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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

To wipe out taboos in Malwa, young activists choose to marry inter-caste

President of a Dalit rights’ group, Zameen Prapti Sangarsh Committee (ZPCS), Malaudh encouraged friends and even helped many couples to marry inter-caste.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2019 12:07 IST
Avtar Singh
Avtar Singh
Hindustan Times, Sangrur
The district welfare officer Sangrur, said the department has received 29 applications in the past two years, for financial assistance from couples who have married inter-caste, as the government gives Rs 30,000 assistance to such couples.
The district welfare officer Sangrur, said the department has received 29 applications in the past two years, for financial assistance from couples who have married inter-caste, as the government gives Rs 30,000 assistance to such couples.(HT PHOTO)
         

Young social activists — Mukesh Sharma alias Malaudh, Amandeep Kaur, Bhupinder Singh Longowal and Paramjit Kaur — have deliberately chosen to marry inter-caste aiming to demolish caste taboo in the Malwa region, where Dalits have been fighting for 33% share of common land. Their agitation has evoked sharp opposition from upper caste landlords.

Born a Brahmin, 32 year-old Malaudh has been fighting for Dalit rights in the region for a decade. He married Amandeep, 31, in 2016, who belongs to a backward caste and has been advocating women’s empowerment. “My parents asked me to marry anyone except a Dalit or a lower caste, but when they perceived my stand they initially opposed it, but agreed later,” said Malaudh.

President of a Dalit rights’ group, Zameen Prapti Sangarsh Committee (ZPCS), Malaudh encouraged friends and even helped many couples to marry inter-caste. He said, “The caste system is a social division by people belonging to the same race. This can be eradicated through inter-caste marriages and new generations will have a new genome.” Interestingly, the couple have named their 2-year-old daughter –Raavi– without a surname.

“My daughter is neither a Sikh nor a Brahmin and will live without religious and caste taboos,” said Amandeep, who is an M.Phil from Punjab University Patiala in Punjabi.

Similarly, 34-year-old Bhupinder Longowal, a Jat-Sikh from Longowal town, is a farmer activist, who tied the knot with Paramjit Kaur, 32, a Dalit from Patran in 2014. Kaur works with ZPSC and spends most of her time in activism, while her husband looks after their 4-year-old daughter Sachinder Kaur.

“I decided during graduation that I wouldn’t marry within my caste. Though there was a little attraction between us, the ideological affinity played a strong role, as we wanted to break the caste system with a revolutionary step,” said Paramjit, who is a post graduate in political science.

Longowal said, “Sikhism is against casteism, but these boys have faced a tough time for their decisions.”

Mukal Bawa, district welfare officer Sangrur, said the department has received 29 applications in the past two years, for financial assistance from couples who have married inter-caste, as the government gives Rs 30,000 assistance to such couples.

First Published: Apr 14, 2019 12:06 IST