‘Loving someone is a political activity’

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By Shahina KK

ART VALUES original thought. When Mohemed, a student at Thiruvananthapuram’s Fine Arts College, met Sreekala, a former student of the same institute, his heart chose to ignore the obvious barriers of religion and age. As their friendship deepened and trespassed into the realm of love, art reinforced their bonds. Sreekala, a student of history, chose to write her MPhil dissertation on images of women in Raja Ravi Varma’s art so that she could spend more time with Mohemed. They visited galleries and museums — savouring moments stolen under the pretext of work.

Eventually, the pair decided to tell their parents. Not given to original thinking like their children, Sreekala’s parents issued a lockdown on her activities — going so far as to accompany her to college for her final exams. Mohemed chose to distance himself from his family. “Sreekala has never visited my home. I kept a distance from my parents because I did not want them to be isolated from the community,” Mohemed recalls. A few months later, his mother found a job in Kozhikode, and on the couple’s insistence, moved in with them. It turned out her motives were maternal, not professional — she wanted to ensure the two did not feel lonely. “Loving somebody is a political activity” he says. “It has the potential to change the world.”


‘We were broke. My family issued death threats’

By Thufail PT

SUMERA AND Manas eloped two years ago. Manas Anthony, a Latin Catholic, and Sumera, a Dalit, had tried to keep their relationship secret, but failed. Running away from Palakkad was not that much of a success either. “I knew my father would be furious, but I never expected him to file a complaint against Manas,” says Sumera. They had no money but their friends helped and they earned a little. “What was terrifying was getting death threats from Sumi’s uncles — RSS workers!”

Sumi, 23, says, “I saw my mother only once after this drama began. She came to meet me when I had gone to the village to get my caste-certificate. I met my father on the road. I cried, apologised. But he was indifferent.” Though they celebrate their independence, their isolation sometimes haunts them. “Nowadays,” Sumi says, “I am alone, I don’t have anyone”. But, who can blame her? “She was not even invited for her cousin’s marriage last week,” says 24-year-old Manas. No wonder then that Sumi reiterates, “I was always a shy girl who obeyed my parents.” She worries they’ll never be accepted by society for having eloped. Sumi says disarmingly, “An arranged marriage is always good!”

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