A congregation of Jains exhorted its young girls on Sunday to not marry outside of their community, with a preacher outlining the 'ills' of love marriage.
The event, a 'pravachan' for girls above the age of 12, saw a cleric issuing advice on attire and relationship choices, with discussions revolving around how to address the 'problem' of inter-religion marriage. It had over 200 people in attendance.
Ujjain has a Jain population of approximately 30,000. The discourse was not unlike similar moral intervention seen from religious groups recently after couples from different communities eloped under pressure from unyielding families.
Just like black and yellow cannot be mixed into one colour, two people from separate communities cannot be united in marriage, said Muni Punya Nidhan, a Jain cleric.
"Girls who say their parents do not understand them should also try to make an effort to understand their parents," Nidhan said, alluding to cases when girls have gone against the wishes of their parents.
A pamphlet was also distributed among community members before the event, asking questions such as: Is your daughter not obeying you? Does your daughter want to go for inter-caste marriage? Do you want to save your daughter from a polluted environment?
"Muniji mostly lives in Maharashtra and Gujarat and has lots of experience about problems faced by the Jain community girls in both the states. He came here to check growing cases of inter-community marriages in the community," said Sanjay Jain, one of the organisers.
The organisers accepted that they wanted to contain cases of inter-religious marriages in their community. Recently, reports of marriages between different communities have invited the wrath of religious groups in several parts of the state.
Alirajpur police had declared a marriage between a Christian man and a Hindu woman invalid, after protests by right-wing groups in Jobat recently.