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INTRODUCTION

Marriage
is derived from the French word “Marrier” which means “to marry”. Meaning
of marriage may be quite a challenge as there are so many different views and
understandings of what exactly constitutes a marriage. These differences occur
from culture to culture and even within a culture from person to person. Views
and definitions of marriage have also changed significantly over the centuries
and decades. But generally, everyone understands that the meaning of marriage
is when two people make a public pledge or commitment to live t ogether and
share their lives in a way that is recognized legally, socially and sometimes
religiously. This sharing of two lives entails myriads of facets involving a
bonding of their bodies, souls and spirits in a physical, emotional, mental and
spiritual union.

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Marriage
is an institution is said to be one of the base institution of the indian
society.In India marriage is mostly based on religion and casticism.we see that
marriage is a social or merely leaving contact. In the Indian society it is
consider to be a religious bomd which can not be easily broken.In India in the
recent years marriage as a pillar institution has started loosing its
importance . we see that there has been a tremendous increase in the divorce
cases find each year.

Caste
and religion are most important  parts of
Indian society. These two systems create water tight compartment between
communities and by this gap, bring division, hatred and tension among various
social groups. The basic problem in Indian society is not of class division but
of caste division. Marriage within the same caste and same religion is the rule
of land of the Indian society. To think of marriages between different castes
and different religions is a difficult and socially unacceptable proposition.
To every such marriage social stigma is attached, making it difficult for the
couples to survive. Recently the process of modernization, westernization,
democratization and development has brought lots of positive changes in Indian
society. The major objective of the present paper is to understand the social
and legal issues involved in inter-caste and inter-religious marriages in India

The
discrimination on the basis of caste and religion are like a halt to the
progress of India. For centuries Indian society has been divided on the basis
of caste system and religion. The problem of caste system is so deep rooted
that it will take a number of years for the Indians to come out of that idea. A
custom which is prevalent in our society since the inception of the society
cannot be eradicated totally in just 200 years. Even today also India is
struggling to come out of this social menace. And this struggle is very much
justified. History reveals that efforts have been made not only by Indian
reformers but by the British also during their reign in order to make India
free from the clutches of caste system, untouchability and race discrimination.

When
it comes to marriage between different castes and communities then it is like a
taboo for most of the people. But it is believed by various social reformers
that in order to remove this barrier of caste and religion, it is very much
necessary that inter-caste and inter-religious marriages must take place.
Marriages are regarded not only as a social institution in India, but also as a
sacrament. In Hindu mythology, it is considered as the one of the most
important ‘sanskara’.

 

Today,
with change in time and change in era, the Indian society has also changed it
to a certain level. With many social reforms coming, the cities in India have
shown a remarkable growth in inter-caste and inter-religious marriages,
ultimately helping the communities and castes to exist together.

Definition
of Marriages

The
supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for
ourselves–say rather, inspite of ourselves.           

                                                                        —by
Victor Hugo

Evolution
of Marriages

 

 The ancient human
society was a nomadic society. There was perhaps only a herd-instinct type
marital relationship before the dawn of civilization. With the passage of time,
the nomadic human beings evolved into an agricultural society and it was
considered necessary to ascertain the paternity of children. So long as the sex
relationship remained unregulated it was maternity alone, which could be known.
Paternity could not be determined. It is logical to say that at some stage of
human development the necessity arose for demarcating possession and ownership
of material belongings as a natural consequence of human behavior and the human
male was seized with the idea of knowing his children. This was not possible if
sex promiscuity continued to be the rule. If sex relationship could be made an
exclusive union of one man and one woman, only then it was possible to
determine the paternity of children. Thus, it seems, in man’s quest to know the
paternity of children
lie
the seeds of the institution of marriage.1

Changes
in Marriage institution

Marriage is considered to be the
oldest and basic institution. It is important for the existence and functioning
not only of society ,but also the continuation of human being.The concept of
marriage varies fro religion to religion, community to comunity, and nation to
nation.The institution of marriage change in today’s life beacuse change in
thought , life style and equal rights for all. The winds of change are so strong that they are not
just limited to the economic dynamics of the man-woman relationship. There is
also a substantial difference in the thinking process of the new generation.
Traditionally, feminists have dubbed marriage as a patriarchal institution as
they believe it leads to subordination of women to men and expects too many
compromises out of women.

However, young people have begun
to view marriage as an institution where a man and woman are equal
stakeholders, equal partners who enjoy equal rights and duties. Therefore, one
can witness changes where members of both sexes equally share household
responsibilities and even parenting duties, as far as possible.

Some feel that marriage is a
failed institution, which doesn’t help achieve much. As a result, these people
would prefer live-in relationships. But live-in relationships don’t really
enjoy a strong social mandate in the Indian society. However, it is certain
that things are changing as live-in relationships have acquired a legal mandate
(with some recent Court rulings) but it’ll take some more time before they
become socially acceptable

 

Many  factors affecting mariage such as
Industrialisation, Urbanisation and Education is most important factor
which change institution of marriage. Modern education has brought many changes
in marriage. Youth have their own view. According to youth thought marriage is
not based on religion , caste etc.

 

Marriage
and Law

Legislation
is most important factor which change the 
marriage institution.

1 Prevention of Sati Act,1829.
In Sati system widows were forced to make aSankalp to die after their
husbands.some were even pushed over their husband’s funeral pyres.It was the
effort of famous Bramho Samaj activist Raja Rammohan Roy who took up this cause
of women. Then after Lord Bentick and a legislation was passed prohobiting the
pratice of sati.This act saved the lives of many widows.

2 Hindu Widow Remarriage Act,1856.Legislation
came as a compliment to the “Prevention of Sati Act 1829”. To remove the
condition of widows, a well known social reformer Vidyasagar then after British
government to make provision for widow marriage.

3 Civil Marriage Act, 1872.The
legislation has treated Hindu Marriage as a”civil marriage”and a legal
permission for intercaste, interreligious and even registered marriage.

4 Special Marriage Act, 1954.The
Civil Marriage Act 1872 was repeated by the Special Marriage Act. According to
this act,the parties interested inregistered marriage must notify the marriage
officer at least one month before the date of marriage.

5 The Child Marriage Restraint Act
1929.This
act restraint the Child Marriage. This act announced the marriage of boys under
18 and girls under 14 as offence.

Amendment
in Child Marrige Act1978. This amendment shows that the age for boy to 21 years
and for girls to 18 years for marriage.

6 Dowry Prohibition Act , 1961.
This act prohibits the pratice of dowry.It is not applicable to Muslim
community.

7 Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1989.
This act prohibits women against crimes.

 

Conclusion

Caste
and Religion play a very important role in the selection of mates in marriages.
To most Indians, it is difficult to think of marriage beyond the own caste. But
it is quite heartening to notice that the force of the caste in marriage
selection is gradually loosening over time as about ten percent of the
marriages in India are reported to be inter-caste marriages. This is a good
beginning to completely eradicate the caste system in India. This change in the
marriage pattern in India is a very recent phenomenon due to the impact of
modernization, socio-economic development and globalization of Indian economy.
Various socio-economic and demographic factors also affect the pattern of
inter-caste marriages in India. There is a significant spatial variation in the
pattern of inter-caste marriages.

India will require
long time yet to come when the marriage system in India will be completing free
of caste discrimination. The government should improve the barriers of caste.When
the marriage is inter communal for example Hindu marrying a Muslim, Hindu
marrying a Parsi, or Christian or any other combination, the maternal and the
paternal succession have complications and they should be resolved. Why
government should not applied Uniform Civil Code(Article 44) over all religion?
Legislature should make one law to applied all over religion . Caste systems and racial discriminations act as
a bane for progressive India. For years, the different societies of India,
especially Hindu society have been divided on the basis of caste system and
religion. The problem of caste system was so deep rooted that it took years for
the Indians to come out of that idea. Even today also India is struggling to
come out

1P. Diwan
and Peeyushi Diwan, Modern Hindu Law Codified and Un-

codified, 62 (Allahabad Law Agency, Faridabad, 16th
Ed. 2005.

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