05 May 2009

Beyond borders, caste, religion - finding hope and sustenance to live and let live.

He is an Anglo. She is a Hindu - of the Vaisyas caste. (I do not know the sub caste. I did not know such a thing existed until 10 years ago.) They got married under the special marriage act when they lived in India. They currently live in the US and are raising their children in the suburbs.

They go to church. Their children go to Sunday school at the community protestant church. She used to sing “bhajans “on the All India Radio while she lived in India. Jehovah Witness is breaking down their door.

His parents do not like the fact that their son’s wife is not an anglo.His parents likes the grandsons brown hair. But they do not like the brown skin of their daughter-in-law.

Her siblings are not happy that she is leaning towards the church. She still sings bhajans at Indian functions here. When they go to India she goes to the temples in the surrounding places trying to explain temple architecture to her children.

She was not raised eating meat or fish as per religious norms,and continues doing so for practical reasons. However the husband cooks meat and the children are taught not to mix serving spoons when they eat family meals. (Buffet styled).

When they are vacationing and when the husband and kids want to eat meat, they split going to different restaurants,(if it is not available in the same restaurant) taking one kid along with them. she also makes ham and cheese sandwiches for the kids lunch.

Medical schools and some ivy leagues have raised the bar for Asian students so she has checked the box – white for her kid at school.She says Christians say something and do something else! She also says she loves Christ. Go figure.

Thanks Manju for pointing us Parkinsons law of trivality.


Ordinary Guy said...

:) as confusing as it may seem, it is a beautiful relationship :)

if it was me, i would the child up as both a hindu and christian..... :P

manju said...

Anrosh, your friends seem to have solved their problem in their own way. If it works for them, it's okay.

Inter-caste marriages in India do have similar problems, but they are quite common nowadays- at least in the cities.

As you have described it though, they do seem to spend a lot of time working out the logistics. I hope they do not miss the woods for the trees.

Smitha said...

Anrosh, This kind of marriages come with a lot of issues, so I really think that they seem to be doing their best to work around things:) Whatever works for them.. Not an easy task.. I know from personal exp how difficult things can be even if you don't have an inter-religion but inter-region marriage... Whatever works for them..

Solilo said...

I think your friends are doing pretty good.

BTW I had a post about Jehovah Witness which is still in my draft. My experiences with them and once when I finally slammed the door on them. I told them to never come back and if they do then I will make them read Ramayan.

They never came back. It was gutsy on my part because we live in a 99.9% White community and that is only Non-Caucasian in the entire community. Peanut goes to a school which has just 2 Indian kids (inclusing Peanut), 3-4 Chinese and 1 Half-Black.

I LOVE this place because people are very close and helpful. In future though we will move to a bigger city because we want to raise Peanut in a diverse city.

Indyeah said...

Your friends are doing fine I think..they have come up with their own solutions and I think its fine..a little confusion is but natural...about lkeaning this way or thta...but I would say that their kids are getting the right upbringing...

the kids (in my opinion)should be allowed to grow up without any religious affiliations per se...and later the kids can decide when they grow up as to what they want to do...

Anrosh said...

OG -- i had written a lot about this in indyeah's blog and at india retold blog -- why india is not secular ? This was just a case i cited --I know many examples like this.

Manju -- Bombay is the best place to stay for interreligious marriage -- in small towns in india we are constantly bombarded with many questions and in the US we lead a normal life.

Smitha, what is interregion ?--never heard of this before.

solilo - about jehovah witness. i had to tackle them when i was in bombay. i was waiting at bandra station for a friend and somebody came towards me asking some questions. since i had read about them i asked them their identity and just like you i pulled the bible out of my bag and thrust it forward to them -- they said thankyou and left. (i never carry bible with me, but i don't why that day i did)

i think small towns in the suburbs face this problem. my friend says they are good people -- my only answer was they are sheeps in wolves clothing

indyeah -- let me give u another example when our closest family friend married a sikh girl ( a very successful lawyer) - her first son who was 3-4 months who faced liver problems was admitted in the hospital. the doctors gave up -- her son lives today and have passed class x. she said, it is because of her prayers. her life turned. people accept certain faiths because it works for them --

do you know there are jews who belive that christ, the messiah has already come ( orthodox jews would call them blasphemous) they are called messionic jews -- i was very surprised to hear this.

i know of numerous interreligious marriages - bombay and its suburbs are full of them.

one thing that i have noticed is -- the families are uncomfortable with it. but the couples are not. most of these women are very strong women - some not even changing their last names or simply adding their husbands.
they still have their likes and dislikes and their better halves support them. they are more tolerant , yet draw laxman rekhas for certain issues in their own personal life.

relatives and friends condemen them for changing their faiths --
but as you all said if it works for them it works for them. isn't that the first reason that they got married :)

Thank You guys -- I know this issue is uncomfortable to many -.

people have all kinds of reasons for their faith - if they can lead a peaceful life and not bring up a talwar everytime we will have a peaceful society -- but that ain't going to happen isn't it -- but i still like the utopian world i live in -- and i will raise a glass of champagne to everybody who have left their comments here and will leave their comments here henceforth - especially for this post -- i will always agree to disagree/agree as may be the case -- that is why a blog --- thanks very much

Vinod_Sharma said...

We have a similar couple in our extended family, the girl being an Anglo.She lived with highly religious but very liberal Brahmin in-laws till their death recently and their two daughters have grown up very nicely, Hindu as well as Christian, not something that you would find normally well harmonised.

And yes, here too, getting into St Stephen's was facilitated by the Christian link!

Anrosh said...

yes vinod -- may many such families increase.

Smita said...

Inter Religion/ caste marriages always come with a heavy adjustment factor but then which relationship doesn't???

It is all about being in sync or clear of your priorities and your frenz score on that front no??

Nice one!!

Indian Homemaker said...

Some of my very close friends have such families. In one case, the Christian husband has played Holi/Diwali with us, and their children follow both the religions, the mother - a Hindu is a staunch vegetarian, and survives on rice and curd when she visits his purely non vegetarian family - one Son is also pure vegetarian by choice.

It's good to see such families Anrosh.

Anrosh said...

you got that right Smita, which relationship doesn't.

IHM, Of course Who doesn't want to play holi - and diwali. And "Til gul gya godd, godd bola"? My brother plays the brahmin in the family -"No meat and No fish either" since he was 4 years old".
And when the parents come to visit - accomodate their wishes too for a few days. Who doesn't want to see the million dollar smile on their parent's faces. Parents want their children to be happy, but they are too scared of the society's 'talk behind the back.'

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