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Dr. Jernail S. Anand


Love, affection, liking, and indifference – these are feelings which are aroused when we think of other members of the family, or our social circle, and very specifically, when we are thinking of a love-partner, or a partner for life.


Love is an extreme term, which has confused mankind and nowadays, it has reduced itself to a anti-verb, [opposite of a proverb], i.e. a word, which is used in the society as a negative term. Something to be disowned and thrown off. We have often looked upon love pairs like Heer Ranjha, Sassi Punnu and even Romeo and Juliet not with any sense of acceptance. They appear to us to belong to a world to which we do not belong not anybody wants to belong.  And we listen to their tales as if they are from another planet, where people love, and we live on a planet on which people do not believe in this passion.


Lovers of old times were emotional extremists, who had come to the conclusion that their tragic love affair was a happy nightmare for them. Nothing existed beyond or behind it. Under or above it. There was no point to think of any compromise. In fact, compromise is the greatest betrayal in love. Compromise for what? Can you make a choice between life and death? This world, in which extremes have been diluted, and everything has been subjected to diplomacy, there are no extreme situations. Because love in the previous times believed in extremities, it has ceased to exist in the present scenario. Now, there are softer versions of love. The most largely used version of it is ‘like’, followed by ‘understanding’ ‘accommodating’ and ‘tolerating.’.  All these situations actually are an assault on love, and they force people to come down and accept an inferior position.  Like is no substitute for love in traditional terms. Can we say: Heer liked Ranjha, and Ranjha liked Heer?  Can the word  ‘like’ describe the relationship between Mirza and Sahiban? They all had been fed on a very hard dose of love, and if it had been a mere ‘like’, nobody would have opted for extreme situations, like being killed in the war, or Ranjha would not have left his lands, and become a monk. Would you like if the story had been like this: that Heer, after finding herself in an uncompromising situation, finally decided to settle with Saida? The hard core love does not admit such denouement nor such dilution of passion.


But nowadays, ‘love’ as a passion is on the decline. Love among the parents has taken wing. Love among siblings is nearly non-existent. Rather, it has been replaced by hatred and a feeling of competition. Father mother who should love each other, and their  offspring like birds, are too busy putting their lives together, and children have to be content with Ayas, and Day Care Centres. They have replaced family love. Kitchen too has been mortgaged to fast food.  Why should the woman cook? Dead are the women who cooked for the love of their husbands and kids. And that society too, which lived in villages or mandis [market towns]. Skyscrapers and BHKs have no space for old men, and no uncle or aunty visits these people for fear they have no extra space to house them for the night.


Life is now on a shoe-strings budget. Cut short from all sides. And what has suffered the most is the feeling of love. It was a part of the living pattern of the people, but it is now all competition and compromise. When we see matrimonials, for marriage, we give prominence to ‘like’, ‘preference’ and when we are to tie the knot, the focus again is  not on ‘love’ – which is non-existent in such cases – rather on ‘compatibility’, ‘understanding’ ‘compromise’ and ‘tolerating each other’.  If we think of love, such relationships would be out of question. But, ‘love’ has become extinct in its pristine form. Even those who ‘love’ and then, run away, and get married, their love too waters down soon, when they have to suffer economic hardships. This society does not give any safe passage to ‘love’.  It is considered ‘dangerous’ and if it happens between two people belonging to different religious backgrounds, hell is let loose.


Why tick hell in the beginning of your career. Love? No. Boys and girls are brought up for the softer versions of love. They can like a girl or a boy. They can prefer one over the other. They can accommodate if they do not like someone. The final round takes them to compatibility. It is not a case of two human beings coming together, it is a case of two backgrounds mingling together.


Our system of marriage too is not based on love. We believe that once the knot is tied, it is unbreakable. Then, they will have to live together, whether they love each other or not. They like each other or not. Even if every one knows morning and evening, they are fighting, still the wise parents, tell their daughter  to tolerate all the assaults and insults but stay in the house.


Is it life? And this is the life 80 percent of couples are leading.. Incompatible partners make life hell. And they are putting it along, somehow, without bothering how it is harming the mental development of their sons and daughters.


One more aspect needs serious introspection on the part of all the stakeholders. Love or no love, they are forced into marriage. We have seen the consequences of such marriages. Still, we have not learnt anything from our past. The young men who are running to Canada, do they understand what it means to marry a person whom you do not love? It is commerce. It is business. Marriage becomes a business. What a fall!


I want to throw some light on how the life of those people picks on who are forced into loveless marriages. It rarely happens that they start loving their prison. They are bruised at heart. Here is how a young man is launched on the journey of life. When he is 13 or 15, he gets a heightened sense of the opposite gender. Most of the students are busy in love games and learning is a peripheral activity. That is why, only ten percent get 90 percent and above marks while majority of students in any class up to M.A., pass the examinations securing 40 to 60 percent marks. They are average because of the male or female interest in their lives. When they decide to marry someone while studying in PG classes, family scuttles their plans. Caste, religion, social status.. so many issues crop up. Now, they are forced to marry men or women they have no liking for. Enormous amounts of money are spent. Very soon, due to contrasting outlooks on life, they reach the police station.  If they are separated, they would be wiser and may go for men or women of their choice. But if they are tricked into carrying on their marriage, now, it is drudgery. Very soon they get a son or a daughter and an Indian young man of thirty five, is seen taking them to school or bringing them back.


I want to focus on just one question. Do we think that a young man or a woman  should get education, get a job, get married, and then start producing kids, taking care of them?  For a majority of them, this is the social map. And they are following it. We think that life comes to an end when you get married. This is a tragic situation. Because we make no allowance for creativity, imagination, innovation, and doing things for the future of mankind. No young man has such orientation. This makes our country all the more poor, because we are deprived of youthful passion for creativity which  is lost in targeted education, job and, finally,  marriage, or it is frittered away in joblessness and consequent despair.


Love is an extreme virtue, and highest of all, and it is based on self-sacrifice. We do not like it because self-sacrifice is something which is not a cherished theme of anybody’s life nowadays. Therefore, all other choices fall in line. And, below this high pedestal, life is mediocre, average, and that is why, we do not find highest levels of creativity and perfection in the life of general mass. Yes, if you see anyone riding the crest and moving upward, he is essentially alone. And loves himself and his passion. Family disperses a person’s concentration. But it is not so, if things are bred in love. Love is no compulsion. Love is no forced union. Love is a voluntary passion, an affection, which winds have for the leaves, and eyes possess for beauty. If we can live life on this elemental scale, we can find the world a better place to live.


Dr Jernail Singh Anand, is President of the International Academy of Ethics. He is author if 161 books in English poetry, fiction, non-fiction, philosophy and spirituality. He was awarded Charter of Morava, the great Award by Serbian Writers Association, and his name was engraved on the Poets’ Rock in Serbia.

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