‘An App To Find Your Caste Partner’?! Yes, Really! You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

A matrimonial app is circulating slyly on family and friend WhatsApp groups for 'finding your partner in your caste' and uses fear tactics aimed at women to do its work. Ugh. 

A matrimonial app is circulating slyly on family and friend WhatsApp groups for ‘finding your partner in your caste’ and uses fear tactics aimed at women to do its work. Ugh. 

Dating apps don’t help”, caution the words, “they get you into serious trouble”. The illustration alongside this declaration shows a father slapping his semi-clad daughter across the face as a young man escapes from her room.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of Jodable, an app that’s a cross between Sima Aunty and Let’s Pretend We Live in the 21st Century.

(No, we’re not sharing a link to the app and abetting this toxic, casteist bunkum. Feel free to conduct your own Google search with the keywords ‘dating app Jodable’ if curiosity overwhelms you).

“Happy love marriages happen in the same community”

When a friend sent the link to this app to me, shared by an acquaintance on a Whatsapp group, I thought it’s got to be a joke. The kitschy artwork that depicts blissed out families when everybody speaks the same language, and abject misery and the wrath of the gods when diversity enters the picture has got to be satire, right?

Wrong. With hashtags like #brahmin, #lingayat and #kannadabrahmin on nearly every post on their now-abandoned Instagram page, this app is apparently the face of an India that “yearns for traditional togetherness” but don’t want their parents to say “We told you so!” It exists in a universe where women cannot be sexually active without facing violence from their birth family, or looking like they were coerced into contorted positions when they’d rather be steaming idlis.

And all is well and happy when you find a partner from your own caste, because apparently that’s what decides how abusive partners will get.

“Make Same-Caste Boyfriend/ Girlfriend”

This line above takes me back to living rooms where ‘progressive’ families ‘allow’ a prospective couple to…(gasp!)….talk to each other to decide their lifelong suitability in four and a half minutes. Even as the makers of this app use violence against women, lack of female agency, and hardcore patriarchy to make their point—without any trace of irony—this new app on the block declares that dating is too western a concept, and people marrying for love outside their caste (never mind community or religion) shred society’s fabric like Edward Scissorhands on crack. Chhee, chhee, chhee!

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On the other hand, it acknowledges that instant marriage may not be for everybody (you don’t say!) and peddles this “find your caste partner” as a halfway house that leaves families happy, mothers- and daughters-in-law in seamless harmony, and the patriarchy alive and kicking.

Ekta Kapoor called. She wants her money back.

“Bye-bye Dating. Hello Joding.”

On their YouTube page (not providing a link to that either!), that has fewer subscribers than a toddler’s teeth, one lone video claims to have the solution to “India’s marriage crisis”.

Umm, excuse me? That would be that we have far too many, right? Around every corner? Every fortnight? All year, every year? We’re the country that reproduces like rabbits and only those darn Chinese are taking that medal away from us? Oops, wrong again! It is that the “youth don’t want to get married!” An India without band, baaja, baarat and no grandchildren before Paati passes?! What post-Ramsay horror can this be?!

I will be the first to say that the cultural iceberg in any ‘outside your caste/ community/ religion’ marriage is real. And many people just don’t want to spend the rest of their lives doing what they believe tantamounts to reinventing the wheel. Why learn another language? Why adapt, demonstrate curiosity or try another cuisine? Why risk the iron-clad guarantee that your mother and wife will be deliriously happy with each other because they belong to the same sub-sect of a sub-sect of a sub-sect?

“The traditional togetherness business”

Fine, you stick in the mud traditionalists. Go forth and shrink that gene pool till it’s a sodden puddle. Produce little clones of yourself whose parents only differ by gender and are awash in the soothing scent of cultural homogeneity. But using women as the target audience of your messaging and trying laughable fear tactics to enforce your asinine casteist, misogynist and patriarchal arguments is a new low, even for those practicing casteism for millennia. And especially for those who believe the “institution of marriage is under threat” in a country that sees 10 million weddings a year.

Maybe dating apps do get some of us into serious trouble. Like the #brahmin who met this castleless heathen on a dating site and is still married to me more than a decade later. Oops! How unsanskaari of us!

Image source: Jodable

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About the Author

Dilnavaz Bamboat

Dilnavaz Bamboat's heart occupies prime South Mumbai real estate. The rest of her lives in Silicon Valley, California, where she hikes, reads, hugs redwood trees and raises a pint-sized feminist. She is the read more...

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