Amreen and Lokesh

Amreen and Lokesh once lived in Phaphunda, a wretched village in Northern India, but they are dead now.  In Phaphunda, the headman and the village councilors are still free, but they ought to be in prison.

Amreen was Muslim and Lokesh was Hindu.  Since love does not respect differences of religion, the two fell in love.  And since they were in love, they married.  Then the headman and village council intervened.  They told the couple they had a choice: Either annul their marriage or die.

In Phaphunda, a Muslim and a Hindu are not allowed to marry.  The penalty for marriage is death.

To escape the sorrow of separation from each other, the couple did not wait to be murdered — they committed suicide.

It’s true this sort of thing happens the world over.  That is, there are people everywhere in the world who make it their business to tell folks who they can and cannot love.

If it isn’t the despicable headman of Phaphunda telling a couple they cannot love each other because they are of different religions, it is the equally despicable James Dobson of Colorado Springs telling a couple they cannot love each other because they are of the same sex.

Only the names and reasons change.  The meddling remains the same.

So far as I can see, society has no right to tell people who they can and cannot love, nor who they can and cannot marry.


India’s Romeo and Juliet Tragedy

10 thoughts on “Amreen and Lokesh

  1. Surely you are correct. Yet unless Amreen and Lokesh could not leave Phaphunda, IMO their choice oughtn’t be applauded. If they could not leave Phaphunda because of intimidation or duress, then *that* surely is the real crime. If they left, they could work towards ravelling Phaphunda’s crooked leaders. Given their choice, there’s nothing to keep them from intimidating another Amreen and Lokesh some day. Do you think Phahunda’s leadership respond to blog posts?


  2. That’s a very good point, Ekzept. Their decision should not be applauded — especially if they were free to leave the village. Yet, I do not hold the headman and village council any less guilty.


  3. @Paul,

    “Yet, I do not hold the headman and village council any less guilty.”

    They are greatly guilty, the murder of lives and dreams, whether or not A&L committed suicide.

    They have much to answer for, although I believe they think their Deity will back them. Ezra did it, too, on the return from Captivity.


  4. You are absolutely right about the principle. The Phaphundian authorities are guilty of creating the circumstances that lead to the death of the two lovers. But maybe, just maybe, they could have left, even in the dark of night, to live their love. And that was their call which does not absolve the headman nor the councillors.
    Just remember that in India, remote villages still burn widows and practice honor killings even though both are now illegal throughout the country.


  5. Tales like these are commonplace in India. Every few weeks, there’s a story on similar lines on TV. Variations are not just of religion, but even caste.

    Also, please remember that it is not easy for Indian villagers to make a decision to run away from their home. Home is where many generations have lived on farming, where they own their ancestral land. The only option is to go to cities, where they can’t get a job, and usually have to resort to begging and living on the pavements.


  6. Mahendra’s post is illuminating and saddening. The largest and most populous democracy on earth is still struggling with Castes and Pariahs and several thousand gods. I read that some US and Canadian entrepreneurs are complaining that there are so many Holidays and religious observances that it offsets, on the long run, the economic advantages supposedly linked to moving production and outsourcing to India.
    Of course the situation with Pakistan and Kashmir does not help either.


  7. @PC Despite working in IT in India for many years, I had not heard this claim before, so thanks for the information. Indian companies are better off handling holidays because they know which holidays are important to which local states. In any case, the number of holidays in India is on the higher side compared to US. But unlike Europe, where one-month sabbaticals are common, there are none in India.

    So overall, the cost advantage doesn’t diminish purely because of holidays. But this is digressing from the topic.

    Yes, we are still struggling with the injustices of organized religions. I just vented out some of my frustration in my last post on religion vs. gender equality. It is especially frustrating for an atheist like me living in such a deeply religious country.


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