GO’TRAdition’

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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10 Responses to “GO’TRAdition’”

  1. supriya May 28, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Dear Himanshu, Must congratulate you on the attempt you have tried with the same gotra marriage…why on earth we believe that taking about same gotra marriage will take the country behind…the time has always moved forward…and no action can take the country behind..why forget that Naveen Jindal is the instrument in getting every Indian the right to fly the flag, in parliament also he has been doing some great job, speaking on national issues like zero hunger, education, health and hygiene and the list is endless…and what urbanism are we talking about…which crime u name it and is not happening in the urban India….u will agree to my point and we all should feel ashamed that it is just hypocrisy that we are all voicing unnecessary things and not trying to understand the real problem..any ways, let us all try to look forward towards a progressive India rather than than becoming moral inspectors for no reasons….

    • Himanshu May 28, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

      @ Supriya
      Thanks for visiting my blog.
      //why forget that Naveen Jindal is the instrument in getting every Indian the right to fly the flag, in parliament also he has been doing some great job, speaking on national issues like zero hunger, education, health and hygiene and the list is endless//–I agree with you on this. And i guess thats is the very fact that is irking the media. Why is someone like Naveen Jindal who has been a very popular new generation leader supporting something which can be vastly called irrelevant.
      //any ways, let us all try to look forward towards a progressive India rather than than becoming moral inspectors for no reasons….//–Yes, thats a positive and hopeful note on which we should conclude.
      Thanks once again Supriya.
      Cheers!:-)

  2. kavita singh May 28, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    Dear Himanshu…
    As you concluded rightly – 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…
    Similarly its about a particular tradition tht has been followed by a particular community.. it has nothing to do with you or others.. if they are happy following their traition let them be… a particular set of people approached Naveen Jindal with their request.. he just heard then out as they were part of his constituency.. it was but fair on his part to do so… why we have to overanalyze things always..
    Naveen Jindal does not hold the same view.. even if he does so, he has every right to be doing that.. they are talking about their own community.. and whts so wrong in being traditional or following a tradition or culture for that matter… who are we to be passing comments on that.. pls spare a thought…

    • Himanshu May 28, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

      @ Kavita
      Thank you for visiting my blog and presenting your views.
      //it has nothing to do with you or others.. if they are happy following their traition let them be//–I completely agree with you on this. Naveen Jindal is free to have any opinion that he wants and the fact that he is educated in some ivy league university by no means should control his opinion.
      What I am presenting is the fact that converting this Khap diktat into a law is way to an overkill and unnecessary. The penultimate part of the post pretty much voices out this sentiment:-
      //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. //

  3. megzone May 28, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    aaahhh.. here is whr i can comment.. dint wanna take chances with morons like sai ganesh and senthil there…. 😉

    frankly to me marriage shud be union of heart souls and mind rather than stars planets and gothrams 🙄

    and yes i still do believe to each his own.. according to me if we claim to be a free democratic country.. everyone should have a free will to choose their partners..
    if i happen to fall in love with someone from the same gotra within/outside the immediate family.. it shouldnt be considered as a taboo/anti-tradition/culture watever..

    If i have chosen someone as a partner i believe I am responsible and mature enough to handle anything that happens later.. bringing in a rule of considering them brothers and sisters acc to me is atrocious..

    im not an athiest.. im a spiritual person.. i myself do believe in certain rituals and “tradition/culture” but then.. again i mite sound a hypocrite wen i say i believe only in certain cos they “suit” me.. well so be it.. i believe everyone is a hypocrite in some way or the other.. but to force someone to follow something.. nopes i am against that..

    culture is a man-made thingy… it was created to bring people together.. i bleieve those brought in culture and tradition definitely did not expect man-kind to go so brouhaha over it…
    if culture/tradition binds people follow it… if they break them.. dont follow them 🙂

    but then thats my opinion 😉

    • Himanshu June 2, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

      @ Megz
      //dint wanna take chances with morons like sai ganesh and senthil there…. //–Haww!! Thats a little unfair Megz. Ch1 is a free forum and everyone is free to voice out his/her opinion. I wouldnt like to look at it that way.. anyway.. glad to see your comment as always nevertheless 😛

      //bringing in a rule of considering them brothers and sisters acc to me is atrocious..//–Well, I wont really like to call it ‘atrocious’, but would say it is unreasonable. There surely are some already existing debatable specimens in the Hindu Marriage Act. So one way to look at it is that if one thing is considered illegal per the law then why not this? of course, to take this discussion along the lines of being progressive vs being non-progressive or Urban vs. rural is only baseless and is on an absolutely misinterpretation of the post.
      //culture is a man-made thingy//–I beg to differ here. But, well, i do agree the aim of having cultural norms is mostly to keep certain traditions intact.
      //but then thats my opinion //–Likewise.. 😉
      Thanks for commenting pal. Cheers!

  4. megzone June 3, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    / There surely are some already existing debatable specimens in the Hindu Marriage Act/
    in reality there are indeed many loopholes therein..

    and well culture was man-made wasnt it.. a group of people followed something,..and that became culture and tradition..
    as u knw im spiritual and not religious.. so i would simply say to each his own..

    if we are encouraged to follow certain traditions then we should also be given the right or atleast the option to not follow something that we dont want to…

    /Well, I wont really like to call it ‘atrocious’/
    from wat my understanding of a “gotra” is and wat knowledge i have about it.. a Gotra is a Rishi underwhom you aare born.. somthing like for eg. a bharadwaja gotra person would belong to the family of that Rishi..so that rishi kinda becomes you ancestor… hence 2 ppl born under the same gotra are considered bro n sis.. but in this age where the family has diluted and spread far across and in this era where we have seen the most well arranged and horoscopically awesomely-matched marriages breaking..
    i would say marriage shud be best left to the individuals choice.. to bind them with culture and traditions would be wrong.. understanding and compatibility of minds and heart should be more imp than trivial things as gotra/nakshatra etc..

    apart from my sister’s example that i had given on the internal.. lemme share another experience..
    my coll buddy’s parents had a love marriage.. same gotra.. obv his mother’s parents had got her gotra changed before marriage but the horoscope wasnt matched..
    when my friend had completed his SSC and they had visited their mom’s kuladev(kula deivam-house deity) temple they decided to get everyone’s horoscopes checked.. it so happ that the astrologer told them,… his mom n dad shud never had married cos the gal’s horoscope has some dosh due to which the guy (my frn’s father) shud have expired 1-2yrs after marriage 🙄
    so much for astrology 🙂

    Sighh… i guess this is gonna be the biggest blomment on ur external till date 😉
    u gotta gimme treat for tht 😛

    • Himanshu June 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

      @ Megz –
      //a group of people followed something,..and that became culture and tradition..//– Well, you really think its that simple. Its kinda defying the whole purpose of studying sociology. 😛 😆
      //my understanding of a “gotra” //–Yes. my understanding of a gotra is just the same. I still dont understand how does that state that it is correct to call introduction of the law ‘atrocious’. 🙄
      //so much for astrology //–Thats on an abs different tangent altogether! 🙄 I agree that different things work out for different people. Can anyone really give a guanrantee when it comes to relationships et al? that does not really argue anything. What we are saying here is that it should be left to the individual to decide whether he wants to follow a certain tradition or not. Linking it up with spirituality or religion is not really something which we are trying to do.. isnt it?
      Blomment indeed.. YO!

  5. Ravi June 13, 2010 at 6:53 am #

    Hey dude!! Do add one RSS feed link to you blog! Makes it easy to follow! 🙂

    • Himanshu September 14, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

      Good suggestion!
      Now I am wondering how to get it done 😛

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