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The United Couples of India
Think of an impending inter caste marriage, and the first thing that comes to mind is a sobbing mother, an angry father and one rebellious offspring. Inter caste marriages in India have long been a reason for familial, and sometimes communal, discord. Seemingly innocuous love affairs have turned into law and order nightmares. All this while, today’s young generation thinks what this religious fuss is all about? The human genome may have been cracked, but understanding an average Indian parents’ DNA still seems elusive. But things are changing for the better. Archaic mindsets are changing; parents are no longer very hostile to an inter caste arrangement. And Dr. Manmohan Singh made this happen. Surprised? Read on.
Love is like water, it finds its own way. Today, we see more intercommunity marriages taking place than at any other time. When Dr. Manmohan Singh opened up the floodgates of our economy in 1991, little must he have realized that his move will also help a thousand flowers bloom in the garden of love? When the Indian markets opened up, new jobs started coming into India. And this led to a large-scale migration of people within the country. You would find a Haryanvi & an Iyenagar, a Bengali & a Marathi manoos sharing cubicles and hobnobbing at office water fountains. And it included people of the opposite sexes, too. Young hearts and fertile minds, which could survive on love and fresh air, threw issues like religion and caste in the recycle bin. All they were looking for was compatibility and unconditional love.
The new companies that came into India were MNCs, and they brought their professional work culture along with them. That meant reward for good work, irrespective of the gender, and longer working hours. This spelt more opportunities for Indian women and extended time in the office and more interaction with co-workers of the opposite sex. Also, in a new city, an individual is all on his own and very lonely. A few loving words, and a warm shoulder, work like magic and bring strangers closer. Besides, in an unknown city, one tends to grow more adventurous, as the fear of being caught is left back in the old town. Offices became breeding grounds of romance.
Those who could not find love at their workplace resorted to the web. Lunchtimes in the office were spent surfing matrimonial websites. These sites replaced the friendly neighbourhood aunty who would arrive at the doorstep every alternate day with a new proposal. Instead of doing the rounds of marriage bureaus due to paucity of time, people could look for possible matches at the click of the mouse. More than the usual search criteria of religion, these websites offered criteria such as Education & Career, Lifestyle, and Location for searching for a life partner. Moreover they enabled a search of potential partners from across the globe. So an Indian in Gurgaon could find a life partner from the US or UK and vice versa. For a nominal charge, the websites provided a platform for people and enabled them to meet people belonging to the same mindsets, rather than religions. Today, websites, like Shaadi.com, have gone a step further and are offering a range of wedding services under one roof. The flowers, the venue, the catering… you name it and they will arrange it, not just in India but even abroad. For the young upwardly mobile generation of Indians with long working hours and globe trotting careers, this has proved to be a real boon. Shaadi.com also has a panel of experts on its website that provide advice on various matrimony related issues. Thanks to the huge choice from across the world and ease of use, not only are the young flocking to these websites but also the older generation and specials cases such as physically challenged people. These websites are coming into their own, and becoming a very strong part of the marriage market in India. By bringing people closer, they are facilitating an exchange of new ideas, thus playing an important role in our society.
Today’s generation is headstrong and, yet, very thoughtful. It doesn’t hurry into taking decisions, but when it makes one, it sticks by it. Economic independence has led to a new boldness among youngsters who are determined to make their own paths and follow their heart and head. Their offspring is the product of people following different religions, and the ‘mixed breed’ grows up in homes where it is exposed to two different ways of life. It has allowed the young minds to imbibe the tenets of different religions, they worship different Gods and Goddesses, they pray with raised and closed palms at the same time. Young minds are like wet cement, they take the desired shape quickly, and it stays that way for the rest of their lives. These children mature quickly, and are more accommodative and understanding when it comes to the issues of caste and religion.
Even today, in India, in educated middle and upper middle class families, a large percentage of marriages are arranged, and mostly done within a caste or community.. The number of intercaste marriages though less, is growing at a fast pace. The 40’s & 50’s generation is realizing this, and is acquiescing to the wishes of its children, and is happily marrying off their sons and daughters into communities other than their own. The growing trend of intercommunity marriages is likely to have a significant and positive bearing on the social fabric of our society. People coming from such mixed family backgrounds are less likely to create communal disturbances and, in fact, act as shock absorbers in sensitive situations.
India is a land of peace and tolerance. Buddha and Gandhi have walked this land. Followers of different religions, who faced persecution in foreign countries, made India their home, further enriching our society with their new thinking, ideals and culture. The practice of inter caste marriages has a similar effect on the society. This will lead to a more tolerant and accommodative India, an India that is colorful, peaceful and a kaleidoscope of happy faces.
About the Author: Anish Sapra is a relationship expert specializing in Marriage, Family and Relationships. He has written authoritative articles on relationships and marriage and is currently assisting Shaadi.com Matrimonials and Shaaditimes.com Indian Wedding Portal as a Family and Relationship specialist.