India is a country with a vast diversity of religions, cultures, languages and beliefs. We are well known for our emotional sentiments and love which we have towards others. Many of us are taught to display feelings of love, care and affection towards our loved ones, family members, friends and strangers. We learn more from our socialisation than from any school, college or university.
While people avail education which further helps them in getting employed and living a comfortable life, most of their values and beliefs from their families. Our parents teach us the meaning of loving and respecting others. But unfortunately in our society, in the name of honour, parents also kill their children if they fall in love with someone from a different caste, community or religion. They tend to let go of their ability to differentiate between right and wrong and for the sake of pride, end up committing the heinous crime of honour killing. Why does “what society will say or log kya kahenge” matter or affect them to such an extent that they lose their senses? Why does Indian culture have a norm that only parents get to decide whom their children will get married to?
India is a modernised, digitalised, globalised, industrialised developing country and is the fifth-largest economy in the world. It’s a paradox that even as we climb the ladder of development to become a modern country, many evil practices like discrimination, endogamy, dowry and honour killings still continue to prevail.
I believe Caste is India’s greatest social evil and endogamy – the practice of limiting marriage within one’s community – is the way in which this social structure is sustained. As is clear from the frequent examples of these so-called honour killings, caste endogamy is critical to Indian society and failure to follow it can result in the extreme act of parents murdering their own children.
Not only is caste a core feature of Indian society today, but it has also endured for thousands of years. Genetic research has found that the concept of caste endogamy is between 2,000 to 3,000 years old in the Indian subcontinent. As a result, even though India is densely populated, its 4,000 caste groups are genetically distinct, given that caste rules have meant strict social isolation from their neighbours.
As per the latest census data, the rate of inter-caste marriage in India was just 5.8%. Between 2001 and 2011, 19 out of 20 marriages in India were still conducted as per an ancient system of birth-based caste.
The recent related reports and incidents forced me to express my thoughts on the same. My last hope is our young India. Young India are you listening? You can change it. Don’t take Dowry!