On this web page (an article about a border closing ceremony at the India-Pakistan border), I saw an ad for an Indian (Hindu?) dating service, www.bengalimatrimony.com. The ad flashes through a series of photographs of women; at first it surprised me to realize that along with their names and ages, they were listing their caste. “Same planet, different worlds,” I thought to myself.
Then it was pointed out to me that here in the US, it’s not uncommon for people on dating services to list their ethnicity, along with ethnicities they’re interested in meeting. Maybe not different worlds afterall?
So what’s the deal with India’s caste system? Are inter-caste relationships:
-eyebrow-raising but permissible?
-forbidden on pain of violence?
If they are now a non-issue/permissible, were they always this way?
Are the Indian castes a hierarchy? I always understood the “untouchables” to be at the bottom of the pecking order, but are the other castes in rank-order, or are they all on an equal plane somewhere above the untouchables?