Marriage murders and anti-caste feminist politics in India

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Abstract

This paper investigates the complex nexus between inter-caste marriages and escalating caste politics in India. While much literature justifiably focuses on rising Islamophobia in the country, this paper considers the ‘love jihad’ phenomenon and extreme forms of violence against individuals in inter-caste or inter-religious marriages, particularly since 2014. The politics and practice of inter-caste choice marriages in India raise fundamental questions about the institution of marriage itself. The paper reviews relevant literature and draws on cases reported in the media to propose a deeper interpretation of the role of caste in marriage murders. It further explores several powerful critiques from the past of the institution and practice of arranged marriage in India. It concludes by highlighting the need for an anti-caste, feminist perspective in these debates, as increasing numbers of marriage murders have coincided with an exoticization of India's culture of arranged marriages and caste hierarchies globally.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102816
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Volume100
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The initial idea of this paper came from an invited talk delivered by the author at the William and Mary College, Williamsburg, VA, USA in 2018, entitled; “Marriage in Times of Love Jihad”. I would like to thank my anti-casteactivist friends in India and abroad and the graduate students at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, the Netherlands, for inspiration. I would like to also acknowledge Jeb Sprague and the editors and reviewers with the journal for their comments and suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author

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