Marriages in India
Around 3000 years ago marriages took place commonly among blood relations; today those relationships are classified as incestuous. The logic often cited behind such acts was to preserve power or wealth of the family within the family. As religions grew stronger; this practice dropped to almost zero. Then an alternate dimension opened up; marrying relatives who were distantly related or alternatively within your own caste. India is no exception when it comes to this practice; though for long this has been practiced in various parts of the Middle East as well as African societies. The Indian society despite its advancement in various fields has a ‘thorny’ issue to deal with namely inter-caste marriages.
This practice is discouraged and if you go through online or paper advertisements targeted for the Indian market whether living abroad or locally; you will be surprised to find numerous astrologers, pundits or ‘babajis’ claiming to solve this dilemma of yours and guarantee a successful inter-caste marriage. If you are unaware of this term or cannot comprehend it fully. Let us simplify it with a simple example. Castes are similar to clans or tribes; Indians after their ethnic affiliations are further subdivided into caste structures. These structures are not erected on pillars of theology but instead their roots lay deep down in ethnicity.
|Marriages in india|
You can be a ‘Punjabi’ living in Amritsar but your caste may be ‘Rao’ or you can be the unfortunate member of scheduled caste perhaps a ‘dalit’. The caste system known locally as ‘jati’ is deeply embedded in the social strata of India. A ‘Rao’ marrying a ‘Dalit’ will be similar to a man marrying a female ape. Generally it is assumed that language link creates an unbreakable ethnic bond and it can easily overcome caste barriers. This may be true in some countries but not in India.
Violence over caste status is not uncommon in India and due attention by the world media has been focused on it on and off. Originally the caste system in India comprised of Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaishya and shudra. Brahmins remain on top of the chain while shudras at the bottom. But today the ‘caste issue’ is not simply confined to these four elements.
Theological foundations for the Indian caste system are not as strong as often advocated or suggested. The real issue is the societal norms that have overshadowed religion easily. There are no legal barriers for inter-caste marriages to take place but the mind set has a wall erected that is not easy to climb over. Modern India has progressed and it is true that rare instances of inter-caste marriages do occur and their success rate is yet to be determined for it’s relatively a new phenomenon.
A ‘Bengali’ marrying a ‘Tamil iyer’ who happens to be a Hindu Brahmin is not an easy diet to digest for a lot of Indians. The Bengali’s love to eat fish where as a strict Hindu Brahmin will confine him or herself to a pure vegetarian diet only.
The two getting along will require a lot of compromise from both ends. However it is true that 40 years ago from now this would have never occurred in India but today it is happening and for the sake of liberalism and end of discrimination we hope this may continue!