Cheers as Rural Warangal breaks caste, cash barriers

Warangal Rural: Low sex ratio and dowry demands notwithstanding, in many small tribal pockets of rural Warangal a change is being noticed in the social fabric. There has been a surge in the number of love marriages in the last two years — a never-heard-of concept in these small hamlets of 20 to 50 houses which are now cutting across deep-rooted caste barriers. And in most cases, the marriages are met with little or no resistance at all.

Madala Sridevi (now 24) had eloped and married her classmate Kondaraju Dileep. While the girl is from Manne caste (SC), the boy belongs to the Chakali caste (BC). Within 10 days both families came around and organised a celebration.

Sushmita and Rajesh with their child

“We were the first to accept the marriage. As soon as we got to know of it, we had a word with the girl’s mother,” said Ramamma Kondaraju, the boy’s grandmother. Though the girl’s mother had paid Rs 51,000 as dowry to a suitor from the same community, when the girl chose to elope and married the boy from a higher caste, her mother agreed to the match. “I want my girl’s happiness. So, I agreed to the match,” said the girl’s mother.

In most cases, an elaborate celebration is organised after the marriage or after the first child is born. Sushmita, who is from the Mala caste, fell in love with her classmate Gorantla Rajesh who is from the Shali caste, while they were studying in Warangal. The two secretly tied the knot with the help of the boy’s elder brother. Soon, everything fell in line. According to TOI reports, the journalist visited the Thanda, an elaborate family function for their son’s birth was underway where both sides of the families were present.

In another case where the girl had married a boy from a lower caste admitted to facing some resistance. “My family was initially upset that I was marrying into a different caste, but then had I married into my caste, they would have had to pay Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh as dowry. The consideration of dowry makes many parents agree to love marriages,” she said.

Sources say that apart from the acceptance, love marriages are also being encouraged these days. “The trend of love marriages began two years ago. Now, it’s even encouraged,” said Dr. NC Satyaraj, health extension officer of Sangem mandal.

“Technology and smartphones, which have made inroads into the hamlets, have played a big role,” said child protection officer Warangal Rural, G Mahender Reddy.

Many couples who fell in love and got married had met in school, college or at the workplace and went on to stay in towns or big cities, leaving behind their families in the Thandas. One such family is of Sambharaju Padma and Narsaiah. Their daughter-in-law is from a higher caste and although her family hasn’t come around so far, the boy’s family organised a celebration after they got married. The techie couple now lives in Hyderabad.