Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Welcome to the new Talibanistan - the erstwhile Hindustan!!

Welcome to our rechristened country - Talibanistan. We're carrying the baggage of the oldest religion and culture and hence we better abide by all the norms and regulations laid by our ancestors. Looks like our predecessors even decided whom to have sex with and whom to marry. So oldest form of pleasure known to mankind may not be a free stuff in India. At least there's some consolation that if you're not a Hindu then you have lesser restrictions and can choose from a bigger set of people to have sex with. Hindus have to find out if the girl (or guy - depending on your sex and orientation) is from the same Gotra or village!! Many more things may come up. Couples with many other commonalities (may be same state, or same district) may also be gradually disallowed to have sex legally!! And we've a US returned business grad, a scion of a big business house in India and a young politician justifying the need of a law for disallowing Hindus marrying someone you love even if he/she happens to be a 100th generation descendant of a common ancestor.

The people, in favor of passing a law against Hindus marrying within the same Gotra - the mythical lineage of people supposedly descending from the same ancient Aryan sage - point out vociferously to the genetic disorders resulting from inbreeding and marrying a cousin. My friend Vikas pointed me to the linked documents about inbreeding. That's correct. Inbreeding may lead to several disorders, but the probability of inbreeding reduces exponentially when the relation becomes distant. Even for 2nd cousin it's only 0.7%. So if separated by a few generations, the chance of inbreeding is almost zero. So the scientifically disallowing marriage within the same Gotra and same village stuff don't hold good.

And hey, we're talking about people descending from Kashyap, Bhrigu, Angiras, Kanva, Vashishtha etc, who themselves may not be historical characters or even if they are then they might have been alive at least 4000 years ago - going by the most latest dating of Rig Veda, putting it to 1500BC. People sometimes date Rig Veda to 3000BC or even more - so that makes these people alive some 5000 years back. C'mon, statistically the chance of inbreeding is ZERO among their descendants after so many years!!

Just some 100 years ago my and Trinita's great grand parents used to stay in the same village named Goila in what is now Bangladesh. My marriage would be now in rocks, not because I'm sleeping with some other girl, but because I have been sleeping with my 'sister' !! Shit - I'm incestuous.

Mukesh makes a few great points here:

The point is should people be allowed take law into their hands to punish what they perceive as incorrect ?

You can pass laws to administer it, e.g. in Karnataka cow slaughter is being banned. So now administration can legally enforce it (whether this is good or bad is a different issue. One man's meat is being made all men's poison !)

To prevent genetic defects we now have genetic coding/typing (Hope I got it right ! supposed to become big business in future !). Or will people be against it because it may bring out unpalatable truths ! (discovery that you have genes of some forefather, whose genes you should not be having !) In my community [Mukesh hails from Coorg], when some folks went for this, it created quite a furore. The reason being apprehension that the 'Islamic' part of genes in the community might pop up (Chengis Khan has the highest gene foot print in the world). After all our traditional dress does resemble the Omani traditional dress and Muthanna (My Kodava/Coorgi name) is a very popular name in Iraq ! Though my biggest concern is that the radicals in both the communities (Hindu and Muslim) may get together, arrive at a compromise and ban both beef and pork ! What no pandhi curry ? (The point is but than we eat pork !).

The sad part is that we lose the logic of the ritual and continue with the ritual even though it is no longer valid. E.g., some opinions I had heard was that Islam banned pork because pork is the meat which spoils quickest in desert conditions (The theory about pigs being un clean went out of the window with the mad cow disease and farmers using sewage water to grow "kothamari soppu"). Green is Islam's colour because in the desert there are hardly any plants/trees. So green is to be revered and preserved.

So while first cousin marriages (you can marry father's sisters' kids or mother's brothers' kids) and uncle niece (guys marrying their sister's daughter) are 'kosher' in certain communities in South India (any research here ?), you can get killed for being in the same village and getting married, up North!.

There is a big debate within my community about inter caste marriages (folks are married into all communities). While one opinion is that our population is dwindling because of this the contrary opinion is that the gene pool is getting stronger (unlike the Parsis, apparently). While folks are going ahead and doing what they want to do some of the fiercest opponents of inter caste marriages had to bite the dust and have turned around to become over night supporters of inter caste marriages when their kids married out of the community (including my uncle whose son married a Gujju behn !).

Yes. It is about politics, power and wealth and nothing else.

Actually why blame only the Jat Khaps who want to ban same-Gotra marriage among Hindus? Why not blame the TamBram guys? How many cases have you heard where an Aiyer is marrying an Ayenger? For that matter, have you checked the entries in the Indian matrimony sites? There are more fields for castes, Gotras, clan, lineage etc than education, hobbies etc. How many parents marry without checking horoscope?

I think the problem is there in all places in some form. Unless we put a check, we're no better than the Talibans.

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