A panchayat (village council) near Lucknow has transcended caste barriers and stepped in to unite two young lovers whose families’ unequal financial status was proving to be an impediment to the couple’s marriage.
This is an indication that hidebound conservatism wears thin as one steps out of the badlands of western Uttar Pradesh. Manoj Kumar (20) and Peelan Devi (18), belonging to the same caste, Raidas (a Scheduled Caste), were finding it difficult to get married because the girl was not acceptable to the boy’s family, which was better off.
The boy’s family reportedly owns 32 acres of land in Sitapur, 80 km north of Lucknow.
When he came to know of this, a villager named Vijay Jaiswal, belonging to the Bania caste, raised the issue in the village. Taking the initiative, Jaiswal arranged a meeting of the two families to get the matter sorted out.
“I, along with some villagers and panchayat members, organised a meeting of the families and tried to convince them to let the couple get married.
“In the meeting the girl’s father, Ram Kumar, agreed but the boy’s father, Chhote Lal, remained adamant. He even sent his son away from the village,” Jaiswal said.
“But finally Chhote Lal relented and the marriage was solemnised at a ceremony in a temple on Tuesday,” Jaiswal said.
Village headman Uttam Pradhan, who belongs to the Kumhar (potter, a backward class) caste and goes by one name, talks proudly of the panchayat’s achievement.
He said the two families had strained relations ever since they came to know about their wards’ affair about three months ago.
But as the saying goes, all’s well that ends well.