Archive | May, 2010

[55 Fiction] – Red!

28 May


 She looked at me with her luscivious eyes, her lips deep red. With every sip of the spirit that took me on a high, I fell deeper and deeper in them.

I walked over to her. We spoke in unmuted silence. We walked together to the other side of the “fence”!

Yes. I am Positive.


27 May

“Tradition, tradition! Tradition!
Tradition, tradition! Tradition!
Who, day and night, must scramble for a living,
Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers?
And who has the right, as master of the house,
To have the final word at home?
The Papa, the Papa! Tradition.
The Papa, the Papa! Tradition.”

This song from the epic cult musical Fiddler on the Roof is just a glimpse of what the word ‘tradition’ meant to Tevye and Papas. While I was listening to this song some time back I got dragged into another of my crazy fits of thoughts, ponderings and the etcetras.

It has been raining comments and remarks about tradition, values and culture ever since the Jindal dude voiced out his affirmation for considering same gotra marriages illegal. The whole country inside and outside India seems to have suddenly started being opinionated about a cloud of loosely linked words like ‘conservativeness’, ‘tradition’, ‘progress’, ‘intelligence’ et al.

It is worth noticing that such incidents hogging all the limelight across the lengths and breadths of the media are the ones which make us cogitate about our sensibilities even more vehemently. It is amazing to see how we define our cultural values and traditions with our own misplaced notion of the society that we are all a part of. Traditionally, the word tradition has been related to inheritence – Customs or rituals or simply a way of living that gets passed on from one generation to another. It does not come to me as a surprise that the same gotra marriages fall within the realms of this definition. In some eon, somewhere, someone got married to his/her cousin and the genes got carried forward to their offspring. But it beats me to think that there has to be a ‘way around’ for those who want to marry in their own gotra in a ‘north Indian Hindu family’. The last part of the statement within quotes further shows how miniscule is the premise of this assertion.

It is undeniable that marriages amongst cousins have been a common practice in various parts of India since the pre independence days. I spoke with my grandmother about this and she said that back then it was difficult to find a match for someone within the panchakroshi (In Marathi – group of five villages.), what without any of the currently mushrooming matrimonial sites that are customized to every particular caste, sub caste, colour, creed and religion. Having said this, there was also a fanatic amount of castial divide polarizing the population of a certain clan together. In such a setup, it was only obvious for mingling of people from the same gotra.

The Khap Panchayat of Haryana demands that marriages within the same gotra should be deemed illegal. And what has gained the ire of the media is the fact that Naveen Jindal, another jack of the clan of the ‘modern’ politicians in India who on one hand flaunts his foreign degrees and his progressive thoughts supports this demand on the other.

 I see two probable perspectives here. One, the understanding that following traditions, or being traditional is being conservative and a hinderance to the progress of the society and the second, the intolerable and unfathomable fact that the Jindal prince is actually in favor of this being a law. I can really not understand the legal connotation of this at all. It beats me to think that a group of old aged, dogmatic men feel that it is ‘illegal’ to marry someone from the same gotra. I cannot digest it for the probable reason that I have been in an urban milieu always. I have seen barriers being broken, that extra mile being taken and differences been accomodated. I am sure I speak for the majority of us here. In a country like ours, where every possible existence of mankind has a representation, it is grossly idiotic to expect that some law like this would fall in the good books of the masses.

I am completely certain of my belief that being traditional does not imply being conservative. In my humble opinion, it is not really being traditional that is an obstacle in the growth of a country, but it is in fact the tradition itself which decides whether it is worthwhile or not. To me, same gotra marriages seem to be as inoccuous as poverty, illiteracy and unemployment seem to be grave. By having such laws, we are only adding fragments to an already clustered society of ours. Every culture has its own values and rituals and traditions and it is entirely upto an individual to follow them or not. At the same time, for the contrarians to respect the individual’s decision. It is rather harsh to align Naveen Jindal in the clan of those who are actually taking us back to where we were half a century ago. Looking deep, it is disheartening to see that we never really grew from where we were half a century ago in so many aspects.

And as the tradition of our national media has been, something as futile as gotra entaglement is making headlines, contents, footnotes and everything in between in every type of media. How I wish someone breaks this tradition!!

Sigh… getting back to the mesmerizing music of Fiddler on the Roof… It has traditionally cheered me up and I am sure it will continue to do so…

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