Today’s youth are marrying frustrations
(New Indian Express, May 5, 2010)
By George Abraham
The conscience of Kerala was rudely shaken by a gruesome murder last week. The life of a newly wed couple ended in tragedy. The husband cut the throat of his wife in a fit of rage only six days after their marriage in a church where he was administered the solemn oath ‘to feed her even if he is hungry and clothe her even if he has nothing to wear’. They had also taken a vow, in the presence of a large gathering, including bishops and priests ‘to live together till death do them part as god had united them in holy matrimony’. The marriage was conducted in Thiruvalla and the tragedy occurred in Bangalore, where they worked; he (Bejoy Samuel) in an IT firm and she (Rajani) in another multinational company.
The reason for the murder was apparently trivial, but it is a malaise that runs deep through the entire spectrum of Kerala life. After lavish weddings where lakhs are spent or change hands in the form of dowry, especially among Christians, it takes little time for discordant notes to erupt in the couples’ lives. All the emotions they had suppressed, all the personality disorders they had developed in their growing years in a changing sociological milieu overtake them, resulting in painful consequences, including family discords, divorces, murders and suicides. Deep in their minds, it seems today’s youth are virtually marrying frustrations and tensions they have accumulated, and not real persons in flesh and blood.
It was a personality clash that led to the murder of Rajani. She was said to be drawing three times the salary of Bejoy, which annoyed him. And she did not feel the need to give him the due regard that he expected. Both belonged to well-off families and so there was no compromise, adjustment, care or love involved, the feelings essential for two individuals to live together. Bereft of tender emotions, like a successful professional, he finished her off with a knife after an argument in the flat where they had come to settle down from Kerala.
The divorce rate is growing in the state, but it is nowhere as fast as in the prosperous Syrian Christian community to which the families of the couple belong. This is admitted by the religious heads themselves, but it is doubtful whether they have attempted to look within and analyse the reasons. The spiritual heads are not setting the right examples to their followers. It is not spiritual welfare but material growth that they are working for. They build up enormous assets in the form of real estate, mansions and church buildings. Service to the poor and the suffering is only a token. And the youth find only masks of hypocrisy in religious places and they turn to other means: drugs, liquor and the forbidden fruit.
They are born into a highly competitive world where success at any cost is the motto of parents who promote selfishness, unrestricted freedom and indulgences of all kinds. Western culture and money from the Middle East too impact their lifestyles. It was only a few months ago that a Syrian Christian emigrant family in the US was wiped out by a relative over an argument about the design of the new house. The youth are driven by a thirst for success and fame without caring a bit for their cultural values and traditions. The fate of persons like Bejoy Samuel, who has landed in a Bangalore lock-up, should be a telling reminder of the dangers we are facing if we do not mend our ways.