Marriage by order

My Sister did it, Image courtesy: google

So did my elder brother.

And the end result is that I can’t do it.

What I am talking about is ‘eloping with the loved one’. My eldest sister eloped with her boyfriend with the pretext of going to the market for shopping. The guy (my brother-in-law) belongs to totally different cultural community. We belong to MISING tribe and he belongs to the Ahom community. Now they are very happy with each other and are looking forward to having a nice life ahead.

My elder brother surprised us with the news of his marriage when he was just 17. It completely shook our world, the result of course was, he had to leave the family and had to fetch for himself and his wife. Now they are doing well and are again happy together and their only daughter is living with my parents pursuing her schooling.

I do admit that each of my siblings marriage brought some kind of turmoil to our family life but what is the major achievement is that both my brother and sister not only married their partner of their choice but also could do well in their respective marriages and are today very happy. My parents have also turned around and are happy with the marriages today.

But when it comes to me it is a strict No –NO. Now the result is that, I cannot go for it. I mean, I can’t elope and marry or either think of a cross-cultural marriage. I had gone back home to enjoy bihu but it turned out to be exhausting experience with everyone bombarding me with lines about me marrying from the community. ‘You are our only hope’ says my mother, “I am tired of what your elder siblings have done; now I want to sit back and enjoy your marriage without any commotion and confusion”. My uncle warns “I shall be forced to break all ties with you, if you marry from outside the community”. I was like why the hell do I have to suffer for the ‘misdeeds’ of my elder siblings. I had always secretly dreamt of eloping with my girlfriend who of course belongs to a totally different community. First of all, a cross-cultural marriage and second we (me and my girlfriend) elope— wohoo what freedom!!!

What an experience it must be!!

I don’t know if I can put this in the category of Gramscian theory of hegemony or Freurian theory of hierarchical and oppressive relationship between the parents and son. And also if my parent’s emotional blackmail or my uncle’s stern warning etc shall be able deter me or not shall be seen in later times, but it of course startled me. What made the community which was very proud of its tradition of eloption go totally against it? In fact the two eternal lovers of the community “Panoi-Jongki” (equivalent to ‘Romeo-Juliet’ in English and ‘Heer-Ranjha’ in Hindi) eloped and married and their love story is celebrated in the community. And it is not only me. Even my Friends have been complaining of the same problem where they are having a tough time convincing their parents.

It made me think and like always my mom came with the answer. I just asked my mom, why are you so inherently against me marrying a girl from other community? She came with an answer. She replied, “See son, you have gone out and got education and you are already working and why should a girl from a different community enjoy the fruits of your labour”. The answer startled me and also made me laugh. I again asked my mom, “What if I marry a girl who is working, then of course she won’t be enjoying the fruits of my labour?” The result I see is shocking. My mom is in tears and she replies, “Do you want to marry someone whom I cannot even talk to? I kept quiet and moved away.

A considerable number of the youth ( almost 90% of them are men) of my tribe are moving out of their villages and are getting education in the cities and are working. And of course many of them have got married outside the community. So now, the elderly of the society have suddenly realised that all the ‘good eligible guys’ (by good guys, they mean the ones who are working and can provide economic security to their daughters) are marrying outside the community. Thus the result is that all the daughters of the community are marrying within the community and are not getting enough choices of ‘good guys’. So, can I deduce the gender inequality in terms of education is the culprit or is it the protectionism attitude of the community members which has forced my mom and dad to emotionally blackmail me or made my uncle give me stern warnings about avoiding me, if I marry someone from another community.

I am still looking for an answer……..But Still I carry with me the secret urge to marry my girlfriend.

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8 Comments

  1. Indrani Sarkar
    April 26, 2010
    Reply

    This is not a new trend in a country like India..there are centuries of ban on inter caste marriages, ostratisation of eloped couples and the very current prominent episodes of honour killings in the name of caste and family…
    Knowing ur family Im sure they will accept even if you get married out of caste..tho I feel eloping is definitely not the best way to do it…
    Just rem if u truly love a person…& wanna spend the rest of your life with her you will make your parents see it as well..same caste or not…& tell ur mom..she will be able to talk to her…Love always has a language not necessarily with words (this is out of my own experience with her)…

    So dream on my friend!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Smita Jacob
    April 26, 2010
    Reply

    Manoranjan remains d same….confused as ever…if d person and feeling feels right, everything falls in place…!So wait to be sure and all your questions will be answered!

  3. kalpalata
    April 27, 2010
    Reply

    🙂 🙂 I don’t think gender inequality is the only reason. This tussle between parents and children is always there. They say – a marriage is between two families. Your mother may have some dreams about your marriage. Maybe the community, the fathers of eligible girls are applying pressure on your family as well – have you received many marriage proposals? But if you stand firm on your decision, at the end of it, they will reconcile with your choice, wont they? Knowing you, I don’t think they have to be worried about you moving away from your family, tribe if you marry outside the community… you just have a tough task ahead – of winning over all the opposition.

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  7. June 11, 2010
    Reply

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  8. shreyosi
    January 15, 2011
    Reply

    Sometimes, the compulsion to protect their own daughters from remaining unmarried or getting into incompatible and unhappy alliances forces the community (especially the small ones) to emotionally blackmail their educated and eligible bachelors into loveless marriages. The elders say that marriage is a life long saga of sacrifice and compromise, after all. But, educating their daughters and giving them the same freedom to live their lives does not enter their minds. Sad but true! Keep your dreams alive and follow them through….you are one of those who can bring about change in the mindset of these people.

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