Chennai: Inter-caste marriage got her Dalit husband brutally murdered in full public view on a busy road in Udumalpet, Tiruppur district, in March 2016. A year later, Kausalya presided over the wedding of another inter-caste couple in Chennai at the bride’s request.
Barring the period of grief immediately after the death of her husband, in which the young woman attempted suicide, Kausalya has transformed herself into an anti-caste crusader ever since.
This is what prompted the bride, Joanna Kavi to request Kausalya to preside over her wedding held on April 16 at Vyasarpadi. A student of M Phil in medical socio work at Government Stanley Medical College Hospital, Joanna Kala, an upper caste woman met her now husband, Gokula Krishnan (30), a Dalit when the two of them learned Parai (a percussion instrument) together three years ago.
She is part of social movements and her husband, employed by a private firm is associated with the May 17 movement.
Their political ideologies were similar and Kala didn't have to wait for her husband's approval to ask Kausalya to preside over the wedding.
"It didn't matter that she was much younger than us. What she has been doing is empowering," Kala told DC. Kausalya is 20 years old. Kala's wedding invitation mentioned Kausalya as an anti-caste crusader.
"She was hesitant initially and suggested that I request some senior leader to preside over the wedding," Kala recalled. Until the day of the wedding, it was not sure if Kausalya would attend, let alone preside. She had told the bride and the groom that she is caught up with other commitments and wouldn't be able to make it.
Two days before the wedding, it was Ambedkar Jayanti and Kausalya met Divya, whose husband was also a victim of caste hegemony. Divya's Dalit husband Ilavarasan was found dead by the railway tracks in Dharmapuri in July 2013, a few months after their wedding and a riot in which Dalit colonies were torched by the upper castes.
In a Facebook post, she described the meeting of two women, who were as much victims of caste hegemony as their deceased husbands. "I was not very sure if she would turn up. But, she did and I was very happy," Kala said.
Described as a rebel by her friends, Kala has a younger sister who is already married. She convinced her parents about her inter-caste wedding and took the onus of the financial costs of the wedding of herself.
"Most of my relatives didn't show up. My husband's parents themselves had an inter-caste wedding. So, there was no problem from their side," said Kala. The bride and the groom also broke into a Parai dance....