Maybe a lot of us would dismiss the 'Love Commandos' as jaded-by-work adults living out their university ideals. Love, freedom, etc. Some of us might light up for a second reading about them, before getting distracted by Shilpa Shetty’s baby-naming rituals.
The BBC report, which talks about Love Commandos, a now ten-year-old outfit which attempts to ‘protect’ lovers who have married against their families’ consent, concludes saying 40 per cent of Indians are below 18 years old. And love is a war a lot of them can’t be hiding from for too long.
When you read about Sanjoy Sachdeva, a Love Commando, who has spent the last ten years ‘rescuing’ lovers, you’re tempted to pat his back. The group's operations cost not less than Rs 2.5 lakh a month and while the report says nothing about how many lovers they have rescued and how, it does narrate a perfectly filmistory of Rajveer and Madhuri, childhood sweethearts who fled the clutches of their Jat families to tie the knot. Sachdeva hopes, children like theirs, will grow up to be ‘free’ individuals and bring down the caste system.
The BBC story likens the Commandos’ ‘secret shelters’ to broom closets. ‘It had all the charm of a broom closet. But in India, where falling in love is a provocative social and political statement, a safe broom closet can come in very handy,’ it says.
The Love Commandos, according to the report, are a group of journalists and businessmen. While generalisations can be risky, we can assume they can at least claim relatively hassle-free access to machineries of democracy – police, media, support groups etc. So, why would their ‘shelters’ be secret? And how long, really, can these lovers secured by ‘secrecy’, live anonymous lives? While it might be practical to hit the dugout in the face of fire, how long can one possibly live a ‘war’ – the way the Commandos describe it? Isn’t it a little braver to dig your feet into the ground and claim the rights of living in a free country?
The Delhi-based Love Commandos' Facebook page has 500 members. Yet, Rajveer, after he eloped with Madhuri was beaten up and left for dead, his house attacked a few days later. Police registered a complaint after some pursuing but no arrests have been made yet. They’re happy still. They’re in love after all.
However, isn’t this a ‘war’ better fought head-on and not in hiding? Or from the comforts of an interesting Facebook ‘fan’ page?
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