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Rigid societies are still against mixed marriages February 2, 2010

Posted by reader111 in Caste Reservations.
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New Delhi: India seems to be shedding off its caste prejudice when it comes to tying the knot. Though exact figures for 2010 have still not come in, estimates put it at 5,862 across the country, showing that the trend is still on the upswing.

The touch of caution, however, seems to be in place. According to data, traditionally rigid societies are still holding out, while those with reformed movements seem to have embraced the change. Social justice ministry of Mukul Wasnik gives an incentive of Rs 50,000 to each such couple. The tally, however, only registers those who come forward to claim the incentive.

Hopefully there are more.

Kerala and Karnataka have also registered good absolute numbers at 996 and 600 in 2009 and promise to repeat the show.

Haryana, for all its ‘khap panchayats’ and honour killings, seems to do well with 94 marriages in 2009, 129 in 2008 and an estimated 80 in 2010. The same applies to MP with 199 in 2009, 117 in 2008 and 95 in 2007. In sharp contrast, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Punjab and West Bengal seem unaffected by the winds of change.

The data also underlines a frozen social reality. Experts say Gujarat and Uttarakhand are known to be strong hierarchical societies and absence of marriages between SCs and non-SCs may reflect a political attitude.

Pradeep Tamta, MP from Almora reserved seat in Uttarakhand, said, “Even if there are mixed marriages, the government does not want to be seen as incentivising or promoting them. It is politically fraught.’’

This may be true for Gujarat too. Experts say it is impossible that mixed marriages don’t happen. “Maybe, people are scared of the publicity for fear of a caste backlash,’’ said Vivek Kumar. Importantly, the high rate of inter-caste marriages in South may still not include upper castes as part of this change. The 1911 caste census of Madras Presidency put upper castes at 2%, which may mean that most marriages are among OBCs and SCs.

Real “castelessness’’ is still a long way off. Experts say that “hypergamy’’ (male from Dwija castes) has religious sanction while “hypogamy’’ (woman from upper castes) would mean the real breaking away from stratification.

Bengal, on the other hand, is the unknown entity vis-a-vis inter-caste tie-ups. The communist system, with no belief in caste, records no figures. But this bit of progressive culture could be hiding a disturbingly static society.

Publication: Times of India Mumbai; Date:2010 Feb 01; Section:Front Page; Page Number 1


Maharashtra tops inter-caste marriages with Dalits February 2, 2010

Posted by reader111 in Caste Reservations.
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Subodh Ghildiyal & Swati Mathur I TNN

New Delhi: The figures may be more impressive than they appear at first glance going by the depth of caste divide in the country. India saw 4,750 inter-caste marriages, involving Dalits, in 2008-09, while the number was slightly lower at 4,205 in 2007-08. In 2006-07, the count stood at 3,945.

Though absolute figures for 2010 are awaited, the estimates from states have put it at 5,862, showing that the upward trend has not slackened. These are no mean numbers, given how entrenched caste prejudice is in society where marriage still remains a largely insulated institution.

Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra lead the chart, registering around 1,000 for three years. In 2010, Maharashtra promises to double its figures to 2,214. Experts may caution against premature celebrations and counsel deeper investigation, but the numbers point at a trend that is perhaps gathering momentum.

Moreover, the fact that the couples in these alliances have stepped forward to document their marriages speaks volumes of the cast-iron social compartments loosening. After all, it was Bhimrao Ambedkar who advocated “intermixing of blood’’ as a way to reduce caste animosity.

The devil, however, may be in the detail. Vivek Kumar, sociologist in JNU who tracks Dalit trends, says, “The numbers are impressive for sure. But you have to scratch the surface to see how many such ties are between OBCs and SCs. Also, in SC-upper caste marriages, one has to find out how many of the women are from the upper castes.’’

Publication: Times of India Mumbai; Date:2010 Feb 01; Section:Front Page; Page Number 1

Maharashtra govt to give Rs 50,000 for inter-caste marriage February 2, 2010

Posted by reader111 in Caste Reservations.
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Jan-12-10 10:02pm
Those couple opting for inter-caste marriage will be gifted Rs 50,000 by Maharashtra Government.

This decision was taken by state cabinet on Tuesday,with the view to abolish caste system in the state by encouraging inter-caste marriages, an official from CMO said. Earlier, the amount was Rs 15,000, he added.

The government would give a cheque of Rs 20,000 and invest Rs 25,000 in postal savings scheme, Indira Vikas Patra, in the name of the couple. The remaining amount would be given in form of marriage expenditure or household things, the official said.

The government has been implementing the scheme from 1958 and 50 per cent of the fund is given by the Centre.