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The caste system is still a huge part of our society and needs to be eliminated. Will we ever be able to abolish the caste system?
Why does your caste matter? Is it because of The Constitution or due to the people’s inherent need to feel superior?
If we go back to history lessons, we observe the varna system and the specific roles of castes which signified the division of labour. Later due to the caste census by the British, the system was strengthened further.
But wasn’t this system old and evil enough to be forgotten in this modern era of mars missions and automatic cars? Why is the youth of today inclined towards finding love while what their parents want is to maintain the purity of their caste lineage?
In the Indian Constitution, the reservation policy and certain benefits to inter caste marriages were advocated in order to abolish this evil system. It wasn’t done just for the benefit of certain castes as people perceive it to be.
Intra caste marriages has lead to a form of inbreeding which results in certain diseases. Let me give you an example: A certain caste in Tamil Nadu is fatally allergic to an anaesthetic.
Even though biologically unfavourable, people can’t seem to let go of a horrific tradition. A tradition that has lead to the destruction of several love lives and even lives in the form of honour killings.
Here are some examples of how this caste system affects people and their love lives.
My friend Menaka belongs to a certain community and she wished to marry someone from a different community. All her life, her father has whole-heartedly supported her and her decisions. Whether it was her decision to wear wanted or party as much as she wished or even drink and smoke. The man is a doctor who has spent lavishly on his daughter and yet is unwilling to let her marry outside their community!
Similarly, one of my cousins and her (now) husband waited two years for her parents’ approval of their marriage. It ended with her grandmother still not coming to terms with it. This, despite the fact that both of them are financially stable and very happy together.
My paternal aunt’s sister-in-law had a love marriage. However, it was kept hidden and masked as an arranged marriage within the caste in order to deal with the ‘shame’ it had caused the family.
Yet another incident where my friend’s boyfriend is an IPS officer and her parents aren’t ready to get the two married. Why? Oh, it’s because he is from a so-called ‘lower caste.’
There’s another friend of mine, an engineer who graduated from IIT and his girlfriend is a dentist. Their parents aren’t ready to accept their marriage even though both of them are from the so-called ‘upper caste’ families.
Awareness about and supporting inter-caste marriages is the only solution to promote an equal society.
To begin with, if your friend is in such a marriage, support them. Often people fail to support their friends in such situations. This happens because they have had an arranged marriage or they are afraid of their parents’ reaction for supporting a relationship of this nature.
Secondly, couples need to stay firm about their decision to get married to each other. The emotional blackmail from your parents and family wouldn’t work if your relationship and love are strong enough. Moreover, in the long run, such things are meaningless since it is indeed a question of your life.
Thirdly, everyone should be supportive of equality and refrain from making casteist remarks. We need to stop using caste phrases, which aren’t just illegal but also inhuman and cruel on many levels!
MA Sneha, the woman who fought the long battle to get a ‘no religion, no caste’ certificate needs to be seen as an inspiration. Her example needs to be inculcated in our lives for the glorious future of our country.
Picture credits: Still from Marathi movie Sairat
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