Yaariyan na dekhe Jaatiyan Inter-caste and Inter-religion Marriages
“I am the sky and you are the earth. I am the giver of energy and you are the receiver. I am the mind and you are the word. I am (saama) music and you are the song (Rik). You and I follow each other.”
Inter-caste marriage is a term used in Asian and Middle-Eastern countries for a marriage where the couple are from two social groups, e.g., different castes, races or clans and are related to concepts of Exogamy and Endogamy Normally, such marriages are strongly discouraged in society and are viewed as a threat to the existing social order.
Encouraging and discouraging inter-caste marriage
Inter-caste marriage is mostly caused by love. It has been increasing in India especially because of the varieties of religious faiths and sects of the Hindu faith there. In India, religions each have their own rules relating to marriage, as rules exist for the conduct of marriage itself. When two people from different social groups marry, it is an inter-caste marriage. According to a survey in 2014, about 5% of marriages are inter-caste in India.
The first recorded inter-caste marriage in modern India took place on 4 February 1889. On this date, Yashwant and Radha (alias Laxmi) were betrothed. Yaswant was the adopted son of Jotirao and Savitribai Phule. Radha was the daughter of Gyanoba Krishnaji Sasane. This marriage was the first ‘Satyashodhaki’ (truth seeker society) marriage. Savitribai bore all the expenses on this historic occasion. This method of marriage, similar to a registered marriage, is prevalent in many parts of India. These marriages were opposed by priests and ‘bhatjis’ (Brahmans), and they went to court on this matter. Savitribai and Jotirao had to face severe difficulties but that did not deter them. The Satyashodhak marriage required the bridegroom to take an oath of giving education and equal rights to women. The ‘mangalashtake’ (the mantras chanted at the wedding) were to be sung by the bride and the bridegroom themselves, and these were in the form of pledges made by the bride and the groom to each other. To ensure that they got better acquainted with each other and with each other’s likes and dislikes, Savitribai had made Radha stay in the Phule household before the marriage. She made provisions for Radha’s education
“Khuda ka khel toh dekho,
dil main paida karnewale khuda hi ban gaye wajah dil ke faaslon ke.”
Despite India’s progressive growth and the fact that we are the world’s second fastest growing nation, there still remains a chasm between cultural values of the ‘New India’ and ‘Old India’. ‘Old India’, being the oldest civilization has a lot of wisdom and traditions that have been passed down from generations to generations. However, certain customs like Child Marriage, Sati, Dowry, etc. have been deemed illegal and punishable by the state. On the other hand, similar delicate issues associated with marriage like inter-caste and inter-religion marriages have still failed to elicit a stand by the elected representatives – be it the Government or even the Panchayats. So, the question still remains as to which practices to adopt and which practices to discard.
Traditionally, the notion of inter-caste marriages and inter-religion marriages has been frowned upon, but the abolition of the caste system and the ambitions of keeping pace with globalization have led to a partial acceptance of mixed marriages. However, the acceptance now granted to these types of marriages, comes with new complications.
The most crucial aspect of inter caste and inter religion marriages is to protect your individuality. This will not only ensure a smooth transition into matrimony but also help in sustaining the marriage. Some of the points that one must consider while marrying out of their religion/ caste are as follows:
1.Adopting a Surname.
2.Taking a ‘Ritualistic’ Interest.
3.Retaining your Religious Identity.
Inter-caste marriages and inter-religion marriages are no more complicated than normal marriages.It is all about adopting the right outlook and ensuring that you stand up for your rights and protect your individuality.
For time immemorial, Bollywood has captured the romantic tales of lovers who belong to different religious backgrounds. From films like Veer Zara to 2 State, the list is endless. But in reality, it is all hunky-dory! And the Khans of Bollywood are fine examples of men who married women from outside the community.
Today couples want to reflect their thoughts, independence and values in their wedding venue and hence prefer to select venue themselves rather than their parents selecting it for them.