Status of women in india

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Status of women in india


  • Relationship between caste and gender. Certainly the rules and norms have been relaxed a lot
  • Weakness of governing commensalism and the attendant mechanisms of exclusion and exclusion: but the relational idiom of the game of food and rituals, expressed by the mutual interweaving of caste and gender, remains critical to the functioning of families. Similarly, changes in the nature and magnitude of social interaction, especially in metropolitan and urban areas characterized by the absence of consanguineous barriers, led to the enactment of state laws that recognized inter-caste marriages, divorce and widow remarriage within the framework of Hinduism. gives.


  • Greater familiarity with the legal system, and the institution of civil marriage, has opened up the possibilities of marriages outside the bounds of caste. Also, arranged and arranged marriages within the recognized limits of the matrimonial relationship are the dominant and overwhelming norm. Finally, the growing emphasis on caste identities in the wider context of institutional politics centered on state policies and practices has led to the restructuring, renewal and reinforcement of ‘caste traditions’. Caste is not dead. Gender is a live issue. The principles of caste inform the specific nature of sexual inequality in Hindu society; Caste boundaries and hierarchy are expressed by gender.


  • As of March 2001, out of a total Indian population of 1,028 million, the female population is 495.4 million. Thus, of the current population of 1.03 billion, 528 million should be women. Instead, estimates show only 496 million females in the population today. the heat of

The fact is that there are about 32 million “missing” women in India. Some are never born and others die because they do not have the opportunity to survive. The sex ratio (number of females per 1,000 males) is an important indicator of the status of women in society. In 1901 there were 972 females per 1,000 males, while by 1971; The ratio has come down to 930 females per 1,000 males. There has been a slight increase in the female sex ratio within 934 females for 1,000 males in 1981. According to the 1991 census, there were only 926 females per 1000 males in India.



  • The 2001 census indicates that the trend has moderated slightly with a sex ratio of 933 females per 1000 males, with 1058 females in Kerala. The sex ratio in the 0-6 age group has declined sharply from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001. According to UNFPA State of World Population 2005, Punjab (793), Haryana (820), Delhi (865), Gujarat (878) and Himachal Pradesh (897) have the worst child sex ratio. The Scheduled Tribes have a fairly respectable CSR of 973, but for the Scheduled Castes it comes down to 938. For non SC/ST population it is 917. In rural India it is 934 per 1000 and for urban India it is 908. Most states have the least literates. districts have better CSR than their most literate counterparts.


  • One reason for the adverse adolescent sex ratio is the growing reluctance to have female children. The literacy rate of women is 54.16 percent. Yet, 245 million Indian women cannot read or write, comprising the largest number of illiterate women in the world. The national average hides wide disparities in literacy. For example, while 95 percent of women in Mizoram are literate, only 34 percent of women in Bihar can read and write. The average Indian woman has only 1.2 years of schooling, while Indian men spend 3.5 years in school. More than 50 percent of girls drop out in middle school.


  • Similarly, life expectancy has increased for both sexes; This has risen to 64.9 years for females and 63 years for males according to the United Nations Statistics Division (2000). The working women population has increased from 13% in 1987 to 25% in 2001.


  • Although the UNFPA State of World Population 2005 states that about 70% of graduate Indian women are unemployed. Women constitute 90 per cent of the total marginal workers in the country. Rural women engaged in agriculture account for 78 percent of all women engaged in regular work. They are one third of all the workers on the land. The traditional gender division of labor ensures that these women are paid, on average, 30 percent less than men. The total employment of women in the organized sector is only 4 percent.


  • Although industrial production increased in the 1980s; Jobs in factories and establishments – or non-household jobs – held steady at eight per cent of the workforce. Increasingly, companies rely on outsourcing, using cheap labor. It is well known that women and children work in large numbers in beedi-rolling, incense-rolling, bangle-making, weaving, brassware, leather, crafts and other industries. Yet, only 3 percent of these women are recorded as laborers. They are forced to work for pitiful wages and are denied all social security benefits. A study by SEWA of 14 trades found that 85 percent of women earned only 50 percent of the official poverty level income.


  • Sociological research on the status of women has generally suggested that Indian women enjoy low status in their households as decisions related to family finances, kinship relations, selection of life partner are made by male members and women is rarely consulted. Although health facilities have expanded, the maternal mortality rate remains high at 407 per 1, 00,000 live births (1998). The World Health Organization estimates that it accounts for 136,000 (25.7%) of the 529,000 maternal deaths that occur globally each year. India. One factor contributing to India’s high maternal mortality rate is the reluctance to seek medical care for pregnancy – it is viewed as a temporary condition that will disappear. Nationwide it is estimated that only 40-50 percent of women receive prenatal care.


  • Evidence from the states of Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat found registration for maternal and child health services to be 5-22 per cent in rural areas and 21-51 per cent in urban areas. Even a woman who has faced difficulties in a previous pregnancy is usually treated with home remedies only for three reasons: the decision for pregnant women to seek help rests with the mother-in-law and the husband; financial considerations; And there are fears that the treatment may be more harmful than the disease.






  • This essay explores the relationship between caste and gender: examines how caste impacts women’s lives and explores the role of women in perpetuating and to some extent changing caste. For the practice we need to give women conscious acting subjects of social relations and processes.

forms that constitute, reproduce and modify the social order characterized by the institution of caste. Equally, we need to consider the specific ways in which women are objectified and become tools as well as introducing flexibility into the structures and processes underlying the reproduction of caste. The discussion centered on three interrelated, indeed overlapping, themes—occupational continuity and the reproduction of caste, food and rituals, and finally, marriage and sexuality.




  • The three basic characteristics of caste are caste, distinguished as a birth status group, exclusion or segregation (rules governing marriage and liaison, which perpetuate caste distinctions), hierarchy (order and rank according to status) principle of kinship), and interdependence (division of labor that is closely linked to hierarchy and segregation). These three analytically separable principles of the caste system operate not through individuals but through units based on kinship. The maintenance of rules of behavior and actions specific to one’s caste and patterns of interaction with other birth-status groups, for example, center critically on kinship units, especially family and home. We find then that the punishment for violation of caste rules and norms leads to the exclusion of the offender from the domestic group unless he is driven out of the house. Women’s lives are largely lived within family parameters. So the centrality of family and home in their lives cannot be over-emphasized.

Similarly, when we turn to the material bases of caste, the most important form of inequality in the caste system, the unequal distribution of resources and the exploitative relations of production, through an examination of the principles of kinship governing the allocation of resources Only this can be understood. Transfer of property rights, rights and entitlements to services. A caste or caste group then functions through its constituent family units or larger scale kinship units. It is not the caste as a whole but the clan or family units that have material resources. This has important implications for gender as there are clear differences within these units with regard to the rights and entitlements of their male and female members. Thus, if endogamy has the potential to elevate one’s familial status through the formation of suitable matrimonial ties, it may also introduce a tighter squeeze by limiting marital options and exerting pressure for material resources for daughter marriage. Could

  • 5.1 Business Continuity
  • Women’s work contributes significantly to the occupational continuity of a caste group. Of course, it is true that the development of new occupations and open recruitment in occupations have been important aspects of social change in Indian society. The picture of an inseparable unchanging relationship between traditional occupation and caste was, in any case, over-drawn. Also, there are important continuities in the relationship between castes and occupation. Agriculture – though now open to all castes – still gives a distinct identity to the castes of a large number of ‘traditional’ cultivators. Similarly, some other businesses




  • Special privileges of special castes remain. For example, the brahmin still performs the functions of purohit (priest) for the upper and middle castes. In the artisan castes of goldsmiths, blacksmiths, potters and weavers, some members of the group are provided with the very minimum required skills, and they make a living by traditional crafts. Finally, the most religiously polluting business—curing and tanning. hides, The removal of dead animals, scavenging, and the activities of barbers, washermen, and midwives retain their association with specific castes.
  • In these occupations closely linked to caste, women work as members of households—the basic units of support
  • Deletion – Mandatory. It is difficult for the weavers and potters to carry out the complex processes of their craft without the constant help of the women and children of the house, who have well-defined tasks to perform. Women may also take on aspects of men’s work: it is not uncommon for women in potter families to liaise with customers and go to market to help sell goods. Similarly, basket weaving is a joint activity of men and women. In gardening, women often do the bulk of the work. In rural areas and small towns it is common for women from the households of small traders and shopkeepers to grind spices and prepare fries, fritters and preserves for sale in the family shop. Despite regional variations, these illustrations underscore the fact that business continuity depends to a large extent on women. It is telling that a man who elopes with another man’s wife is condemned for both ‘cooking the other man’s food’ and ‘house breaking’. The abandoned husband, after all, is left without any help to run the business for a living.
  • Jajmani relations, short-term contractual affiliations between artisans and service castes and landlords, agriculturists and merchants, and exchange relations between occupational castes, a feature of many rural and semi-urban areas, once again

Works at the level of wards. Both men and women provide services and receive remuneration in cash and kind for their work. In the service castes like barber and washerman, women’s work in relation to the jajman’s family is really well defined. North of the Vindhyas a barber woman provides personal service to the jajman’s family or women of a family who engages the barber woman for cash payment which includes nail cutting, foot dressing (with special colored solution), a special oil massage and

  • Bathing for a newborn baby and its mother, supply of leaf cups and leaf plates for feasting, and the role of the bride’s companion during the wedding ceremony. In Chhattisgarh,




  • During feasts and celebrations, a rawat (shepherd and water-carrier) woman has an important supporting role in fetching water, washing utensils, grinding spices and grinding soaked pulses for making dumplings. Both the barber and water-carrier castes help prepare pucca food on ceremonial occasions. In the south, the ritual function of the washer-woman is indispensable for washing dirty clothes during the ceremony that coincides with the first menstruation. In every region there are specific ‘untouchable’ castes whose women act as midwives: these women share with the men of their caste the essential task of removing the pollution of the upper and clean castes. Finally, in many parts of the country, the bond or contract that binds laborers to their employers is understood to include the services of both husband and wife.
  • Cultural recognition of the importance of women’s work is evident in the continuation of caste-related occupations. Also, for women to follow these traditional occupations, they have to be trained in them since childhood and socialized to accept them as proper work, which is ‘destiny’. It has been found that parents may restrict girls’ education to avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation in which the daughter develops a distaste for the traditional occupations of her caste. Then it becomes difficult to get her married in a suitable family. It is not formal education, but the ability and willingness to perform traditional tasks that makes a girl useful in her husband’s family.


  • The need to continue occupational work is an important basis for marrying within the caste. It is understandable, then, that a landowning farming family of the Kunbi caste in rural Maharashtra would be unhappy when one of its sons decides to marry an educated Brahmin girl after getting an education. Of what use would she be in a farmer’s family? Will she be able to call her husband’s house her own? Even home-based work involving farming is seen as outside her realm of experience and below her status.
  • In situations of change, women often have to take responsibility for continuing caste-based occupations and maintaining the household. When men leave their traditional occupations because of their low religious status or insufficient returns, the entire burden of commercial work often falls on women. Many men leave their families and move to the cities. Women continue to contribute in the form of services or crafts, but in the absence of male help, they face the choice of losing their base or facing a double burden of work. Intermediaries intervene. Wives of migrant men often have to work under authority




  • About her husband’s relatives who surround her in the neighborhood and neighborhood. Thus, women’s contribution to occupational continuity is made within the patriarchy.
  • Under hereditary limitations and caste imposition and control.
  • In a study of women scavengers in Delhi, Karlekar (1976) found that while men were increasingly leaving the ‘unholy’ occupation of their caste, women remained in the same traditional sphere. These women were to support the men in the household who were trying to acquire skills to enter new occupations, or seek independent sources of income.


  • Men, even when unemployed, were reluctant to touch their traditional work. Boys were being sent to school while girls went to work with their mothers at an early age. Similarly, women from Padyachi and Nadar families from Tamil Nadu who migrate to Delhi in search of employment have to work as domestic help in private homes, washing clothes and utensils and cleaning the house.


  • It is believed that women in difficult times, since they are used to doing domestic work for their household, can do similar work for others. On the other hand, men generally consider it beneath their dignity to do such work. In the absence of regular employment, odd jobs are also preferred over domestic work. In these migrant groups, women are often the main supporter of the family: women’s experience of multifaceted housework becomes the basis for maintaining the family. controls are maintained. Social and ritual matters are discussed and decided by the men of the caste within the neighbourhood.


  • A race or caste has a distinctive culture, a certain commonality that provides its members with a sense of identity. These cultural practices in turn are learned largely within the family and kinship networks. Ways of worship, fasting and

Festivals, rules governing concerns of purity and pollution, and the organization of space, constitute interrelated and interconnected elements that provide commonality and identity to the members of a caste. While some of these characteristics are shared by other castes in the same region or caste groups of the same varna category in regions, in fact, it is the specific configuration of these elements and characteristics within a particular caste that forms its identity. Works in Difference. Within this matrix, food-related practice is an important mediating relational idiom.

  • Food is an important element in the ritual idiom of purity and pollution. Its centrality extends to both the ascribed and transactional dimensions of caste. in other




  • In words, both the distinctiveness of castes as bounded entities and intercaste relations are expressed through the idiom of food. Women, who are key players in the process of socialization, are key actors in this area as well. Women are responsible for the safety of food, the avoidance of danger, and the attention to the grammatical rules governing the relational idiom of food in a broader sense. There is an exemption in the public sector but the house is still the custody of the women.
  • The concern for purity and pollution centered on food begins at home. The principles of caste include a clear distinction between the domestic space/home and the ‘outside’ world. Women have an important role in maintaining the sanctity and sanctity of the house. The notion of safety related to both purity/pollution and the ‘evil eye’ imposes a number of restrictions and prohibitions on women in the tasks of processing, preserving, cooking and distributing food. These injunctions relate to specific observances relating to the maintenance of the required level of purity of the body, division of space for methods of cooking and consumption of food, and preservation of traditions regarding caste-linked prescriptions and restrictions regarding various foods. .


  • Foods are classified hierarchically in terms of intrinsic purity and impurity, vulnerability and resistance to pollution, and in terms of specific characteristics they symbolize passion, anger, peace, power, spirituality. Foods are then substances that have the potential to affect and change the person consuming them. The responsibility of who eats what, where and when falls on the women in the domestic sphere. The practices of women regarding food play an important role in the hierarchical order of castes.
  • If food and its relation to communion is an important element in the ranking of castes, there are differences and contradictions in the behavior of men and women in this area as well. Women are more prone to consume restricted foods or accept food from other castes. For example, anthropologists have often pointed out that women are more particular about commensal restrictions. In situations away from home and in their territory, males are more relaxed about the rules of companionship; In a similar context women are monitored and closely monitored and are expected to follow these rules more strictly. Men have the excuse that they have to hang out with all kinds of people. Of course, women are not allowed such freedom. In addition, PR
  • Food prescriptions and prohibitions for women are governed by principles of kinship, marriage and sexuality. upper caste women who are meant to be believed




  • For example, widowhood from the indissolubility of marriage is expected to drastically change her lifestyle. They have to follow strict rules of purity and pollution while preparing food, give up consuming tamasic foods – which increase passion and desire and give up the ‘proper’ food in the evening. Women’s practices related to food consumption in terms of its intrinsic qualities as well as the rules of place and time are important determinants of the ritual status of their caste. Equally, these rules are driven by the need to regulate interactions with the outside world, particularly other castes and communities. Control over food is, at the same time, protection of women from transgression of sexual norms and protection against transgression of caste boundaries.
  • Meals, household rituals as well as daily care of family deities and ancestor worship are a major responsibility of women. In many families the women do not actually worship the totem; Nevertheless, they arrange for its performance and prepare offerings. Where men are engaged in professional work and the rules are more relaxed, women can perform daily puja. Whereas, on special days of worship, either a male member of the family or a Brahmin priest performs the puja. And then special pujas and fasts are performed for the welfare of the husband and children and for the prosperity of the family. These customs, worship, fasting and feast are part of the tradition of a caste in its extension. The dominant position of women in this sphere as well as the limitations placed upon them underline their subordinate position in relation to men within the family.
  • At the same time, women’s position as active agents and facilitators in the field of food and rituals also meant that women who performed its rules

control, they get special respect which gives them a certain self-identity and self-esteem. These practices are an important avenue for most women. of self-expression and social recognition. They also act as a medium that helps women exercise power over other women and men within the family. Thus, the nurturing of self-esteem and self-confidence on the part of individual women is inextricably linked with the maintenance of family prestige. The responsibility of preserving traditions, maintaining the sanctity of confined space, control over rituals, distribution of food and the act of socialization give women a sense of authority over people and situations. The processes by which women create living spaces also reinforce caste and its boundaries.




  • Food is an important element in the social acceptability of interracial unions. The acceptance of food cooked by a married woman in a second-caste household involves complex decisions about differences in the ritual quality of foods in terms of their purity and vulnerability to contamination. Thus, depending on a woman’s caste status, she may be prevented from entering the innermost area of cooking and may only be allowed to prepare and serve pucca meals or snacks.


  • Similarly, everyday cooking on specific occasions versus cooking on special occasions and rituals such as worship of the family deity, or ancestors, also add boundaries. Significantly, a woman who is lower than her husband’s caste can often cook simple meals for the family, but she is not allowed to cook for the ancestors. Caste endogamy, which, as we shall see, is relevant to the placement of offspring, also required that a woman coming from another caste could not be fully incorporated into the husband’s group and given the privilege of feeding the progeny. Can’t be done.


  • This brings us to the key area of marriage and sexuality. The caste system is based on a cultural belief of a fundamental difference between male and female sexuality. First, pollution from time to time through menstruation and childbirth makes women less intrinsically pure than men. Within a caste, there is a hierarchy between the sexes. At the same time, the difference in the level of purity/impurity between men and women in the lower castes is much smaller than in the higher castes. In addition to self-pollution, low-caste women also deal with the pollution of others through occupational activities such as midwifery, filth disposal, washing dirty clothes and many other services. But their men also have to do polluting craft work and service for others. The sharing of impure tasks by both men and women in these castes as well as the substantial contribution of women in the process of earning a livelihood makes the gender division less unequal. Of course, it is true that menstrual pollution in these castes creates certain disabilities.
  • On women with respect to food, deities and ancestor worship, as well as, Brahmin and other high caste men neither do self-pollination like their women nor do they have to perform unholy acts for other castes. In contrast, their women are involved in pollution through bodily processes, mainly menstruation and childbirth. They are also responsible for performing certain unholy functions within the family, although this, perhaps, does not make them permanently less pious than men.




  • There is a widespread belief that women can never reach the level of purity of men of their caste. It is well known that traditionally women of Dwij castes, considered equal to Shudras, could not be initiated into the study of the Vedas.
  • Another source of impurity for women is widowhood. Widows should not worship family deities; They do not cook pure food offered to these deities. Aman, on the other hand, is not equally affected by being a widower. This kind of hierarchy between the sexes is a characteristic of the Brahmins and other ‘clean’ castes. While some of the restrictions placed on widows are prevalent across castes, it can be argued that gender divisions as well as concerns of purity/impurity are inversely related to the ritual status of castes.
  • Furthermore, the cultural schemes that underpin the caste system are based on a fundamental difference between male and female bodies with regard to their vulnerability to incurring impurity through sexual intercourse. Sex for a woman is a more serious matter because the ‘act affects her internally whereas it only affects a man externally. In case of interracial sex a man commits external pollution which can be easily washed off but a woman commits internal pollution which pollutes her permanently.


  • On the contrary culturally a woman is compared to an earthen pot, which becomes easily and permanently defiled if touched by a polluted person within the caste or by a person from a lower caste or a different religion is used, and a male, on the other hand, a brass vessel that is not easily polluted and in any case, by rubbing, washing and

If necessary, it can be restored to its original state by an excellent purifier, by putting it through fire. This metaphor that differentiates between men and women in terms of their respective vulnerability to pollution through sexual intercourse is widely used in caste and village councils when matters of sexual entanglement come up for decision. Indeed, it lives on in the popular consciousness when men and women are judged. It should be clear that upper caste women are more vulnerable to permanent pollution as compared to lower caste women. In fact, sexual offenses within the caste are treated more leniently, especially among castes that allow secondary unions.


  • Equally, it is entanglement with lower caste men than women, which is taken very seriously. Pollution through food affects both women and men intrinsically, but pollution through sexual intercourse is fundamentally different in character to the two sexes. This is closely related to the principle that prohibits high marriages, though within well-defined limits: ‘The best seed may fall on an inferior field. But the inferior seed may not fall on the superior field.’
  • It brings out the most important feature in the cultural perception of differences between men’s and women’s sexuality.


  • Other differences are, in fact, created by culturally coded master differences between male and female bodies regarding reproduction. In contrast to a man’s weak and transitory role in the process of reproduction, a woman’s role is long drawn out and involves a participation that goes beyond extinction. In the case of an unattached woman, pregnancy is a disaster, not only because parenthood is essential to collective appointment in a patriarchal society, but also because issues of caste boundaries and one’s own purity are involved. The number of orphanages and abandoned children in our country is a testimony to the effects of a combination of patrilineage and caste.


  • Sexual inequality is deeply rooted in the dual principles of segregation and hierarchy that characterize the caste system.
  • Marriage and sexual relations constitute a central area in which caste influences women’s lives. The theory that membership of distinct and separate groups in the caste system is defined exclusively and irreversibly by birth underlies the existence of castes as bounded groups. This characteristic emphasizes a wider concern with boundary maintenance. Although in most Hindu India, recruitment by birth follows the principle of patrilineal descent and thus identification of the father is necessary for group placement, in the attribution of caste status to the child, the caste of the mother is not at all irrelevant, and she is given attention. be kept in Lineage system, regardless of caste, in fact,
  • Serves as the principle of bilateral affiliation.
  • The extent to which caste serves as a principle of bilateral affiliation varies across regions and castes. Broadly speaking, we can say that small marriage circles with emphasis on caste purity and preference for inter-kin marriages give more importance to the bilateral principle of caste affiliation, this is mainly applicable to South India where inter- Relative marriages are more generations made for, traditionally, narrow matrimonial circles. Even today the importance of consanguineous marriages has not diminished, although the proportion has decreased. However, even in contexts that reduce the dichotomous principle of caste affiliation, a woman’s role in biological reproduction makes her primarily responsible for maintaining the purity and boundaries of the caste, and for proper control over her sexuality. Makes a demand




  • The cultural apprehension of women’s vulnerability and the emphasis on chastity and modest behavior, which involves limited interaction with the opposite sex, are important components of the management of female sexuality in a caste society. The emphasis on arranged or arranged marriages and proper organization of place and time for young girls after puberty derives its justification from this concern with boundary maintenance, meaning the maintenance of the ritual purity of the caste. All of these are rooted in the mechanisms and processes of socialization and in the education and employment opportunities for women. Caste thus gives a special character to the process of growing up as a woman. It all doesn’t end with the wedding. Women need to be controlled, their sexuality contained at all times.


  • This is sought to be achieved through mechanisms of appropriate social control, idealization of family roles and emphasis on female modesty. The importance of caste purity affects a woman at all stages of life.
  • The beliefs and practices that negotiate and incorporate the danger posed by female sexuality are not uniform across caste hierarchies and are also marked by regional variations. Also, there exists a shared ideological framework that informs the field. This framework rests on a clear demarcation of life stages with respect to female sexuality, a special ritual value for virginity, puberty rituals and special care for pubertal girls, glorification of the married state and motherhood, and a clear distinction between primary and secondary between marriages which in turn woman

constitutes an institutional mechanism for the prevention of promiscuity.

  • The value associated with virginity is directly related to female chastity. The pre-pubertal phase is seen as a phase of inner purity and is celebrated in a number of ways. The practice of worshiping and feeding virgins on specific days such as the eighth day of Navratri is widespread in India. Similarly, pre-pubescent girls are given special recognition in life cycle rituals. The pre-pubertal girl is seen as a manifestation of the goddess or the mother goddess and is believed to ward off the lurking presence of evil spirits and the evil eye. The pre-pubertal stage contrasts sharply with the purity and consequent privileged position of a girl, and in clear relief marks the onset of the next stage, puberty.
  • In South India, this change in the status of the girl child is dramatized through rituals. Dietary rituals and special prescriptions differ from caste to caste. The core, and underlying message, does not change. Similarly, in Orissa and Maharashtra, many castes observe essential features of puberty rites, though they conduct them on a modest scale. The message of these rituals is clear. The girl has become a sensual being: this demands restrained behavior from her and emphasizes the need for protection and vigilance.


  • The occasion is immediately auspicious and invokes protection from the evil eye. The rules regarding diet and movement are directed towards future fertility: they facilitate the process of childbearing and control the girl’s sexuality. Restrained and controlled sexuality is a pre-requisite for socially accepted motherhood. The puberty ceremony informs kin and caste people that the girl has come of age and her marriage is open for negotiation. Tantras that set limits and restraints also sanctify and sanctify sexuality. In the rest of India the first menstruation is not marked by any ritual. The event is taken care of more or less unobtrusively. Also, restrictions regarding pollution, food and behavior come into effect. The onset of puberty is a definite departure in a girl’s life. She becomes conscious of her fragile purity.
  • In fact, it is this attachment to female chastity and her fragility that helps explain some aspects of marriage in caste societies. In traditional terms it is the marriage of a virgin wi
  • Complete rites within acceptable limits of sexual relations that sanctify and sanctify the girl’s sexuality. This makes him a full member of his caste, and thus a full person.


  • The matrix of early marriage of a girl in north and central India, a long waiting period while she remains in her maternal home, and the Gauna or Mukhalwa, the ritual of sending the girl to her husband’s house after puberty, is very complex. Normal. If the family is not in a position to bear the double expense, the two ceremonies may take place in one: the girl is formally sent to her husband’s house for two or three days after the wedding and then returned only after the wedding. is brought. onset of puberty. Similarly, for the purpose of early marriage, that is, to maintain the girl’s virginity and chastity until marriage, for example in some regions of Rajasthan many child brides are formally married at a specially organized marriage fair on an auspicious day. Is. ,


  • There is also a custom of marrying off all the girls in a family between the ages of two to thirteen or fifteen together on a special auspicious day. The rationale for early marriage is clear: such child marriages ensure that a girl is married with full rites while she is still a virgin, and the consummation of marriage can wait until she is an adult. It is important that while castes and families are able to keep their girls isolated and protected, they marry them off after puberty, other castes that can keep their girls isolated and protected




  • Require that their daughters work in the fields or away from home preferring to marry them before puberty. In a village in Rajasthan’s Sikar district, where the normal age of marriage for girls was between seven and sixteen, most post-pubertal marriages were among Charans and Brahmins, whose daughters did not work outside the home and were separated and Could have been kept in isolation. In Uttar Pradesh, once again, poorer castes whose women and children have to work away from home and without protection find protection in early marriage. It is in the context of this importance of virginity that the important cultural differences between primary marriage and secondary unions need to be explored.
  • A primary marriage refers to the full rites of passage of a virgin with a man of an appropriate caste group. A woman goes through such a marriage only once in her life. Subsequent unions may gain social sanction and she may continue to use all the signs of the married state but she has permanently stepped outside the bounds of primary marriage. These unions are not considered through full blown rituals, but are socially declared through a symbolic act or a small ceremony which may include the presentation of glass bangles or a nose ring.

which signifies married status, the exchange of garlands, and the throwing of a white cloth painted at the corners over the woman’s head to symbolize that the woman is now protected by a man. It follows that the terms used for remarriage often refer to these acts: wearing churi or giving glass bangles, putting chadar or throwing a sheet on the woman’s head, wearing nath or nose ring.



  • Alternatively, remarriage can be referred to as ‘coming to live in a man’s house’ or ‘sitting’ (paithu/sitting), ‘receiving a woman in a house’ (house-sitting) or ‘keeping a woman in a house’. (Kari) can be named as. or Kareva). On the other hand, for a man, there is no restriction on the number of times he can marry with full rituals, as long as the bride has not been married before. Only if he marries a woman who is already married does he have to perform the marriage with full rites.
  • Only a properly married woman can enter into secondary, socially sanctioned, unions. This idea extends to inter-caste secondary unions as well. Traditionally, a woman could not enter into a socially sanctioned union without sanctifying her sexuality through a full ritual marriage conducted according to caste customs. The distinction between primary and secondary marriages, once again, focuses on concerns related to the management of female chastity and female sexuality. A special value for the primary marriage and a lower status for the secondary union is sought to be maintained. secondary union




  • Considered a concession to human weakness: a woman’s need to satisfy sexual desire without seriously undermining caste boundaries. Castes that allow remarriage, unlike Brahmins and other upper castes, do not consider the first marriage to be indissoluble or indestructible. Also, it is the first marriage that has a sacred character and is a sacrament that cannot be repeated. Importantly, the traditional absence of remarriage of widows and divorcees among a caste is indicative of its high ritual status. Gender inequality is intricately linked to the maintenance of caste boundaries and hierarchy.
  • The principles of sexual asymmetry outline the condition of the relationship
  • Between caste endogamy and dowry, the different fates of men and women in inter-caste unions and the sexual exploitation of women. We have seen that caste purity is maintained through endogamy. Marriages are mainly effected within the caste or caste group. Srinivasa (1976: 90) has pointed out that homogeneous castes in contemporary caste societies tend to be visionary to form a single unit for the purposes of marriage, similarly, while caste associations with political ends have a jati or varna category. includes many endogamous castes.


  • Demands to maintain specific marital boundaries. The matrimonial columns in newspapers and magazines clearly indicate that matrimonial boundaries have very rarely been relaxed. There are some entries in these columns that do not mention the caste (specific endogamous group, regional caste group, or in some cases varna) of the prospective bride/groom. Even those who specify ‘caste no bar’ also mention their caste, perhaps for those respondents who may be willing to ignore caste, but only to a limited extent. The question of matrimonial relationship with a very low caste does not arise. The compulsion to marry within a well-defined caste group in patriarchal and patriarchal kinship systems is closely linked to the dowry system.
  • Caste both enforces constraints and forms the dominant ethos that underlies the practice of dowry within Hindu society. Growing social and economic differentiation within an endogamous unit, traditional or currently acceptable, in terms of ownership of resources, income and occupations has led to severe competition among parents of marriageable daughters. This results in high demands and expectations from the groom’s family. In a consumerist ethos, dowry becomes the easiest way to improve the family’s lifestyle and a source of ready cash. Middle class families are the worst sufferers in the marriage market. They have limited means but cannot think of breaking the rules




  • Regarding marriage within the appropriate group. The pressure of endogamy compels them to stick to arranged marriages and negotiate dowry with a premium. Furthermore, in a social context defined by notions of male superiority where the right of first choice rests with the man and his family, the path to an arranged marriage is fraught with possibilities of humiliation for young women. Finally, the principle of endogamy and concern for the maintenance of caste boundaries placed restrictions on young women. A daughter’s reputation is based on the constraints that bind her movements. What is at issue is not just the fear and horror of premarital sex; Opportunities to meet and form relationships with young unmarried men, most parents worry, may lead their daughters to choose their own mates. And what if he is from a lower caste? Dowry cannot be reduced to endogamy;

But its growth within the Hindu caste society cannot be understood without its context.

  • The principle of endogamy is, of course, distorted by sexual unions in castes. The norms of caste have been violated, the norms have been violated. Male protagonists and female players have different destinies.
  • Secondary associations between castes are formed by individuals on their own initiative and then taken into account by the community. In castes whose women can traditionally enter into secondary unions, inter-caste unions receive a certain measure of acceptance if the man and woman belong to castes of more or less equal status or the man is of a higher status than the woman. Be of caste. The crime should be atoned for by paying a fine and offering a feast. The man is excommunicated, even if temporarily, and this becomes apparent only in formal rituals and on ceremonial occasions.


  • In north and central India the offspring of such unions join the caste of the father: his ‘seed’, even in an inter-caste secondary union, turns the children into members of a well-defined caste group . The temporary stigma borne by children is not of much consequence. On the contrary, a woman involved in such unions loses her caste; He is estranged from his family and kin group. In some places this rejection is ritualised. For example, in southeastern Madhya Pradesh, the husband holds a mortuary feast (known as Marathi-jiti bhat), announcing the symbolic death of his wife who has fallen out of caste. Also, the woman is never fully incorporated into the caste of her new husband. She cannot participate as a full member on ceremonial occasions including rituals or community feasts. Similarly, a woman who has lost her caste has to depend on the man she lives with
  • Live for the disposal of his dead body. If the man is dead and has no son, his corpse is carried by the members of the lowest caste and buried without any rituals. In South India, the children of inter-caste unions are given a lower status than those born of primary union.
  • ns. Children bear the stigma of the mother. In fact, children born from the remarriage of widows and divorcees within the caste are also given lower status than children from inter-caste unions. The gradation between the children depends on the caste and marital status of the mother.
  • A strong patriarchal ideology in which male blood is the real determining factor in the placement of offspring, unless the mother is of a very low caste, is more characteristic of North than of South India.


  • In the case of the Jats of Haryana, who represent an extreme case, even the ritual distance between castes did not matter much. The relative freedom from Brahmanical injunctions and the tenuous grasp of norms of ritual purity and pollution meant that during the colonial period Jat men freely had sexual relations with women of much lower castes such as chamars and chuhras (scavengers). The children born to these women were absorbed into the Jat community. In Jats’ self-perception, their community is like the ocean: one who falls into it becomes a Jat.
  • Rajputs or Kshatriyas are, once again, open to exogamous unions with women of different castes, often much below their status. The ruling classes used their privileged position to formally sanction their marriages with virgins from various clean castes. The offspring born of such unions adopted the identity of the father; They were known as Rajputs, but their status was lower than that of their father. Women from secondary consorts, of course, were and are seen as concubines.
  • Dominant caste men including Rajputs also have concubines of different castes. The ritual status of these men is not questioned until they set up household and eat food cooked by their mistresses. It is only when there is an open and long-term liaison with a woman of a very low caste that these men run the risk of being ostracised. Their family power and privilege may serve to cover up their indiscretions. Furthermore, it is always possible for men to return to caste through atonement (prayashchit) for what they have done.
  • Men have institutionalized mechanisms to avoid exposure to pollution through sexual intercourse with a lower caste woman. This often takes the form of a purification bath.




  • and ritual atonement of guilt. For example, orthodox Brahmins in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, after sleeping with a lower caste woman, discard the old sacred thread, take a holy bath and wear a new sacred thread. On the other hand, if a woman from these communities ‘goes astray’ and the matter becomes public, she is banished, the family is declared dead and a ‘fake’ shraadh (funeral) is performed for her. Is. The fate of the lover of a high caste woman, if she belongs to a low caste, Jats, Rajputs, Brahmins, Kammas loss of sources of livelihood, a good beating and sometimes-

Sometimes death is severe punishment at the hands of the holders. ,

  • Dominance, based on resource ownership, is linked to notions of the ritual status of different castes and to the related idea of the graded qualities of blood. The land is sexually exploited by lower caste women and powerful upper caste men. It is not only difficult for low caste men to protect their women against the lust and desire of the high caste lord and their superiors in the agricultural hierarchy, but also tacit acceptance of the ‘seed’ of the high caste.


  • Only if an upper or middle caste man is ostracized by his own community for continuing to have a relationship with a lower caste woman if he identifies with her caste; Their children grow up in the caste of the mother. But things often don’t come that way. Far more familiar are fleeting contacts and acts of sexual aggression by upper-caste males. Lower caste opposition to these and other upper caste practices result in sexual assaults on their women which attack the dignity and respect of male relatives and the community. Rape, as elsewhere, is an act of power through sexual violence.


  • The claim of dominance by the upper castes is claimed as a right. For example, in Uttar Pradesh it is said that just as a goat can be milked at its will at any time, a Chamar woman can be made to pleasure at a time at its discretion. In Vidarbha, Kunbi landowners, who are looking for Mahar women to work in their fields, say with contempt, ‘Give her some measure of grain and she will shut up.’ Control of resources and ritual status – together integrally inform and constitutively reinforce each other of power relations and underlie the sexual exploitation of lower caste women by upper caste men.







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