I would like to dwell today on a very odd but devastating social peculiarity of development in the rural areas of my home state Chhattisgarh. In the nineteen seventies and early nineteen eighties the number of male educated Chhattisgarhis from rural areas getting government jobs increased to its peak before tapering off thereafter. By this time the modern urban culture had also penetrated into rural areas of Chhattisgarh and so there was an appreciation that the traditional rural culture was shabby and old fashioned. Consequently these young rural males who had got government jobs sought urban women as wives. Thus the arranged marriage system that prevailed in rural areas was bypassed and urban caste networks were tapped. The urban girls too had no objection to marrying rural youth who were employed in government because of the better and more secure lifestyle that this promised. However, these urban girls then segregated their husbands from their rural families and began living in the urban areas. Simultaneously this created another serious problem that rural girls now found it difficult to find husbands because there was obviously no reciprocity of urban youth marrying rural girls. The give and take of relationships in rural areas was thus broken and this led to many rural girls remaining unmarried or marrying very late. I happen to be one of the few who have been able to marry an urban man. However, since I married out of my caste we had to face ostracisation after our marriage. Finally we had to give a feast to the whole of the village and my family had to pay a small monetary fine to the caste panchayat for us to be accepted again. This was more than fifteen years ago. These days inter caste marriages have become more common but the fines have risen steeply into thousands of rupees. Thus a traditional society which is basically patriarchal invariably gives rise to further problems for women in the interface with modern development.


Hi friend, I always love reading your post because of the spiritual connection I have with India and Indians...I believe that I will leave a trace behind wherever I will visit as long as there are woman and children in such places.....

When I was growing up in the Western region of Nigeria, there was a politician in the Western region who was referred to as 'PENKELEMESI' I kept on wondering why the old man was referred to as such but one day I summoned courage to inquire form my elder brother why the man was given such a strange and funny name, he told me that he always refer to issues at the National of regional assembly then as "Peculiar Mess" therefore, uneducated Nigerians who did not know and would not bother to ask began to call him penkelemesi.

Today I will say the caste, class, dowry and arrange marriage in India/Asia is Penkelemesi, and I believe that the mess with continue until the Government wholeheartedly pursue these out of India, it must be chased, it is not the work of NGO or individual though the contributions cannot be over emphasized but it is the government, do you remember our great Ghandis attitude towards the issue, he was someone I highly respected until I went deep into Dalitology. Until everybody transparently decide to fight these menace will there be any way forward.

One major Gender Based Violence happening in INDIA TODAY IS THE DOWRY AND ARRANGED MARRIAGE SYSTEM AND THERE IS THE BELIEF NOT THAT ALLOWED MARRIAGE IS BAD. As Patriarchy is seeking all available avenue to institutionalize itself in every society, I believe that we should strive to extinguish its fire. Women are suffering in INDIA....Now think of a supposedly old maid, illiterate, poor and DALIT/Adivasi LADY?

I find it hard to control my emotion when it comes to issues of this nature.........Got this from a very close male friend who is a Dalit..........

‎"The Romans had their slaves, the Spartans their helots, the Britishers their Villains, the Americans their Negroes, the Germans their Jews; so the Hindus (Indian) their Untouchables (Dalits). But none of these can be said to have called upon to face a fate which is worse than the fate which pursues the Untouchables.....

Respect sister, lots of respect.....

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre, 713 Road, A Close, Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Dear Olutosin, you have improved on my original post with this comment of yours. Penkelemesi is an apt description of the situation with regard to caste and patriarchal oppression in this country.

Subhadra Khaperde India

Hi Subhadra,

It is wonderful to see you put forth this information and the discords within Indian society currently. There is so much changing that most of us seem to be caught in a flux and at times one wonders what direction all this change going to take.

I am a Brahmin by birth. I didn't even know what it meant till I was 16. As I got older I realized that being a woman was difficult, being an educated brahmin woman was a little bit more difficult, being an educated brahmin woman with a mind of her was a degree worse. I can only speak for myself. I will not lay claims to knowing how much more difficult it can be for women in other communities. But I will say this much, you are given THAT which you are ready to accept. All of us as women have to stand up for our rights. Hence it is wonderful to see you voicing the plight from your perspective, an insiders perspective. Almost always these situations are depicted by outsiders (not people who are actually experiencing it - meaning I might agree with you but I cannot let anyone know what it FEELS to go through what you do, as a Dalit woman). This is also because the Literacy levels (I am distinguishing between education & literacy) and therefore the communication levels amongst women in particular is low and dalit women even lower.

Ancient India, which is Vedic India was very progressive unlike Brahmanic India which is what most of us know and have a reference to. Vedic India had equal rights for women including the right of a daughter to cremation as the first born. This incidentally is one of the core reasons why sons are preferred over daughters, because it is believed that heaven in the after-life is achieved only through the hands of a son. There were no divides like the caste system in its current form. Education was accessible to all and so were scriptures. If we dig REALLY deep in our culture we will find answers to several of our current problems. Maybe as keepers of culture we women need to bring back our REAL culture from the vedic times. and teach the world a thing or two :-)

Kudos to you for getting your voice heard!!


Hi Pallavi, no doubt that women had greater freedom in the early Vedic age but it deteriorated towards the later Vedic era. However, throughout the Vedic era women were subordinated to the males. The male preference has more to do with the provision of security in old age than just the right to cremation. Since economic and social power is with the males it is they who can ensure old age security for the parents and not women.

Subhadra Khaperde India