Inter-caste marriage is a term used in South Asia and Middle-Eastern countries for a marriage where the couple are from two social groups, e.g., different races, clans or castes. It is related to exogamy, where marriage is allowed only outside of a social group, and opposed to endogamy.
Encouraging and discouraging inter-caste marriage
Inter-caste marriage is mostly caused by love. It has been increasing in India especially because of the varieties of religious faiths and sects of the Hindu faith there. In India, religions each have their own rules relating to marriage, as rules exist for the conduct of marriage itself. When two people from different social groups marry, it is an inter-caste marriage.
The first recorded inter-caste marriage in modern India took place on 4 February 1889. On this date, Yashwant and Radha (alias Laxmi) were betrothed. Yaswant was the adopted son of Jotirao and Savitribai Phule. Radha was the daughter of Gyanoba Krishnaji Sasane. This marriage was the first 'Satyashodhaki' (truth seeker society) marriage. Savitribai bore all the expenses on this historic occasion. This method of marriage, similar to a registered marriage, is prevalent in many parts of India. These marriages were opposed by priests and ‘bhatjis’ (Brahmans), and they went to court on this matter. Savitribai and Jotirao had to face severe difficulties but that did not deter them. The Satyashodhak marriage required the bridegroom to take an oath of giving education and equal rights to women. The ‘mangalashtake’ (the mantras chanted at the wedding) were to be sung by the bride and the bridegroom themselves, and these were in the form of pledges made by the bride and the groom to each other. To ensure that they got better acquainted with each other and with each other’s likes and dislikes, Savitribai had made Radha stay in the Phule household before the marriage. She made provisions for Radha’s education.