The caste system in India forbids intercaste marriages but however due to increase of education and change in social thinking of people intercaste marriages are increasing in India. Indian society believes marrying from same caste or religion is a matter of their pride .They are not ready to accept their child’s likes or desires most of the times. In India only 11% of intercaste marriages happen with the full support and acceptance of the families. Situations are even worse in our country in a way that parents are ready to kill their or even killed their own children for marrying whom they love. From the early age itself youth are injected with casteism. From centuries this same process of injecting religion and caste into the younger minds is continuing. Nowadays we can see less of these thoughts because youth started to think in different way and they are reading today’s society clearly. This caste system clearly ruined many lives in a way that instead of an individual choosing their life, their religion and caste are deciding their life, especially love life.
Many authors and socialists tried to analyze this issue from many years but the root reason is still unknown. But according to most of the authors, people’s thinking and mindset is the key factor which demoralizes intercaste marriages. For some, it has become a custom and for some others it’s a part of their dignity and social status.
PROTECTING THE COUPLES AGAINST HARRASMENT
The caste system is a curse for the country; the sooner it is removed, the better disapproving parents can at best snap social relations with their children Feudal-minded people will be punished. Supreme Court fully encourages intercaste marriages in India and they took numerous efforts to promote intercaste marriages. In places like Uttar Pradesh, couples are given cash awards and special other allowances and also police protects these couples from harassment and ensure that they are able to live their life peacefully.
CASTE SYSTEM AND INDIA’S DEVELOPMENT
The concept of cast system and religious beliefs are like a bane on the path for the progress of our country. For centuries Indian society especially Hindu society has been divided on the basis of caste system and religion. The problem of caste system was so deep rooted that it took years for the Indians to come out of that idea. Even today also India is struggling to come out of this social menace. History reveals that efforts have been made by various social reformers and individuals whose name doesn’t appear in the pages of history to make India free from the clutches of caste system, untouchability and race discrimination. And when we talk about Indian marriages, which are inter-caste and interreligious, it seems like a taboo to most of the people. But in order to eradicate the caste system and race discrimination it is important that there should be inter-caste and interreligious marriages. Marriages are regarded as the most important social custom and the best means to remove the barrier of caste system. Today in Indian society though we can see inter-caste marriages but mostly it is part of the city culture. The rural parts of the country still have a long way to go.
INDIANS AND THEIR NEVER CHANGING MINDSETS
Indians have their very own orthodox mindsets and thoughts, they won’t accept the changes in the society in order for the betterment of the society, instead they start to criticize and raise questions against it. They couldn’t imagine marriages beyond the same caste. They had a conception that marriages are only possible in the same community and caste. Those who dared for the inter-caste marriage by violating the social norm had to face the consequence in terms of violence, social boycott, family boycott and death (honour killing). Even in this twenty first century, honour killing is practiced in most parts of India when there are cases of inter-caste marriages. Caste is such a rigid and water tight compartment in Indian society that it is almost next to impossible to think of a marriage between a higher caste and a lower caste. It is expected that with modernization, development, increase in educational level etc., the impact of social forces like caste, religion, various taboos etc. become weaker. The society is expected to become more broad minded, forward looking and tolerant. India has already embarked on the path of modernization, development, westernization etc. Against this background, therefore, from the researcher’s point of view, it will be quite interesting to analyze if there is any changes in marriage patterns in India especially the inter-caste marriages.
INTERCASTE MARRIAGE IN SOME PARTS OF INDIA
To find out the controlled effect of socio-economic variables on inter-caste marriage, logistic regression analysis is carried out in which inter-caste marriage is taken as the dependent variable. In case of India, age, place of residence, husband’s education and religion are showing significant effect on inter-caste marriage whereas women’s education, household structure, respondents’ work status, standard of living and mass media exposure do not have any significant effect on inter-caste marriage. Age has negative effect on inter-caste marriage. In urban area 14 percent women are more likely to have inter-caste marriage than in rural areas. Husband’s education also has negative effect on inter-caste marriage. Husbands with higher education are 25 percent less likely to have inter-caste marriage than illiterate husband. The likelihood of having inter-caste marriage is less for the women of other religion than the Hindu women
Age has a negative effect on inter-caste marriage, with the increase in age inter-caste marriage is declines. But it is significant only for the state of Tamil Nadu. Place of residence shows significant effect on inter-caste marriage in all the states except Kerala. For example likelihood of having inter-caste marriage is 69 percent higher in Punjab, two times high in Tamil Nadu and almost 4.5 times high in Rajasthan for urban women as compared to rural women. Secondary educated women are less likely to have inter-caste marriage than illiterate women in Tamil Nadu. Religion also plays an important role in inter-caste marriage. Women belonging to Muslim and other religious groups are less likely to have inter-caste marriages than Hindus in Kerala. In Tamil Nadu almost three and half times more women have inter-caste marriage belonging to other religion than Hindus. Household structure does not have any significant effect on inter-caste marriage in all the states under consideration. Working women are 78 percent more likely to have inter-caste marriage than non-working women in Punjab. Standard of living index shows negative effect on inter-caste marriage and it is significant for Punjab and Tamil Nadu. For instant in Punjab 57 percent medium class and 66 percent high class women are less likely to have inter-caste marriage than low class women. Similarly in Tamil Nadu 46 percent high class women are less likely to have inter-caste marriage than the women belonging to low class.
It is seen that only 9 percent of intercaste marriages happen in southern parts of India and the rate comes to 20 percent in states like Punjab and Sikkim.
HOW THIS AFFECTS THE YOUNGSTERS?
Youngsters nowadays love making friends, they never care about the communities or religion in most of the times, so there are higher chances of youngsters to have a relationship with different religions. At that time, the love-struck couples do not give much importance to the fact that they belong to different castes. But, as time comes closer for their marriages, they become more serious about the prospects of their long-love converting into marital bliss. Researches show that intercaste marriages happen mostly in urban areas than rural areas and also 97 percent of the intercaste or inter religious marriages that happen are love marriages. This system completely ruins the relationship between the youngsters in this modern days. For Indians, marriages are considered as the relationship between two families rather than relationship between two individual souls.
INDIA’S FIRST SHAME;HONOUR KILLING
MANOJ-BABLI HONOUR KILLING CASE
The Manoj–Babli honour killing case was the honour killing of Indian newlyweds Manoj Banwala and Babli in June 2007 and the successive court case which historically convicted defendants for an honour killing. The individuals involved in the murder included relatives of Babli (grandfather Gangaraj who is said to have been a Khap leader, brother, maternal and paternal uncles and two cousins). Relatives of Manoj, especially his mother, defended the relationship.
The killing was ordered by a gram panchayat religious caste-based council among Jats, in their Karora village in Kaithal district, Haryana.
The panchayat passed a decree prohibiting marriage against societal norms. Such caste-based councils are common in the inner regions of several Indian states, including Haryana, Punjab, western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan, and have been operating with government approval for years. In any event, the state government expressed no concern about the ruling of the gram panchayat.
The Gram panchayat’s ruling was based on the assumption that Manoj and Babli belonged to the Banwala gotra, a Jat community, and were therefore considered to be siblings despite not being directly related and any union between them would be invalid and unethical. Nevertheless, the couple went ahead with their marriage, following which they were abducted and killed by Babli’s relatives.
In March 2010 a Karnal district court sentenced the five perpetrators to be executed, the first time an Indian court had done so in an honour killing case. The panchayat head who ordered but did not take part in the killings received a life sentence, and the driver involved in the abduction a seven-year prison term. According to Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the UPA-led central government was to propose an amendment to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in response to the deaths of Manoj and Babli, making honour killings a “distinct offense.
BHAVNA-ABHISHEK HONOUR KILLING CASE
In a horrific reminder of how caste and family honour continue to be prized over women’s lives in India, a 21-year-old student of Delhi University’s Sri Venkateswara College was allegedly murdered by her parents for marrying her boyfriend against their wishes. The reason for her killing: the girl Bhavna had secretly married Abhishek, a boy from a different caste.
According to the news reports, the victim Bhavna Yadav a resident of south west Delhi, was beaten up, strangled, and her body then dumped into a car which was driven to Alwar, Rajasthan (where her parents are originally from) and hurriedly cremated. The victim’s father is a property dealer and mother a homemaker. A maternal uncle was also allegedly involved in the crime.
Bhavna secretly married Abhishek Seth, a 24-year-old assistant programmer at the Cabinet secretariat, because her parents were pressurizing her to call off her relationship with him.
Sadly, this is not the first case of honour killing in India, nor will it be the last. If one were to look at a list of crimes committed by family members against their own children who chose to marry of their free will, it would be a fairly long one. We take a look at some honour killings that have hit headlines in the past.
Nitish Katara Murder case of 2002:
Nitish Katara a business executive and the son of an IAS officer, was murdered on 17 February 2002, by Vikas Yadav, the son of Uttar Pradesh politician DP Yadav. Nitish had been in a relationship with DP Yadav’s daughter Bharti Yadav for a long time and the girl’s family did not approve of the relationship.
Nitish’s murder took place on the night of the wedding of a friend who was known to both him and Bharti. Katara’s body was found on a highway. He had been battered to death with a hammer, following which diesel was poured on him and he was set on fire. The murder was committed by Vikas (Bharti’s real brother) and Vishal Yadav (Bharti’s cousin brother), and Sukhdev Pehalwan (a hired contract killer).
All three have now been sentenced to life terms for abducting and killing Katara.
During the court case, which dragged on for years, the Yadav family tried to ensure that Bharti was not called in as a witness. While in court, Bharti had repeatedly denied that she was in a relationship with Nitish.
Nirupama Pathak murder of 2010:
In May 2010, Nirupama Pathak, who was working as journalist with a business daily in Delhi, was murdered by her family in Jharkhand because she was in a relationship with a man from a lower caste.
According to this PTI report, Nirupama was dating Priyabhanshu Ranjan a colleague and friend from her Indian Institute of Mass Communication in New Delhi and had planned to marry him in an Arya Samaj mandir.
Nirupama was found dead on 29 April in her parents’ house in Tilaya in Koderma district in Jharkhand under mysterious circumstances. Her family then filed a case of rape and abetment to suicide against Priyabhanshu which was later found to be false.
Asha Saini murder case of 2010:
In June 2010, Delhi witnessed a brutal honour killing in Swarup Nagar in North-east part of the city, when 19-year-old Asha Saini and her boyfriend Yogesh, 20, were tortured, electrocuted and beaten to death by the girl’s family.
As this Rediff report recounts, “the girl’s family had disapproved of Asha’s relationship with Yogesh, a driver, and had asked the boy to back off.”
The couple was tortured in a flat owned by the girl’s uncle Omprakash and even neighbours who heard the couple wailing for hours and begging for help but didn’t step in to help. Allegedly the family threatened the neighbours and told them to “mind their own business,” says the report.
No one called the police to help the couple. “From 2 am onwards I could hear the boy wailing. The girl was pleading for his life. I could sense something was fishy but couldn’t communicate with anyone as I had no access to a telephone at that hour,” one neighbour Umesh told Rediff.
While the family later claimed they killed the couple in a fit of rage as they had caught them in a compromising position.
India’s customary practices and religious believes are a barrier for the development of the country. People just sticks on with their unethical believes which has been carried out from their preceding generation. Instead of changing the mentalities, people try to change other people’s individuality through harassments and demoralization. It’s not too late for us to change, the more early we change, the more easily our next generation and youth will be able to lead the life which they are comfortable of. Arranged marriage scenarios should be changed and let them find their ideal and perfect companions for their life. Humanity is really at its best when people starts to love each other by crossing the barriers like religion and castes. We all are humans and no human in this world is badged with any type of religion and castes, love and care should be given priority first rather than going behind all those old meangingless beliefs which existed decades before , love each other , respect each other and care each other , by this way become a better human being !
RAHUL SANKAR R
BBA LLB 1st SEMESTER