In a country like India, where tradition, culture, religion, and caste are considered a major factor in one’s life, marrying outside one’s caste or religion is regarded as a big issue.
Nowadays, as per my observations, because of social media, work culture and living outside the home, social interactions across religious and caste barriers have increased. But, marriage, across caste or religion is still uncommon in India. As per the India Human Development survey 2019, only about 5% of Indian marriages are inter-caste.
Many parents discourage their sons or daughters from marrying for love, because of the fear of society, the taboo associated with marrying outside one’s caste, and terms like ‘purity’, or ‘the honour of the family’.
Cultural differences and issues like dowry also play a major role. At times, parents oppose love marriage because this can shatter their dreams of taking dowry. Some consider taking dowry as a matter of pride for the family, and their social status. The same way, many fear such marriages because of the increased number of ‘honour-killings’.
Recent data shows that love has emerged as the prime motive behind murder or honour killings; it has reportedly become the ‘fastest-growing killer’. The number of such cases has gone up by 28 percent since 20001, as per recent NCRB data. But, there are many examples where love marriages take place very smoothly; in my opinion, this is in cases where parents are progressive.
It is very disheartening, that because of societal pressure, people ruin the lives of their sons and daughters. There is no need to interfere with an adult’s personal space.
According to one Harvard scientist, inter-caste marriages have impacted health and lineage in India. But, regressive thoughts make people think that such marriages will ruin their bloodline.
I believe love marriage is a very good medium to understand different cultures and traditions, especially in the current scenario, where India is facing serious issues related to hate crimes and communalism.
I think if people start marrying across different religions and castes, then there will be no space for hate, and people will understand each other’s thoughts better. It will bring peace in the society. For example, a marriage between a Dalit and a Brahmin could abolish the feeling of caste hierarchy, if they have any such prejudices. In the same way, a marriage between a Hindu and Muslim might lead to communal harmony.
Indian parents are very caring and protective, so maybe they fear that their girl will not adjust in a different culture or their boy will not get due respect, in a family of a different religion, and this may lead to divorce or a bad marriage.
Dowry deaths, honour killings, and domestic violence are possible factors, that lead parents to think that, only they can select a good partner for their children. They often believe that only they can understand what type of partner their adult ‘kid’ needs.
We should understand that the really important thing is a consensus of the bride and the groom, what type of partner they need and what they expect, because, in the end, they are the two who have to live together, forever.