Why marriage in the same caste so important in India?

Why shaadi/marriage in the same caste so important in India?

Since inter-caste marriage is not well accepted in Indian society, the couple has to face a lot of societal pressure. While renting apartments, landlords create issues because of the inter-caste marriage badge. The couple may have no friends or relatives who come forward to extend any help.

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Why marriage in the same caste so important in India?

Caste is ancient

Some historical narratives – most notably by historian Nicholas Dirks – argue that caste was brought in by British colonialism in the 19th century. Another point of view pushed by India’s Hindutva thinkers argues that it was the setting up of Muslim sultanates and empires in the medieval age that created the institutions of caste.

While caste might have seen changes during the British Raj as well as when a large part of the Indian subcontinent was ruled by Muslim kings, genetic research shows that the core feature of caste – endogamy – goes back thousands of years, before either the British Raj or Islam existed.

Caste endures

For thousands of years after they were created, caste was seen as normal and its central feature, endogamy, rarely opposed. However, with the coming of modernity, industrialization, and urbanization several Indians have spoken out against caste. In some cases, modern India has barred some aspects of caste such as untouchability.

The couple has to listen to taunts regularly

After marriage, the couple has to listen to regular taunts. Despite accepting the marriage, the relatives and friends look for ways to insult and humiliate the couple. For instance, the wife is always criticized for her dress sense, her looks, etc. by the mother-in-law, grandmother-in-law, and aunties in the family. She would expect her spouse to stand up for it and he may not have the energy or the courage. The couple might be well-matched and happy with each other after an inter-caste marriage but the relatives can play a huge spoilsport with their constant judging.

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