Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Intercast Marriage Causing Challenges

Intercast Marriage Causing Challenges

By Kamala Sarup

"Your sister insulted our family," my mother told me. "Not only in this life, but I won't see her face in the next seven lives either. If you try to meet her, you won't find me alive and you will allegedly be responsible for my death," she whispered. I could see the tear drops falling down from her feeble eyes.

Chandra, my sister, 28 years old, was working in Katmandu, and her boyfriend wanted to marry her. He was in the process of finalizing the marriage. But then, my sister decided to runaway to her boyfriend that lives in Jhapa district (next to Katmandu), and her true love.

Her boyfriend Anam has a completely different story and background. He comes from a lower cast. In Nepali culture, being in an inter cast marriage for a woman is socially unacceptable. Women cannot express their feelings of love and their views on marriage. Inter cast love and marriage in Nepal is illegal.

In towns and cities, daughters are not allowed to marry on their own terms. In our village, when a girl turns sixteen, the parents rush to get them married. Don't parents understand that some town girls might prefer to enjoy a different life - pursuing an interesting job and earning an income?

"I treated your sister equal to a son. Perhaps if I had kept her in control, she would not send me to an early grave. What pain one feels being forced to the graveyard before death - I am suffering in that way. Suffering a living death." My mother's predicament with her daughter was profoundly serious.

"Have you forgotten how she helped in our neighbor's daughter's marriage ceremony? What you are saying now seems senseless. What is her mistake? She was young and she chose a young boy to marry. It is a very simple matter. It averted the problem of arranging a marriage ceremony for her. I have not complained for what she did but I am worried whether she chose the right person or not." I spoke with emotion, and in a single breath.

My sister is known for her community work in the village. The women and children of our village have great respect and affection for her. A thousand times I have heard them express their gratitude toward my sister, saying what a kind woman she is.

My sister was still young then. She fled without notice and the situation was beyond comprehension. My heart ached. I wept for the situation of my family, not allowing my mother to see my tears.

"It is God who has sent us to this earth. He is responsible in guiding us. He is the supreme Lord who feeds us." I was astonished to hear these words from my sister last Wednesday."I am really fond of children, " she continued, "I wish to find a job in a primary school. According to Hari sir, there is vacancy at Nilakantha School. May I go and make an inquiry? Please advise me, should I go? I do not intend on lingering around the kitchen." I liked the strength and will of my sister.

My sister is still young enough to get married. She has been known to receive the marriage proposals of fifteen young men in a day.

"How are you? Hasn't your daughter made you look bad? You were proud of your daughter. Now the entire village is laughing at her actions," Tirthamaya Sunuwar, a neighbor and aunt by relation, seemed to be pouring salt on my mother's bleeding wound.

I was sitting at the dining table. My aunt spoke the above words outside in the yard where a mat was kept for sitting. "Was it not just in the last year that you spoke to the villagers and in condemnation of the daughter of Tallaghare Sarkini, the lower caste woman of a neighboring home? Now here you are. Your daughter has made everyone laugh in the village."

"Aunt, mother! You are also the mother of three daughters. The future will prove the present. Being a mother of daughters, it is not good to sing the song of what has already happened. I had just informed you about Sarkini's daughter, I didn't sing the song of the matter or judge her. It is shameful to speak in such a judgmental way," I spoke in an aggressive fashion. I quickly wiped away tears to hide them from my aunt.

"Come out to speak. You don't even have the etiquette to speak with a guest. I didn't come to eat your rice. I, being a fair lady, have come to share the pain!" My aunt thundered from outside. I went to the kitchen and hurriedly prepared tea and a breakfast of maize. Due to societal and family pressures, girls truly understand what their parents expect of them. I don't believe, however, in the overall success of a woman who is forced into a marriage arranged by her family.

"I must add that most of the weddings in our culture are this way and the success rate is not really all that bad because of the overall family support, and the high values that society then reserves for us," my sister said to me.

A friend added, "regarding the wedding issue, parents have their rights to pressure their daughters into arranged marriages for their happiness. After all, parents always wish the best for their children and unconditional happiness."

I know our arranged wedding's are mandated by our culture, but I believe, however, that the bride and groom must share a compatibility in terms of the future, career, belief, values and lifestyle - which are equally important, and make an even greater impact in life. Therefore, it should be a woman's choice as to the kind of marriage she wants to have.


Journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup is specialising in in-depth reporting and writing on Peace, Anti War, Women, Terrorism, Democracy, and Development. Some of her publications are: Empowerment in South Asia, Nepal (Booklet). Prevention of trafficking in women through media,(Book) Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism (Media research). Two Stories collections.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>

Gordon Campbell:On Kobemania, Palestine And The Infrastructure Package

Quick quiz to end the week. What deserves the more attention – the death of a US basketball legend, or the end of Palestinian hopes for an independent state? Both died this week, but only one was met with almost total indifference by the global community. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Double Standard That’s Bound To Dominate The Election

Are National really better political managers than Labour, particularly when it comes to running the economy? For many voters – and the business community in particular - their belief in National’s inherent competence is a simple act of faith. More>>

Gordon Campbell : On Dealing With Impeccable, Impeachable Lies

By now, the end game the Republican Senate majority has in mind in their setting of the rules for the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is pretty clear to everyone: first deny the Democrats the ability to call witnesses and offer evidence, and then derisively dismiss the charges for lack of evidence. For his part, does former security adviser John Bolton really, really want to testify against his former boss? If there was any competing faction within the Republican Party, there might be some point for Bolton in doing so – but there isn’t. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Dice Are Loaded Against Women..

If they enter public life, women can expect a type of intense (and contradictory) scrutiny that is rarely applied to their male counterparts... More>>