On March 22, the day Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was making headlines for agreeing to present himself in front of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team to probe the 2002 Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat, I was attending a friend’s wedding. The friend, a computer engineer working with IBM, is a Hindu Brahmin from southern Tamil Nadu state. His bride, on the other hand, is from Allahabad, a historic north India town. And she’s Muslim. Their wedding was like most others one attends in the capital – lovely lights, great food, and nearly two hundred people bedecked in their sartorial best.
But, what got me thinking when I came home and watched our various news networks hold impassioned discussions on Modi, who scarily personifies all that can go wrong with Hindu-Muslim harmony, was that hopefully one day weddings like these will relegate men like Modi and their divisive politics to irrelevance.
Encouragingly, this wasn’t my first Hindu-Muslim wedding. In the last few years, I have celebrated a couple of such inter-religious marriages, all of good friends. Their weddings went off without a hitch (one friend in particular was on the edge throughout his wedding fearing a backlash from self-styled faith keepers), and with the blessings of families (who came around eventually) to validate the match. I meet these couples often and to me, there’s no extra nuance to the marriage on account of the different faiths.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Yes, these couples live in Delhi and enjoy the anonymity of a sprawling metropolis. Maybe things would not be as easy in small town Uttar Pradesh or in the interiors of Maharashtra. But then, didn’t the worst Hindu-Muslim riots take place in cosmopolitan Mumbai and seemingly ‘peace-loving’ Gujarat, also the home of Mahatama Gandhi? I don’t want to force connections here. But, on a day the wounds of the 2002 riots in Gujarat pricked us yet again, it was nice to be healed by these bonds of love.