Hi friends, it’s a Sunday and its nice to be back with Instablogs. First of all, I would like to thank all my friends and fellow bloggers who visited my post In South India, Girls Marry Maternal Uncles! to put forward their valuable viewpoints about the South Indian custom of marrying within close relatives. Based on that, I intend to present a further viewpoint about the entire issue.
The formulators of any culture or custom definitely do so with some benign intentions. That is how the caste classification and the dowry system also came into being, gathered a huge following and are being practiced even today. Similarly, marriage within close relatives like a maternal uncle or a first cousin was adopted by the South Indian society for a number of reasons. It was practiced amongst the royal class for political purposes, amongst the affluent class for property and power and amongst the lower strata for dowry problems. Another reason was that the girl would remain within the family, where she would get more of affection and security than by marrying an outsider. But does this mean that these customs do not have any loopholes? More importantly, are we able to uphold the very purposes for which these customs were made?
Blood relationships come with birth whereas a marital relationship is formed much later. When a girl is born she gets to know her relatives as a father, mother, brother, cousin or uncle. Usually a maternal uncle is looked upon as a father figure. She grows up with deep reverence for this relationship. How can she accept the same person as a spouse after growing up? At least, I cannot address a person as Mamaji (maternal uncle), and share an intimate relationship with him in the capacity of a spouse. Similarly, I cannot call someone a brother and be his wife after growing up.
Not getting a groom, caste system, dowry problems and the problem of Manglik are reasons that people site for such marriages. They are common problems of the entire nation and not only South India. I wonder how many people would resort to marrying within relatives as a solution to these problems.
If getting a groom is difficult for me, should I marry a person I regard as a brother or an uncle-just for a custom? For that matter, if I don’t get someone within my caste, I will go for a person from another caste, but not marry a first cousin or an uncle for the same reason. In fact, the present day, South Indian girls are so competent, beautiful and talented that getting a groom for them is not a problem amongst their acquaintances. Maybe its high time we looked beyond caste and creed for matrimonial alliances. I am very happy to know that changes are coming in now, though there are quite a lot of people who go for such alliances.
Next, though this custom might have been introduced with the intention of solving the dowry problem, unfortunately this has not helped much. The dowry disease has not spared even the closest of relationships. The girl’s father pays a hefty dowry to the groom even though he is the girl’s maternal uncle or cousin.
Now, coming to the Manglik(planetary influence) problem, marrying your kin will not solve the problem, unless he is under the same kind of an influence. Otherwise you will only be lending him a part of your bad luck. You’ve got to marry a fellow Manglik, not your kin.
Well, it is not mandatory for people to marry within their close relatives, even in South India now. But, many close knit families turn into bitter enemies due to this very reason. But I do understand that people who are brought up in this environment are used to it and are happy about it and I respect their preferences.
Respecting a culture does not mean being immune to its lacunae. I respect the richness of the South Indian community and its cultural heritage for many other reasons that I wish to present in front of the world, shortly. I am happy that though this custom is being widely practiced in the South, changes are coming over and I wish them all the best.