CHENNAI: Has the Dravidian movement had any impact on inter-caste marriages in Tamil Nadu? As against popular perception, it hasn’t, says a national study as only three per cent in the State have chosen a life partner outside their caste.
Revealing the findings of his study “The Golden Cage: Stability of the Institution of Marriage in India’ here on Wednesday, K Srinivasan, former director and senior professor of International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), said it was surprising that inter-caste marriage is so low despite the Dravidian movement’s magical spell for over six decades. And, the Dravidian parties are also holding power for over four decades.
The figures are indeed surprising as Dravidian parties officially promoted and rewarded inter caste marriages, he said.
Ironically, Tamil Nadu, with 97.04 per cent, leads the southern States of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala in the preference for same caste marriages. “In fact, the ratio of inter-caste marriage in south India is only 8.62 per cent,” he said.
The study by Srinivasan, also national fellow of Indian Council of Social Science Research, reveals that about 10 per cent of the total marriages in India takes place between different castes while only 2.1 per cent marriages are inter-religious.
The findings show that girls from backward castes marry boys of lower caste, but when it comes to SCs, it is just 1.66 per cent in Tamil Nadu as against the national average of 5.58 per cent. However, in Kerala girls marrying men of lower castes is on the higher side and account for 12.24 per cent.
This could also be the saving grace for marriage as an institution which is crumbling in Western societies, he says. “A strong contributing factor behind the stability in the institution of marriage is that marriages are still taking place within the same caste and there is a strong caste support behind every marriage,” Srinivasan reasons.