Growing up in India can be an overwhelming experience. The sheer amount of diversity and traditional facets often defines one’s life here. And being a young adult in India, the first thing the traditions decide is the notion of your marriage. As soon as you grow up you are inadvertently coerced to earn a source of income and then marry a suitable life partner. This notion always bothered the curious mind of Sapna Kedia who thought that the youth should come out and explore the issues of marriages and relationships.
Belonging to a Marwari community, Sapna was raised in Nepal. After completing her post-graduation from Delhi, Sapna worked as a governance researcher and worked on various issues like gender, health, e-governance, etc. This work exposed her to a different aspect of the society. After having worked in this sector for five years, she joined a fellowship called Pratiti conducted by People for Parity. Apart from finding exposure to a lot of people from the LGBT community, she also met many who have been making different choice like a live-in relationship, being a single parent, etc.
Sapna, however, says that the fire had always been there within her in context to the distorted idea we had of marriages. It was disturbing to see that people were apprehensive of marriage. Questions like why marriages curb the freedom of women or force them to change their whole identities had always troubled her. So, she started on her journey to meet young people, talk to them about their choices regarding relationships and compile them in a documentary. She focused on the urban middle class youth and interviewed about their thoughts on marriage.
For her promising work she was nominated by Pratiti for Unmanifesto which was a nationwide campaign initiated by CYC- PRAVAH and supported by UNFPA in the year 2014 and was run for a period of 3 months in 2015. With the objective of engaging youth participation in the political process, bringing social inclusion and effectively involving government bodies for a change, this campaign ran across 20 states and Union Territories of the country. The film she was working on got a platform on Unmanifesto It jumped from a small circle of friends to an esteemed council of public representatives. The public representative found her take on the issue extremely fresh and revealing.
Her subjects for the film are mostly the ones who chose a different path to define their relationship ideas. This included live-in couples, LGBT couples, women past the “so-called” marriageable age and still happily single and couples who were redefining set gender roles in their marriage. Some of them had been successful in convincing their parents while others had to keep their choices hidden. However, the fact that a big number of youth is making unconventional choices to seek happiness gives Sapna hope while also broadening her limitations regarding relationships.
Under the Unmanifesto campaign, Sapna understood that the stereotypical ideologies about marriage can only be reformed with the new choices being made by the youth.
Sapna owes to unManifesto the understanding that it has given her on the issue. She says, “All you need is a fire in your belly, the rest takes shape on its own. This is what meeting so many young adults who are making not-so-traditional choices has taught me.”
Story by : Disha Malviya
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