If you’re desi and you’ve ever articulated the ‘love’ word, you know it seldom goes well. Now add to this, ‘an inter-caste marriage’, and that is sure to start some fireworks. Brown parents endure sleepless nights over this. So what is so inherently bad about ‘inter-caste’ marriages?
The next time you have a sit-down with your fam, and go insane trying to figure out just why caste is so important in a marriage, you may have the answers yourself. Discriminatory caste attitudes stigmatize Indians and have been doing so for generations. However, global influence has begun shaping the desi attitudes when it comes to an inter-caste marriage. We got the desi parents to come clean on what the big deal is!
You marry the entire family
Kshama Rao, a parent, emphasizes this Indian ideology. “When you marry, you marry the entire family. The more compatible you are, with aspects like caste, religion, values, class, etc. the easier it becomes to gel with each other and the new family. Apart from this, caste doesn't matter much when it comes to marriages. What’s paramount, is that the other is a good human being. Then again, it’s better said than done.”
According to the India Human Development Survey, only 5% of marriages in India are inter-caste. The caste-system still prevails, as these statistics indicate.
Practicality is necessary
Christie Azavedo, a desi parent says consent of the child is what is the most important when it comes to marriage. However, as the old adage goes, love is blind, and hence this consent should come at an older age. “I am not a big believer in early marriages. Kids need to know someone thoroughly, before leaping into any long-term commitments. Then again, you may connect, but your wavelength needs to match the other’s.”
She then goes on to stress the fact that marriage is anything but a bed of roses, or your Sunday read of a fairy tale romance. “While we say consent is more important than caste, it should be noted that even within the same caste, there are so many differences and adjustments need to be made at every step. When there’s such an amalgamation of values and culture, imagine an inter-caste marriage! Commitment in every relationship is important because it's the very two individuals that will make things happen.”
Inter-caste marriage is a conflict with yourself
“When you have been born into a culture, your beliefs and value system are shaped according to the ideologies of it. You yourself are rooted in that faith. When you venture into an inter-caste marriage, there’s a conflict with your very ideals. This adjustment brings along with it dissension, arguments and a whole gamut of challenges.” says Giselle D'souza.
“While it isn’t fair to ask one of the partners to convert to the other’s religion, the future children are left in a dilemma when it comes to religion. The two partners may well accept each other, but marriage is after all a union of families, and not just two individuals. For me however, an inter-caste marriage idea is a big no.”
To second that thought, Piyush Shah says that caste is definitely important when it comes to marriages. “Two people who have grown up in the same culture, would find it very convenient to adapt to the changed conditions that come with marriage. This then would make life a whole lot easier!”