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Siblings living as man and wife

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Siblings Living As Man and Wife. Humanity in the course of its journey of thousands of years of civilization has been a witness to every conceivable...

Humanity in the course of its journey of thousands of years of civilization has been a witness to every conceivable form of sex relationship, sex sans taboos before the emergence of family as an organised institution and even later

What should a woman and her spouse do if they discover suddenly seven years after their married life that they are biological sister and brother? The answer to the query is at the end of the piece. Adriana, a 39-year-old cosmetic saleswoman, and Leandro, a 37-year-old truck driver, have been living together in Brazil, as man and wife, and they have a six-year-old daughter.

The episode of the married siblings in Brazil raises certain fundamental issues about the concepts of incest and promiscuous sex relationships between the opposite sexes. For instance, can incest cease to be incest in case of conjugal relationships which happen accidentally? But the crux of the problem is whether such a marital relationship should be broken or continued when the unpalatable truth is known.

In Sophocles tragedy, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus kills Liaus, his father; becomes the King of Thebes; marries Jocasta, his mother and their marital union begets four children. All that Oedipus did was to fulfil the designs of fate into which he got catapulted. However, when the truth is known, the Queen mother commits suicide and Oedipus gouges his eyes out of their sockets as remorse to the sin he had committed in ignorance.

Plato’s philosopher kings are invariably the offspring of mating between healthy strangers (men and women) in a sort of carnival organised for the specific purpose of breeding healthy and intelligent children capable of mastering the art of statecraft through rigorous training in logic, mathematics, ethics and finally philosophy. The best ones among them used to be picked up as philosopher kings.

The concepts of promiscuous sex or incest never existed at that stage of human evolution when sex had been a sort of sport, fun and pleasure for both men and women. The problematic of sex relations between men and women has always been an interesting study for sociologists.

The concept of single parentage is a familiar phenomenon now in several parts of the world. Marriages between gays as well as those between lesbians have come to be accepted as a new, if not as an odd social reality. Promiscuous or incestuous sex no longer shocks anyone.

The institution of marriage, perhaps, might be the result of organised and sheltered lives. Moreover, marriage as an institution, began to lend a sense of discipline to sex relations among men and women, besides taking care of children with a sense of responsibility by both the parents. Humanity in the course of its journey of thousands of years of civilization has been a witness to every conceivable form of sex relationship, sex sans taboos before the emergence of family as an organised institution and even later. When one hears or reads about brutal dimension in rapes, one wonders whether our ancestors had not been a lot better and more disciplined in the matter of sex relationships.

Let’s go back to the opening paragraph of this piece. Abandoning of children by parents, mothers in particular, is a sad commentary both on the parents concerned and the society itself.

The Brazilian Adriana discovered that she was abandoned by her mother, Maria, when she was only one year old, and Leandro, Adriana’s younger brother-cum husband, was eight when he was left to his fate under the care of his step-mother. The Globo radio in Brazil which specialises in tracing missing relations, finally solved the puzzle regarding the background of the couple concerned.

Finally, all is well that ends well. 21st century Adriana does not become crazy and commit suicide like the mythological Jocasta, nor does Leandro gouge his eyes out with sharp pins like Oedipus in the tragedy of Sophocles. Both of them have no problem at all to continue their lives as man and wife as before in spite of the startling revelation about their birth as sister and brother. They announced to the world nonchalantly that only death can separate them. “All this happened because God wanted,” remarked Adriana quietly. Fantastic!

(The author, a retired Professor of English, Kakatiya University, Warangal, can be reached at indrapapa@yahoo.com)

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