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The World Is Talking About This Caste-Based Killing Incident In India. When Will This Stop?

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No matter how connected we are to the rest of the world, most of us are still living in our own bubble. We wake up from our cozy beds, check out our new Tinder matches, and head to work complaining about sleeplessness. Millennials go on a lot of dates or would like to! You end up meeting this cutie who makes the world go round for you. And as someone living in urban India, your thoughts don’t automatically go to which caste this person is. When you go to the club and someone is flirting with you, you don’t put the shots down and ask them if they are Brahmins. Mainly because you don’t know who you are. You’re thinking, ‘Hello, these things don’t really matter anymore. We’re in 2019!’ But we don’t realise that Indian society is, as a matter of fact, deeply contaminated by the caste system. And if you happen to marry a boy outside your caste, all hell can break loose. Because, our society is divided into two eras – one which feels like 2019 and the other which feels like the 30s.

If you’re wondering why I am talking about inter-caste marriages and orthodox groups in India, here’s the reason. A year ago, two people madly in love decided to spend their lives together. With a lot of dreams and hopes for a promising, loved-induced future, they tied the knot. Pranay Kumar and Amrutha Varshini were just like us, our friends and people around us. They fell in love and felt lucky, because it was mutual and committed. Except, the groom belonged to a lower caste and the bride’s father felt it brought shame to him and his family. Amrutha was pregnant when Pranay got murdered by the goons her father had sent. Thousands of people joined in to mourn for Pranay. She cried oceans of tears, his baby craved his father’s love – but did any of this bring him back? No.

India mourned his death and a lot of felt devastated about the sad state of our society. And then we moved on, his memory becoming distant and faded until it completely disappeared from our minds. Until, this incident which happened in Miryalaguda, Telangana, India caught the attention of international media. “Even as India has lifted millions out of poverty, increased education rates and built one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the influence of caste — a social order rooted in Hindu scriptures and based on an identity determined at birth — remains pervasive,” wrote Joanna Slater, writer at The Washington Post reflecting on this honour killing.

They also dug out a research on inter-caste marriages in India, and honestly, I was shocked. According to a 2017 study, only 5.8 per cent Indian marriage were between people belonging to different castes. And I had been thinking that we’ve come a long way. I had expected the number to be at least a tad bit better. This was a reality check for me. Even today, Dalits in India can vote but do not have the same value as other human beings. They are the lower-most strata of the Indian society and still face discrimination in finding jobs or lovers, as we can see. The Dalit community offered to build Pranay’s statue in respect.

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At the end of going through their story, I feel devastated and disturbed. When will this stop? Why is human life so cheap that it’s easily taken when the caste is different?

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