Sunday, May 11, 2008

Random thoughts on inter-cultural love/marriage

Over the last year or so, several people I have known (worked with, studied with, laughed with, cried with, lamented life with, celebrated life with) have gotten married.

I've received numerous invitations, and much as I'd like to have been able to attend all of them (especially those of classmates from SVCE or IIMA), being a working professional and having to earn one's salary has got in the way just a little. Plus the not-insignificant flight costs, although that's much less of a consideration.

What's struck me as an interesting feature of these marriages is the fact in a majority of the cases, the couple met, fell in love, and decided to get married even though they were from different cultural backgrounds. In other words, these were 'love marriages', as several relatively (in many ways) orthodox people I know of say with a disdainful look in their eyes and a pursing of their lips.

In a country where the concept of arranged marriages has long held sway as the right and proper and honourable way of setting up an alliance, I see this as an interesting shift in mindset. It's not surprising that it's happened among people of my generation - it was bound to, given the kind of influences and stimuli we are fed thanks to our global outlook, and the renewed desire to be seen as independent and deciding one's life. What's surprising (and, perhaps, heartening) is the fact that several parents (i.e. one generation up) are now willing to consider this.

Among the weddings I've been invited to (or have been told of) of late have been the following combination of cultures/religions
-> Tamil Brahmin - Maharashtrian
-> Tamil Brahmin (Iyer) - Tamil Brahmin (Iyengar) Yes, that's a fairly big deal too
-> Tamil Brahmin - Punjabi
-> Punjabi - Bengali
-> Bihari - Kannadiga
-> Punjabi - Gujarati

There have been several love marriages of people I know within the Tam Brahm community (I don't know what castes the couple belonged to; knowing that society, that would have been a huge cause for debate as well), as well as one Christian-Hindu marriage.

One of the couples above eloped to get married. As expected, there was a great deal of hand wringing and disowning and threatening police action on charges of kidnapping. The issue was settled with the girl's family disowning the couple, but the thaw is under way. If one were to go by a similar story of elopement in my extended family, fences will mend quicker once a child is on the way.

Some of my friends have had to fight for years to get their parents to agree to their choice of life partner. Some of the parents have gone as far as to threaten legal action if the inter-caste or inter-culture marriage was carried through. In some cases, the parents finally agreed (perhaps more out of resignation and a feeling that it was high time their son/daughter got married). In others, the relationship broke off under the strain of dogged parental disapproval and years of insult and rebuke with a great deal of heartache, disappointment and loneliness for both parties. The parents, of course, were joyful at the split, seeing it as an opportunity to set their errant child upon their pre-approved, socially acceptable and appropriate path.

Almost all the married couples I have known who have had had love marriages over the last two to three years are very happy in their current lives.

All the examples I've quoted (or have experienced from any reasonable distance) have been of well educated, urban families. Both the good examples where the parents trusted their kids to make responsible decisions, and the bad ones where parents were heavy handed in their denial of freedom of choice. I'm not saying its bad/wrong of parents to disapprove - if your child is marrying a gold digger or drug addict, you have every right to object and steer them away from that path. As a parent you are probably mortally scared that your child might be making a big mistake that you find yourself powerless to stop. You're probably torn between the clashing instincts of protecting your baby and letting him/her stand on their own feet as individuals with self-thought. And that fear stems from love, affection and a desire to see your child have what's best for them and settled in a long happy marriage. But to denounce a relationship purely on the basis of caste or regional/culture considerations, especially in the current world of nuclear families where a couple does not have to live with the extended family, seems regressive, unfair and just plain unacceptable.

Often, a parent's views are defined by what society would think. "Oh, what will people say if I marry my good Tam Brahm daughter to a big loud Punjabi boy? I won't be able to hold my head up in society again!" Stereotypical associations kick in and there is a marked unwillingness to even meet or talk to the potential son/daughter in law, much less accept them into the family. There is probably a need to understand that the 'kid' is grown up too. I can understand concern about an 18 year old wanting to get married, but if your child is 24/25 and is atleast a little worldly-wise, a little trust and understanding is required. Love is no longer blind at that age, the attendant reponsibilities make one think long and hard before a commitment. No one wants to mess up their own life, and by that age, a certain sense of responsibility and accountability kicks in, which allows the 'kid' to make more rational, well thought out decisions. If one can legally make the choice to drink, drive, have sex or vote (although that doesn't always turn out too well), why not the choice to marry?

When weighing (potentially lower) social acceptance and what the neighbourhood maami gossip circuit thinks against a well thought out (and trust me, by a certain age it is well thought out) decision from one's child that he/she is convinced will bring happiness and stability, sometimes one just needs to say "Screw you, society. Screw you and your hypocritical, insular ways that steal a person's right to make his or her own decisions and give it to a bunch of stars and an archaic caste system."

Again, all this is in an urban context. And I firmly believe urban India is more progressive in this sense, more willing to accept these new fangled concepts of love that would have meant instant shame and ostracization a generation or two ago. Yes, even in urban India, one often reads about cases that come frighteningly close to honour killings... but one hopes that over perhaps one more generation, a greater level of tolerance and understanding will develop.


(Here's the story that triggered the train of thought leading to this post, although it's not directly related: The original story and the follow up. I also stumbled across a couple of interesting articles on inter caste marriages and a Christian-Muslim wedding.)



I've just read through what I've written, and I realise it's far from well written. As I am wont to do, I just spill thoughts out onto the screen, tilting against my windmills with little thought for wording, structure, readability and sometimes grammar. I see I've mixed tenses and first/second person views and written unbelievably long and sub-claused sentences. I've also been fairly harsh at some places. I apologize for the style (or lack thereof) of writing, but not the content. I do have a point to make, though, and I hope that's come out clearly enough.

42 comments:

May said...

Well, i've only read it once, but it sounded well written ;)

Just a comment on your thoughts - i used to be on the 'SCREW SOCIETY' side. And finally the folks relented ...

Met someone totally inappropriate - soooo in lust/desperation i thought it wouldn't be an issue - battled with the parents for years, lowered my expectations (e.g. he couldn't even spell, and he certainly didn't have the looks to compensate for it) and he turned out to confirm all my parents fears after all. 7 years later. Now i'm a bit more willing to listen to what they have to say on this matter.

I'm still saying screw you to most societal prejudices, .... but sometimes ... long held traditions could so be a saviour.

I'm still pro-love marriage, so to say - but at the same time i take into account all the potential problems that could come into the mix.

Vivek said...

Wow, man... how do you write like that?

I think I agree with your points... after certain age, people should be considered responsible enough to make their decisions. Parental approval is important, but disapproval on flimsy grounds or just for sake of disapproval is not good.

Paresh said...

I guess in most cases the parents can be real emotional blackmailers. But the resistance from parents may depend on the age of their rebellious offspring. Somebody talking of marriage at age 22 may face more resistance than someone 26+.

Nandini Vishwanath said...

:) True. I think if you trust your child's decisions and know he/she is fairly mature and will take responsibility of the life to be led later on, then I think love/arranged should not matter!

See, there is a long sentence :P And have you read my blog which is full of errors? All kinds. You write well. A blog is not your English homework no?

Gayatri said...

From the parents' perspective, I believe they're trying to shield the child. I'm not venturing into whether this is justified or not. The point is, in our society a marriage is the association of 2 families rather than 2 individuals. So, being from the same background both culturally and monetarily helps.

But now, this is changing. It no longer needs to be the coming together of 2 families. And this is what hasn't caught on with the previous generation. Its almost if not more ridiculous as assessing the parents' background for KG admission in a school.

pnoasnidtiinvie said...
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pnoasnidtiinvie said...
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pnoasnidtiinvie said...

I enjoyed reading the blog ! Good stuff !

Just to play (gulp!) "devil's" advocate....

The thing about love marriages is that it depends on people's ability to find love :) some people are blessed with the social skills etc. to interact with the opposite sex (i dont think adding the same-sex marriage dimension to this discussion at this point is worth it ;) ).

But there are several others who arent "bold" enough or (for my lack of better word) "skilled" enough to either find love or to express it even if they find it. So for them, arranged marriage seems to be a way to find a good life-partner. After all, no matter how much our parents try to stop us/scold us as far as love marriage is concerned, most of our parents' generation have had arranged marriages and a lot of them have done pretty darn well :)

And I guess its this thought process of "If it worked out well for us, then it'll work out well for you too.....so why venture into something different ?" that could prevent parents from encouraging love marriages. The parents may think "what if the love fails.....how will my child handle it" or "what if the relationship fails AFTER marriage" ...in other words, playing it safe or preparing for the worst case scenario. not that arranged marriage guarantees success, but if it worked out well for the parents, then it sets a precedent for them to encourage their children to go for arranged marriage.

Also, the examples (of love marriage) that you've quoted from your life have been, as you've mentioned, from urban and educated families. However, the "Original story" that you stumbled upon occurred in a village. But still, the act was abominable !!!! I guess we'll have to wait for those generations to perish or try to educate them or do something to eradicate their parochial viewpoints.

Another thing is, when you love someone very deeply, rational, logical and pragmatic thinking is often obstructed by that very "love". This could be either the love of a person for his/her partner or of the parents' for their children. And here is where it gets a bit interesting.

Arranged marriages, like someone pointed out, is a union of two families. So IF the couple gets into some trouble, the parents will do anything and everything in their powers to sort it out or set things straight. Because both families are on the same page.

When it comes to love marriages (which often occur with great deal of opposition from parents), this may not be the case. In my opinion, the parents SHOULD try to set things straight with the same vigor but whether or not it happens in reality is a separate discussion.

Similarly, the "couple" wants to make it work (sometimes) regardless of other considerations....which could also include their respective families. Several Hindi movie scenes are flashing across my eyes as I type this sentence.

When a decision is made prior to thinking and assessing a situation,
one tries to find facts/arguments that support that decision rather than adopting a broader/more pragmatic outlook. I guess this could be one of the root causes of the "fights". When the parents makes up their mind that "love marriages are not right", then they fail to recognize their children could be better off with it and instead try to do everything possible to stop it.

Similarly, sometimes the couple in love also turn a blind eye to whatever their families have to say, having made the decision that they want to get married and there is not a darn thing thats going to stop them !

So if the person truly loves someone, yes they should have the right to be united, but if someone is not able to find that special someone, then arranged marriages seem to be a good alternative :)

On a side note, since I live to eat (and not the other way around), if you ever happen to goto Karnal, do not leave without having a meal at Kalra Bhojanalaya. Superb food at very reasonable prices :) the ground level is a sweet shop with piping hot jalebis while the first floor is the actual restaurant.

I apologize for the length of this post, which could be longer than your blog, but I really enjoyed reading yours and thats what triggered these thoughts :)

AC said...

@May: I agree that the long held traditions could act as a useful sense-check. I'm not for railing against them just because they are long held traditions. I think the situation demands a certain sense of perspective on the part of the child as well, to not be swept up in the heady intoxication of love and rebellion. So the expectation of understanding from the parents must be balanced by an assurance from the child that the decision taken has been thought out.

@Vivek: Thanks man :)

@Paresh: Exactly. I understand the skittishness of parents when kids are young (I'd say 18-20, maybe not 22) but as they grow older, they should be given credit for growing wiser, or be allowed to learn from their mistakes if they have not.

AC said...

@Gayatri: I agree completely, they are trying to shield the child and that's very good, very desirable. But isn't it possible that, just as parents feel their children are blinded by love, the parents are as well? And LOL at the KG school admission... I agree with pnoasnidtiinvie, sounds very PSBBish :)

@pnoasnidtiinvie: Whew... the longest comment this blog has ever seen! :)

A few points
1. Your first couple of points about people having/lacking the "skill" to interact with the opposite sex and/or find/express love is spot on. Guys like me would never get married if not for the system :)

2. My argument is NOT against arranged marriages. I'm all for them as a method to ensure people get married and procreate and keep society going along acceptable timelines. What I AM arguing against is irrational parental opposition in the specific case where the child has someone else they'd like to marry.

3. I totally totally agree about the family angle of it. The family involvement is a big factor to the stability. But I think that is also the reason marriages have historically 'worked' even if they haven't been 'successful' or 'happy'. The pressure of the entire family angle makes a couple work things out and stay together, whatever the personal dynamics may be. But hey, that's a topic for another post... I have strong views on that as well :)

4. You're right about one making a decision and then finding rationalizations to justify that... so all parties are blinded by their respective affections and loves. It again comes down to something I kind of mentioned in an earlier comment... if parents have to let go of the responsibility of decision making, the child should be in a position to take it up and convince every one involved that they have been rational about the decision...

This, and its offshoots, are topics very ripe for discussion and arguments... keep them coming! :)

Anonymous said...

I feel part of the opposition from the parents is also because they really want to play a part in this 'important' decision in their child's life. Its just difficult for some parents to understand how their child could have chosen someone as his/her life partner without their consent.

Its interesting to also see that many children of 'liberal' parents end up having an arranged marriage, while its the child of the 'orthodox' grooming who ends up falling in love ..(could be just my observation)

Having said that, any sort of irrational opposition from the parents or hasty decision from the children is unacceptable - Soundarya

T.R.J.Nair said...

What if I said an objection based on caste lines, or regional lines fit quite well within notions of parental care? That parents could honestly believe that an intercaste marriage is bad for a child, and can reason things out quite clearly?

For instance, a caste is an implication, in most cases of history, upbringing, perspective and other things that are described with long words. One worries if a couple would get along, or families for that matter. These are rational fears. I'd worry about dismissing them outright, I think?

Further, in a proposed marriage, incentives are aligned in such fashion that presenting a facade to a set of parents seems the most sensible. Parents know this. Can you blame them for depending on stereotype to judge?

On the question of age, its an assumption, is it not? What if I told you that legal ages of 18 and 21 were based on very English assumptions on upbringing, and the greater responsibility that English children are used to by the age of 18.

The age of 18 is quite arbitrary, as is the age of 24 or 29, or 35. Then again, we do that all the time. The government decides that we're not intelligent enough to see certain documents, and come to the 'proper' conclusions. The Supreme Court has decided that a piece of paper written 50 odd years ago will rule our lives forever, and that we're only permitted choices within that structure and don't possess the intelligence to disagree.

The idea that you don't know what love is at 16, or that you might have a better idea at 25 are both worth reconsidering, I think.

Iz a quote I found somewhere

"This is the paradox of liberalism. The liberal ideal is a society where every individual can pursue their particular conception of the good without interference from the state, or from other individuals. All conceptions of the good are equal. However, liberalism is itself a conception of the good.

Thus there arises the possibility of a conflict between a community imposing illiberal values upon its members, and the state wishing to allow those members full liberal opportunity. This is most likely to be the case with religious communities, that will have internal rules on blasphemy running counter to liberal freedom of speech, or will assign life roles based on gender. If the state intervenes and prevents the imposition of the community's illiberal values, it is itself guilty of illiberalism."


http://www.middleclasswhiteguy.co.uk/philosophy/a851-project.php

There. That's my message of peace and love for the day.

Toodles.

P.S. - Blogs are one way to keep in touch I suppose. I've been reliably informed that you don't much care for orkut.

pnoasnidtiinvie said...

@ TRJ: If certain parents believe that intercaste marriage or inter-religion marriage is/may not be good for a child, then they need to convey it in a manner that makes sense to the child. At least the child is educated to some extent by the time he/she is 18 !

"He's not Vadama", or the "Gothrams and horoscopes dont match" or "She's not Brahmin", or "he is not a Mudhaliyaar" and just leaving it at that is not going to cut it in this day and age !


Whether a couple would get along well is an absolutely rational fear, but whether or not they're going to get along BECAUSE one is from caste A and the other from caste B.....I dont know about that :)

I think the key-word that AC uses in this blog is RATIONAL :)

Rational things are usually objective. Thats the beauty of logic.....if your facts and logic are right, things tend to be more objective. you dont have to worry about anything else...But when you try to introduce logic into more abstract things (love, religion, etc.) thats where things could get messy. Whats rational for someone could be completely irrational for another.

To me, education plays a pivotal role in fostering rational thinking. And these days (at least compared to the past) people from all castes and religions study in the same educational institution. This itself is a great platform for interaction between people from different backgrounds (religious, social, economical etc etc). To me, it is this exposure that acts as a foundation for inter-caste marriages etc etc. This might not have been the case with our parents' or grandparents' generation.

It often happens that when the idea of an inter-something marriage is presented to parents, their inherent, instantaneous reaction (for a lot of them) is rejection.
Yes the parents tend to judge from stereotypes, but they cant just dismiss their children's notions only because of stereotypes ! I guess thats what ticks off kids these days ! Its this lack of rational explanation that engenders quarrels. Whether it is possible to rationalize (based on logic, not just stereotypes) these things.....thats a different debate.

The children's argument could be rational. "I work in a company and my potential spouse works in some company. So both of us earn well so we are financially well off. We've been seeing each other for 5-6 months now and we really like each other and are quite compatible with each other." this is an extremely sound argument !

If the parents counter this with "but you are a tam-brahm and the other person is a chettiyar", or "Beta/beti...samaaj kya kahega ???"
with the pursing of lips that AC mentioned, that (to me) is really weak !

How about keeping an open mind and at least seeing the person their offspring has chosen to be their significant other. How about giving that person a chance, which is the least he/she deserves !

Enough gravity....just to add a lighter vein to this comment, when I imagine the parents being doggedly hesitant to love/inter-something marriages, the song Dakku Daddy posted by AC flashes in front of my eyes :) Hey, whatever happened to Dakku mommy :D ????

Divya Das said...

Marrying an individual, also means marrying the family.
It doesnt matter, even if you are not following the norms of a joint family, or living miles away from them in a different country;

somehow the families have already framed your life or your better half's and influenced it in a whole lot of ways, you may not be aware of.

Such factors are pertinent in an individual's outlook to life, which can be religious, orthodox in a non-religious manner, eating habits, living habits. The family has already made its influence creep into these things, which will in the long run surface in the life of two people living together.

Hence a marriage cant ever be just the two.. but the families too in ways direct and indirect.

It is to avoid such clashes of persona in a married life that parents insist on having it arranged and abiding by similar norms of life in terms of religion, caste etc etc...which they believe will pass the first hurdle!

Though, I buy that fact, I also believe that to make a marriage work, accepting the differences is more important than enjoying the similarities. In case of a inter-caste, inter-religion, inter- etc etc... marriage, accepting of the differences is the major step; once thats in place, it is similarities all the way!!!

Ramya harish said...

AC, well said.. gayatri said whatever i had in mind.. My vote s to go for love marriage..

P.S : Mine was a perfectly arranged marriage.. but i would let my kids to go for love marriage..

Srividya Jayaraman said...

Yeah, compared to some of your earlier posts, this particular one does not flow well.

Srividya Jayaraman said...

Your first couple of points about people having/lacking the "skill" to interact with the opposite sex and/or find/express love is spot on.

Totally agree.

AC said...

@Soundarya: You're right, I've noticed a good number of such situations - orthodox grooming/love marriage and liberal parents/arranged marriage... can't think of any explanation!

@Nair: Very lawyerlike, wonderfully argued :) I think pnoasnidtiinvie's response conveys a lot of my thoughts perfectly, especially on the matter of using caste as an argument... and it's put a lot better than I could have framed it :)

Age: About the age... you're right, it is rather arbitrary in every sphere. And I particularly appreciate your point about 'maturity' at 18 or 21 possibly being on English assumptions of upbringing. That's a strong point. That said, though, most of us are normally out earning and leading our (somewhat) independent lives by the age of 22-25. We are in a position to take decisions for ourselves (financial decisions, for example). While a true appreciation of what 'love' is (on that too, I have a view I once tried to capture here) may not be possible, there is at least some understanding of indications of compatibility, and whether the couple would be able to build a life together. I strongly believe some sense of that will be found by most reasonably educated children of urban India, such as ourselves.

Ze quote: Lovely :) That is SO true, love the idea that imposition of liberal thought is illiberality.

Social networking: Ah... one of my pet peeves. (Possible material for another blogpost!) I guess mutual blogs are the best way to keep in touch :)

@pnoasnidtiinvie: Wonderfully put, you've captured my views exactly!

AC said...

Ah, the married perspective!

@DD: Yes, one's upbringing (heavily dependent on ragional and caste influences) will differ from others which will lead to situations of potential conflict that need tolerance and understanding to be sorted out. As a very simplistic example, several of my female north Indian friends find several of my essentially Tam characteristics and lifestyle preferences incomprehensible and just plain weird. It took some time for them to accept and understand me, but that happened.

Also, I agree family is important, irrespective of the distance. And therefore a marriage of similar cultures makes it easier for the jingbang on either side to interact and build the relationship. And having some of the base stuff in common makes it easier to hit it off and understand the other's actions and beliefs. But I'm sure that in most cases (especially the ones where the decisions have been taken over several years) those differences and how they will be dealt with has been factored by the kids into the evaluation of their compatibility.

I am completely for arranged marriages simply because of all the reasons you mentioned... all I would like is a little bit of an open mind from the side of the parents to the possibility that something inter-cultural and inter-caste can work out to the happiness of all involved, and need not be doomed to fail just because of the differences.

@Ramya: Well, I too would be very open to letting my kids make their decisions when the time comes. But, when we actually face that situation 20-25 years from now, I think we might be a little more reluctant than we now profess, simply for all the 'protectionist' reasons people have put forward :) I hope I will continue to be as liberal in this context as I am now. I want to be, and hope things will work out that way.

@Srividya: The "skill" thing is rather critical, isn't it? Free market operations simply would not work in the Indian society :)

pnoasnidtiinvie said...

@ AC: Jingbang ? Wow.. Even Wordsmith didnt tell me that ! Thanks for the new word.

Manpreet said...

I'm getting on the bandwagon a bit too late, but, better late than never. Here's a perspective from someone who had an inter-caste love marriage, where both sets of parents and relatives agreed happily. In my case, both my husband and I, were post-graduates, financially stable, above 26 years of age at the time of marriage and had been taking independent decisions for a few years. Moreover, both our families had seen inter-caste relationships and marriages before, and all of these marriages were pretty successful. Perhaps, due to the these reasons, we did not face any obstacles. However, after almost 1 year of marriage I do see the merit in the arguments presented by parents in the case of inter-caste marriages. Let me state upfront that I am happily married and there is no dramatic angle that I am gonna talk about here, just simple day-to-day stuff and things that can potentially create problems.

In my case, one thing that I find difficult to adjust to is the food. I have been staying away from home for the past 10 years and hence am used to variety of food tastes, but nothing had prepared me to for the difference in food habits, ingredients and taste in my in-laws' household. Given my background, rice is something I'm used to having occasionally and a regular staple diet of rice (as is the norm in my new home) isn't something I've got used to. Even after so many months, at times, having rice almost kills my appetite. Added to that is the sugar used in each and every preparation, be it vegetables, dal or even chutni. Not that I don't like the taste of the food, but, sometimes I crave for those nicely buttered rotis and paranthas, dal without sugar, a little spicy rajma. I know that one can argue – why not cook yourself or ask for the kind of food you like, but these things are easier said than done, especially when you are a working person, out of the house for most of the time.

Well, this is just a small example to illustrate a point. It is not to say that one cannot adjust to these changes in lifestyle, habits, etc. But, I'm sure if I ever call up my Mom and tell her that I am craving for some good home cooked food, she would be disturbed for a few days. These and many other such things, which could potentially act as sore points in a marriage, are things that convince parents that marrying in the same caste would at least ensure basic factors.

Just makes me realize that we might be highly educated, sensible and independent, but, parents do have a point at times. And just as someone put it earlier, they need to put it across in a rational manner, which is what lacks in most cases.

AC said...

@pnoasnidtiinvie: Ah well, you're welcome :)

@Manpreet: I completely agree there will be issues as fundamental as food habits... and that marrying someone within your community will help ease the process of living together. But I don't think that alone should be the reason for branding a potential relationship/union as unworkable, infeasible and doomed to failure.

Vikram said...

Machan, this sounds like you're setting something up for the future :)

AC said...

No comment ;)

Arjun/Srikrishnan Ganesan said...

isn't it easier to say "NO" to marriage and live happily ever after?

AC said...

Well, yeah... there's always that :)

squarecut.atul said...

In India,things change ever so slowly, but I would like to think that things have changed quite a lot in the last few decades.

When both boy and girl are educated and mature and financially independent, then such marriages are bound in increase.

One cannot stop this onwards march of progress towards better social integration of people.

It was an excellent post on a sensiitive topic by you.

Anonymous said...

I am a south indian - Tamil Brahmin Iyer married to a Rajasthani. We knew each other for 4 years & have been married for 2.5years now. Going through a lot of problems because of cultural differences . Was googling to see if there are any 'solutions' to common marriage problems & found this blog.

After my experience - I think parents are absolutely right in opposing such marriages. Though I do know of successful love marriages, my experience so far has taught me a lesson to listen to parents in making lifetime decisions!

-sbc

Nandini said...

At the outset, I want to say I am a rambler - so this will be a long! I came across this post when googling for reasons on why parents infact object to intercaste marriages. I am in the middle of an "intercaste situation" now! I am a tamil iyer considering marriage to a tamil pillai and there is a lot of ruckus going on with this match, although both of us speak the same language, celebrate the same festivals, cook/eat the same kind of food, work in the same field. We have great physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual compatibility, according to me. My parents (who btw, have not met either him or his family yet) persistently raise two points - 1. i will not be able to get along with his family members due to "cultural" and "traditional" differences - which both of us fail to understand, considering the kind of environment we grew up in and the similarities i cited above. 2. our children will face a crisis of identity, which also I fail to understand, considering that I am not a staunch brahmin nor intend to be and also considering all the similarities i cited above. When I made my case, they told me that there are certain things that a 24 year old does not understand and one needs to be much older to understand. Hmm.. so now I am on a quest to understand if they do have any valid points. Not willing to wait till I am an old maid at 50!! In my quest to understand, I have been reading up articles on Hinduism, on marriage traditions, on the history of intercaste marriages and so on. I have come to the firm conclusion that the caste system is completely archaic and the present form not as intended in the original revered texts such as the Bhagavad Gita. I guess sometimes in being overenthusiastic about following traditions, we forget the simple principles that our religion actually preaches. After all, traditions were also set by "people" and can very well be broken by other people, as has been done time and time again in history. Sometimes I feel that the whole concept of marriage is unnecessary, except for being a reason to party, feast, bankrupt the bride's father and maybe for everyone to dress up. We can all still live happily ever after even without going through this huge hassle of getting married! What say?

GB said...

@Nandini:
I think its not too tough to find reasons for opposing the marriage.
Its going to take a while for society to learn to accept the "inter-caste" marriages. And you need enough people doing it in each generation for it to be accepted as "normal".
Ideally we should try to stop this whole "marriage" thing [obly I am trying to spread my view since the more on my side the better for me].
No one will then object to you being great friends with the Tamil Pillai boy, spending time together, etc etc whatever.
Also, making kids should be banned. Imagine tomorrow the daughter of a pillai+iyer tries to marry an iyer boy or a pillai boy and his parents object. You can't make your kid suffer for no fault of theirs. So don't have kids.
That way all of us are rid of pesky little brats and Kansa will rule.

Arya samaj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AC said...

Hi Arya Samaj. WTF?

Vimlesh Tailor said...

Thanks for sharing the famous stories about it. I enjoyed reading as well as learned too.
problems in inter caste love marriage

Avni said...

Great post . thanks for sharing this great post .Inter-caste marriage is mostly caused by love. It has been increasing in India especially because of the varieties of religious faiths and sects of the Hindu faith there. In India, religions each have their own rules relating to marriage, as rules exist for the conduct of marriage itself. When two people from different social groups marry, it is an inter-caste marriage..

Anonymous said...

i read this cause i am going to marry a bihari girl and i am a Jat Sikh ....i search GOOGLE to get some images..google is nt god ...it failed .....i got a bit curious for information .....

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