Mizoram has the highest percentage of inter-caste marriages

Christian-dominated Mizoram has the most inter-caste marriages in India, a nation where 95 percent of Indians marry within their caste.

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An intercaste marriage in Mizoram. Image Source: northeasttoday.com

Christian-dominated Mizoram – 87 percent of the population is Christian – has the most inter-caste marriages in India, a nation where 95 percent of Indians marry within their caste, according to a 2016 report from the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), a New Delhi-based think-tank.

Meghalaya and Sikkim followed Mizoram, with 46 percent and 38 percent of inter-caste marriages, according to The Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS-II), based on nationwide surveys conducted between 2011-12. It was put together by the University of Maryland and NCAER. A representative sample of 41,554 households contacted for the study was spread across 33 states and union territories, in rural and urban India.

The three north-eastern states were followed by Muslim-dominated Jammu and Kashmir (35 percent) and Gujarat (13 percent).

The data belies the perception that with modernity and economic progress, traditional barriers of caste have broken down.

The caste system is an ancient relic of a social hierarchy once based on division of labour. People are born into their caste. They cannot change it.

Also Read: Tamil Nadu to build safe houses for Inter Caste couples

How do people marry in the states of India?

As many as 95 percent women surveyed said their husbands’ caste was the same as their’s. This was the question NCAER used to determine the proportion of inter-caste marriages: “Is your husband’s family the same caste as your native family?”

In Madhya Pradesh, almost all (99 percent) people were married in their own caste, followed by Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, both at 98 percent.

Indians are legally allowed to marry outside their caste. A law on inter-caste marriage was passed more than 50 years ago, but those who do are still threatened or attacked, often by their own families.

Change is slow, but it is coming.

As many as 27 percent of respondents said they knew people in their communities who married outside their caste. In cities, this number was 36 percent.

A Hindu wedding in India. Wikimedia Commons
A Hindu marriage in India. Wikimedia Commons

The IHDS-II surveyors asked respondents: “Do you know anyone in your community who has had an inter-caste marriage?”

People are more forthcoming with perception of others than information about themselves, the researchers found.

“Think of a village pradhan (chief) whom everyone knows? there is only one pradhan in a village. Knowing someone, particularly someone who has engaged in ‘unusual’ behavior, like inter-caste marriage, is always going to be higher than one doing it oneself,” Sonalde Desai, a demographer, senior fellow at NCAER and professor of Sociology at University of Maryland, told IndiaSpend. “I am surprised that only one in four individuals knows someone (in an) inter-caste marriage.”(IANS)

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  • Pritam Go Green

    This is a big debate. Our society is not ready to accept different castes. Boast about Indian upper class all you want… But when it comes to this ..Believe me !!! U’ll have to face a hell lot of criticisms from your society and by your own family members.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    After 50 yrs of the passed verdict, we cannot say that change is slow. The government would have to inquire into the matter and find out ways to make people understand that life is way above the caste-system. I have been brought up in Haryana where people living in small villages kill their own children in the name of honour killings. Anyways, despite of living in this state for years, my family doesn’t support inter-caste marriage and not even arrange marriage so bringing a change in the society is not that difficult.

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  • Pritam Go Green

    This is a big debate. Our society is not ready to accept different castes. Boast about Indian upper class all you want… But when it comes to this ..Believe me !!! U’ll have to face a hell lot of criticisms from your society and by your own family members.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    After 50 yrs of the passed verdict, we cannot say that change is slow. The government would have to inquire into the matter and find out ways to make people understand that life is way above the caste-system. I have been brought up in Haryana where people living in small villages kill their own children in the name of honour killings. Anyways, despite of living in this state for years, my family doesn’t support inter-caste marriage and not even arrange marriage so bringing a change in the society is not that difficult.