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Court Demands Conversion Before Marriage. Here’s What I Ask: Why Not Inter-Religion Marriages?

Religion has always played a very important in the Indian culture. Though India is a declared secular country, she had her shares of religious riots and massacres. Religious fanatics still infest the corners of this country. Even in this age of modernity and globalization these people (or call them goons) will use religion to create wars between nations and bring upon disasters.

But in India, disasters do not only come in the form of wars. Our religious fanatics seem very creative in this matter. Only on the 19th of November the supreme court of Madras made a statement regarding inter-religion marriage.

When the family of a Hindu woman filed a case against a Christian man whom this woman got married, there were some questions left unanswered. The woman’s family initially filed a Habeas Corpus petition but the court dismissed it. When the woman was presented by the police at the court she said they got married in a temple. The court then said that the marriage was illegal according to Hindu customs as the man did not convert.

How can the court of a secular nation come up with such a statement? It is time we give a thought as to what translates to us as religion or what is being made out of it. An individual, a major who is ready to get married, how can some religious customs stop that particular person? According to the court, since the conversion of the man or the woman did not take place, the marriage is legally not valid. To validate it, they either need to convert to one religion or their marriage should be registered under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Would not a simple registration of the marriage really suffice?

I personally feel religion is a concept, which with time is becoming extremely sectarian. Religion is becoming the determining character of an individual’s nature. Is that not impractical? And the recent wave of saffronisation in India is becoming too much explicit. Things like marriage, tattooing, dressing up all are very personal for the individuals included.

The state or the government should never ever interfere into these. The country has laws and us as responsible citizens should abide by them. The one straying from the laws should be reminded or if needed penalised. But validating a marriage or dismissing it on the sole basis of religion is sheer impracticality. We need to get our ideas clear. If the country ran on religious terms like many other countries of the world, secularity would not have its space here.

More of all, in this age of globalisation, it is really not possible to stick to religious norms. Thus it is actually surprising when such statements are made and passed from courts of an officially declared democratic secular country. Though the woman being a major was allowed to follow her own decision and was later released their marriage was not validated. According to the last news the court said the marriage would not be recognised on the basis of the statement made. It is disappointing and sad that we still have to face incidents like this at this age.

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