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Chickens coming home to roost?

July 12, 2009

I can’t help but be amused by Akal Takht’s recent denouncement of gay marriages. Amused not because of the religion versus homosexuality tussle, which is an age old issue, but because of relationship-related matters afflicting the Sikh community. Let me explain.

Akal Takht, the supreme Sikh body, has made its position clear: It will not let Gurdwaras solemnize gay marriages.Akal TakhtThe vociferous statement was fired in as a quick response to the Delhi High Court’s recent judgment that decriminalized homosexuality in the country. The Jathedar opined that the court’s judgment “will ruin the society” and Sikhs “should refrain from establishing gay relationships.” The sexuality issue draws attention to the larger gender issues endemic in the society. Here is my cause for amusement.

Given the alarming rate of female feticide and the low female to male ratio in Punjab, it is only a matter of time before the community runs out of brides for their grooms. The present times are already witnessing an onset of this situation, a ‘shortage’ of brides. So given such a state-of-affairs, what are the prospective grooms gonna do? Three options immediately jump to mind. The grooms could:

  1. Marry outside the community. However, this would again lead to an erosion of religious beliefs and practices. Hard to see Akal Takht being pleased with that.
  2. Remain single. But then Sikhism strongly advocates living a ‘grehasti jeevan’ or a house holder’s life. So by remaining single the Sikh bachelors would be leading lives that would, again, not be consonant with Sikh principles.
  3. Form relationships with each other. But Akal Takht is against gay relationships and will not allow Gurdwaras to solemnize gay marriages. So this too would have the Takht frowning again.

Ha ha. That would indeed leave Akal Takht in limbo, won’t it? Or perhaps, it is a signal to the community that there’s no easy way getting out of the hole it has been digging itself into: For all the lost female fetuses, the chickens are coming home to roost.

[update: I have received a couple of emails rightly taking me to task for the option #3 I suggested above. I agree that the point misrepresents homosexuality as a matter of choice, but I hope that the lightheartedness of this post does not belie the gravity of the issue of female feticide.

Also, in some earlier posts I do have acknowledged the role of Akal Takht speaking out against female feticide. However, the intensity of those efforts pale in comparison with that displayed in coming out against the Delhi Court’s verdict.]

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