Inter-faith Marriages In India

Love is often defined as, an intense feeling of deep affection or a great interest and pleasure in something. Definitions change but are more or less on similar lines.  

Love is an important element when it comes to marriages but there are many who still frown upon the idea of a love marriage especially in India. 

Even though India is a progressing nation its conservative trends often reflect when it comes to inter faith marriages. The whole premise of being against inter faith marriages goes back to casteism and the divide that still prevails between people on religious grounds. 

Not only inter faith marriages but also inter caste marriages are not favored in India. For years Indians had an orthodox mindset. Indians couldn’t imagine marriages beyond the same caste. community and religion. They had a conception that marriages are only possible in the same community and caste. Those who dared for the inter-caste marriage by violating the social norm had to face the consequences in terms of violence, social boycott, family boycott and death of the boys and girls (honor killing). 

 Even in this twenty first century, honor killing is still practiced in most parts of India when there are cases of inter-caste marriages against the wishes of the family members. Caste is such a rigid and water tight compartment in Indian society that it is almost next to impossible to think of a marriage between a higher caste and a lower caste. It is expected that with modernization, development and increase in educational level etc., the impact of various divisive social forces like caste, religion, various taboos etc. would become weaker.  

The Constitution protects the ability of each individual to pursue a way of life or faith to which she or he seeks to adhere. Therefore, the right to marry a person of one’s choice is integral to Article 21 of the Constitution. 

According to Articles 25 to 28, an Indian citizen is guaranteed the freedom to practice any religion of his or her choice. Through this ordinance, the State wants to intervene not only in the citizens’ personal liberty by interfering with the choice of their spouse. 

In a Supreme Court case in which the girl’s father filed a missing complaint when she married a boy who didn’t belong to her caste and another girl’s father lodged a criminal complaint against the couple for marrying outside the caste in February 2021, the Court held, 

“hardly be a desirable social exercise” for parents to shun their children only because they decided to marry outside their caste or community. 

The judges, in their order, also emphasized the need for specific guidelines and a training module for policemen to deal with such “socially sensitive cases”, so that couples can get due protection available to them under the law should the parents lodge criminal cases against them. 

The Bench also stated, 

“once two adults chose to be with each other and had a consensual relationship, they could not be made accused in a criminal case only on account of their parents’ refusal to accept their relationship.” 

“We hope that the parents will have better sense and accept the marriage to re-establish social ties with their daughter and her husband. That, we think, is the only way forward,” recorded the court in its order” 

Families, couples and the society at large, have a long way to walk towards respecting individual freedom of religion and marriage, granted as constitutional rights to all Indians. Accepting love as the basis of happy and successful relationships is the foundation of resilient and harmonious societies. Being born in a particular religion is not a matter of choice, but choosing to love is. 

References, 

https://paa2011.princeton.edu/papers/111281

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/supreme-court-says-society-must-learn-to-accept-intercaste-interfaith-marriages-101612813613037.html

Aishwarya Says:

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