COC: Caste System and Arrange Marriages in India

On Thursday, the 18th of July, the Centre for Social Action conducted their weekly meeting, the COC, in the island outside Block 1. As usual, there was quite a turn out and at four P.M. we all sat huddled together in the island ready for our discussion and debate on the topics of the day. The topics chosen for this COC were the legality of the caste system and its role on modern society and the limitations or benefits of arranged marriage.

This afternoon, Christites were joined by international students from different parts of the United States of America who sat down to enjoy the COC. The moderator of the meeting was Shristi Sareen and the meeting began with an introduction of the Indian caste system and its importance in the Indian society. As we delved deeper into the topic, various views and debates arose with people talking about the many divisions of the caste system and its relevance in our society today. For the sake of the international students, CSA members tried to explain the various divisions in detail and how one’s caste was chosen and how it affected them as individuals. As the discussion continued, the matter of reservations came up and there was a dispute on whether or not the reservations for SC/ST were being abused and were being taken advantage of.

As the debate on the caste system came to a close, Shristi moved on to our next topic of discussion which was, the limitations or benefits of arranged marriage, and here again an interesting debate began. There was talk of how the Indian society as a whole perceives ‘love’ marriage in a negative light and that if two people love each other, they should be allowed to get married. A lot of people, however, agreed with arranged marriage stating that divorce rates were lower in arranged marriage. Views came up about how in the case of love marriage it was just the uniting of two people, but in the case of arranged marriage, it was the decision of the families and hence, a coming together of two families. Also, two people who love each other have known one another for a long time whereas people whose marriages have been arranged barely know each other and so they bring something new to the marriage.

The international students were quite surprised by the idea of arranged marriages as it is not a concept that exists in their society. However, they did say that at times arranged marriages could work because two people can always fall out of love and so love marriages don’t always work.

The COC came to an end with many different views voiced and a lot of new knowledge in our minds and left us, as usual, with a lot to ponder over.

Reported by: Shristi Banerjee, I PSEng ; Edited by: Trisanki Saikia, I EPS

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