Thiruvananthapuram: In a country like India where caste feelings run deep, many youngsters are aware how dangerous it is to fall in love with someone from another caste, and how risky it is to take another step forward and marry the loved one.
With its high literacy rate and social awareness, Kerala is considered better off in accommodating inter-caste marriages. But, occasionally, emotions run high over marital affairs that involve people from different castes.
Over the past week, Kerala witnessed the murder of a young woman by her father because she dared to marry a man from a ‘lower’ caste, while two other families belonging to separate castes set a shining example by celebrating the wedding of their children.
Last Friday, a 27-year-old army man, identified as Brijesh, was left shattered after hearing of the horrific killing of his fiancée, 21-year-old Athira, by her father, Rajan, on their wedding eve.
Rajan’s family is classified among the ‘other backward castes’ or OBCs as they are widely known in India. He admitted to police after his arrest that he could not accept his daughter marrying someone from the Dalit community, to which Brijesh belonged.
Stabbed by her father
There had been heated arguments between Rajan and Athira ever since she revealed her decision to marry Brijesh, and on one occasion police had summoned the family to discuss the issue. Athira continued to be petrified of her father, and only a few hours before she was stabbed by her father she had told Brijesh that she feared harm from him.
After being knife assault, Athira was rushed to Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, but she could not be saved. She had been working as a laboratory technician in a hospital in Manjeri.
In stark contrast, an inter-caste marriage was celebrated at Vythiri in north Kerala on Sunday. Akhesh Chandran, a painter belonging to the Thiya community and A. Akhila from the Paniya community got married, witnessed by their parents, families and friends.
The local residents joined in the celebrations and even provided the wedding dress and jewellery, local media reported.
Chandran’s mother said she only wanted her son to get married and that she was never concerned about the caste of the bride.
Her comment won wide applause on social media, with one commentator stating that a society I which caste did not matter ought to be the aim.