“Pyaar, mohabbat kuch nhi hota”, said my father when I was too young. Since then, I perceived love as either an immoral indulgence or a waste of time. But later as I grew up and saw love stories of people actually turning into happy endings, I eventually changed my mind. Today, love for me is a pure feeling of attachment with someone who matches your vibe, understands you and promises to be with you as long as possible. But has society changed its perspective toward love? Has society started considering love an important part of our life? Maybe not.
When a person falls in love, they are condemned for being weak, distracted and dependent simply for seeking a partner who can provide the kind of support that they need. What society doesn’t concede is that it requires a lot of courage to love someone, that too unconditionally. There are barriers of caste, religion and class that make love a utopian idea for the young minds and hearts in our society. It still values social relations, community bonds and religious harmony over love and companionship. People who fall in love are also targeted for forgetting the integrity of their community and giving in to the weak emotion of love and passion. This happens especially in the case of inter-caste, inter-religion love stories in which falling in love with a person of another community is seen as foolishness and an inability to control emotions.
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Falling in love: It’s not a weakness
Moreover, in the case of women, the scenario is even grimmer. If a woman falls in love, she is considered not only weak, distracted and dependent but also of bad character. Yes, you read that right. Love is a distant treasure for women who must always put the izzat of their family first and marry where their parents want them to. Whenever a woman dares to love, the act puts a question mark on her character and she is conveniently labelled as damaged goods.
Why is it that we find love between mothers and kids natural but between two consenting adults unacceptable? Why is a sister’s love for her brother pure, but romantic emotions are deemed dirty? Love might have different faces but in each aspect, it is equally surreal and powerful. Any relationship based on love can overcome every hurdle and difference. Love is not a weakness, infact it brings strength to a person and gives them courage to challenge social norms. The weakness lies in our insecure society, which cannot bear to let people love and live as they please.
As Sadat Hassan Manto rightly said, “But love, whether in Multan or on Siberia’s icy tundra, whether in the winter or the summer, whether among the rich or the poor, whether among the beautiful or the ugly, whether among the crude or refined, love is always just love. There’s no difference.” So before calling out love as a weak emotion, think about how love has the power to turn any weakness into strength and resolve differences. In fact, people don’t fall but rise in love. Can any other emotion do that?
Views expressed are the author’s own.