Is falling in with someone of a different faith acceptable in our culture?
When we look at inter-racial couples and couples from two different religions what are our immediate thoughts? Are they thoughts such as ‘how did their parents accept this?’ or do they veer more towards ‘how will they bring up their children?’ Not many people stop to think that this Muslim girl and Hindu boy just happened to fall in love without thinking about the consequences.
I come from a Hindu Gujarati family and in our family we have a number of mixed-race and inter-religion couples. Hindu and Sikh, White and Asian and Hindu and Muslim. My mum herself has said she wouldn’t mind me marrying a white guy. One of the things that really makes me look at the mixed-couples in my family in awe is the embracing nature that they and their families have towards each other’s families, from weddings to births to funerals. Even growing up, until about the age of 17 I didn’t even have Asian friends so the thought of marrying a non-Asian wasn’t an unknown concept to my head. However it hasn’t been the case for my other Asian friends growing up. Many were only allowed to marry someone of the same religion and even someone from a different caste was not acceptable! Growing up I also met a number of people who fell in love with someone, that person who was their soulmate, however due to the pressures of society, are not strong enough to fight against their families to be with the person they love.
But how can we transform perceptions of the older generations and make a change?
Frankly, it’s going to be hard no matter what anyone says to get acceptance but small steps will help to make the future a more loving and generally a place where mixed couples are accepted more. The two people who connect mentally, emotionally and with the same values but are kept apart just because they have been born into families who pray to a different God should fight this fate.
However I think times are slowly changing..
Increasingly I see couples of different faiths and races falling in love and living happily ever after. It makes my heart burst with pride because it shows we are moving forward and not staying in the past. However, even in 2015, not everyone is so lucky. There are hundreds of families in the Asian community who don’t accept that we are in the 21st century and will put up so many barriers that it becomes impossible for many prospective and perfect for each other couples to be together.
Patience is the key to this.
Ultimately many families are perhaps going to find it hard to accept that their son are daughter are going to settle with a different life partner than what they had imagined. Having one person in your family that will help win the rest of your family over is always going to be the first step to acceptance. Initially introducing your partner as a friend is also going to be a nice little step to take. This way they can get to know them without the pressures of ‘formally’ introducing them.
When you finally do tell your parents explain they need to put everything aside because it isn’t about religion at all. It’s about love. Just because two people happen to pray to different Gods (if they are practicing) doesn’t mean they can’t love and respect each other. A relationship works not because of someone’s race or religion it is because they want the same things in life; they share goals and ambitions. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, yellow, green or brown! What matters is embracing each other’s cultures, each other’s values and each other’s faiths. Inter race/faith relationships work on the same basis as any other relationship. Love, understanding, acceptance and above all, love.
Guest Blog By Priya Mulji