National » Tamil Nadu

Updated: July 13, 2013 13:22 IST

Caste hegemony to the fore

B. Kolappan
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File photo of Ilavarasan coming out of the Madras High Court with his lawyers. The Dalit boy was found dead in mysterious circumstances beside the railway tracks near the Government Arts College in Dharmapuri on Thursday. Photo: V. Ganesan
The Hindu
File photo of Ilavarasan coming out of the Madras High Court with his lawyers. The Dalit boy was found dead in mysterious circumstances beside the railway tracks near the Government Arts College in Dharmapuri on Thursday. Photo: V. Ganesan

The tragic end to the love story of Divya and Ilavarasan has highlighted the hegemony of caste in private relationships in Tamil Nadu, especially if it involves a Dalit.

At the time of their marriage — August 2012 — Divya was a nursing student, and Ilavarasan a Tamil Nadu Police Department recruit, waiting for his appointment. A marriage that showed promise derailed after it was dragged into the whirlpool of casteism by those seeking to gain political mileage.

Barring a legal question of the marriageable age of Ilavarasan, who was 18 at the time of the wedding, there was nothing much for anyone to oppose the marriage.

Even after Divya left him and started living with her mother, Ilavarasan was confident that everything would pass one day and he would re-join her.

He was not ready to blame his mother-in-law and argued that both Divya and her mother were under political compulsion to act against him.

Divya also said though she wanted to live with her husband, the circumstances were not in her favour. She never made any complaints of harassment by Ilavarasan or by his mother.

Probably Divya’s statement before the Madras High Cout on Wednesday, ruling out the possibility of rejoining Divya, could have made a dent on his confidence.

CPI(M) state secretary G. Ramakrishnan has demanded an inquiry into Ilavarasan’s death, saying that there was every reason to believe that Divya was under pressure to take a decision to leave him. He noted that Tamil Nadu had a history of social justice, but those choosing inter-caste marriages were made to pay a great price.

“Divya’s contradicting statements before the court should have alerted the judges to go behind the case and who were pulling the strings. It was not an ordinary case, but an extraordinary case that triggered communal violence in the State. I wonder why the court failed to give some protection to Ilavarasan,” said former IAS officer and Samooka Samathuvapadi Katchi founder P. Sivakami.

She said the circumstances under which the death had taken place made her believe that it was not a suicide, but a murder. “Except a head injury, there was no other injuries in his body. It could be murder,” she said.

Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam secretary Viduthalai Rajendran said Ilavarasan was the victim of the Pattali Makkal Katchi’s (PMK) effort to mobilise casteism for its political revival. He said while the social condition in Tamil Nadu was much better, there was no denying the fact the political parties and politicians were encouraging castesim for their own means.

Lawyer’s view

S. Rajnikanth, the advocate who represented Ilavarasan in the Madras High Court, said it was only on July 1 that Divya had categorically said her marriage was not accepted by her mother and that she would continue to live with her mother until the latter accepted her marriage with Ilavarasan.

This is a tragedy that all of India should weep for. Even after 6
decades of independence, caste hegemony and caste feeling remain
stronger than ever. It is ironic that even in Tamilnadu, a state
renowned for its anti-Brahmin political rhetoric, casteism is alive and
well, albeit lower down the ladder. For this, one can only blame those
parties that play politics on an overtly casteist platform. Good
governance, honesty and probity in public life are far from the minds
of these people. All that matters is how they can whip up the masses,
incite caste feelings, win votes & come to power. Those who ultimately
end up suffering are innocents such as Ilayavarasan, Divya and their
family members.

from:  CS Venkat
Posted on: Jul 6, 2013 at 01:58 IST

I am belonging to so called upper caste...but this incident is really NATIONAL SHAME..

from:  Anand
Posted on: Jul 5, 2013 at 21:42 IST

I feel pity for the the boy Illavarasan. This incident should be an eye opener to alert all. But who is going to bell the cat? This is more or less like a stress concept at home or at work spot. People should speak out to some one who is close, take a firm decision or expose it out. Swami Vivekananda has said - " BE BOLD & FACE THE WORLD.

from:  R N SAIRAM
Posted on: Jul 5, 2013 at 14:28 IST

The State Government should have intervened in the case and provided suitable counselling to Divya and Ilavarasan." and "the death of Ilavarasan was a dent on the image of Tamil Nadu that had emerged as a model for others in promoting inter-caste marriages."

It seems the Tamilnadu government didn't take even a single step to stop this menace just to please a particular section of people and just stays as a mere spectator allowing the menace to take control.

from:  PSMAYO
Posted on: Jul 4, 2013 at 23:12 IST

So dear a love costs a life!
Life is more valuable than Love.
Add meaning and find a purpose in life!

from:  arun
Posted on: Jul 4, 2013 at 19:55 IST

It is a shame that we live in a land where man made boundaries separate
human beings, made to oppress human beings, make some inferior to the
rest. Let the boy's family and his wife get strength to overcome the

from:  Roopesh P Raj
Posted on: Jul 4, 2013 at 19:52 IST

The social reform movement of Dravidian parties is just humbug.

from:  N S Babu
Posted on: Jul 4, 2013 at 19:48 IST

I feel very sorry for this young man Ilavarasan.He shouldn't take this hasty decision.He should have fought for his true love.RIP.

from:  Sivakumar
Posted on: Jul 4, 2013 at 19:32 IST
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