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Madhya Pradesh's Saharia tribe outcasting its women for 'THIS' reason

HW News English 2019-07-10 17:47:14

Back in 2016, a regional film ‘Sairat’ became a national sensation. It was a coming of age story of two people from different castes, falling in love, getting married and in one quick moment getting killed because of the girl’s opposing family. Now, it is not every day that Bollywood films talk about caste discrimination. It is a topic India has held close to itself, carefully guarded it, and hardly allowed filmmakers to deal with it. And while the film got massive reviews for the intense portrayal of caste-based violence in India, the truth in our country is way more brutal. Where inter-caste marriage remains a big taboo and honour killing is becoming a day to day issue in the country.

Sheopur, a remort district of Madhya Pradesh which is dominated by a most primitive tribe call Saharias. Here, 84 villages together organized a maha panchayat this month and banned inter-caste marriage of tribal women in their village.  In this Maha Panchayat, it was declared that a penalty of Rs 1.5 lakh would be imposed on those who violated this rule. Not only that, the fined money will be recovered from these women and will later be excluded from the tribal community.

However, the head of the panchayat said that it was done in order to protect the immovable property as many non-tribal men get married to tribal women and steal their property. But is that really so? The saharias are classified as a ‘primitive tribe’ by the Madhya Pradesh govt. Some of the Saharia tribals have said that a woman has already been fined due to her inter-caste marriage. The last inter-caste marriage was held in Salpura, which is located within the same vicinity. After getting information about the inter-caste marriage, the Maha panchayat imposed Rs 30,000 fine on Salpura panchayat head.

Now, Interestingly, the state government already gives 2.5 lakh rupees as an incentive for inter-caste marriages under the Interracial Marriages Incentive Scheme. So why are these panchayat members taking laws at their own hands? And if that so, why isn’t the district officer taking any action against this?

Well, we are moving towards a new India that our prime minister Narendra Modi keeps talking about. It is 2019 and our country has progressed at a great deal but again there are several incidents that continue to impede our ‘vikas’. Our rituals and culture, for centuries, have become our pride but the concept of our caste system and religious discrimination has surely become a bane on the path of India’s progress..and seems like there is still a long way to go for us.