Inter-caste marriage triggers violence in India

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The bride and the bridegroom definitely would not have had thought that their weddingwill trigger a deep political churning in Tamil Nadu. They may have anticipated some trouble in their respective villages but not to the extent which engulfed the bridegroom’s village and the adjoining couple of villages which ended in the burning of nearly 300 houses and properties worth few crores being gutted.


Besides, the couple would not have dreamt that their wedding will be a fodder for caste groups and systematic campaign against love marriage in Tamil Nadu.

Twenty-three-year old Illavarasan, a Dalit youth from Natham colony and 21-year-old Divya, a Vannier girl doing her nursing course in Sellankottai, Dharmapuri district fell in love and decided to marry. Convincing their families was next to impossible for both of them as Vanniers are considered top in hierarchy and Dalits are treated with disdain in the area. Illavarasan and Divya got married and approached the Salem range DIG for protection on October 15.

The local panchayat, a khap type panchayat from Vannier side, called a meeting of both the communities and ordered the Dalits to return the girl. But Divya refused to return. In the meantime Divya’s family and members of bride’s village allege that her father Nagarajan was humiliated and teased by his fellow caste people for becoming a father-in-law of a Dalit. Unable to bear this humiliation, it is alleged, Nagarajan committed suicide on November 7. This created a huge furore among Vanniers and a mob of over 1,500 people entered the Nahtam colony, Anna Nagar Colony, Kondampatti old and New colonies – all Dalit hamlets and ransacked the houses.

Nearly 300 Dalit families lost their homes and their belongings. On the other side the founder of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) Dr. S.Ramadoss – a party representing Vanniers started – a vociferous campaign against love marriages in the state and warns that Dalits are systematically targeting Vannier girls. He claims he has the support of not only Vanniers but also the support of all the other caste Hindus and termed the development as not just the Dalits vs Vanniers but Dalits vs others.

Written By: R. Ramasubramania
continue to source article at indiatoday.intoday.in

33 COMMENTS

  1. The division of Indian society into castes along social and economic lines stems from the teachings of the ancient Hindu holy book Bhagavad Gita.  The inequalities that this division engendered continue to plague the Indian society today despite the country being the biggest democracy as well as the fastest growing economy in the world.  Another example of how ‘religion poisons everything’.

  2.  It is often said that religion is all about control and domination by an elite, but I don’t think it began that way. I think it was originally a real attempt to make sense of the world around us, and then the priests found out how easily it could serve less elevated purposes.

    However, this caste system looks suspiciously like something that started out as a political instrument.

  3. It may originate in religion but these caste rules have little to do with religion itself today and more to do with what we in the west call class and it is nearly always to do with money.

    We have the term “wrong side of the tracks” to explain it and our culture is full of examples of books films etc. where the boy from the wrong side of the tracks meets the rich girl.

    We tend not to burn down 300 houses in the ensuing riot though.

    What is interesting is the violence meted out to the poorer village by the people of the rich village when it was the very people of that rich village that pushed the father of the girl to suicide.

  4. Fekkin ridiculous 300 houses over a breach of rules as fanciful as an offside in quidditch.

    Not so long ago people here  knew their proper station in life and I dare say there were a few horse whippings and shootings.  Never heard of it resulting in an entire village being ransacked tho’.

  5. In India, there is virtually no opportunity to discriminate on the basis of skin colour, So they invented the caste system. (Utter stupidity! I know, I have been there a few times).
    As others have said it may have religious origins, but now it is used  as an excuse to bully those who cannot fight back.

  6. look on the bright side. one day representatives from different castes will get together and admit that violence can only breed more violence and come to some sort of uneasy agreement which will then be reported as proof that the caste system is the best way to ensure peace in the region

    and remember, not being in a caste is a caste in itself

  7. putting violence and caste system aside…a woman marrying down in status…….. No matter what the culture, this is headed for future problems. When she can’t get all the bling she’s used to…when she’s the one pulling in all the income…when the kids needs are not adequately provided… Her father probably felt like a failure. Cavemen bearing big clubs probably showed off their many animal skins and fancy stone lodgings to attract a mate. This guy must be incredibly attractive, charming, or something.

  8. As a Tamil born in an upper caste, it was these daily bullying of the lower caste and apathy towards poor, along with the irrational attitudes of the hindus such as astrology made me an atheist at a very young age. Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in Hindu dominated regions would soon understand the inherent cruelty of hinduism and the Hindu culture/tradition. Its not only racist(yes casteism is racism!) but misogynistic & sadistic.

    No other faith is as harmful to human condition as the hindu faith. While most organized religions such as islam, christianity, buddhism are pathogenic to human societies, hinduism is cancerous. Often goes unnoticed and most often deadly, turning our own kind on ourselves. Hindusim is the cancer of humanity and I plead the comrades to take a highly negative view towards it. I see this happening in Britain. Islam and christianity are getting ridiculed and criticized, rightly so, in the media and in the public discourse. But hinduism goes unnoticed [1]. Please support those who fight against this cancer[2]. I have seen my homeland torn to pieces over a millenia due to this evil. I hope Europe doesn’t lie dormant until it is too late.

    There is no god, There is no god at all, He who invented god is a fool, He who propagates god is a knave, He who worships god is a primitive – 1924, Vaikom Satyagraha, Periyar
    [1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm
    [2] http://www.castewatchuk.org/

  9. ‘a woman marrying down in status’ Presumably this is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek but together with the rest comes across as  cynically opportunistic.  Since this was described as a ‘love match’ the guy was indeed attractive, charming, etc. 
    Class systems exist in varying degrees everywhere but this caste nonsense really is repugnant.

  10. Regarding the idea of ‘marrying beneath one’s station (caste),’ the author  alludes to the Vannier majority being the ‘landowners’ and the Dalits the ‘workers.’ It’s also mentioned that with Dalit men commuting to Bangalore to work, they are becoming increasingly economically successful, at least on the local scale, much to the chagrin of their ‘betters’. 

    So whilst the young man in question may be relying on good looks and charm, perhaps their new family financial situation may not have been so grim? Indeed, perhaps Divya’s father’s problem was that she found a man he disapproved of who was indeed able to look after her in the manner to which she had been accustomed.

    Either way, their reasoning (or lack thereof) and the mob response is utterly bonkers…

  11.  First of all there is no caste system in Hinduism.Varna is often confused with caste.There are four Varnas which are Brahmin(one who possess knowledge),Kshatriya(Warrior),Vysysa(Wealth) and Shudra(Land or less skilled). In ancient times Varnas are not birth based it depends on ones educational or professional qualifications.A Brahmin can become Shudra(nowadays they are calling them dalit) or Kshatriya or Vysya or vice versa. Bhagavad Gita was written by Veda Vyasa who was Shudra but became Brahmin after possessing knowledge.Same with Ramayana which was written by Valmiki who too was a Shudra. So in India all Hindus worship these two books written by Shudras later became Brahmins.Where is the discrimination.
    The discrimination happened when the people started to treat Varnas as birth based instead of their professional qualifications.
    Hinduism doesn’t poison everything people poison everything.And Hinduism is not a religion.We call it Dharma. Dharma is often confused with religion.This is what a knowledgeable person told me about Dharma; “Dharma means natural trait. Dharma of water is coldness. Dharma of fire is hotness. Dharma of Eeshvar/God is to help us and ours is to find truth/source/root. Each and every activity that helps us follow Dharma i.e. seek/live truth is part of Dharma”  

    And also please do not read corrupt translations of Vedas,Gita,Ramayana and other Hindu texts by Griffith and Max Muller. 

    Thank You,
    Madhu.

  12. “Dharma is often confused with religion.This is what a knowledgeable person told me about Dharma; “Dharma means natural trait. Dharma of water is coldness. Dharma of fire is hotness. Dharma of Eeshvar/God is to help us and ours is to find truth/source/root.”

    If that’s what they teach it is poisoning reality with bullshit and is a problem.

  13.  Dude you are a Tamil born and you don’t know about the real Varna system makes me wonder have you ever tried to find what is real Hindu Dharma. Please go thru my comment above in reply to HenMie about so called caste system.I don’t know about whether there is God or not that is upto Theists and Atheists to fight it out. But in this case its clearly human’s fault.One sect burns other sect’s houses what does God has to do with this.You call casteism is racism people like me call it inhumanism.

  14. Thank you for replying to Madhu for me.  Sometimes one sentence, such as yours, can deliver more wisdom than any lengthy tirade I might deliver, and in the process possibly hurt sensitive feelings…:)

  15. @    HenMie
    So I presume you know Bhagavad Gita then. Can you quote the exact verses with chapter numbers and verse numbers. I said there is no caste system and you can’t even accept it.Let’s see when you quote the verses. And you are here at RDF forum which fights for reasoning and when I posted reasonable and logical arguments you brush it off just like theists do. 

  16. Fire is oxidation. It hurts and feels hot because it is fast oxidation. If you touch a rusting car it is not so hot; it is slow oxidation. Like the slow water, what you label cold, it hurts when sped up. Boiling water is not cold when spat at you from the mouth of a bubbling geyser, though it is natural.

    If we look at the massive temperature range we can potentially find ourselves at, from absolute zero to extremely bloody hot, your idea of cold water and hot fire are near neighbours on that range. There is but the thinnest sliver of space separating them. Forget the water, go colder. You eventually get to a point when nothing is moving, or barely.

    If I had to assign a nature  to either water or fire, perhaps I would assign speed to both. But, that would mean I only take into consideration a small trait of both water and fire and they have so much more to give. I wouldn’t dare corner their egos with a nature.

    What’s unreal about it? Were I sitting in my living room on Cromniax 5 your fire would feel cold, that’s what’s unreal. It’s all relative. Hot fire and cold water is a very narrow minded, childish view of existence. They have no nature the way Hinduism tries to simplify it, with it’s few thousand year old way of thinking.

    It’s ok for folks like you and I to say dumb things but a global organization that profits from money traded for their special brand of Know-Everything Education needs to be more responsible with the everything it claims to know. There is no nature like you think.

    *EDIT: I just noticed this is way off topic, sorry.

  17.  “Dharma means natural trait. Dharma of water is coldness. Dharma of fire is hotness. Dharma of Eeshvar/God is to help us and ours is to find truth/source/root. Each and every activity that helps us follow Dharma i.e. seek/live truth is part of Dharma”  

    So maybe you could fill us in on this “God” thing, why you think it exists and why it/her/his natural trait is to “help us”.

    Thanks – Michael

  18. Yes, I do know Bhagavad Gita, although I do not claim to have read it, possibly, in a ‘proper’ translation.  (If you can recommend others rather than Muller or Griffiths, I’ll be grateful).  As I’m sure you know, one can find division of society in Chapter Four  and again in Chapter Eighteen of this sacred text. You will recall  that I do not propose that that scriptural division is a cause of ‘discrimination’, as you put it in your first post to me.  I do say, however, that modern day inequalities in Indian society stem  from those  holy texts, although I may add that they evolved over time since originally the division was made (by Lord Krishna himself-”I created the four divisions of human society based on aptitude and vocation”, BG 4.13) along occupational/nature lines rather than birth ones.  If we lived in an ideal world, there would only be two castes – “the decent and the indecent” (BG 16.06)- sadly it isn’t so. As long as one societal group (Shudras) is ordained by holy books (and Lord Krishna himself, no less -BG 18.41) to serve the other three groups,in my opinion, there cannot be equality and justice and that’s why I consider the stratification of Varnas to have been a true template on which later  castes (groups,  orders, strata, classes etc. -it’s just a matter of semantics) with their injustices evolved,sometimes, no doubt, according to political/power self interests. That is also the reason why I am able to repeat that religion, indeed, does ultimately poison everything.  
    I do include Hinduism in this ‘poisonous’ role since – and here I do not agree with you – Hinduism is a religion, possibly even the oldest religion in the world. I myself consider Dharma- the Natural Law -only a part of Hinduism, albeit a large and important part, I do not consider it interchangeable with the entire religion of Hinduism the way that you do.  
    I hope I managed to explain my opinions to you more clearly, although if you read carefully, it was all there in my original post anyway.  That’s what’s so great about the RDF- one can exchange all kinds of opinions and views with all kinds of people.

    Regards.
    HenMie

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