The Unacceptably High Price Of Love

Couples who wish to marry under the Special Marriage Act must serve a 30-day notice during which their personal details are on public display. This violates their privacy and leaves many vulnerable to parental and community reprisal.

Courtesy: The Indian Express

In October last year soon after ‘S’ informed the district magistrate’s office in Lucknow that she wanted to get married under the Special Marriage Act (SMA), she received an unexpected invitation at home: to visit the local police station.

The police met her, her partner and her father to conduct an ‘inquiry’. Why get married in court? Was the father ok with her decision? Fortunately for ‘S’, he was, even though the Act does not require parental permission, only consenting adults.

“In Uttar Pradesh it is routine to call couples and often their parents to the police station, particularly in cases of inter-religious marriages,” said Lucknow-based lawyer Renu Mishra.

Enacted in 1954, the SMA was for those who wished to marry outside their religion’s personal laws and customs, caste and, often, parental consent.

On social media, facts are less than sacred

All of us with smartphones are now publishers of our own stories on social media, consuming, sharing, forwarding often to groups that think and feel like us. The truth must be out there, somewhere. But when we have a yarn to spin, does it really matter?

The great truth about social media, it used to be said, was that it provided an alternative to mainstream media. Traditional media were almost pathologically biased against the BJP, or so went conventional rightwing lore, and, therefore, social media would right a historical wrong and open up a democratic space with ordinary citizens driving the narrative.

There is much that is wrong with old media. Paid news, where advertisers purchase news space, for instance. But the alternative narrative seldom, if ever, dwells on this. Instead, a vast spin factory that straddles geography, language, gender and, now, even ideology has come together to obscure the meaning of ‘truth’. Continue reading “On social media, facts are less than sacred”

We live disconnected lives as our connection to virtual world increases

Some call this an age of mass distraction. I pick up my phone to make a call and before I know it I’m swirling down the rabbit hole of pings and updates, phone call quickly forgotten only to be substituted by a hastily remembered text message much later. I struggle with information overload. That guy whose book I read and loved six months ago? I need to Google his name.

Even if you haven’t read Andrew Sullivan’s longish article called “I Used to be a Human Being” in New York Magazine, chances are you might recognise his Internet addiction.

Sullivan, an author, editor and blogger, talks about his “personal crash” following years of what he calls a web obsessive lifestyle, publishing and updating blog posts multiple times, seven days a week.

The rewards were a profitable new media business, an audience of 100,000 people a day and a “niche in the nerve center of the exploding global conversation”. Yet, as his health began to suffer, as vacations became occasions for catching up with sleep, and as “the online clamor became louder”, he realized, “This new way of living was actually becoming a way of not-living.” Continue reading “We live disconnected lives as our connection to virtual world increases”