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Inter Caste Marriages: The Taboo

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By Anila Kurian:

Jacob and Priya (names changed) were classmates and best friends in college. This friendship eventually took them to the next level and they fell in love. Even after they graduated from college, started working, and also when things became hectic they did not discontinue their relationship. The power of love overtook all the other problems that started to become a hindrance, until they decided to upgrade their level in the relationship. They decided to get married, but they knew that their parents would not agree to this. The problem was that, Jacob is a Christian and Priya is a Hindu.

The love birds were determined to marry only each other and they did not care if religion was coming in their way. They loved each other very much, but they did not want to elope. They wanted to have a wedding with the people they love and most importantly, with their parent’s blessings. The issue became intense, when the parents refused to let this happen. They were worried, what the community would think if a Hindu girl is married to their son, especially since they are well-active in church. Priya’s parents didn’t want this to happen either for they did not want her to convert into a Christian, leave her religion behind and give a chance to the world to start whispering behind their backs.

This story leaves us wondering that parents are concerned about what the society thinks than  their children’s happiness. It also brings about a point as to why don’t parents with such mentality try to understand that it’s not their life anymore, and they are not the one getting married. They should worry about how happy their children are going to be with their loved one rather than create a fuss about the thoughts of the society. The defense that parents give to this comment is that society plays a huge role in our life and we need the society as our back-up at all times. Without the help of the society, some things in life can get difficult for us.

Anuradha Sriram, a mother of two daughters says, “I don’t have a problem with inter caste marriages. As long as my daughter is happy and he is able to take care of her, the rest of it doesn’t matter”. The attitude that Anuradha shows by saying this shows the modern way of thinking, which I personally think is the way to think. One of the reasons why many parents take such offence at this act is because they are concerned if their child will be financially secured or what religion will  they finally choose to stay in. 99.9% of the couples who want to get married would prefer to go about it in a religious way, where one of them convert to the other, and thus the wedding ceremony is done in that manner. This also ensures that when the couples have children, they can be born into that category. I think this is done just to fill it in various applications. After all, according to the Indian law, even an atheist is considered a Hindu and hence he will have to check under that box.

The double standard attitude that some parents show towards the inter caste marriage has become so narrow minded that they say we are born on this earth because of religion. So there’s a reason why we are put on this planet and we shouldn’t do anything to mess up that order of life. We are born into a religion for a purpose and we must fulfil them before we enter eternity.

Another couple who came to matrimony through different castes had a different opinion. They said, “Yes, things were very difficult when it came to convincing our parents to agree to this marriage. We tried talking to them and making them realize that this is not their decision because it’s our life. We are obviously not going to comfortable with anyone else-we love each other. So why ruin some other girl or boy’s life for this reason? Religion should not define who we are- it’s kind of a choice to take as to how to live our life. It just gives us guidelines.

Just like these instances, I am sure that many of us know people who went through with this. They finally convinced their parents and they live an almost happy life. Inter caste marriage is not only a problem with the Hindu, Muslim or Christian, but also in marriages within the same caste. Ramya is an Iyer and Sharath is a Nayar. Their family was almost alright with it, but her becoming a Nayar wasn’t a happy thought for her parents. But Ramya is one of the lucky ones who didn’t face that many problem as her parents are educated and were understanding enough to let her live her life. The wedding eventually happened according to the Iyer tradition, making her mother very happy.

Love marriages are considered a taboo in several secular Indian families since they worry that there won’t be a fixed religion for the couple, as well as their coming up generation. The concern that religion plays among the minds of the parents makes sense to a certain extent but that doesn’t mean that the couple should be stopped from wanting to be with each other for the rest of their lives.

Dharini Dilip, whose two elder sisters are engaged in inter caste marriages voices her opinion saying, “Being the third daughter, I am constantly warned not to do the same thing that my sisters did, and that makes sense to me. Inter caste marriages are great as long as you are certain about the relationship. But otherwise, it’s not something that one should put their family through.

There is hence no other solution for this mentality other than a uniform civil court which will help curb down the numerous religions that we have in this country. If that is not accepted, it’s alright for someone to practice their religion, but not enforce it on others. Religion is a matter of convenience to some of us, and it’s good to know that parents have accepted that.

Jacob and Priya finally got their parents to approve of their relationship and they have been married for the past 2 months. Things are a little shaky at home, but their parents decided to let go of their mentality and be happy for their children. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters.

It may be good to bring up your children with a religious background, but that shouldn’t stop them from wanting to convert because they love someone else who was brought up with a different school of practice. Things like these must not be enforced because the society thinks it’s wrong. It’s a person’s life and the life that they are willing to give to someone.

You must be to comment.
  1. gurumurhy70

    Dear Child!! Please see life beyond marriage. A belief and friendship with God will prove to be the most important thing in life which can make our marriage a joy or a sorrow!! If we put all the importance to only our marriage we will soon realize the mistake. When older people ask us to think bigger – do not take it negative since they are old. Many times we will realize that in life also “Re-inventing the wheel” happens!! All the struggle put through others would have gathered the knowledge which they are telling us so that we also need not struggle. So do not reject everything older people says… similarly do not blindly believe whatever they say – but analyze & accept the real important once.

  2. Zinia

    The recipe for a happy marriage involves good chemistry, understanding and compromises now and then and not the age-old beliefs in caste and religion. A marriage involving people of the same caste can turn out to be a disaster, if the couple do not adhere to such principals in life whilst an inter-caste marriage can end up exuding admirable charm if otherwise. Sometimes the heart controls the scene and not the mind, 🙂

  3. VANDANA

    can't we do something for the society awareness??i mean we should do awareness programmes to change the mind set of people about inter caste marriages.we must yar….

  4. sheena satur

    Thank you for this beautiful & inspirational article. I hope it works as an example to close ones whom I know.. And yes Vandana, there should be frequent awareness programmes to change the mind set of people especially those who force their children through all the tortures just to get them married, unwillingly. Its shameful that even in a modern Avatar there are few with a rural mind set..

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