I picked up a copy of the magazine Brahmin Today: What Every Brahim Should Read No Matter Where They Are. The caste system is a difficult part of Indian society. Conversion to Islam, Buddhism, or Christianity gets you out of it, but then promptly corners you into a minority. My students with their brilliance and brilliant smiles all come from the lowest and untouchable castes. Intangled in caste thorns I heard a love story from the lovers themselves. The story shows the bravery younger generation has to challenge tradition.
A high caste young educated young woman fell in love with a low caste educated man. Although they only met in secret the family suspected their love because they spotted the dark-skinned boy near their fair daughter a few times.
The wealthy father threatened to kill his daughter if she married the boy. The boy and girl fled to a low caste rescue charity. Immediately the father sent men throughout the city to kill his daughter. The boy’s parents were hospitalized by the thugs. The charity hid the couple for three years inside an office building, which they never left.
During this time the married lovers had a baby daughter. The high caste father used a court summons to bring the girl out of hiding. He brought twenty cars with armed gangsters to the court house to kill his daughter. His daughter and the charity brought one hundred women to incircle her and protect her from her father’s thugs. The father asked the judge to let him speak to his daughter alone. Certain that her father would murder her the woman begged the judge not to comply.
The judge was moved and gave the girl legal protection. The women returned the jewelry of her caste to her father. With that the threat of violence ended and she was disowned.
The daughter’s own daughter became a famous traditonal singer. To the distain of the high caste father his disowned grand daughter regularly appears on television. Ironically traditonal music is the obligation of the high caste , yet he disowned a great musician and granddaughter.
The high caste want to preserve their previledge. As education spreads the poor are earning a bit of the pie. This reluctant acceptance of disclining previldge can be heard in a conversation I had with an older women who said,
” everyone is getting education these days, I tell my grandchildren to learn how to keep house because they may not be able to find a maid when they are older. ”
What a curious angle to view the re-emergence of India.