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Updated: August 20, 2013 11:17 IST

When push comes to shove, caste gives way

Staff Reporter
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Newly wedded Couple Kalamma Pooja and Satish at Rehabilitation centre in Bangalore on Monday Photo: G P Sampath Kumar
Newly wedded Couple Kalamma Pooja and Satish at Rehabilitation centre in Bangalore on Monday Photo: G P Sampath Kumar

If a marriage in Bangalore on Monday is any indication, a section of Brahmins of interior Malnad region appear to be shunning caste and endogamy.

On Monday, an educated Shivalli Brahmin boy from Hornad married an orphan brought up in a government shelter without bothering about her lineage, horoscope, caste or gotra and without seeking the counsel of a priest.

In a simple religious ceremony organised by the Department of Women and Child Development, Roopa, who entered the government orphanage as a six year old, was united with B.P. Satish, who was raised in a highly traditional Shivalli Brahmin family. “There hasn’t been a single inter-caste marriage in my family for centuries. I changed all that,” beamed Satish who works in a college at Sringeri.

What brought about this remarkable revolution?

“We are not the first. A relative too married a girl raised in a government orphanage,” said Satish’s mother M.A. Mahalakshmi. But what happened to caste? “There are more marriageable boys in our community than girls,” explains B.S. Padmanabha, the father.

Then, why not marry somebody from another caste? Why only an orphan? Mr. Padmanabha said that because an orphan has no caste. “Once an orphan marries into our caste, she becomes one of us,” said the mother. What about orphaned boys? Mother: “We are short of girls not boys.” Father: “The girl’s caste is not as important as the boy’s.”

“The problem,” according to R. Shankar, “is that educated and beautiful girls from good families only want to marry software engineers living in America. Brahmin boys from rural areas stand no chance.” Shankar and his friends T.N. Prasad and N.R. Sudhir are the new-age matchmakers within the Shivalli community.

Scouting for marriageable girls at orphanages across the State is fast becoming their fulltime occupation.

They say that the worsening farm crisis and dipping education indices among boys in the community are rendering them ineligible for marriage.

Shankar and Prasad are all for inter-caste marriages as well, but Sudhir is against the concept. “Marrying orphans and converting them as Shivallis is controversial in itself,” said Sudhir.

The groom’s younger brother B.P. Madhusudan, a shy man in his late 20s, is preparing to follow suit. “I too want to get married here,” are the only words The Hindu could coax out of him.

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This is more ironic than something great... Marry intercaste coz she has got no caste and then convert her into your caste... How much more ridiculous can it get?

from:  KRISHANU BARUAH
Posted on: Aug 22, 2013 at 05:42 IST

Marriage is a state of mind. Not a ceremony. Sometimes you are married, sometimes not. Sometimes you wish to marry.Sometimes you wish you weren't married. What ever the state it is, somewhere something sits on your head. You may call what you want to call it. It is not for someone without a calling. And it not what you call it is. And believe me it is avoidable if you think it is unavoidable and unavoidable if you think it is avoidable.

from:  Hari Krishna
Posted on: Aug 21, 2013 at 18:39 IST

marrying orphans doesn't mean a revolution is waiting... this marriage happened only because the bride had no identity for herself interms of caste or community... the only revolution will happen only after real inter caste marriages happen... and also for a fact that even now honor killings happen due to these intercaste marriages which much of us were not aware that it happens even in aristocratic families... the real success lies in abolishing the honor killings too...

from:  Subhash Nagarajan
Posted on: Aug 21, 2013 at 05:44 IST

This is not new. The priests in Karnataka, Adiga community have been marrying Lingayat girls, because Brahmin girls are not willing to marry them because of the so called status. Only OBC of TN are averse to inter caste marriages and will even indulge in violence as is evident in recently reported incidents. The incidents of clashes with Dalits used to be reported with the OBC party being referred to as caste Hindu so that the actual caste could be camouflaged. Caste Hindu is inclusive of Brahmins also. That trick has now been abandoned.

from:  snSrinivasan
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 22:17 IST

Even when doing a good job, they tend to be selfish in it. What is the need to convert the girl to another caste? We haven't yet been able to let go these things.

from:  Dexter Morrgan
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 18:38 IST

I am sorry to say but the title of the article is misleading!!! If you read the article carefully, it is quite clear that casteism is not giving way but its rather prevailing "an orphan can be converted to shivalli". Also another social issue crops to your mind boygirl ratio is skewed. Although I am all for the orphan girls getting married and settling down, however indeed its just push come to shove aka desperate measure on the part of the grooms.

from:  Sanghamitra
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 15:20 IST

Strangely in India/Pakistan so called Muslims, Sikhs, Christians practice Caste as well.A Dalit Christian is not allowed to enter the church of a Nadar Christian and they don't intermarry. Muslims from Noble Beg,Rajput,Sharif,Ashraf families don't give their daughters to Low Caste Dalit Muslims in India/Pakistan.In the same breadth, there are even separate gurudawaras for the Jat and Ravidasi communities and Jat Sikhs don't give their daughters in marriage to Ravidasi sikhs.The proof of every religious pudding is in its eating in the sphere of real life.Caste in India is present and kicking across all religions in Pakistan and India.Lets not worry about theory. People of all religions in India need to wake up and become more human and less religious.

from:  Tirang
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 14:16 IST

The title is misleading. This is not a case of two people of different castes choosing to marry each other despite society saying no. This is an article about an upper caste boy who is willing to marry a girl with no caste. It is ironic that this article is printed on the same day as the lead article is about missing women. Who are the girls in orphanages? They are girls who were unwanted at birth because they seem like a burden! So it seems we have found a truly Indian way to recycle girls. Put them through an orphanage, and then their value increases after 18 years because now they have no caste. It would be interesting to know the perceptions of the girl in this article, both now and several years from now. Will she face discrimination after marriage for being a casteless orphan? Or is this marriage in fact the sign of the more openminded society we are all hoping for?

from:  Nandu
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 14:04 IST

I applaud this marriage and wish the Couple God Speed. My only comment is that while the parents are willing to marry their sons to non brahmin girls (as there is a shortage of girls and not boys), there is reluctance to marry off girls to non brahmins. True JAGRITY will come when there is no difference in boys or girls being married out of caste.

from:  Satya Issar
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 13:28 IST

May god bless this couple.Thanks to The Hindu for publishing.The Hindu should be bilingual,(i.e English and Tamil). Dailies here in Tamil Nadu are politics and caste based.So if the mass in tamil nadu needs good, correct news they need The Hindu in Tamil also,if possible.

from:  G.Ananda kumar
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 12:16 IST

THE ANSWER IS EDUCATED

from:  HARIHARAN.D
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 12:03 IST

Good things are happening and let these continue

from:  Srinivasan Bhargavan
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 11:59 IST

GOD BLESS THEM &GOOD JOB

from:  rajendran
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 11:38 IST

Brilliant family.My Pranams to Sathish's father and mother.

from:  Hariharan
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 11:34 IST

Its good to hear that a socalled upper caste man gets married to a 'casteunknown' orphan with the blessings of his family. It is definitely a positive trend in the face of the rampant castebased mockery and violence people still indulge in most parts of the country. But then reading the article raises the question Did the groom marry the girl because he wanted to break free from ageold tyrannical customs or was forced to marry 'someone' as he didn't get any suitable girl from his own caste? The boy's parents' statements 'Once an orphan marries into our caste, she becomes one of us' and 'The girls caste is not as important as the boys' hardly shows that they have been able to rise above the casteconsciousness so many people suffer from....I hope the girl gets as much respect and love from her new family as she deserves as a human being...not because she is 'casteless' or having 'become' one of the upper caste individuals.

from:  Rai Basu
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 11:24 IST

this brahmin is to be congratulated. coming from village background, he has done a wonderful thing unlike our politicians who talk day in and day out about caste eradication but ensures that their wards marry in their own caste. let us not try to belittle the brahmin boy by unwanted logic

from:  n mohan
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 10:11 IST

When will India shun this caste system? When will all humans be regarded as equals no one superior, no one inferior? Any superiority or inferiority has to be earned and not bequeathed. Unless we, people of all religions, get ourselves rid of all superstitious and obscurantist baggage of oppressive practices and traditions we hardly deserve to be called enlightened people. The you, at least, should rebel against the grisly practices of their respective communities and reform them. Let us adopt only those beliefs that make us more human, brings individuals and communities closer, and empower the oppressed.It is an issue of great national shame that our constitution gives great respect to individual rights but our superstitious cultural baggage does not allow us to realize our constitutional rights in day to day life. This is brand India. What a shame? But we can rescript our destiny. Let us begin today!

from:  Saleem Ahmed
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 10:05 IST

When will India shun this caste system? When will all humans be regarded as equals No one superior and no one inferior? Any superiority or inferiority has to be earned not bequeathed. Unless we, people of all religions, get rid of all superstitious and obscurantist baggage of oppressive practices and traditions we hardly deserve to be called enlightened people. The youth, at least, should rebel against the grisly practices of their respective communities and reform them. Let us adopt the beliefs that make us more human, brings individuals and communities closer, and empowers the oppressed. It is an issue of great national shame that our constitution gives great respect to individual rights but our superstitious cultural baggage does not allows us to realise that in day to day life. This is brand India. What a shame? But we can rescript our destiny. Let us begin today!

from:  Saleem Ahmed
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 09:41 IST

Bravo ! The Bridegroom and his parents for this groundbreaking decision although suitable match could not be found among their own community. Hope this will be a trendsetter for all ages to come. Love Live the Couple !

from:  Haja Bucker
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 09:31 IST

Nothing new in the news .It has become very common in Kerala too , the only problem being non availlability of girls of marriagable age in our orphanages.Main advantage is the girl can be made a veggie too and one need not bother about relatives

from:  APPAN VARMA
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 09:30 IST

Congratulations ! We all wish you a happy and friendly life with lot of understanding for many many decades !

from:  chandrasekaran
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 09:03 IST

While appreciating the good efforts, cant stop asking this "Orphan does have caste, and once married, she becomes us.." so still they are not willing to forego the caste of their own and only let this happen because of their son cant find a bride yet in their own community. i hope eventually they look at this as a way to shy the caste at both the ends that's what we would like to see.

from:  Shhhhh
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 07:00 IST
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