Caste-the blade that has driven deep scars across hearts and lives.
Caste-the poison that has split families.
And caste-the knife that’s drilling into your soul every moment: “I’m an XYZ. But he/she is an ABC. Now what?”
Photo by Kjunstorm
When I sat down to write this post about intercaste marriages and relationships I was really not sure what to write. I personally renounce castes completely and utterly, so I can’t write a “pros and cons” type of article on anything related to the caste system in India. It’s like trying to pen down the pros and cons of being racist against blacks. So I’ve decided to help people in intercaste relationships convince their parents of their decisions. Without taking more of your time, here goes.
Prepare yourself before you go in for The Discussion. Anticipate the concerns your parents might have regarding your intercaste marriage. Write them down one by one if possible. For example, they might fear adverse reaction from relatives, or they might believe that intercaste marriages don’t work or that children of intercaste marriages face problems. You must anticipate these and have counterarguments prepared.
Your parents will probably react emotionally when you first tell them that you want to get married to someone from a different caste. NEVER react back. Losing your cool is never an option if you’re hoping to convince anyone of anything. Calmly request them to articulate any specific concerns that they have. Use your preparation to talk the matter through with them at this point.
Evidence always works
Take time to research as many examples as possible of happy intercaste couples and unhappy same-caste couples among your friends and acquaintances. Use these while discussing your relationship with your parents. Try to pin down some reasons for the success or lack of it between these couples and explain how none of these reasons could be connected to caste.
Photo by Sara Björk
Back to the basics
This point is a bit extreme, but it works because sometimes in our folly we’re unable to see what’s right in front of us.
Turn to history. Remind your parents why the caste system was originally started-for classifying people belonging to different professions. In today’s world this basic reasoning behind the caste system has zero significance since majority of the people belonging to different castes have not continued in their “caste-professions”. And so, caste as a way of categorizing people has lost basis. Do more research. Cite examples of people like Dr. Meghnad Saha who have proven the baselessness of caste lines by doing things totally outside the identity boxes they were “cast” in.
A helping hand
Turn to that cousin/uncle/bhaabi of yours, who’s always been your close friend and whose judgment your parents trust. Introduce your “him”/ “her” to them and then request them to bring the matter up with your parents.
Never, never, NEVER start the discussion of your relationship with your parents if you have even 0.01% of doubts yourself. If you go to discuss your possible intercaste marriage with your parents and come back convinced of its futility, the next day you’ll meet your boyfriend/girlfriend and regret your reaction. And then this cycle will continue until you lose confidence completely in your own ability to take decisions. It’s crucial for you, your parents and your significant other that you have absolute clarity about what you want.
Tried all the above methods but your parents just won’t budge? Try Help! My Parents are not Agreeing to My Marriage!