The revelation that bhajan singer Anup Jalota and Jasleen Matharu are a couple is the latest buzz in town. Why? Because Jalota is 65 while Matharu is 28? However, if the reports are to be believed then the two have been in a relationship for three years and managed to keep it out of the public eye.

Now, as they have entered Bigg Boss Season 12 together, the sight of this “odd” couple has sent our middle-class conservative sensibilities into a tizzy. Despite it being a relationship between two consenting adults, people cannot stop discussing and dissecting it. Especially by the generations which have grown up listening to Jalota croon spiritual songs, the relationship is being portrayed as some kind of scandalous betrayal on the singer’s part.

It is amusing how two consenting adults in our country still have to stand such harsh public scrutiny. All because their relationship is unconventional for others.

Many people suspect that this relationship is purely made-up by the said show’s runners in an attempt to add some controversy and spice to it. However, what must concern us isn’t the age gap between Jalota and Matharu, but the society’s reaction to it. Why does it bother people so much that Jalota is a sixty plus widower? Or that Matharu is still in her twenties? It is their life and none of our business. The snide remarks being passed at them are more of a proof of our narrow-mindedness, than the so-called inappropriate nature of this relationship.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • Bhajan singer Anup Jalota has become the talk of the town following the revelation of his romance with Jasleen Matharu.
  • What bothers people is the fact that Jalota is well in his sixties and is a widower.
  • However, these snide remarks being passed at them are more of a proof of our narrow-mindedness, than the so-called inappropriate nature of this relationship.
  • Every person has the right to choose whether to accept or reject prospects of love which come his or her way. But this choice must stem more from personal reasoning and not from society’s hold on our lives.

The age gap among couples is always a matter of public scrutiny. While women do face more flak for choosing younger partners, the way people have reacted to Jalota- Matharu romance is a proof that even men aren’t immune to criticism in this matter. But the issue people have with Jalota isn’t just that he is romancing a considerably young woman. Many are also bothered by the fact that he is a widower and in his sixties.

People are cracking cruel jokes on social media on how Jalota, instead of mourning his deceased wife (who passed away back in 2014 by the way) and accepting his old age, is “enjoying” himself.

In our society, two grown-ups can’t make a personal decision regarding their love lives. This because the society they live in finds their romance offensive to their archaic sensibilities. Besides, must Jalota keep mourning the passing of his wife for the rest of his life? Even in 2018 must a person be wary of social reaction while choosing his happiness? When will our lives be free from this incessant policing, which curtails our right to be happy, in the name of morality?

It is impossible to put the matters of the heart in simple black and white. That space is reserved for social dictates, which have zero understanding of human emotions. From reverse age gap to finding love after a certain age or after losing a partner to death, love comes at the most unexpected times and in most unexpected ways in life. Every person has the right to choose whether to accept or reject the prospects of love which come his or her way. But this choice must stem more from personal reasoning and not from society’s hold on our lives.

Jalota and Matharu’s romance may be unconventional for many, but that doesn’t mean that what they feel for each other isn’t love at all.

What they need is space and time to get a grasp on their own feelings and lives. But that would not be possible until the society leaves them alone. Until people stop making it awkward for them to be together. Too many romances get curtailed short or never blossom in our country because of our perennial reservation about log kya kahenge. If Jalota and Matharu are braving against that stigma, then the least they deserve from us is some privacy and a lot of applause, if not support.

Picture Credit : The Indian Express

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 Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own

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