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Posted at: Jul 17, 2019, 6:43 AM; last updated: Jul 17, 2019, 6:43 AM (IST)

Not quite made in heaven

Inter-caste marriages a tough proposition
Not quite made in heaven

The heart has its reasons but unfortunately it has to contend with more worldly considerations. Caste is one of them in a society that remains by and large traditional and conservative. The instance in which the Dalit husband of a BJP MLA’s daughter was beaten up inside the High Court complex at Prayagraj serves as a reminder of this. In an irony, the incident took place soon after the court asked the police to provide security to the couple as the inter-caste marriage had been disapproved of by the woman’s Brahmin family. A second incident took place when a couple from Amroha, also in UP, was kidnapped from near the court when they were on their way to file a plea seeking security. Both belong to a minority community.

Despite the advances in education, economic empowerment, communication and interaction, inter-caste marriages are generally frowned upon by families who are apprehensive of veering off from a set pattern of conformity. Marriage in which one of the partners is from a lower caste meets with even greater opposition, for it challenges notions of superiority and deeply entrenched traditions. It is not that inter-caste marriages do not take place and that all of them are disapproved of by the families. In fact, many such alliances take place where the man and the woman, educated and in modern occupations, take the decision based on compatibility. Families, to be fair to them, look for some measure of stability and economic self-sufficiency for the couple to be independent and guard against a failing marriage, and gradually acquiesce when these are in place. 

But while inter-caste marriage can be an antidote to the dowry system, its acceptance, especially in traditional societies, remains an uphill task. Instances of ‘honour’ killing and runaway couples seeking protection are an example of this. The incidents have taken place at a time when a mainstream film, Article 15, though not about inter-caste marriage per se, portrays concerns about social identity. Conservatism and mundane concerns continue to make caste a potent social factor.

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