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Semantee Chattopadhyay
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Indian parents always say do whatever you want now but when you settle down it must be with someone from the community. There are many Indian myths about people falling in love and marrying outside their communities. Scholars say that the ancient Dharmashastra text event sanctioned Gandharva marriage, which didn’t require parental approval. However other texts like Manusmriti did not reply to such acceptance. If the cast of a man was lower than his wife’s, the marriage was called Pratiloma and strongly condemned. Children born out of such marriages were considered ‘impure’. Unfortunately, our current attitudes see into the mirror this thinking. Like all 2011, census only 5.82% of marriages in India were inter-caste. And contrary to popular belief the more educated people are the stronger their preference for marrying within their caste. On the other hand, honour killing is a crime Indians are only too familiar with where a couple is murdered by their families for daring to marry outside their caste gotra or religion. Even in popular culture scholars point out that Indian TV shows different relationships that are inter-caste or inter-religious. Even in Bollywood, this kind of movies always has a tragic ending. The preference of marrying within your community isn’t unique to India. Opposition to community marriages is seen in many different contexts, it all comes down to the notion of maintaining the purity of lineage and ensuring that the future generations of the family continue to uphold the social divisions and networks that the family has been benefited from. It’s their political position, socio-cultural identity, ritual status, or ownership of properties everything is going to be linked to the notion of purity, which makes any transgression a matter of shame and dishonour. What sets India apart is the extent to which we live and die by these social hierarchies. Scholars argue that the Indian caste system is one of the longest surviving social hierarchy in the world today.