Sunday, December 20, 2009
Arranged Marriage, Part Three
If you're just joining us, this is the third installment of a four- or five-part series on arranged marriage that is the result of an e-mail correspondence with a reader, Barani. Here is part one and part two.
Today, we'll learn about caste, diet and religion. Again, the text in italics has only been edited for clarity.
Next we move onto the caste taboos:
There are thousands of castes, and the upper castes tend to be vegetarian.
Virtually no caste that is vegetarian is lower caste.
In my caste, they will accept love marriages with any vegetarian caste (which is also forward caste).
One of my cousins married a Gujurati Patel (vegetarian) as love marriage with family support.
Familial opposition will be severe if the other party is non-vegetarian (can be assuaged if the other party agrees to become vegetarian).
So the first fault line is diet.
The second fault line is religion.
The line is between Indian origin religion and foreign origin religion (can be assuaged if the other party agrees to become an Indian religionist).
Diet actually goes like this:
Vegetarian = 95% probability of being upper caste
Non-Vegetarian = 75% probability of being lower caste
The other 25% Non-vegetarian upper castes are soldier castes who have to be used to bloodshed and the soldier castes also do animal (goat) sacrifices to get used to blood.
Often people to find out if a person is low caste, ask whether he is vegetarian.
Crudely - Vegetarian = Upper caste
Goat, Chicken, fish eater = low caste
Beef and Pork eater = Dalit (untouchable)
So there is a 3-way segmentation based on diet.
Marriages are fairly common between Hindus and Sikhs, Hindus and Jains and Hindus and Buddhists.
Often within the same family you may have 2-3 Indian religions.
In the birds and bees conversation in India, every teenager learns - you will be dead meat if you bring home a non-vegetarian or a non-Indian religionist.
In Punjab, 10% of all murders are done if a hindu or sikh (Indian religion) marries a muslim or a xtian* (foreign religion).
*Editor’s note: “xtian” denotes Christian.