I have a girlfriend for the last 3 years. I belong to an upper caste Brahmin community, but my girlfriend belongs to a lower caste. We both love each other very much. We want to have an inter-caste marriage.
Our Inter-Caste Love Has Turned Her Family Violent
Surprisingly, my parents have agreed to the inter-caste marriage but her parents are completely against it. They have locked her up in the room and keep beating her up. Her brothers have even tried to hit me twice. I am well settled, yet they are not agreeing. I cannot see her suffering like this, and I can’t live without her. What should I do?
Here’s what you need to do. First, you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that changing the mindset, more importantly the bias of certain people, is a nearly impossible task.
You should report the violence
People seldom act without reason. It’s safe to say that you disagree with or fully can’t come on board with her family’s reasons for not letting you’ll marry each other. It’s important that you report any acts of violence to relevant authorities as soon as you have the opportunity to do so.
Related Reading: Inter-Caste Marriage: My Parents Are Threatening To Commit Suicide
The caste system is a reality you can’t escape
Vigilante justice serves movie plots well but justice in the real world involves the participation of other people and is a decidedly multi-faceted approach. The caste system is one of the archaic relics of certain traditional classification systems of a time when urban life wasn’t even born. People were allocated roles and tasks and those went on to define their tasks until the point where it became a largely unpleasant exercise whereby people started feeling trapped and discriminated against due to their caste.
See a family therapist
If you truly love your girlfriend, you’re going to have to back those words up with some action. Her parents may have disagreed for the marriage for a variety of reasons but playing guessing games on what those reasons may be isn’t going to serve your agenda to marry this girl.
You may need to invite the services of a mediator in the form of a family therapist who is willing to have a heartfelt and practical chat with the girl’s parents – mostly to understand which way the wind is blowing and what could be done to ease their hearts or address their discomfort (if any) with their daughter marrying you.
Are they afraid that they may ‘lose’ their daughter or that unfair treatment may be meted out to her due to her caste? Is there a certain sense of festering jealousy and animosity that could not have been stated implicitly? These will require to be investigated.
How far you are willing to go
You must understand that parental consent is pivotal if the not mandatory aspect of the union of a man and a woman. There are many couples who ride against the tide of their family’s wishes and go on to have very happy married lives since they are comfortable with fighting for what they want without trying to please everyone. Sacrifices must be made as there is a cost to bear for every decision that we make and every decision that we fail to make or delay to make. There are no convenient answers to difficult situations. There are also no guarantees to the fact that her parents may finally see the light and come around. Talk to your lover and ask her what costs she is prepared to bear if she was to go against her parents and marry you anyway?
This is likely to be excruciating and disorienting for her in a number of ways so your patience and empathy will go a long way in contextualising this for her and also showing her that you’re willing to support her through any subsequent crisis that you’ll have to go through together if ‘parental consent’ doesn’t come through.
You cannot please everyone
Human beings can be just as rigid as they can be change-oriented. There is no way to force ideational transitions on people. There are no ideal ways to not so ideal situations but it is also true that we aren’t in charge of pleasing everybody as that path frequently leads to a lifetime of anxiety, disdain, discord, frustration and humiliation. Your caste doesn’t dictate your feelings for each other but doesn’t expect everyone to understand the depth of truth in your heart since your parents are not mind readers.
Make your choice
You owe an allegiance to your plans and to your partner. Violence against you or against her can be reported as a criminal offence and protection can be extended to both of you’ll accordingly. Know that whatever option you run with, you need to be prepared for some unpleasant choices with difficult to witness results that may ensue.
Hope this helps
Dr Aman Bhonsle