On February 9th the Supreme Court upheld that its ‘high time’ the Indian society came to terms with accepting inter-caste and inter-faith marriages. While communal tensions have always been persistent the society is especially divided along the lines of caste which cordons off a large section of the society and hinders interaction the entire Indian societal diaspora to mingle. This has been prevalent for a long time and especially became reinforced during colonisation where attempts were made to study the Indian society by categorising the society into watertight compartments. However, there have been stories that have stood the test of time and gone against the established conventions, and proved to be exceptional examples here are 10 inter-caste marriages that have defied societal stigma and gone beyond their identities to create a better tomorrow.
10 Famous Inter Caste Marriages in India
- Manu Gandhi and Surendra Mashruwala- This was perhaps the first inter-caste marriage which was officiated in Mahatma Gandhi’s presence in Belgaum, Karnataka around 1937 and till this date is supposed to have kickstarted various inter-caste marriages around the nation.
- Yashwant and Radha- The first inter-caste marriage officially recorded in Modern India took place on 4th February 1889. Yashwant was the adopted son of Jyotirao Phule and Savitribai Phule. This marriage was the first Satyasodhak marriage.
- Govindi Gudilu and Jayesh Wakade- In 2018, the first intercaste marriage took place in the Vaidu community in the process of being able to dissolve the caste-based panchayat(or khap panchayat) in the entire community and in turn upheld the tenents of the Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016
- Ram Vilas Paswan and Reena Sharma- Paswan is a Dalit politician who has spoken out about the issues of caste entrenched in the Hindu society and also commented stating “that inter-caste marriage is the biggest weapon to end societal divisions.”
- Ravindra Parmar and Shilpaba Upendrasinh Vala- BBC covered a story for them and talked about the couple and how they had to navigate around the situation especially with the gaping difference in their social status and had to flee their villages and escape into the city due to threats on their life.
- Sadaf and Yatin- In the Bangalore Litfest panel, the couple spoke of how they got married at the time the ‘love jihad’ laws were topical and their union wasn’t looked upon favourably by several people but ultimately, they were able to successfully get married and have now actively spoken about the same.
- Kallakurichi and Soundarya– Kallakurichi who is an AIADMK member and an MLA got married amongst controversy with the bride’s father threatening to self-immolate till the point they got married. However, despite the opposition, they went ahead with the marriage.
- Subadra and Saidu- This inter-caste couple was reunited in an old-age home of Thrissur district, Kerala and spoke of how they had lost track of each other after the husband went out looking for a job and with no phone or relatives at their disposal, they got separated and finally reunited in an old-age home after 36 years.
- Madhavi and Sandeep- This couple spoke of the horrors they had to undergo including how the bride’s father had attempted to murder his own daughter due to her having an inter-caste marriage. However, she has recovered and has spoken against her own father demanding punishment for the deeds he has committed.
- Fasuluddin and Agnes- The couple who have had their life fraught with communal and caste tensions from their families and society ultimately ended up naming their three children as ‘Casteless’, ‘Casteless Junior’ and ‘Shine Casteless’ to reflect the absurdities of the divides in the system in hopes that the future generation can understand the value of trust and love beyond the artificial divides the society has created.
These stories perhaps stand as a testament to the fact to the statement ‘love overcomes all’. However, in an India envisioned by the makers of the constitution, appropriate legal measures were undertaken to ensure that incidents based on caste-based violence and hatred are done away with. Special provisions were specifically made to ensure that no one in the country has to undergo discrimination of any sort. But the social realities reflect the situation to be far more brutal than expected. The age-old perceptions wouldn’t go away in a day and the separation of private and public lives of people will continue to pose a problem for the people. The only solution to this problem is to uphold the laws in place and follow them through with strict adherence but moreover, it is a change that has to come from within, at a personal level. One has to reflect on their biases and re-evaluate choices and actions to truly do away with this draconian system that has enlisted within the Indian society for days and created boundaries.