Recently, the Allahabad court rejected a couple’s plea of seeking protection and a restriction order for the girl’s father for interfering in their marriage when the girl changed her religion one month before the marriage.
The court stated that the conversion of religion for the sake of marriage is not valid. It was established that one is expected to convert their religion only when they have full knowledge and belief on the religion but not just for marriage.
In many parts of the county, Interfaith marriage is not accepted and often leads to honour killings. In 2018, Telangana, a Christian Dalit was strangled to death by his wife’s father. He had married an upper-class Hindu girl, however, the family of the girl could not accept it and ended up killing the boy.
A few months back, in Karnataka, a couple had eloped to get married. However, the girl’s father had managed to call them back saying they have no problem in getting them married. However, they took the boy to an isolated place and killed him.
Although even if families accept Interfaith marriages, there are some challenges faced by the couples. Religion shapes the lifestyle and value systems, for instance, if you are a Hindu you are habitual to having idols of gods at home. You would pray singing bhajans. However, some people of other religions would not find it familiar. A Christian family could find it disturbing. In a Muslim household, it is common to eat non-veg, but some Hindus believe that non-veg pollutes them. Such things create disturbance in the household.
With regards to marriage in a Muslim household, Hindu people look at it as a taboo and do not easily accept it. According to the Islamic religion, Nikah is a pact of obeying their God. No Maulvi would perform the marriage ceremony without the Shahadah, ie, it is the oath of worshipping only the God of Islam and worshipping other gods is a sin. Hence, people find it difficult to accept a Muslim spouse.
It is believed that even if a couple or a family accept an interfaith marriage, no one has the right to interfere in their matters. However, it should be a well-informed decision and one should know all the consequences.
At first, it is believed that they are in the ‘love is blind’ stage of their relationship. This results in them not realising the future of their relationship. However, when they actually start living together they face several cultural and religious problems such as in Muslims the idea of polygamy is not looked upon by the Hindus. Although in today’s time, the idea is not as stringent as it seems as many Indian Muslims are open to the idea of Monogamy. When a Hindu girl marries a Muslim boy she does not expect him to marry multiple times.
When they have a baby, there is a major problem of deciding the name of the baby. However, people also have a solution to the problem. The actor Shahrukh Khan has named his youngest son, Abram referring to the God of both the religions.
As there is no compulsion of changing religion after marriage, some families expect the newly wedded spouse to accept their lifestyle and soon after would convert their religion. Still, they often face derogatory comments in public, they are stereotypes and judged. They are often rejected and isolated by society.
The recent ad released by the Tanishq jewellery brand received a lot of flak. The advertisement showed a Muslim household is preparing for the baby shower of their Hindu daughter-in-law. The central idea was to show India as a secular place where people from different religions live in harmony.
It was not taken well as the daughter-in-law seemed grateful to her husband’s family which hurt the sentiments of the Hindus in the country. However, the advertisement was also supported by people who shared their experience of interfaith marriages.
The social media was flooded with comments of several people such as a Muslim man writes that his Hindu wife was gifted a mandir by their family. They also celebrate Diwali every year. They help in the preparations but do not participate in the puja but watch.
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub’s wife also shared a picture of her baby shower which was celebrated following all the traditions and customs. She also said that before crying out ‘Love jihad’, they should learn about the Special Marriage Act.
The radical Hindus have come up with the idea of ‘Love jihad’ when Hindu girls are being forcibly made to accept Islam in the pretext of ‘true love’. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister recently announced that they would find a way to deal with Love Jihad and threatened people for disrespected Hindu girls by using the funeral prayer ‘Ram Naam Satya Hai’. He warned people who duped innocent girls into marriage and converting their religion to mend their ways.
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 was passed by the parliament that allowed people from different religious backgrounds to marry legally. The law is applicable to all the citizens irrespective of their religion. Still, people are hostile towards the idea of interfaith marriages. The recent verdict of Allahabad high court showed that people are not open to marrying outside their community including certain politicians. People are expected to be open-minded to the idea of interfaith marriages, but marriages as the sole reason of forced conversion should be condemned.