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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

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