Dalit - Brahmin Love

Can a Bramin girl agreed to marry SC


Maheswara Sastry M, Education is life itself

1. Nearly 3,000 castes and 25,000 sub-castes exist in India.

2. Brahmins constitute just three percent of the population(across the nation).

3. Among the castes, Brahmins are the people who have the most liberal view of the Inter-caste marriages.

4. Many surveys indicated that, Brahmins have the highest inter-caste marriages among all the castes.

Now you need to ask yourself an introspective question, whether you have been correct to assume that Brahmins have the least acceptance of other castes?

The problem lies in assumptions than facts.
Daughter’s marriage row: 
Dalit MLA springs to defence of Brahmin lawmaker

The development came even as the girl continued to be in demand among news channels for her viral video message that was posted after her marriage with a Dalit man

Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By Manish Chandra Pandey, Lucknow
PUBLISHED ON JUL 14, 2019 

A Dalit MLA of the BJP on Saturday took to social media to defend his Brahmin colleague Rajesh Mishra, who was heavily trolled ever since his daughter Sakshi Mishra put out a series of videos accusing him of being casteist, engaging in gender discrimination and of sending goons after her and her Dalit husband. She claimed she feared for her and her husband’s life because her Brahmin family was opposed to her marriage with a Dalit.

The development came even as Sakshi Mishra continued to be in demand among 24x7 news channels for her ‘papa-out-to-kill-me’ viral video message that was posted after her marriage with the Dalit man, Ajitesh Kumar.

Shyam Prakash, the lawmaker from Gopamau (reserved) assembly segment in Hardoi, told HT on the phone: “In TV debates, many are holding the MLA guilty on the issue of his daughter marrying a Dalit. Let’s see, how they react when their own daughter elopes with a Dalit of questionable conduct. Then, they will realise a father’s pain and the embarrassment one suffers in society,” He also put up a Facebook post slamming Rajesh’s critics.

The outrage that Sakshi directed at her father through her videos came at a time when the BJP is making efforts to project a pro-Dalit image in UP, where Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes account for 23% of the state’s population. “It was a private matter, but it really snowballed,” a party MLA said.

After consulting the BJP leadership, Rajesh Mishra hurriedly put out a written clarification saying his daughter was free to take her own decision and pleading that he be “left alone”.

Sakshi and Ajitesh have moved the Allahabad high court seeking security.

The BJP is currently in the middle of a membership drive in which it is focusing on increasing its support base among OBCs and dalits.

“Everyone is free to marry anyone, but now when her father agreed to her marriage why has she continued to humiliate him still? Moreover, fresh details are now emerging about the youth, who according to media reports had broken an engagement, and is being accused of being of questionable conduct. Tell me, irrespective of whether the accusations are right or wrong, which father on earth would consent to such a relationship? Still, he has and yet he is being targeted. Is it fair,” an upper caste lawmaker of the BJP asked.

While many upper caste leaders like him spoke on condition of anonymity, a Dalit lawmaker openly sided with his party’s beleaguered Brahmin MLA, who reportedly broke down while apprising the party leadership of the details of the case.

“The entire community should come together to oppose the Dalit youth who has besmirched the community’s reputation by cheating a family whose house he frequented and misused the trust. Now, even the same media carrying out a trial has started showing details of youth’s past,” Shyam Prakash said.

It’s not clear if he had the party’s consent to air his views even as news channels continued to play out the family drama in their studios by getting all the stake holders in the love story to join in.

“I don’t want to say anything. Please spare me. My family and I are in tremendous stress,” Rajesh Mishra said on the phone.

According to people close to the family, the couple eloped on July 1 from Bareilly and went to Pragyaraj. They go married as per Hindu traditions there on July 4. The MLA and his aides, who were on lookout for them since they eloped, tracked them till Prayagraj but failed to locate them there. The couple is currently living in hiding.
Asha Tampa
middle-class Indian girl


My mother was born and raised in a conservative Brahmin family. Her childhood was spent learning music, reading books, and talking to grandmothers. My father was born into one of the lowest castes, marked as SC. He spent his childhood swimming around in muddy ponds and chasing pigs.

How would their worlds meet, one might wonder.

My father fell in love with music as he grew up, becoming relatively well-known in our small town as a singer, while working full-time as a bank manager. My mother, meanwhile, contracted Polio aged 5, became a quadriplegic, and had to forego her education. Her family was highly literate and she taught herself how to read, becoming a voracious reader. Music and books became her life.

My parents met due to their mutual love of music. They were never alone in a room together and no one had any inkling of their love for each other; things came to a head when my father scrawled, “Will you marry me?” on a small piece of paper and managed to slip it into her hand.

Opportunity presented itself 2 years later, and they eloped and got married. The year was 1981. The challenges were many - a huge divide in caste and culture being one of the most major ones.

A few highlights to note -

He never brought non-vegetarian food into the house. If he wanted to eat chicken, he ate at a restaurant

His caste was never a question among my mother’s family. My father and his family were always welcomed. My paternal cousins, though, made fun of my mother’s heritage whenever we met

My paternal grandparents never accepted my mother, but I don’t know whether that was due to her caste or her quadriplegic status

The children (my brother and I) were raised more like Brahmins. This was mostly because our maternal grandmother looked after us almost full-time and we spent all our summers at her place

Despite being raised like a Brahmin I was officially an SC. It feels surreal to think of

All this being said, I think this was a one-off case that managed to shine through despite all odds.

Because the odds are always there, and always will be. 37 years have passed since they got married, and the issue of caste is still here in society. Inter-caste marriages are still not mainstream. Even today we have questions on international platforms that ask whether a Brahmin girl would marry an SC. Maybe, if they fell in love and didn’t care about the consent of their parents. They might sustain their relationship if they don’t let other people get in and dictate how they should live their lives. My parents never let society dictate how they should live and how their ideal life partner was supposed to be. They’ve lived far better lives than the rest of us.

This is them, 5 years after they got married

Here they are, after 35 years of marriage. I’m the one holding my mother’s mic for her. The occasion is my brother’s wedding
Music is their life. Their love for music brought them together and kept them together.

To answer your question, yes, Brahmin girls do marry SC guys, but they have to find some common ground first. Take that away and once the infatuation fades, you’ll be left with acute cultural differences on top of everything a marriage brings with it.
36-year-old Dalit MLA marries 19-year-old Brahmin girl, stirs row
During this, there was an uproar and the father of the girl, also a priest, tried to commit suicide by pouring petrol on himself.

Written By:
AIADMK MLA A Prabhu and S Soundarya pose for pictures after getting married on Monday. Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
Edited By:


Updated:
Oct 06, 2020, 

Highlights

In an incident that stirred a major row, Dalit MLA A Prabhu of Tamil Nadu's ruling party AIADMK married his 19-year-old Brahmin girlfriend.

During this, there was a lot of uproars and the father of the girl, also a priest tried to commit suicide by pouring petrol on himself.

However, he was stopped by the police.

In an incident that stirred a major row, Dalit MLA A Prabhu of Tamil Nadu's ruling party AIADMK married his 19-year-old Brahmin girlfriend. During this, there was a lot of uproars and the father of the girl, also a priest tried to commit suicide by pouring petrol on himself. However, he was stopped by the police.

What is the whole matter? The ruling AIADMK MLA from Kallakuruchi constituency, A Prabhu married college student S Soundarya on October 9 despite stiff resistance from the girl`s side. The wedding was held at Prabhu`s residence after Soundarya is said to have walked out of her parent`s home. Prabhu`s parents are also with the AIADMK.

Family charges: The priest alleged that the Dalit MLA had trapped her daughter for the four years when she was a minor. The enraged girl`s father S Swaminathan, a local temple priest alleged that his daughter was abducted. He threatened to immolate himself and the district police registered a case against him for attempted suicide.

MLA clarified: Prabhu denied the rumours that he had kidnapped Soundarya and forcibly married her. He also denied threatening her parents. Prabhu said that for the past few months he and Soundarya were in love. According to him, his family had formally asked Swaminathan`s consent for the wedding. However, Swaminathan refused the proposal. Prabha said he married to Soundarya with the blessings from his own parents.

What did the police say? The district police registered a case against him for attempted suicide.
with inputs from IANS

SC unites lovers for Dalit-Brahmin marriage
Four years ago they weren’t old enough to marry — and they belonged to the two far ends of the caste spectrum.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi |
Updated: January 29


The 24-year-old in the white sherwani was the centre of attraction at the Supreme Court, where black robes are the norm. He had tried his best to look dapper, for he expected the court to allow him to legally wed the woman he had loved for several years now.

His wait did not go in vain. When the young man left the court on January 20, he had a wife — and the seal of approval on their wedding from India’s highest judiciary.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Sapre validated their wedding in a temple four years ago, and allowed the young man to reunite with the girl who had been lodged in a shelter home in Lucknow for the last three years — waiting to become a major so she could legally wed.

The families of the two young people lived across the road from each other in Bahraich district of UP when they fell in love. But they weren’t old enough to marry — and they belonged to the two far ends of the caste spectrum.

“It was love at first sight. The more we saw of each other, the deeper in love we fell. But her family was opposed to our union. I am Dalit and she is Brahmin, and her family said there could never be a match between us for this reason. So we decide to run away and build a new life together somewhere else. We were married in a temple in 2011,” the soon-to-be groom told the court during a hearing.

The problems followed soon after the wedding. “Her family got an FIR registered against me at Rupaidiha police station in Bahraich district. I was accused of kidnapping her since she was a minor. The Allahabad High Court declined to quash the FIR, although my lawyer was able to prove that my wife had come with me on her own. In our quest to be together, we then knocked on the Supreme Court’s door,” he said.

After their lawyer Dushyant Parashar explained the sequence of events, the nature of their relationship, and the primary reason for the opposition of the girl’s family, the bench in 2013 stayed the investigation in the case, and ordered the girl to be lodged in Lucknow’s Nari Niketan, a shelter home for women.

With the case still pending, the girl turned 18 this month. Parashar requested the bench to let the couple live as husband and wife, and to give its stamp of approval on their wedding.

Before the January 20 hearing, the bench had asked Parashar to convey to the young man that he should dress well to the court, which was inclined to declare his wedding legal.

Seeing him in a sherwani on that day, the court remarked, “Now he really looks like a groom. Tell us you will keep her always happy, and you will never trouble her.” The young man instantly nodded.

The court then ordered: “She has attained majority. There is no justification to continue the investigation and prosecute the appellant. This is a fit case where we think the controversy should be allowed to rest and the appellants should be permitted to live as husband and wife. We say so to avoid all kinds of confusion in future.

“The appellant has undertaken before this court that he would not mistreat (the girl) and give her the affection and respect due to a wife.”

One problem endures, however. The girl’s family is still against their wedding, and the couple apprehend a threat to their lives. They have requested their names be not revealed in this report.Inter-caste marriage isn’t the problem, marrying a Dalit man is

An Indian Hindu male cannot bring himself to accept the fact that an adult woman has the liberty to love and marry as per her free will.
SIDDHARTH 13 July, 2019 


Another Dalit youth was murdered this week. The ‘crime’ of 25-year-old Haresh Kumar Solanki was that he had dared to fall in love with and marry a woman from the ‘upper caste’. Eight family members of his wife Urmila, who is two-months pregnant, hacked him to death while a women’s helpline team was trying to negotiate with the father, Dasrath Singh Jhala, to send his daughter back to her husband’s home.

The brutal killing in Varmor village in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad district comes six months after Haresh and Urmila got married against her family’s wishes.

To ensure her Dalit husband doesn’t meet the same fate as Haresh Solanki, Sakshi Mishra from Uttar Pradesh, the daughter of BJP’s Bithari Chainpur MLA Rajesh Mishra alias Pappu Bhartaul, put out a video asking the police for protection from her father and “his dogs (henchmen)”, who have allegedly threatened to kill her husband Ajitesh and his family.

In September last year, Pranay, a Dalit man in Telangana’s Hyderabad, was murdered by a goon allegedly sent by his father-in-law Maruthi Rao. His wife Amrutha was then five-months pregnant.

Have you ever heard or read any news where a Brahmin man has been murdered for marrying a Dalit woman or a woman from a ‘lower caste’? At least, I have never come across an incident of such nature. Why is it that any non-Brahmin woman marrying a Brahmin man doesn’t infuriate either family to the extent of killing the Brahmin groom?

It is quite apparent that the problem does not lie in an inter-caste marriage, and two things help explain this:

1. It is usually the woman’s family that would act on its discomfort over an inter-caste marriage in a violent way. In almost all cases of killing in the name of ‘honour’, it’s the woman’s family that is usually accused of murder. Moreover, a woman’s family harbours dislike for an inter-caste marriage only when the groom belongs to a ‘lower caste’. The dislike is greater if he happens to be a Dalit.

2. The Hindu society dislikes inter-caste marriages but not all inter-caste marriages. Otherwise, there would have been an instance of a Brahmin youth being killed in the name of ‘honour’ for marrying outside his caste.

Dalit boy's married to Brahmin Girl
Intercaste couple attacked by kin after 28 years of marriage
Couple, married for 28 years, was allegedly beaten up and urinated on by the relatives of the husband in the Gadag district

Published on Jul 12, 2021 / By Sharan Poovanna, Bengaluru
In another incident of rising atrocities against members of the SC/ST (scheduled caste/scheduled tribe) community in the city, a couple, married for 28 years, was allegedly beaten up and urinated on by the relatives of the husband in the Gadag district. The husband belongs to an upper caste while the wife belongs to
the Valmiki community, classified as a scheduled tribe, the police said.

“The incident occurred on July 8 in Ron Taluk, roughly 385km from Bengaluru. The husband’s relatives had gotten into a fight with the couple, and the wife was injured during the incident. On July 9, we booked a case under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC/ST Act). Further, the investigation is on,” a police official said on condition of anonymity.
The incident has highlighted a sharp spike in atrocities against marginalized communities in the state. Between April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, there have been 2,327 cases of murder, exploitation and other cases against members of the SC/ST community in Karnataka, according to data from the state government.
This shows an increase of over 54% since the previous year, in which there were a total of 1,504 cases registered, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau.
The cases include murder, exploitation, burns and other crimes against the members of the community.
In the last month alone, Karnataka witnessed at least three victims of “honour” killing, including several others, that include name-calling, denial of services and conflicts between groups that rarely make it to the books.
Two teenagers, a Dalit boy and a Muslim girl were killed in Saladahalli village in Devara Hipparagi taluk in Vijayapura district by the girl’s family, who smashed their heads with rocks, Hindustan Times reported on June 24.
In another case in Baragur village in Koppal district, a boy who belonged to the Madiga community was murdered by the family of the girl, who was from the dominant Kuruba community for being romantically involved.
Activists are taking out a rally in protest against the continued atrocities against Dalit groups in the Koppal district on July 19.
Activists said that there are skirmishes almost daily in rural Karnataka that exposes the dark belly of a state that is globally known for its prowess in technology, startups, aerospace and biotechnology among other attributes.
However, data suggests that the reporting of cases are low, but the conviction rates are even lower. Between April 2020 and May 2021, there were 87 murders, 216 cases of exploitation, 2,024 other instances and three incidents of fire, according to government data.
The government has allocated around ₹2,842.38 lakh as compensation for these crimes.
Out of the 2,775 arrested persons and 2,945 charge-sheeted from crimes and atrocities against SC/ST communities in 2019, only 50 were convicted, and 1,513 were acquitted, the data shows.(https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/intercaste-couple-attacked-by-kin-after-28-years-of-marriage-101626029798818.html)

Hindu tradition is against woman’s liberty

An Indian Hindu male just cannot bring himself to accept the fact that an adult woman has the liberty to love and marry as per her own free will. It does not matter that India’s Constitution gives the right to every adult, irrespective of gender, to choose his/her partner. Manusmriti (the laws of Manu), the Hindu society’s guide book on caste and other such matters, describes this mindset thus:

“पिता रक्षति कौमारे भर्ता रक्षति यौवने.
रक्षन्ति स्थविरे पुत्रा न स्त्री स्वातन्त्र्यं अर्हति” (section I, verse 9.3)

It says: A woman, at no stage in her life, is fit to be independent – the father should guard her until she is married, the husband during her adult life, and the son in her old age.

Even the most revered Hindu epic, Ramcharitmanas, has the author Tulsidas saying that a woman is ‘spoilt’ the moment she is given freedom: ‘जिमि स्वतंत्र होइ, बिगरहि नारी’.

Hindu scriptures allow marrying a girl from lower caste

As social norms changed over time, the Hindu society too was forced to change its attitude towards ‘love marriage’. But it introduced a condition for a woman marrying of her own free will: the man should belong to the same caste. An additional condition is that the financial status (class) should be more or less equal. Some are ready to give up the ‘class’ condition, but no one abandons the ‘caste’ factor. In rare cases involving the ‘progressives’, the caste condition too will be ignored provided the woman marries someone from the ‘upper caste’. Manu has termed it as anulom vivah, and given his acceptance to it. He puts it thus:

“शूद्रैव भार्या शूद्रस्य सा च स्वा च विश: स्मृते.
ते च स्वा चैव राज्ञश्च ताश्चस्वा चाग्रजन्मन” (section III, verse 3.13)

It says: A Shudra can only marry a Shudra woman; a Vaishya can marry any of the two; a Khastriya can marry a woman from his clan or any woman from the clans below him; while a Brahmin is eligible to marry a woman from any of the four clans.

It is clear that as per all the prescribed conditions, the groom’s caste should not be lower than the bride’s caste, otherwise it will be a “pratilom vivah”, which the Hindu religion/vedas don’t permit.

On sex, the Manusmriti clearly delineates that:

कन्यां भजन्तीमुत्कृष्टं न किंचदपि दापयेत्.
जघन्ये सेवामानां तुंसयतो वावसयेदगृहे. (verse 8.365)

It says: A woman is not liable for punishment if she has sex with a man from the ‘higher castes’. But she is due for harsh punishment for having sex with a man from a ‘lower caste’.

A section of the society is willing to move past all such conditions but in no case should the groom belong to the ‘untouchable’ caste. In a rare instance where a father may agree to his daughter marrying a man from a ‘lower caste’, the groom is likely to be a powerful politician or an official or some big businessman, which will help improve the financial status (class) of the bride’s family. There is, however, a very small section of society today that has managed to rise above all the discriminatory terms and conditions.

These perspectives help us understand the violent reactions to Urmila and Haresh’s marriage. Being an ‘upper caste’ woman, Urmila, as per Hindu tradition, religious scriptures, culture, and the mindset borne out of these, committed ‘two crimes’ by marrying Haresh, a Dalit. First, by falling in love and marrying of her own free will, she displayed her independence and thus challenged the patriarchal control. Second, by marrying a Dalit man, she indulged in ‘pratilom vivah’, which is against Hindu religion. Haresh’s financial status also meant that Urmila’s father couldn’t have accepted him as a son-in-law from a ‘lower caste’ on any ground.

The author is a PhD scholar and currently works as Hindi Editor of Forward Press. This article has been translated from Hindi. Read the original version here.

(Unknown)
Hello,

I am a South Indian Brahmin- Iyengar and my Boyfriend (now Husband) belongs to SC caste. We studied in the same college and class and started talking only at the 4th Year of B.E.

Started off with a fight, then started talking because of a mutual best friend. Understood his simplicity , hard work and fell in love with his politeness, respecting elders, respecting people of all professions, his love for farming, gardening and pets.

Our marriage was performed by my Husband's Dad and my MIL came to the temple after the marriage was over. My parents wouldn't even think about giving a shot when they know about his caste.

Made few sacrifices for my love and marriage. Stayed alone in a hostel for 9 months after my marriage as he didn't have a job.Tried my best to fit in their family and came a long way from the high class DIL to a person with whom MIL feels comfortable to chat. Her biggest regret is that she doesn't have a grandson ( I have 2 daughters, one is in UKG and other is 5 month old)

Money isn't everything. Agreed we need money to pay bills and have a lifestyle but imagine if we live in a palatial house and there is no one who cares for you or is happy around you, does it make any sense.

My friend who had ditched her lover (it was around the time of my marriage) saying her Dad has BP and Heart Problems and will never accept to inter caste marriage is now suffering in her life married to her husband who is by the way well educated, well earning, bank balance running to 2–3 Crores, but he doesn't care if she is hungry or sick, he just wants his hot meal perfectly at time and no questions asked.

I believe in Karma and have seen that what goes around comes around. If you do not have the courage to pursue love ( all the more needed if it is an inter caste marriage like Brahmin- SC), please don't get committed.

Aanav Pandey and Meena Kumari

Aanav Pandey, a Brahmin, met Meena Kumari, a Dalit, at a college in Chandigarh while studying. As they both got to know each other, their romance blossomed into a loving relationship.

Both felt that there was no way they were going to marry anyone else. But they also knew that an inter-caste marriage between them would be a huge struggle.

Aanav’s Brahmin family were totally against the marriage. They told him that he had to make a choice between Meena and the family.

When he chose Meena, Aanav’s family disowned him and had nothing to do with him anymore.

In comparison, Meena’s family were the opposite. They were open-minded and agreed for the marriage to take place.

Recalling the time, Meena says:

“It was very hard for Aanav. I wanted to be there for him during this very difficult time he was facing, being disowned by his parents. It was a very emotional time for him. My family made sure he did not feel alone in it all.”

Aanav still invited many of his relatives from his side of the family. But not one person showed up at the wedding. He got married to Meena without a single member of his family present.

Aanav says:

“Okay, I thought, my parents will not come but I was surprised to see not one relative showed up to my marriage. Even people who grew up with me snubbed me.”

It has been over five years since Aanav and Meena tied the knot. They have two children and live happily.

Aanav still makes an effort with his family and visits them once a year on his own. To this day, they still have not accepted Meena, despite them having grandchildren.(https://www.desiblitz.com/content/real-stories-inter-caste-marriages-india)
Peeyush Misra and Neetu Rawat

A 27-year-old lawyer, Peeyush Misra, who is a Brahmin met and fell in love with Neetu Rawat, who was of the lower Chamar caste when they were studying at Lucknow University.
Talking about the caste system in India, Peeyush says: “The institution of caste survives in India because of political motives.”
Speaking about his marriage to Neetu, he says:

“You must have the courage to take the initiative. Be ready to defy social barriers and there is nothing to stop a union like ours.”

His inter-caste marriage did cause some uproar amongst his relatives and friends. But it was his father who fully supported them and was very much in favour of the children deciding their own paths in life.

Feeling the battle was worth it, both Neetu and Peeyush say:

“We have been married for two years now and consider ourselves the happiest couple on earth.”

Well, these are some of the touching stories among many others. Even Bollywood actors like Shahrukh Khan and Gauri, Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao, Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput have tied their knots despite different castes and faiths.

Can it be said that times are changing in India? Somewhat, yes.

Things were different 20 years ago. The percentage of people marrying outside their castes then was comparatively lower to the percentage of people marrying today.

Also, inter-caste marriages have been much more prevalent in the cases of marriage after a divorce.

The Supreme Court has initiated a pilot project on examining the situation in the districts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

In these Indian states, the attacks by khap panchayats on young couples were common. On the growing instances of honour killings, Chief Justice Dipak Mishra says:


“When two people decide to marry, they are adults and you are nobody to interfere.”

Even government schemes like the ‘Dr Savita Ben Ambedkar Inter Caste Marriage Scheme’ aim to help the couples who have taken a ‘socially bold step’ to settle down in the initial phase of their married life.

The scheme gives incentives to every inter-caste marriage involving a Dalit. Initially, in 2014-15, merely five couples were given approximately Rs 50,000 which, in 2015-16, rose to 72 couples receiving Rs 5 lakhs.

Studies reveal that incidences of inter-caste marriages in India have grown to about 10% of total marriages. So it can be said, that yes, times are changing.

However, it is required that the Indian government takes more initiatives to minimise the suffering of the young couples who pay a price just for the sake of falling in love.

LAKSHMI KRUPA 

finds couples who dared to break the unwritten law

KATHIR & TILAKAM, 1999

Dalit and Thevar

Kathir and Tilakam fell in love when they were working together in an NGO in Madurai, and got married under the Special Marriages Act. "We have been married for 12 years now and we couldn't be happier," says Kathir. They faced pressure from all around, family and community, but Tilakam's father was Leftist and together the family was able to overcome the ire of the caste groups. Kathir says that his wife refuses to use her caste name because it makes her shameful. Kathir does, though, as a way to reclaim his identity. “Generally, Dalits have a complex and tend to hide. Why should they? If someone says I am untouchable, the one who says it should hide in shame. Not me. Everyone knew who I was when I married my wife. I wanted them to know.”

SAROJA & RANGATHAN,
 
1990 Brahmin and Dalit She is a Tamil Brahmin from Erode, brought up in an agraharam (Brahmin colony). He is a Scheduled Caste man. “My family wanted me to wait because I had sisters but I would not,” she recalls, because his parents had already started to look for a girl. “I was deeply disenchanted with my caste,” remembers Saroja. “My Muslim friends would steal me into their homes and offer me their food.” The couple faced a lot of trouble initially from caste groups, family and neighbours. Eventually everyone came around. “It‟s been 30 years now. I couldn‟t be happier,” says Saroja. “I couldn‟t change my birth, but I could get out of this system by marrying him.

IRAIVI & NAINAR
, 1981 BC and Pazhankudiyinar Iraivi‟s father was a follower of Periyar who advocated the rejection of caste names, and marriage outside caste groups. Way back in 1958, he had a Jaadi Maruppu or caste-rejecting marriage, and insisted that his children do the same. Iraivi went one step further. “I requested my father to find me a man not just from a BC or MBC community but a Pazhankudiyinar (tribal) man.” She married Nainar in a self-respect ceremony. “We have had a very happy married life,” says Iraivi, who has now taken on the mantle of arranging inter-caste marriages between Dalits and other castes. “It serves the purpose of caste groups to make it seem like inter-caste marriages won‟t work in Tamil Nadu. From my own experience, I can say they surely do.” ---------- In 1967, Tamil Nadu chief minister C.N. Annadurai created history by amending the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. To this day, it‟s the only state in India that recognises what‟s called a „selfrespect‟ marriage (suyamariyaathai or seethiruththa marriage) rejecting priests and dowry and encouraging inter-caste matrimony. Garlands, mangalsutras, even rings are optional. Tamil leader Periyar called this “daring not just for Tamil Nadu but also the entire world”. Which is why the controversy and violence over Vanniyar girl Divya‟s marriage with Dalit boy Ilavarasan, leading to the boy‟s ultimate death, has been such a rude awakening to many who assumed that Tamil Nadu had made significant strides in dealing with caste inequity. The ground reality, very far from the reform rhetoric, is that marriages between upper-caste women and Dalit men are an exception rather than the rule. The Vanniyar caste to which Divya belongs is classified as a Most Backward Caste while Ilavarasan as a Dalit falls right outside the pale. Today, it is at this end of the spectrum of the rainbow of caste politics that the most heated debate and violence is taking place. Vanniyar girl Senthamizhselvi and her Dalit husband Vimalraj are in hiding. “After Ilavarasan‟s death I fear for our lives,” she says over the phone, talking from an undisclosed location. In Senthamizhselvi‟s village Manakkarai there have been in all only three „love‟ marriages. “The first two were within our caste, but they created a huge uproar,” she says, and they were not considering marriage. Says Vimalraj, “She was studying and I wanted to wait till she finished.” 

However, a man belonging to Senthamizhselvi‟s community, already married, who ran the canteen in her college fell in love with her. He offered her parents financial help and convinced them to marry her to him. He also told them of her affair with a Dalit boy. That‟s when the two decided to elope. They first tried to register their marriage in a neighbouring village but weren‟t allowed to do so. They were finally married by advocate K.S. Karthikeyan and registered their marriage in Thirupandal. This, then, is the reality in Tamil Nadu‟s villages where caste groups continue to rule. The fact that this degree of violence is not seen when an upper caste man marries a lower caste woman shows that the caste politics at play are very much the politics of gender and masculinity. The voice of the woman, whether Dalit or Vanniyar, does not figure. They become the „trophies‟, the symbols that the males of each caste use to prove status and power. A. Kathir runs Evidence, a Madurai-based NGO that works with Dalit issues. He is a Dalit man married to an upper caste woman. “If an upper caste man marries a lower caste or Dalit woman, he is considered „benevolent‟; he has „uplifted‟ her. It is his heir that she will bear. But when an upper caste woman marries a Dalit man, she bears a lower-caste heir and caste fanatics will not allow their caste being made „impure‟,” he says. In Vedaranyam in May last year, a Vanniyar woman was lynched for having an affair with a Dalit man. Before she died, the men from her caste reportedly asked her if Vanniyar men could not make her happy. The role of caste-based political parties has been that of guardians of their caste‟s masculine honour, and the onus of maintaining that honour continues to fall on the woman. Unfortunately, as Kathir points out, while several other states have been asked to furnish reports on instances of honour killing, Tamil Nadu has not figured on the list because it is not called honour killing here. Says U. Vasuki, Tamil Nadu State General Secretary of AIDWA (All India Democratic Women‟s Association) “When a father kills his daughter and her husband for a „love marriage‟ it is registered as murder by the police. When we go on field visits to Theni or Sivaganagai, we find a lot of „missing‟ women. The parents don‟t follow up and the police are more than happy to say she must have eloped with someone. What our country needs is a separate legislation for honour killing like we have for Sati.” Within each caste, upper or lower, women are considered inferior. “However, since she is the main instrument carrying caste purity into the next generation, she is forced to marry a man from her caste. This is how caste groups keep women‟s sexuality under control,” says Vasuki. “Ramadoss has said that Dalit men touching Vanniyar women will have their hands cut off. AIDWA‟s question to him is what they will do if a Vanniyar man touches a woman without her permission?” Caste groups sustain power on their ability to control the men of subordinate castes, which rides on their ability to control women in public and private spheres. As Iraivi says, “They threaten violence to anybody who dares to challenge this. It‟s for the government to offer protection to these families.”
“There is no upper caste or lower caste at home. My wife is the boss.”

He recalls that many people from his community were worried that he may alienate himself from them. However, Saroja worked hard at developing these relationships and managed to win people over.

Saroja’s father is a vastu practitioner from an orthodox Brahmin family. Therefore, she wanted to still follow her ways especially in terms of her diet restrictions being a Brahmin. She says:

“My only condition was in terms of diet. I continue to be a vegetarian and he’s a non-vegetarian. Our four children are totally non-vegetarian.”

Geddam Jhansi and Subramaniam Amancharla

In 1989, Geddam Jhansi a Dalit Mala woman married Subramaniam Amancharla, a Brahmin.

The wedding was a low-key affair where the couple exchanged garlands with about 30 relatives and friends present.

However, sadly, there was no one at the wedding from Subramaniam’s side. So, he informed his family by sending them a photo and note of his marriage to a lower caste woman.

Jhansi’s uncle had arranged the marriage to Subramaniam. He was a social reformer and a proponent of Telugu culture.

Jhansi, therefore, was not going to go against the will of her elders and accepted to marry Subramaniam. Recalling the time, Jhansi says:

“But I trusted them and, sure enough, everything has turned out right. We were following Ambedkar’s ideology and hoping for the best.”

Subramaniam’s family did eventually come round to accepting the marriage. Despite their earlier objections.

Subramaniam is a law professor in Guntur and Jhansi runs a social welfare organisation that is fighting for the rights of Dalit women, like herself.

They have a son called Jabali, who is now over 23 years-old. When he was a child, school authorities were not pleased when his parents refused to identify him as either a Brahmin or a Dalit.

Jalabi uses the surname Amancharla but declares himself as ‘other caste’ on his documents.
V. Shankar and Kausalya
Another tragic story of an inter-caste marriage from Tamil Nadu.
Kausalya, a 19-year-old Piramalai Kallar girl, met V. Shankar, a 22-year-old Pallar guy in 2014:

“Shankar made me realise that dignified and respectful behaviour is the way of love,” quoted Kaushalya.

They knew they will not get the permission to marry. So, Kausalya left her home, met up with Shankar and they eloped.

But, soon after departure, Kausalya’s father filed a case against Shankar for kidnapping her.

They somehow managed to marry in the Palani Padha Vinayakar Temple.

In March 2016, a gang of five bike riders hacked Shankar and Divya with sharp long knives in broad daylight.

Shankar was unable to sustain his injuries and died. Kaushalya lived. The brutal attack was recorded on CCTV footage and went viral all over the internet.

The police arrested 11 people accused of being guilty, and six of them were convicted, including Kaushalya’s father, Chinnasamy. They continuously defended their actions in the name of ‘honour killing’.

Nivedita Manjhi
studied at Allen Career Institute, Kota



Neelima Paravastu, no matter where I live, always an Indian

My Cousin married a converted Christian. I am not sure if they are STs officially, but unofficially we all know that they converted STs.

My cousin's parent's almost disowned her, means they talk to her on phone but she cant come to their home etc., so complicated..

But they are living abroad happily away from all family. Except the feeling of being away from everyone, everything else fine.

Venkatesan Padmanabhan, Business man at Self-Employment (1990-present)

My senior in cricket was married to an Iyengar. It was a love marriage. Both worked at P F Office in Chennai. They had two sons and both are in USA.My senior in the cricket belongs to Scheduled caste. Tamil cinema artiste Kamala Kamesh is a Brahman lady and her daughter is now married to a Muslim who is also an actor.If I start naming just for the sake of proving it I may be encroaching into their privacy.There are so many popular artistes from these two communities married and living happily.Socioeconomic status counts a lot and communities do not come in the way if two people decide to marry.

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