E-Pao! Essay - Defining the indigenous tribal religion

Love Marriage and Contemporary Social Values

By Dr. P M Soibam *

Today's youth everywhere is out of touch with traditional value systems, and the Manipuri youth is obnoxiously and unashamedly so. People are finding it fashionable to flaunt their "liberated" and high-headed opinions with a seeming conviction that iconoclasm in every form and way is reasonable and intelligent. This is the age when Prince Harry is worshipped and drooled over, while the levelheaded and decent people are simply dismissed as boring and unimaginative.

Feminism has added a whole new dimension to the phenomenon. It has come to mean a movement whose purpose is to prove that the females are superior to males, and so can do all the things that males do, and some more. Rise of feminism has also coincided with more and more marital discords, clashes of gender roles, make-shift marriages and alliances, frequent divorces, single parents, etc. In short, we are gradually moving towards the morally decadent and corrupt Western Civilization.

A few facts are all the so-called feminists should understand clearly to see reasons. Men and women are not equal: they differ biologically, physiologically, psychologically and hence in terms of capability in different functional areas. There is no need to draw comparisons between the two sexes or to prove that one is superior to the other.

Because, there are no parameters to compare two different entities. Their roles are different but complimentary, and definitely not contradictory, though they can overlap under certain circumstances. If their roles are clashing, it is because of the pseudo-intelligent people who are obsessed with useless topics like gender war, which are purely their own synthesis.

There is no denying the fact that all human beings should enjoy the same rights and privileges. But, the feminists should not go haywire and jeopardize traditional social value systems which ensure checks and balances in many spheres of social interactions and relations.

I was all for love marriage until I finished writing an article on the topic for a magazine. I came out convinced that arranged marriage system is for the mature and cultured society. "I can't even imagine how one can marry a person without having known each other long enough!" That is the all inclusive statement meant to convey a message that the speaker is intelligent enough and able enough to decide things for himself or herself, and that he or she is not the unimaginative kind.

They say "True love is not when two persons are brought together and made to make love just because their parents want them to!" A female friend of mine, a classmate from Hyderabad has the answer. She says, "What is true love? It is an unconditional acceptance of the other person the way he or she is. It is a divine emotion and means a lot of sacrifice for the person one loves.

So, arranged marriages are the true-love marriages where the relation between the two persons is not subject to any prejudice based on superficial attributes of the persons involved. The so-called love marriages are most of the time born out of infatuations of the immature minds. On the other hand, who are we to assume that we can make better decisions than our parents do? Our parents are always more mature their judgment always more intelligent.

And, how can we be so ungrateful to our parents and defy theirs words? Don't we owe them anything? Moreover, the premarital relations and love marriages have their own share of risks. Who is so sure that the other person's love is true and that it's not based on any opportunistic considerations? Who is so sure that the other person will not ditch him or her at any point of the relation?

Who is so sure that the relation will result in marriage? If such relation fails and if they marry different persons, will they be able to be sincere and faithful to their spouses? Don't we owe any moral obligation to our would-be spouses?" Well, I agree with her. Life is just too short and too sweet to spoil by playing dices.

The consequences are of an entirely different magnitude when it comes to love marriages in a society like ours which has been permissive of eloping for ages. It is usually not the responsibility of the parents to find suitable matches for their children. This is a great enough encouragement for the immature and susceptible minds to go astray and be distracted from their education and careers during their formative years.

They start running after the opposite sexes from very young ages. No one needs to be pointed out the consequences of this phenomenon in the deadly combination with poverty, lack of parental guidance, ineffective education system and unemployment. Because today's Manipur is the apotheosis of all these malaises: declining moral standards, rising school and college dropouts, lowering age at marriage, rise in militancy and other anti-social activities. And, which way is the current video music album movement leading the youth?

[The recent rape of a working girl from the Northeast in a moving car in Delhi is not the first such incidence. There have been so many other incidences before though the victims chose to shut up. Such incidences are not merely an expression of the xenophobic attitude or majoritarianism of the Mainland Indians or insecurity of the males with the liberated females.

Being liberated and independent, for most females, means wearing as scantily and as revealingly as possible and behaving in as provocative and shamelessly care free manners as possible--getting drunk and partying late night! Although there was a lot of hue and cry over an opinion by a Shiva Sena mouthpiece that "such women" invite rape, the statement is not entirely wrong. Such scantily clad women are seen as easy, because many times they are so.

What with the image of the Nepali girls, the Mainland Indians view the Northeast girls as easy sex toys. Other than the "easy" image, these girls offer themselves to the wealthy spoilt brats among the Mainstream Indians, only enhancing their stereotyped image. You will see many of these Manipuri and other NE girls in revealing outfits roaming around with those wealthy brats at odd hours, going to night clubs, and what not.

Not that the Mainland Indian girls don't have pre-marital affairs, only that the few who do have such relations know the limits. The image of our society these girls and their useless drug-peddling male counterparts (and the HIV prevalence!) project to the Mainstream Indians is one of a promiscuous society. And, who will be serious enough to marry an easy girl of a promiscuous society, and which parents will accept such girls as their daughters-in-law? It is a fact that almost none of those wealthy Mainland brats are serious about such girls. They just use them, and dump them when they are done with.]

On the other hand, in societies with the custom of arranged marriage, the youngsters need to and hence do concentrate on their careers and economic self-reliance, rather than running after the opposite sexes. The global success of the Mainland Indians today is mainly attributed to the Indian value system where discipline, and parental guidance and support through close parent-child relations are key features.

On a different note, scientists have long been of the opinion that the societies where arranged marriage is the rule are examples of eugenics in practice, since the selective factors that the parents apply when they choose matches for their children ensure that good genes are continuously and gradually pooled together. Anyway, maturity is marked by a calm intelligence and ability to manage oneself efficiently.

Intelligence is characterized by ability to judge what is right and what is wrong. Culture is nothing but discipline and decency. Our society needs to review our value systems. This is one context, where there is an absolute sense in aping the Mainland Indians.

Dr. Pahael M. Soibam (currently doing internship) contributes regularly to after a long break
The writer can be contacted at
This article was webcasted on 16th May 2005.

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