DDLJ: The diplomacy that doesn’t work for many Rajs and Simrans of India

Television shows are celebrating the 1000th week of the movie, ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’. The movie holds a record for running till date in a movie theatre of Mumbai, Maratha Mandir. This was a movie when released 19 years back, was loved by different genre for different reasons. Many teenagers, now grown-ups, have fond memories of their life moments attached to this movie. They mostly loved the budding romance part that they could relate to in the movie. The older generation loved that the movie upholds Indian cultural values and sets an example that love need not bypass it and undermine its importance. Now that the movie has earned some historic value I thought I need to analyse its relevance to real life and see what exactly are we celebrating. Is it a case story, a reel life though, in which love triumphs? or in which love triumphs but not before ensuring everyone is happy, especially the elders of the family?  

Imagine a Khap Panchayat in place of Amrish Puri, the antagonist of the movie, and think if it is possible to win its heart to let a certain Raj and Simran marry. How can one apply the tactics used in the movie to convince their parents or this Khap Panchayat if Raj and Simran belong to different castes/ different religions/ different mother tongues/ same gotra or, or, or they want a terrible, terrible thing like to just live in together? I.e., without getting murdered promptly after expressing their intentions. I want to add LGBT community to the above list of objectionable matrimonial alliances, but their right to love doesn’t exist according to the last year Supreme Court ruling!!!

If Raj and Simran are not honourably murdered then they get to live a life full of soured relations with their prior-to-marriage dear ones. Soured relations is a minor mental harassment compared to a total boycott by the community cast upon the couple’s families. Then the Newton’s third law of rippling takes place and the parents pass this torture to the couple by cutting-off ties or disowning them to prevent inheriting properties, or even family titles. Few fortunate couples can be forgiven for their sin with time, yes, but a sin it was, better get that. Such a marriage not working is an assertion to ‘we-told-you-so’ and a lesson for others in the clan. 

‘DDLJ’ was the first movie that highlighted a certain feature of the life of NRI. It brought to notice that not all NRI comfortably adjust with life at foreign shores. However, this inability to cope with different environment has been wrongly named as patriotism. Some of the people who leave for abroad take with them their version of India, a highly regressive one, then preserve it from getting affected by the geography there, and live in a place which is beyond recognisable as India for Indians too.  We here in the mean time have done away with many of  rituals to suit to the new times. It was new for me that a Simran there with a British citizenship was so helpless since she was nurtured to the adulthood with the everyday dose of ‘Indian culture’ and subjected to emotional blackmailing by the parents. There, in the heart of a first world country, she needs approval of  her father for every other small decisions. This is because the world around her, full of western culture, is evil! We really need to challenge this superiority complex harboured in the name of patriotism that we have a copyright  to  emotions, motherhood, justice and so on. On the contrary,  our emotions dry up very fast and we don’t understand a mother’s love a bit if the child is born out-of-wedlock or while getting rid of female foetuses, and our sense of justice doesn’t  stand up against either nepotism or  prejudices for other castes and religion. 

What things can justify murdering your children? I have tried to think on it whenever I read a new honour-murder story in the newspaper. Is it like a right to pull out  a thriving plant you planted because later you decided it grew and spread in wrong direction against your expectation? Could it be as easy as that?

Why an individual’s right to choose life partner granted by our Indian constitution is not respected enough? Why the ‘Bhartiya Sanskriti’ thinks an 18-year-old is mature enough to vote in an election but not enough to have a say in his/her marriage? Just why the elders can’t keep away from matrimonial business of their children unless asked to help? Why a youth’s important decision making opportunity stolen from him? Aren’t we continuously manufacturing a society full of people who never learned to trust their judgement and take responsibilities because they believed their parents know the best?

The message of the movie, or a belief  passed down to us in the name of culture, is that it is wrong to question older generation or traditions or  at least not vigorously shake them. This has been one of a deceptive but successful ploy that has made us a numb society today. If old methods of living weren’t rethought, reshuffled and rearranged, we could not be holding on to today’s technology that we term progress. Sadly, the need to recheck social beliefs, unlike technology, is always discouraged with terminology like disrespect to elders and dishonouring of older values.

We need that our culture also inhabits the idea to respect  newer generations of the society. That, their ways and thinking are not devils plan to rule the world. They are experimenting with world and they have as much right as the older genre.  And sometimes this needn’t be told with a sugar-coating, especially dealing with rules that deny someone a right to live, and a dignified one at that!

The movie pampered people who fear losing family values but don’t flinch much on loss of human values. It is a politically correct movie. But our political correctness in not correct enough.

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