New meaning to marry for money in India

Miranda Kennedy Sep 15, 2006
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New meaning to marry for money in India

Miranda Kennedy Sep 15, 2006
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The Indian government wants to give financial incentives to people who marry members of lower castes. The plan aims to weaken the country’s pervasive caste system. Critics say the ancient social hierarchy lmits many people’s opportunities from the day they’re born. From New Delhi, Miranda Kennedy has more.


MIRANDA KENNEDY: The government plans to pay higher caste people to marry people from lower ranks of society. It hopes that offering them $1,100 dollars to do that will help bring about social change.

The sum is no pittance in India — it’s enough to let couples set up a new home, which is exactly why the plan won’t work, says caste analyst Shail Mayaram.

SHAIL MAYARAM: People are going to sort of undertake marriages, say upper caste men with lower caste girls, typically undertake the marriage, take the money, and go in for a divorce, or take a second wife.

People who marry outside their caste in India are often ostracized by their community or even killed. It’ll take more than a thousand bucks, she says, to change 4,000 years of that.

In New Delhi, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.

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