Why is consanguineous marriage repeatedly banned in India?

  In South Asia, close relative marriage can be said to be an “old tradition”: when Bangladesh’s founding father Rahman was 13 years old, he married his 3-year-old cousin at the behest of his grandfather; among the Dravidians in southern India, a girl The first choice of spouse is her uncle.
  As early as 1955, India’s “Marriage Act” had banned the marriage of close relatives. But to this day, this kind of behavior that is contrary to the law of human reproduction is still repeatedly banned. According to relevant data, 16% of the marriages concluded in India belong to consanguineous marriages, which is considered high in the world.
  Why are there so many blood marriages in India? In the final analysis, this is closely related to its special legislative provisions, social composition and population religion.
  The first is legislation. Since India has multiple religions and complex regional cultures, it is almost impossible to impose a unified and universal law. As a result, Indian laws governing consanguineous marriages vary by region and culture.
  In India’s marriage law, only Muslims and Christians have age regulations: Christian men must be at least 21, women must be at least 18; Muslim men must be at least 18, and women must be at least 15. In addition, in the traditional customs and Islamic laws of Muslims and Christians, the marriage of cousins ​​is not prohibited, so Indian law does not stipulate it.
  Among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, the marriage law stipulates that the parties to a marriage cannot be in a “prohibited relationship”, that is, blood relatives within three generations. However, this law also has a supplementary clause, that is, “unless regional customs permit”. This provides flexible enforcement rights to many regions in South India.
  For example, the Dravidians in southern India – a mixed race of southern Caucasian and Australian-Negro races in southern India, including Telugu, Tamil and other ethnic groups – is the most typical use of this Group of supplementary terms.
  The languages ​​of many ethnic groups among the Dravidians do not distinguish between brothers and sisters and cousins, nor between mothers and aunts. In the customs of these Dravidians, marriage between cousins ​​of the same generation is generally not allowed , but only a generation away. For example, the Telugu people believe that after a woman gets married, her youngest brother has the priority to marry her daughter. Among the Tamil people, there is a tradition of uncles marrying nieces.
  This marriage custom is deeply rooted in southern India and is even reflected in their language. For example, if a girl marries her mother’s younger brother, she becomes her actual aunt, and her grandma becomes her mother-in-law. In Tamil, the daughter-in-law of this relationship should call her mother-in-law “Mamiyar”, which can mean both mother-in-law and grandma.
  Economics is another reason for the prevalence of consanguineous marriages in India.
  We all know that when young men in some areas of China want to get married, their families usually spend a lot of money as a bride price. India is the same, but the money needs to be paid by the woman. This is because the employment rate of women in India is extremely low, and the society extremely underestimates the value of women doing housework and disciplining children.
  According to research by relevant scholars, when an Indian woman marries, the family has to pay as much as US$130,000 for the bride price, which is definitely an extremely heavy burden for ordinary families.
  In this case, consanguineous marriage has almost become the only way to deal with high bride price. Because the girl is married to a relative of the same family, the amount of the bride price is relatively negotiable. Even if it is given, it is equivalent to the left hand and the right hand.
  In addition, the problem of domestic violence in India is also relatively serious. Therefore, Indian parents naturally tend to let their daughters marry their brothers. In this way, they can not only protect the family property from being divided by outsiders, but also ensure that their daughters live a relatively safe life after marriage and reduce the possibility of encountering domestic violence. sex.
  The last major reason is India’s caste system. Today, although India has abolished the caste system on the surface, like many customs, the concept of caste is still rooted in the folk. In order to prevent the expansion of high castes caused by “upward marriage”, the underlying concept of Indian society still generally does not allow inter-caste marriages. The degree of this taboo varies in different parts of India.
  In India, men and women in almost all places cannot marry across major castes, but whether they can marry across minor castes (subdivisions under the four major castes) depends on local customs. In some cases, as long as both men and women belong to the same major caste, it is fine, in some cases, the man cannot marry a woman who is higher than his own minor caste, and in some places, it is not allowed to cross a minor caste.
  Under such a strict concept of caste, inter-caste marriage is a very unlikely event, especially in South India. This makes the options for marriageable young men and women extremely narrow, and consanguineous marriage can at least ensure that both parties are of the same caste under any standard.
  In recent years, the Indian government has indeed made a lot of efforts to eliminate caste awareness and popularize the genetic hazards of inbreeding, but the social foundation of inbreeding marriage is still strong, and there is a long way to go to completely correct it.