Now, I’m against inter-caste marriage because…
Born as the son of socialist-cadre, I was shaped to be rebellious by my father. From my early childhood, my father, my first political guru, introduced me which terminologies like ‘communism’, ‘Karl Marx and Marxism’, ‘Lenin and Leninism’, ‘Mao and Maoism’, ‘socialism’, ‘capitalism’, etc. With his youthful rebellious instinct, he even told me about genetic improvement with inter-caste marriage which indirectly touched me a lot from those early childhood days. But, there’s yet another incident in my life which made me so much rebellious against the caste system, caste discrimination, social exploitation and untouchability that I had decided to look all Brahmin girls like my sister.
In the 7th standard of my schooling, my school’s principal sir assigned me to participate in a national story-writing competition. Another girl from my school was also joining this competition who was my childhood best friend. In fact, I was competing among male students and her among female students. We two, as we were from the same village, planned to go to the venue together. Families of both families belonged to the Vaisnav cult, both of us were strict vegetarian from birth and worshipped Bishnu as primary deity. There’s a temple of Mahadev in Makranchuli (my village) which is on the way to our school where we both usually worshipped while going to school. That was an important day for both of us, we visited the temple, and worshipped there. While worshipping, I put tika (of red and yellow colour) on my forehead.
On the way, she informed me that we were going to visit the Baisnav temple in Neureni before reaching the venue in Hetauda. Her family had puja there and she had to visit there and join it. As I had visited that temple before with grandmother, I accompanied her in the temple normally. I moved with her to receive tika from the guru of that temple. But, I was feeling something strange happening that day. Almost everyone there was looking me strangely as if I was alien. I checked if the zip of my pant was open. But, no, that wasn’t the issue. Well, I couldn’t understand why I was getting such disgusting look of disgust. Least mattered to me that day, I was unaware of the reason. After the puja, we reached the venue, participated it, interestingly, we both got the first position in district competition among all boys and girls of all participating schools. We both returned from there happily.
It was next day evening when I got to know why I was getting such strange look at Baisnav temple the day before. Her younger sister told me that it was because of the tika I’d put on my forehead from the temple of Mahadev. (The tika of Vaisnavas is uniquely different and is much different than that of what I put on from the temple of Mahadev.) It was then, I realized that the look that I was receiving involved the discrimination between Vaishnavas and non-Vaishnavas. I had seen sort of maltreatment non-Baisnavas faced by Vaishnavas earlier, but, that was the day, I too was behaved differently. That tika made them feel that I wasn’t Baisnav. I was severely hurt when I got to know this part of that story. As a child, I had no feeling of discrimination among deities, either it was Brahma, Bishnu or Maheshwar, besides had understood that all of them are equally important with their unique role. But, the devotees of these deities had a problem with each other.
I couldn’t digest that event easily. That event brought radical change in my thought system and made me much rebellious against all sorts of social discrimination be it in the name of caste, creed or colour. As a child, I decided that I will challenge this society doing inter-caste marriage. (It was the most rebellious act as per my childhood understanding.) Only two parameters I had when looking a girl for the relationship were: she should be non-Brahmin and she should be vegetarian. Even among non-Brahmins, the first priority was for one whom society considers untouchable and then to other with small eyes and short nose. And, I was so much determined with this decision that all the relationships I had till date were with non-Brahmin girls. It was only in very recent days, I decided to give up the idea of inter-caste marriage.
Why did I decide to give up the idea of inter-caste marriage?
None of the rationales, like the idea of genetic purity or cultural preservation, given by those against inter-caste marriage fascinated me till date. I haven’t found much of genetic differences among homo-sapiens that would alter the genetic purity with inter-caste marriage. (I would worry only if humans considered other genomes for procreation. 😉 ) And, as a graduate of sociology, I know that everything made by humans like culture, language, costumes, etc are dynamic in nature and evolve with time. The only humane identity I strongly hold is the identity of nationality.
So again, what is that made me against the idea of inter-caste marriage? Well, its the mystic Sadhguru Jaggi Basudev who finally convinced me to leave my profound concept of inter-caste marriage. In his recent event of ‘Youth and Truth’ in a university, he was asked by a student ‘How, as a youth, can we convince our parents to accept inter-caste marriage?’ Describing his own life story of how he got married, he beautifully convinced me with his idea.
When I say I would do inter-caste marriage, I was judging the individuals with the caste, isn’t it? I was identifying myself and other ladies with certain castes and then only came to the idea of inter-caste marriage. Being a strong rebellion against social discrimination and the caste system, I should first stop identifying anyone with the concept of caste or creed. The family name of an individual should no longer have any other significance to me. Moreover, I need not even care about the family name of anyone. I’m a human and I’m a Nepali citizen. I don’t need any more social identifications while choosing my life partner.
The traditional caste system has lost its purpose. It was built for the division of work in the past society. It was sensible for that era. But in the modern society, that division of work no longer is prevalent. Members of the single family are taking varieties of occupations which more than one caste was traditionally assigned. What is prevalent is only the severe discrimination and untouchability among each other. That’s why caste system must go away.
And from my past relationship experiences, I realized that every human has similar potentials. Certain social conditions build certain strengths and certain weaknesses. Anyone can build such strengths with their clear determination. Any lady who understands the essence of family and marital relationship can become my life partner. So, I’ve decided to stop looking at the surname, size of nose and eyes when looking a lady as the life partner. And, I’m against inter-caste marriage because I’ve made conscious decision to lose the identification given by the society in the name of caste. As I no longer have caste and see no caste around me, how can I do inter-caste marriage?
Have I found a better way of fighting with caste discrimination?
Yes, I have. In fact, this new discovery helped me to change my profound concept regarding inter-caste marriage. Unless I would have a better solution, there was no point in giving up the idea what I considered would fight against this problem. And, this was the reason why no one could convince me either way even by sharing the similar opinion.
A few months ago, I was having a conversation with my father about my marriage. I was strongly telling him that he won’t have a daughter-in-law from Brahmin family and would be from the one which this society considers untouchable. I saw severe worries in his face and voice hearing my mature declaration. In his sheer worries, he said he would have no worries in accepting a girl from any caste and ethnicity including Chhetri, Tamang, Magar, Gurung, etc as the daughter-in-law but the so-called Dalit. He backed his words saying that I could lose the support of relatives and society if I marry a girl from the so-called Dalit community. In a phone conversation with him after few weeks, I found him more liberal about inter-caste marriage with the so-called Dalit community as well and I found that this change of opinion in him was backed by his confidence with my financial plan. So, it clearly meant to me that he had no issues with the girl and the caste but had worries on losing the financial support system only.
Nepal has a very weak social security system. State (Government) hasn’t yet been able to play the role of a good guardian. If anyone in my family gets severely sick, we’ll have to arrange big cash immediately. In any urgent financial need, the best solution till date is talking to the relatives for the support. This has created a very strong social bond which is the bright side, but, the worries like my father had is severe dark side. And, the solution to it is better social security from the state. When the state takes the responsibility of basic needs regarding health, education and transportation, an individual won’t have to lean on other. This enables them to take the conscious decision regarding his life without above-mentioned worries. The true freedom a human seeks is then achieved. And, at that state of freedom, this senseless caste system will die in silence.