This is a guest post by Ahrani Pulendiran.
Meaning of an Inter Caste Marriage
Inter caste marriage refers to the marriage of couples in between two different social groups. Inter-caste marriage is considered by some to be extremely taboo for Hindus as well as sinful by almost all castes, especially if there is a complete societal ban on such marriages.
Inter Caste Marriages in India
India is a large traditional society with a rigid caste system. For centuries Indian society, especially the Hindu society, has been divided on the basis of caste system. Approximately only 11% of inter caste marriages are occurring among marriages in India. The main reason for this comparatively small number of inter caste marriages is the misunderstanding and misinterpreting of castes among those stratified societies.
The Ancient Indian Society has four primary caste divisions – the Brahmins known as the educated, the Kshatriyas who were the warriors, the Vaishyas are the business people, and the Sutras are the Untouchables. For thousands of years the concept of the caste, which one belongs to from birth, will remain the same for the rest of their life. According to the statistical figures, 96.5% inter-caste marriages take place due to love affair between couples. The possible reasons for the rejection of inter caste marriages in India are:
- The elders in the family fear the social norms. They are less likely to abandon traditions that have been practiced for many years. They are also not willing to adapt to modernization.
- Inability to convince the parents as well as the in-laws.
- Problems in adapting to and/or combining the new cultures and environments. Sometimes this may cause confused cultural practices.
Results of Not Accepting Inter Caste Marriage Among the Societies Hinders growth of the society
This kind of social obstruction hinders the development of the community and creates fissures among different social groups and castes: The disputes among the different groups in the society may lead to social unrest and disunity.
Community dissension poses threat to national unity
Various love couples either end their life or are killed. Unfortunately some love couples who are not accepted by their family and society kill themselves without facing their problems and some of them are killed by the society or by their family to keep their ‘prestige’ or ‘honor’.
Benefits of Inter Caste Marriages
- Variety of Options
Banning the caste system will offer a greater variety of choice for one to find the best partner to spend the rest of their life with.
Both individuals will be more tolerant of each other’s religion as well as the cultural practices. Equality will prevail among them by their interactions and they will also learn more about each others’ differences.
When compared to couples from same-caste marriages, these couples may become more understanding about the various cultural values and differences within their society.
- Cultural Diversity
Inter caste marriages show the Indian nation that they can live in unity despite the various castes and creeds in their society.
There will be unity and mutual understanding in between both couples as well as their community regarding each other’s cultures and practices.
Religious Interpretations of Inter Caste Marriage Among Hindus
According to the Bhagavad Gita this kind of social group is not just based on birth but also on qualifications. Generally, the Bhagavad Gita says the compatible relationship is the only thing one needs for a marriage. If a person doesn’t finds his/her compatible partner in the same caste, she/he can find the person from different caste and they can marry. This is what the holy Bhagavad Gita says.
For more information on the teachings of Bhagavad Gita regarding inter caste marriages please visit the following website: http://www.thespiritualscientist.com.
Even the Dharma Shastra, considered as a text that consists of Hindu dharma and legal duties of Hindus, says that the marriage should happen between two deserved fellows, no matter their castes or their qualifications. Overall the Hindu people’s spiritual literature agrees with the inter caste marriages.
Inter caste marriages are indeed a major part in the uniting the Indian society. Education is the only way to begin the unification process. Promoting and encouraging inter caste marriage widely will lead to a harmonious future within India.