Inter-caste marriage

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Inter-caste marriage is a term used in Asian and Middle-Eastern countries for a marriage where the couple are from two social groups, e.g., different castes, races or clans and are related to concepts of exogamy and endogamy. Normally, such marriages are strongly discouraged in society and are viewed as a threat to the existing social order.

Encouraging and discouraging inter-caste marriage[edit]

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. According to a survey in 2014, about 5% of marriages are inter-caste in India.[1]

In India, inter-caste marriages were publicly encouraged and supported by politicians such as C. N. Annadurai, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu,[citation needed] and social activists such as Periyar E. V. Ramasamy,[2] Raghupathi Venkataratnam Naidu[citation needed] and Manthena Venkata Raju.[citation needed]

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


According to the Special Marriage Act, 1954, inter-caste marriage is legal in India. Inter-caste marriages are performed under this Act.[3]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Just 5% of Indian marriages are inter-caste: survey". 
  2. ^ Anita Diehl. (1977). E. V. Ramaswami Periyar. A study of the influence of a personality in contemporary South India, Scandinavian University Books: Sweden. ISBN 91-24-27645-6.
  3. ^ "Registered Marriage Under Special Marriage Act, 1954". Tax 4 India. Retrieved 31 May 2012.