In India, the term love marriage is used only to describe a marriage which is decided upon by the couple without consulting their parents. These marriages intended to break the caste, community and even religion barriers, posing that this would parallel the caste differences among different communities. However, such marriages are socially not acceptable still and often found and proved in most of the cases as unreliable foundations. India, which has a strong root in arranged marriages with solid reasons to defend so, never accepted such marriages, although the increasing love marriages are weeding everywhere.
With the advent of Moghuls and Western culture in India centuries ago, native culture and rituals left unattended by most of the Indians slowly since then. The British did it deliberately to break the unity among Hindus by misinterpreting Indian caste system called Varnashrama. Let’s have a glance on Varnashrama.
The Rig Veda enjoins that human society is divided into four Varnas. The Varna system is therefore not man-made but of divine origin. Even Lord Sri Krishna preaches the same in Gita that people are allocated to a specific Varna according to two criteria, namely Guna and Karma where Guna refers personal qualities and Karma refers aptitude for a type of job one opts. No mention of Varna is determined by the birth of one, HE further insists.
In one Sloka our Sastras explain this like this:
Janmana jayate sudrah
Samskarat dwij uchchte
Veda pathnat bhavet viprah
Brahma janati iti brahmanah
This explains, ‘by birth one is a Sudra (lowest caste, according to present misinterpreted way of caste system), by the purification process one becomes a Dvija (known as twice born, when three Varnas viz., Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vaishya are becoming Dvija after the sacred thread ceremony is done) by study of the Vedas one becomes a Vipra (a scholar) and one who knows Brahman is a Brahmana’.
One not to be confused with the creator God Brahma or the priestly class of Brahmanas or what is called by the English ‘Brahmin’. It is possible to understand precisely the Hindu deities only when one surpasses the above stages. In Hinduism, most adherents venerate one or more Gods, but regard these as manifestations of ‘Ultimate Reality’ which is behind the Universe and all the Gods called by different names, but most commonly Brahman. In the Rig Veda, Ultimate Reality is referred to ‘the one’. It is referred as ‘Purusha’ in Purushasukta. So is the ‘Brahman – the Purusha – the One’ are refer to several deities’ names for understanding in the initial stage of growing your knowledge of Hinduism.
The above description differentiates to understand the Varnashrama from the present caste system in India. This Varans system was de-tracked very conveniently in the later years, thanks to the English. The term ‘Caste’ actually derived from the Portuguese term ‘Casta’, which means purity of descent. The Varnashrama and present caste system are not same, although they look identical, while Varnashrama refers to a system which promotes social mobility whereas the present caste system is rigid and hereditary – Please refer Rig Veda for more information.
The very purpose of Varnashrama was all the time misinterpreted, misjudged and the present caste system came to existence. Thus Invaders made the path much easier to establish, dominate and later rule India, which is a known story to everybody.
Casteism was projected as a sin to this country and shown as an example, as to how the rest of the World are better than us without caste system. It is laughable, one to know that caste system was introduced by the invaders of this country and later it was criticized by the same invaders. What was not told by our own people to our next generation is that how the casteism came to exist in this country. There is a persisting gap developing generations after generations. Barring a few, most of the present generation who maintains their surname which denotes from which caste they come from, are also still struggling to stay-in. It was further demoralized by British loyal Indians of this country with a suggestion of inter-caste marriages, for only solution to eliminate casteism in India.
Marriages are not for two individuals, let us first accept this. If two individuals’ mere merger is marriage and that solves the entire casteism problems, then families have no meaning in the society. The Indian society, especially Hindu families, consist of so many different customs, rituals, habits, clothing methods, food habits and so on, will consider all the above as values of their ancestors and will defenitely intend to sustain in the generations to come. Loving couples might undergo severe problems in terms of ritual practice, food habits and so on, when they think to marry who have come from different environments. Is it enough to perform a marriage if two individual people who understand each other and it doesn’t matter a family of their respective origin? Don’t they interact and participate with their respective families in future courses in their perpestives? How do they maintain harmony among those two families when they against their family and marry? Individuals remain one and two families would remain two forever. Are marriages the only solution for present casteism problems? Certainly not!
It is nothing to do with high level thinking or good heart for accepting such marriages. Inter-caste or inter-religion marriages are only successful when two families also merge along with the individuals. This is a rare scenario in this country. Most of the families from which a boy or a girl marries with other caste, hardly find a decent place in the society is the hard fact, whether one accepts it or not. The worst scene comes later in their life when their children grow older and get ready for marriages. They cannot expect everybody in the society is as good thinking as them to make a relationship in the name of marriage of their children. The living example for this, is very much available. It would be difficult for these couples to settle a marriage for their children with any one of the caste they belong to. In the end of the day, delayed or another inter-caste marriage would take place. In some cases, people spend life without marriage just because of their parents’ high level thinking marriage.
Endogamy refers to marriage between members of the same Varna. This is to produce cultured children of high pedigree. In practice, parents often insist that their children’s partners belong to the same Varna and even same Jati. Children rejecting parents’ wishes have caused the Hindu community to re-evaluate caste practices. Another theory goes around the society is that Dowry system can be completely eradicated if such love marriages are practiced. That’s an optimistic thought indeed! Unfortunately, it is evident that even in the love marriages, the dowry system is prevailing. In some worst cases, the financial transactions are unimaginable .
Marriages, generally, are best suitable for same clan. Jumping out of this system is only successful when two families of the loving individuals are also merge with each other in terms of sharing and practicing in an amicable situation. Such family merger is lovable marriages, otherwise it is a merger of two individuals merely which remain only as love marriages.
The younger generation of this country should be more analytical on this whether they want to merge alone and keeping aside their parents whom raised them up and faced numerous challenges in their life for these children’ betterment, or see that the merger of families of both loving individuals, hence the love marriages will become lovable marriages.
The ball is left to present generation’s court, whether they want a ‘love marriage’ or ‘lovable marriage’ forever!
Balaji Canchi Sistla
6-11-15 @ 1 pm