In caste system dying? No says a study by Dr.R.P.Singh a Delhi based sociologist who surveyed matrimonial advertisements in a capital-based daily which has been lately classifying the matrimony seekers according to castes. They study observes that urbanization and industrialization have brought changes only in some norms of external behavior such as un-touch ability. But marriages the major cementing factor for the people are still largely confined within castes.

Matrimony through advertisements is a non-traditional way of seeking alliances and is mostly resorted to by the city-based educated and socially mobile folk. Behavior shown by this section may be taken as the sufficient index of the modern mind and as a yardstick of change in social attitude. The study places the readers of the newspaper among the upper economic strata of the Indians who constitute the top 10% of the influential people.

‘According to Dr. Singh who is connected with a voluntary organisation  ‘Sanchema’ of the total matrimonial advertisements appeared for the Hindus during the span of a month nearly 92% have clearly mentioned their caste indicating directly or indirectly that they prefer to be married within their own caste. Yet there are quite a few alliance-seekers who inserted “caste no bar” while mentioning their own caste thereby covertly communicating their preference for co-caste spouses.

There were just 8% who did not indicate their caste. These were mostly widows widowers divorced or bald or handicapped persons in their 50’s circumstances that compel alliance seekers to opt out of the caste for a wider body of people.

Caste among Muslims: The caste preferences have crept into non Hindu communities nearly 50% Muslims mentioned their caste as Syed Pathan Sheikh or Ansari. 54 out of 81 Sikhs mentioned their caste as Khatri Sikh Arora Sikh Jat Sikh or Ramgariah Sikh

Even those with higher or professional education do not feel that the marriage presents the only opportunity to smash the caste barriers in one’s life. Of the 108 selves as educated or wanted a partner with such a background. The caste recognizes no national borders. When Indians go abroad they carry it there tov. 63% of the 200 persons who were settled or educated abroad or who had stayed there mentioned their caste. Advertisements of NRI’s read:

“A Saraswat Brahmin boy mechanical engineer in Ontario looks for a fair charming girl of the same castes” Only 19% of the NRI’s did not mention their caste.

Going by the matrimonial columns of our dailies it appears that the Indian caste system has great resilience and ability to withstand new pressures. Urbanization modification westernization and industrialization and advanced education have bypassed it. It rather shows a marvelous capacity to adjust with these forces. A higher caste and schedule caste union is still far from social acceptance But the half-naked liberal camouflages it with the argument that as schedule castes are less educated the gulf dividing them from the higher classes is more difficult to bridge.

Feature and News Alliance

Dalit Voice.


Article extracted from this publication >> May 3, 1991