In Madhya Pradesh inter-caste marriage is still a distant dream as people do not believe in getting married to persons from the other castes, a recent study has revealed.
The study by Delhi-based National Council of Applied Economic Research has revealed that 99% marriages in Madhya Pradesh are intra-caste, which is highest in India.
During the study, 99% of women who were asked “Is your husband’s family from the same caste as your family?” said yes, at a time when the state government has launched a scheme to encourage inter-caste marriages. The Scheduled castes welfare department launched a scheme called inter-caste marriage promotion scheme to eliminate untouchability in the state.
Tanvita Verma (name changed), a business executive said, “My parents motivated me to choose a career of my own choice. They never told me what to wear and what not to and they gave me freedom but when it comes to marrying a boy of my own choice they said ‘no’ without even trying to know about him because he belongs to another caste.”
“My parents said our society is not broad-minded enough to accept the concept of inter-caste or inter-religion marriage. I am still trying to convince them but things are not in my favour till now,” she said.
Rights activists say that the government should not only concentrate on untouchability but also should come up with policies and schemes to end the caste barriers so that incidents of honour killing can be stopped.
“Three days ago in Gwalior, a minor girl was killed by her father and uncle, for marrying a person against their wishes. Such incidents can be avoided if we can change the mindset of people. Even, the government should come up with schemes and policies to end the caste barriers,” said Rolly Shivhare, a women rights activist.
Government officials, however, have a different opinion.
Principal secretary of the scheduled castes welfare department Ashok Shah said, “I won’t comment on the survey findings. But in Madhya Pradesh, most people believe in inter-caste marriages. Under the scheme, courageous couples are being awarded with cash awards of Rs 2 lakh and being felicitated.”
Activists say that the government should come up with policies and schemes to end the caste barriers so that incidents of honour killing can be stopped.
A minor girl was allegedly stabbed to death by her father and uncle on May 13 in a suspected case of honour killing in Gwalior.
A 17-year-old Brahmin girl Chetna Gautam and her 24-year-old Kshatriya lover Bhupat Singh Tomar were shot dead in Pavaiya village in Kothar area of Satna district on April 11 in a suspected case of honour killing.
According to the annual crime report published by National Crime Records Bureau, most honour killings in 2014 were reported from Madhya Pradesh (7), followed by Punjab (5) and Maharashtra (5).