Ask women what we want before banning conversions for and after marriage in India

Urmila Chanam
Posted November 17, 2020 from India
In my wedding dress with my father moments before I walked down the aisle in an old fashioned Christian wedding
In my wedding dress with my father moments before I walked down the aisle in an old fashioned Christian wedding in India.

Conversion at the time for marriage is being banned in India. This move seems to have been sparked off after an advertisement from Tanishq jewelry projected a Hindu- Muslim intermarriage which was met with stiff resistance from several segments of the society in India which alleged that a Hindu woman was shown in a Muslim husband’s family (Hindu-Islam conversion) and questioned if the same permisibility existed for Muslim women's conversion to Hinduism or other faith after marriage (Islam- Hindu or other faith). Caste, community and different faith intermarriage came to spotlight as a subject for national debate following which Tanishq withdrew the advertisement and gave a public apology.

When women get married, they believe in the union of body, heart and mind and do all they can to integrate into the life of her husband. I studied the Bible and got baptised after marriage, it was not just about my faith but wanting to believe in one thing together as man and woman and learning that the beliefs resonated with me much deeper than anything else before. We do many other things in the journey of love to build that foundation. Even though my marriage didn't last and I returned to the society which is largely Hindu, I have remained a Christian and raised my child in the same faith. If conversion for or after marriage was only about power play, hidden agendas and demography, I would have jumped on the first opportunity to disown my current faith. By choosing to remain a Christian even after separation should open people's eyes on how conversions for marriage are spirituality and relationship related decisions. By believing otherwise, people are only discrediting the wisdom of women and interfering in her agency to build her relationship with her God and her man.

Women can decide for themselves who they want to marry and what faith they want to practice. A policy to curb her freedom of choice in something as major as relationship, marriage and faith should not be considered without consulting women from all walks of life. Also, the motive of this move has to be questioned and discussed because the states that have decided to adopt this policy also happen to be states with a history of gender inequality.

 

This story was submitted in response to Share On Any Topic.

Comments 3

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Jill Langhus
Nov 18
Nov 18

Hello Urmila,

How are you doing, dear? Thanks for sharing this interesting challenge. I hear what you're saying, and agree, that women should be consulted before banning this practice. I love your wedding photo, by the way:-)

Hope you're well and having a good, safe week.

Hello, Urmila,

It is my first time to see a bride wearing a pink wedding dress. I love your bouquet, too! What a lovely bride you are. I agree. Women should be given the power and the right to choose their faith. This is freedom of choice indeed. Thank you for raising your voice on this issue.

Nini Mappo
Nov 19
Nov 19

Hello Urmila,
I have learnt something about the Indian society today. I find it concerning that religious conversion within a marriage should be a topic for public discussion requiring a public apology. I also find it interesting that conversion for/after marriage is also somewhat expected. But it's true that faith is a personal matter, and should remain so.