A 2011 survey revealed that inter-caste marriages only account for 5.8 per cent of the total marriages that happen in India in a year. And this trend has gone unchanged for 40 years. Another survey revealed that the acceptance of inter-caste marriages largely depend upon the education level of both parties involved, particularly the groom’s mother.
The social evil of honour killing has emerged from this very problem: non-acceptance of inter-caste marriages. A 2016 Marathi film, Sairat highlighted this problem. This coming-of-age film shows two young people from different casts falling in love and facing massive opposition from both families. It ends with the killing of the young couple, brutally highlighting the real state of affairs of honour killings.
The latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau showed that the motive of 77 murder cases in the country was the outcome of honour killings, reported Vice India. Moreover, a survey by Social Attitudes Research for India showed that a majority of the population were opposed to inter-caste and inter-religious marriages.
On June 18 2019, the Madras High Court stated that the most effective way of uprooting the caste system in India was to open-heartedly accept inter-caste marital unions. The Court felt that it is a positive step in curbing the social evil. This statement was passed after a couple filed a petition for protection against threats from their families.
“Inter-caste marriage is the only solution to root out the evil of caste system. These are days where the younger generation is slowly moving out of the ill-effects of caste system and that is the reason for a lot of inter-caste marriages that are happening in the society. These changes must be accepted by the elders and this change is in fact good for the society in rooting out the caste system,” said Justice N Anand Venkatesh.
The judge further ordered the police to take strict action against those who threatened people for opting for inter-caste marriages. He also ordered that newly-wed couples must be given protection if the threats from the families persist.
Acceptance of inter-caste marriages send an important message that it is time to end the rigid Indian caste system and the social ostracisation that comes along with it....