Facilitating Self – Respect Marriages! MANRAL 2012 – A Mega Marriage Event

Dr.K.Veeramani – President, DK performs Self–Respect marriages to the couples

Family is the association , forming  the fundamental unit of a civilized society. It is the nucleus of the social functioning. Union of the male and female is the basis of the functional unit and it commences with  the institution of marriage.

Union of two minds – male and female is fundamental for human proliferation and civilization. If the union is not subjected  to any social pressures or condition but harmonised rationally, the pace of the progress of civilization would be faster. But the prevailing scenario in the society is not so but gloomy.

The union of the couple is alleged as predesigned in the heaven as per religious dogmas. Many religions perceive through their dogmatic scripts and picture differently with regard to the origin of human – male and female.

Mammoth gathering assembled at ‘Manral 2012’ at Periyar Thidal, Chennai.

The different versions of them itself reveal to a veritable proof to arrive at a conclusion that such perceptions are man-made as per the knowledge and worldly outlook they had possessed in the respective territories during their primitive periods.

Such versions  were not divinely ordained as perceived  but emerged as regional revelations of men which later got tinged with divinity for global application through political propping and imperative social needs that prevailed then and there in the past. For the union of male and female, wedlock became more ritualistic and devoid of reasoning in course of time.

The marriage event became more of a religious event rather than the basic functional union of human minds  paving war for  civilization and progress. There are two millennium old literary evidences in Tamil to prove that marriages were felt as ‘Gandharva union’ based on the mutual understanding of the prospective life partners.

Later proper importance of such premarital understanding between the couple was eliminated and marriage was converted as mere ritual due to alien cultural invasion and the resultant effect of infusion of caste system based on the woeful and inhuman varnashra dharma.

What prevailed as division of labour in the society prior to the cultural invasion became as division of labourers as per the divinely ordained (a)dharma! Perpetuation of social duties was assigned within the respective caste compartment. For the continuance of that cunningly designed concept, inbreeding within the same caste was customized. Practically marriages were arranged and performed within the same caste compartment.

The  prospective  person   self-briefs  the details

Marriage became a mere union by its ritualistic performance, nullifying the great cause behind such union. The issue of  mankind proliferation and its prosperity were confined only to sector and religious deeds belittling the potentials embedded in such union. The marriage ultimately became a religious ritual giving more significance to pseudo sciences like astrology, horoscope, numerology etc.

More than the mutual understanding and the social compatibility, it is the interpretation  of superstitious horoscope that decides the probability of prospective life partners. A family, however much educated and enlightened on worldly affairs is engulfed in superstitious beliefs and practices whenever the occasion of performance of marriage arose in their family and social circles.

If at all any deviation occurred from this social trend due to love affairs of male and female, sustaining such trend for their successive generations in the performance of marriages remains as very rare. The pair united in love had to succumb to social pressures from the environment they dwell in.

It was Periyar E.V.Ramasamy, the rebellious-social reformer who revolutionized the diverse social fabric in the southern part of Indian sub continent. It was not mere preaching and propaganda of many social revolutionary practices, but he initiated the performance of marriages devoid of priests, sermonising the religious rituals.

Caste is the symbol of religious sanctity of an individual in the Hindu religion. Caste is destroying the morale and self respect of people. By starting the performance of marriages without religious rituals and  the self respect of the people were regained. If the meaning of ‘mantras’, chanted by the priest at the time of marriage is understood, no one would like to invite priest and prefer ‘mantras’.

One of the religious sermons chanted by the priests at the time of Hindu marriage is that the bride gets married to many gods first and then only gets married and solemnised to the bride groom,

Soma: prathamo vividhe
Kandharvo vivida  :
Thruthyo ak mishde pathi
Dhur yashtha manushyaja :
(Source : Vivaha Mandhrardha Bhodhini Edited by Keezhathur Srinivacharyar B.O.L. Page 22)

Periyar advocated marriages, devoid of priestes and rituals. The revolutionary marriages which were performed by Periyar and his movement were popularized as self respect marriages. The first self respect marriage was conducted by Periyar in 1928.

The opinions in favour of social reforms leap first and legal sanctity by the state would follow-limb the suit. The self respect marriage  like other reforms , also faced many challenges. The legal sanction for self respect marriages came into force with retrospective effect, when the chief disciple of Periyar, affectionately called Anna became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1967.

From then onwards, momentum  gained much significance and a lot many self respect marriages are being held due to the individual initiatives as well as in the family circles of the cadres and the functionaries of Periyar Movement.

An exclusive directorate to encourage as well as provide information about the prospective life partners has been functioning with the organizational identity as, ‘Periyar Self Respect Marriage Information Bureau’ at Periyar Thidal, Chennai. Under the auspices of Periyar Self Respect Marriage Information Bureau, Mandral 2012 was conducted to facilitate the prospective life partners for their union through self respect marriages.

The mega event was held on 25th November, 2012 at Periyar Thidal, Chennai wherein a huge meaningful gathering participated. Many progressive individuals and families turned up for the search of prospective life partners for their kith and kin. The full one day  event started with the registration of the members with their detailed background.

With the briefing about the self respect marriages, the preferences of persons were announced with their projections before the assembled audience. The purpose of self respect marriage is to break the backward social custom which remains as hindrance to free human living . Many preferences were of inter – caste and inter – religion.

Widow marriage was encouraged enthusiastically. Re marriage of the divorcees was a vital agenda of the event. Besides the marriage proposals of differently able persons were also invited and facilitated for the performance of marriage.

A good mix of different propositions at the venue was an unusual event and it captured the attention of the entire population of Tamil Nadu and the adjoining States besides the coverage of the event both pre and post in print and electronic media.

Mandral 2012 assumed much significance in the background of the  recently ravaged  villages in the North West part of Tamil Nadu, inhabited by the lower caste people as the after effect of the utterances of  the political outfit, masked progressively. Such an organized event, nullifying the caste identity in the marriage proposals was convened by Periyar Movement.

A total of progressive marriage proposals of 291 prospective life partners (male 201 and femal 90) was registered of which 32 & 40 numbers comprise of the divorcees and 23 & 10 numbers of the differently abled. Self respect marriages of TWO couples were performed at the valediction of  the mega marriage event, Mandral 2012.

More than the number of marriages agreed upon, it is the level of confidence gained by the persons who are anxious and prepared to perform self respect marriages on different progressive social grounds,   prove to be encouraging. In fact, Mandral 2012 created a refined awareness to change the social scenario of Tamil Nadu through the self respect  marriages.

Based on the reception received and enthusiasm evinced by the public, another mega marriage event was convened  at Tiruchirapalli on 30th December 2012. A total of 145 (male 111 & female 34) members registered themselves of which divorcees were 24 & 20 and the differently abled were 11 & 5 respectively.

All the registered members are for inter caste marriage  Mandral has just  begun . The effect of Mandral has a long standing effect for the progressive change in the social scenario of Tamil Nadu. Let the Mandral continue as a sustained agenda in the progressive path of Periyar Movement!

The religious identity is insignificant for marriage HC : Marriage after conversion invalid

The Kerala high court on Tuesday ruled that marriage preceded by conversion — as a means to facilitate the union—would be deemed

invalid before the law. It also controversially ordered a Hindu woman to stay with her parents until her marriage to her Muslim boyfriend was solemnized in accordance with the Special Marriage Act. This, despite the fact that she is not a minor.

The court gave the order in the case of a couple whose marriage was solemnized with the backing of the VHP after the man ‘converted’ to Hinduism. The man had produced a conversion certificate issued by the VHP and the marriage certificate was issued by a temple in Kaloor.

Refusing to recognize religious conversion as the basis for marriage, a bench of Justices Pius C Kuriakose and Babu P Joseph asked the couple to register their marriage according to the Special Marriage Act.

Source:Times  Of India – December 12,2012

The marriage of a minor is voidable if one of the partners is minor. In the above case the union between a Hindu girl and Muslim converted Hindu boy becomes invalid even though both of them are major. In order to solemnise the marriage, the Muslim boy got converted as Hindu. Religious identity is based on one’s belief and faith in that particular religion and in its practices. Religious conversion may be meaningful, provided if there is a predicament to change the belief and faith towards the other religion.

Such change in belief and faith must be independent and not based on any condition conduit or situation which warrants such conversion. In the above case the marriage union between the Hindu girl and the Muslim boy was falsely warranted the conversion of religion by the Muslim boy. The religious conversion was considered as a precondition for the performance of the marriage. 

The religious conversion was mainly meant for the marriage and not on the preference of the belief and faith in other religion. Hence the marriage after the religious conversion is declared as invalid. Besides, the pertinent point projected in the judicial verdict is praise worthy. For the performance of marriage between the persons possessing belief and faith of different religions, the religious identity should not be a hindrance.

The marriages between such persons can be solemnised without any religious conversion under the Special Marriages Act 1955. More than the belief and faith, it is the customary  upbringing by the parents and the family practices that decide the religious identity of a person which cannot be a deciding factor or hidenrance to the union of two minds to lead a family life. Yes! The religious identities cannot and need not be a deciding factor for the performance of marriage.

The judicial pronouncement advising the couple to solemnise under the Special Marriages Act is welcome and it remains as a directive to the similar probable pairs belonging to different religions. Let the religious stigma vanish from remaining as a stumbling block for the union of two minds amounting to marriage!

A Revolutionary par excellence

In the taboo and superstition ridden Indian Society  many social reformers tried their best to abolish anarchic and blind beliefs. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Jyotiba Phule Dr. B. R.  Ambedkar and Sri Narayana Guru did their best to reshape and  rejuvenate    the Indian  Society which remained  divided into four castes. 

Inequality was the order  of the so called Hindu Society which suppressed a vast majority of the people as ordained by  Manu Smriti. Of the  four caste  classifications, the fourth, Varna called sudras were subjected to inhuman treatment and exploitation, which were the root cause of all evils committed in our society.

Periyar   saw the  sub human and inhuman treatment meted out to the  people  and declared that no God worth the name could distinguish people based on   birth. He fought for the rights of the underprivileged   and the totally subjugated group called panchama.

The women of the four varnas were devoid of any right of their own and made a chattel for the pleasure seeking men. Indian mentality of prejudiced  belief of domineering men over females will never change unless  women fight their cause tooth and nail.

Periyar’s uniqueness and his feministic ideology  shows his concern for women. The acts of Periyar  reveal his innate sense of equality and justice that  paved the way for his zealous travel to  fight for the right of voiceless women.  Periyar’s role to emancipate the suppressed and the oppressed, the marginalized and the side lined, makes us bewilder of  his magnificent and untiring  role.

He pounded the very foundation of the varna dharma and declared that there was no God.  Unlike Sri Narayana Guru, who compromised with a  God of his own,  Periyar asserted that the very concept of God was  false. ‘How could a God divide people ?’, he  asked. Classless and  Casteless order was his desire. He practised what he preached. Compromise was  not to be desired in his scheme of things.

He saw the misery of women from all perspectives. Abolition  of Devadasi system,  child marriage, encouraging widow’s remarriage, right to share father’s  property and  equality with  men at all levels were some of his  progressive steps  which   made  women of to – day to live with  a sense of pride and privilege.

The  Indian – Society is yet to come across an individual with a rare blend of human values, sense of discrimination, indomitable courage and conviction and  above all the milk of human kindness. He arranged the marriage of his own widowed niece and earned the wrath of near and dear. Yet he remained undaunted. Brickbats and bouquets were the one and the same for him.

As an atheist he cared very much for Humanity. His laudable service to humanity, especially for the enslaved Indian women is by no means small. He probed deeply and pronounced his unassailable  conclusions to the surprise and chagrin of every one. As a Humanist and an atheist he has served the nation without any expectation. May the womenfolk remember him for ever and remain grateful to him. It was he, who made us dignified, decent and decision makers.

Periyar is great in every respect of the term as   no other contemporary of his times can  equal him in his bold struggle towards the deep social evil which penetrated into the Indian society, especially the Tamil for ages. Hence Periyar’s social activities especially towards the downtrodden and women  are commendable.

The present day Tamil Society feels proud because of his words and deeds. Periyar’s  ideals are said to have been achieved only when a women is able to function independently with out being monitored and tuned by men.

The prospecy of Periyar comes true! ‘No religion’ – 3rd largest global group, study shows

People with no religious affiliation make up the third-largest global group in a new study of the size of the world's faiths, placing after Christians and Muslims and just before Hindus.

The study, based on extensive data for the year 2010, also showed Islam and Hinduism are the faiths mostly likely to expand in the future while Jews have the weakest growth prospects. Christianity is the most evenly spread religion, present in all regions of the world, while Hinduism is the least with 94% of its population in one country, India.

Overall, 84% of the world's inhabitants, estimated at 6.9 billion, identify with a religion, according to the study entitled " The Global Religious Landscape" issued by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life on Tuesday.

The "unaffiliated" category covers all those who profess no religion, from atheists and agnostics to people with spiritual beliefs but no link to any established faith. "Many of the religiously unaffiliated do hold religious or spiritual beliefs," the study stressed. "Belief in God or a higher power is shared by 7% of unaffiliated Chinese adults, 30% of unaffiliated French adults and 68% of unaffiliated US adults," it said.

An age breakdown showed Muslims had the lowest median age at 23 years, compared to 28 for the world population. The median age highlights the population bulge at the point where half the population is above and half below that number.

Courtesy: Times of India – 19th December 2012

Not by mere instincts, but by sheer Commonsense and reason, Periyar was a prophet who predicted what would be inevitable because of the enormous outburst of scientific inventions and the consequent scientific temper among humans. The more a person leans towards scientific thinking, the stronger he emerges, liberating himself from the clutches of unscientific fables and barbaric legends.

The study published here quite distinctly points to the scientific temper among people taking strong roots all over the world. We fervently hope the third place it occupies at present shall soon climb to the first position, annihilating all the other positions!

K.Veeramani Award for Social Justice 2012 to V. Hanumantha Rao, M.P.

Dr.Soma Ilangovan – Director, Periyar International, USA presents the Cash Award
V.Hanumantha Rao is presented with the citation of K.Veeramani Award for Social Justice by Dr.Ilakkuvan Tamil – Director , Periyar International,USA

The award function to present the “K.Veeramani Award for Social Justice” to V.Hanumantha Rao, M.P., Convenor of OBC MPs’ Forum was conducted at Ambedkar Auditorium, A.P.Bhawan, New Delhi on 5th December 2012 at 7 pm.

Dr.Soma.Ilangovan welcomed the dignitaries and the gathering. Dr.Ilakkuvan Tamil gave the introductory address and detailed the reasons for constituting the Award in the name of Dr.K.Veeramani, Presdient of Dravidar Kazhagam.

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