The modern Indians still hold tightly to their reservations, and struggle to embrace romance without hesitation. With parental and social expectations still calling the shots, Indians still remain a conservative society especially when it comes to social norms concerning love and marriage. It is ironic that modern India is united in hatred but divided when it comes to the matters of the heart. Love across boundaries set for us by the social norms, has the power to bring us closer as a community. But only if it is able to survive.

Why do we still hold reservations against Romance?

A large part of Indian society still frowns at romantic relationships free intermingling of girls and boys. Even the prospect of a romance gets a head shake of denial from most. It is looked upon as a betrayal of trust, so it’s not a surprise, that most youngsters choose to keep their relationships secret from their families. It is about parental ego, of having a certain control over their ward’s love life. Therefore, marriages here are arranged only when the  families, communities, castes and horoscope match.

Romance ‘distracts’ you from your goals in life, like cracking a competitive exam, getting a good job, and eventually settling down with a partner handpicked by the parents or community.

The youngsters in our country are an investment for the better and planned future of the elders. Hence, any feeling or person who derails them from the track, is not taken in good spirits.

The society is petrified of what according to them is ‘unconventional romances’.

If you feel only the young men and women find it hard to embrace romance openly, think again. Even in the 21st-Century we find the prospect of interfaith or homosexual romance, or romance between middle-aged or elders scandalous. It becomes a matter of gossip and shame. The society blatantly asks people to sacrifice their happiness in the name of cultural preservation. If they fail to comply, the consequences are grievous, and many times barbaric.

The isolation and witch hunting of couples needs to stop.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and the drama that will unfold on the streets to ensure ‘capture’ and rough up couples who dare to indulge in romance, only proves how unwilling we are to the change.

Our refusal to stand up for those in romantic liaisons, merely displays how lonely it is to be in love in our country.

We are so afraid of consequences, that we choose to keep our heads down and watch thrashing of heterosexual and  homosexual couples from sidelines. We watch people shame couples, who dare to entertain the prospect of romance in later stages of life. So, we close our eyes and thank god that it’s not us.

But accepting romantic relations, without inhibitions is in our hands. Romance can help build a country, where economic status, faith, sexuality or age are not barriers. It can bring us closer, make us stronger as a nation. Those who give the argument of cultural preservation often forget that our culture is not static and rigid.

Indian culture has survived for more than 5000 years because it is flexible, inclusive and ever evolving. It has welcomed everyone with open arms and made them its own. The love that we shun today, forms the very crux of our culture. Its openness and ability to accept everyone is what has helped it stay so relevant.

Today, we need to revive the same spirit of tolerance and inclusion in the matter of romance more than ever. Love is thus the antidote, to cure us of the venom of hatred spreading so rapidly across social and communal strata.

Photo Credit : Millennial Couples by CBN

Also Read : Living-in, In Times of the ‘hookup’ Culture

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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