CHENNAI: The Thamizhnadu Brahmin Association (TBA) has launched a special drive to find brides for 40,000 men from the community from the country’s heartland, including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The reason: A shortage of potential partners in the State. According to the November issue of the TBA’s monthly Tamil magazine, this situation has been in the making for at least 10 years now.
An open letter by TBA President N Narayanan said around 40,000 young Tamil Brahmin men between the ages 30 and 40 and of varying qualifications are struggling to find brides in TN. Speaking to TNIE, Narayanan said the main reason is the sex ratio — for every 10 boys there are only six girls. “A gap in stature and status as well as inter-caste marriages are other reasons,” he added.
“Family planning was taken up seriously by Brahmins despite opposition from Acharyas. This may be a reason for the number mismatch,” Narayanan said. Explaining more on the special drive, he said coordinators would be appointed in Delhi, Lucknow, and Patna and a person proficient in Hindi would be appointed at the association headquarters here to oversee the drive.
According to a woman from the community, “Marriage talks in the family always boil down to when the woman will quit her job. Also, a section of men in the community are apolitical and are unwilling to give up on traditions even if they do not make any sense in the modern times. The patriarchal backdrop is also to be blamed.”
She also sought to know why Brahmin men are hesitant to find partners outside their community. “This situation can be interpreted as wanting to further their familial (community) legacy. The idea of marriage within the community is shallow and regressive,” she said.
Educationist M Parameswaran said while there is a lack of Tamil Brahmin girls in the marriageable age group, there is one more reason that men are unable to find brides. “Why do parents of boys want marriages to be held in swanky halls? What stops them from conducting marriage in a simple fashion?” he asked, adding the girl’s family had to bear the entire wedding expenditure and it was the bane of the Tamil Brahmin community.
The ‘Mahaperiyava’ preached simplicity in every walk of life and advised people to not use silk cloth, Parameswaran mentioned. (Mahaperiyava is a reverential reference to late Sankaracharya Chandrashekarendra Saraswati). A Ajay, a young man looking for a bride, said, “Tamil-Telugu Brahmin marriages are now common and so are weddings between Kannada-speaking Madhwas (Madhwa Brahmins are a Vaishnavite sect and followers of Sri Madhwacharya) and Tamil-speaking Smarthas (Smarthas, also known as ‘Iyers’ in TN that are followers of Sri Adi Shankara). This was unimaginable decades ago.”
He added that arranged marriages between north Indian and Tamil Brahmins were also common. A Vaishnavite Tamil Brahmin, who did not want to be named said, “Years ago, even marriages between Thenkalai and Vadakalai sects in the Iyengar community was impossible. Today, it is happening and this move of the association is welcome.”
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