"
marriages. They are the result of a highly independent choice of an
individual, or rather of two people.
although ideally not conforming to any boundaries, pragmatically does
often get faced with little trials and tribulations once that little
paper is signed. Welcome to the real world guys!
married life is smooth sailing, be it in a regular marriage or in a
mixed marriage, unless a conscious effort is given to make it work from
the very beginning. After all, two people often come from different
backgrounds with very different experiences, different upbringings,
regardless of similar socio-economic classes or educational qualifications.
So, it often takes a lifetime to learn about each other and discover
ones own self through this institution.
can be various scenarios of inter-religious marriage. But one thing
that is common in most of the cases is that this wonderful ritual is
usually committed through what many would call a crime, elopement. It's
often highly unlikely that parents or family members will consent to
these marriages at first. Most individuals that face such trials, being
adults eventually persuade their elders to agree to their commitment,
often hitched with one or two conditions. Those that are a little underage
often face more obstacles and "casualties".
the truth of the matter is that not all these relationships sail off
without some sort of sacrifice on one's part or some sort of pre-arrangement
prior to the final commitment. In most cases, a partner agrees to convert
to his or her spouse's religion for the sake of avoiding conflicts and
to pursue happiness, which often leaves some heavy hearts.
the dominating one in the relationship wins. Either it's a family obligation
that leads one to take such a poignant course at the expense of the
other, or sometimes it is one's own choice in order to please the beloved.
I have come across some couples who take a more conscientious decision
on their own in preserving and practising their own religions through
more selfless efforts and some compromises. For those who do not convert
to the religion of the other, trying to find the middle ground in any
mixed marriages is not an easy task. The burden often falls on the more
understanding one although ideally the onus should be on both partners.
We have to bear in mind that these couples are usually coupled with
family and some social obligations. But when two adults make the decision
to live their lives with each other under the same roof knowing their
differences, there shouldn't be too much room for aunts and neighbours
to poke their noses into private affairs.
more sensitive issue that will inevitably create some uproar is when
a child is born unto the mixed couples, particularly when the parents
belong to different faiths and practice their respective religions without
we have seen that many couples following their own religions do not
indulge in social and familial obligations, rather they raise the child
with teachings from both religions in order to educate them of the two
faiths and guide the child to follow good moral behaviour.
children normally enjoy both religious festivities and learn from both
these kids normally have problems in dealing with life or the society
in general? No. Instead they often learn better ethical conduct from
both parents and learn to be more considerate and patient with others
than regular kids.
should mixed marriages be encouraged in our society? Well, legally it
is already an acceptable matter. But socially I think people should
be more accepting of such marriages.
think at an individual level people should be more open-minded about
taking a step into this realm and welcome such an opportunity should
it arise. A mechanism which could start a positive movement through
individual efforts and ripple across our big blue world.
A sliver of Apple Pie
door carefully shut and eight staircases jumped and ran down, then off
to the street leaving behind the coziness of the box like room that
has started to feel like home. Then a mix of walking and some running,
and then breathing a little heavy, testing the morning air, to find
out last night's weather forecast was again misleading. And then sit
for a minute on a painted white bench, looking eagerly towards the street
corner showing the coming traffic, for that first "win" of
the morning, the bus towards Pentagon City Metro station. It might seem
funny that this could be a prize at all, but this Bus is my first assurance
at 7:12 in the morning that I am on track today, that I have made it.
Then say a bright "Hi" to the bus driver in his dark blue
uniform, and stick in my one-dollar bill, and prop down. In peace, for
10 minutes… watching the older gentleman in the cheap suit leaning his
sleeping head against the window, the prissy lady with her all matching
dress and accessories, the two preppy guys exchanging work-out tips.
And the clever American advertisement strategies, not wasting any room,
filling up every open space with a new and dashing advertisement to
get the attention of the sleepy eyed bus-goers. "Find a simple
path of life, united under one belief, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar," or
"Pregnant and Scared? Need help call 1 800 MOM HELP" all posted
with appropriate pictures around the inside of the bus. I often wonder
why they choose such worrisome advertisements, entering in people's
heads and offering solutions so early in the morning. Why give a shot
of reality too bitter to take? Perhaps to wake us up from our dreams.
By Iffat Nawaz
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