By Grishma Mehta:
“Marriages are made in heaven, but are destroyed on earth”
Glories are sung of the diversity of India in all corners of the world and this is one of the things we as Indians feel particularly proud of. We talk big about Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and other religious groups being given an equal stature in the country. We praise the democratic stand of our country and we advocate it. But the situation in real life is somewhat different. We definitely are a democratic country where all religions and communities are given equal rights by the Constitution of India, but when it comes to acceptance of every community as equal in all the spheres of life in actual, we somehow as a country prove to be a disappointment.
There is no point cornering any one community in this context because all of us are well aware that this process of discriminating or being discriminated indeed is a part of our daily lives. Stereotyping a community is disturbing and very wrong- yet it happens all the time! In such a scenario, Indian society at large is still not ready and does not willingly advocate inter caste or inter community marriage. There are people who object to marry outside caste or community in the open citing the reason that such marriages happen most often only because of infatuation.
In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, for instance, there are special communities that have taken it on themselves to prevent inter caste marriage in the state. Their efforts range from organizing special youth camps, to abstain youngsters from inter caste or community marrying, to making them take oaths and brainwashing them in the name of the community they belong to. While some communities are still liberal of the inter sect marriage, such unions are still a big deal for many. The worse form of discrimination is the one that is hidden. The reason why inter caste marriage still a taboo in India is often believed to be the lack of awareness which is the product of the lack of liberal people in the country, but when the ones who are aware and highly educated still refuse to accept this practice, the problem becomes all the more grave. These are the people who would never object to the inter caste marriage in open but when it comes to their own children or children in their family, they become volatile and stubborn.
Discrimination on the basis of caste or community is often cultural, traditional and racial in nature, developed unconsciously over a period of time through our experiences or through the collective experience, opinions and prejudices of our ancestors which still hold back Indian society otherwise heading towards modernization.
The fact that most of the parents are shoving aside an inter caste/community marriage proposal, cite non acceptance by society as the only reason for disapproval, establishes the point that our choices are governed by popular beliefs mostly and not by the logical and pragmatic thought, even in the 21st century.
Religion is also often brought forth by those objecting inter community marriage to their rescue. Almost all the spiritual gurus or leaders have spoken in favour of equality. Unfortunately culture and traditions have overpowered faith and humanity in our society. We don’t shy away in manipulating religion to suit our own purposes. Several couples are forced to elope just to exercise their basic right of freedom of choice. Thousands of them commit suicides just for the reason that they are not permitted to marry their lover who belongs to a different caste or community while several others become victims of honour killing. Why? Just because their parents or relatives didn’t want them to live their life with someone they disapprove of that too for a reason that can hardly be explained rationally. India is one of the countries ranking high on the list of honour killing. What a shame for a country that calls itself a democracy. The Government of India is taking strong steps to promote inter caste and inter community marriages in the country with a view that this step will prove instrumental in eradicating caste based disparities in the country to an extent..It is high time we take the cue and support such marriages as they can do what the government and people have been trying to do over last many years, they can unite the nation as it should be by cultivating better understanding and awareness of different cultures of the country other than making lakhs of youth in the country happy.