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TamBrahms Searching For Brides In UP

By A GANESH NADAR
Last updated on: December 16, 2021 16:21 IST
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'Tambrahms do not demand or take dowry. UP and Bihar Brahmin girls can marry here without dowry.'

IMAGE: A Brahmin couple on their marriage day. Kindly note the image has only been posted for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy N Narayanan

Tamil Brahmins are unique in their ways and customs, so unique that some say the community is a self-contained island by itself, so it was surprising when it was announced that it was seeking brides among the in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

N Narayanan, president of the Thamizhnadu Brahmin Association, tells Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar about the shortage of brides within the community, which has forced them to seek brides up north.

Tell us more about the shortage of brides among Tamil Brahmins.

According to our survey there are 40,000 Brahmin boys aged above 30 years, waiting for brides. For every 10 boys there are only six girls among Tamil Brahmins.

One in these goes for inter-caste marriage, three are more qualified than the groom and so it becomes a tough proposal. Some girls marry late as they are looking after their parents.

We encourage marriage among sub-sects of Brahmins. Our Sangam has also set up a marriage bureau with nominal fees for boys, for girls it is free.

You are saying 40,000 grooms are unable to find brides. That's a large number.

It could be more. We have 450 branches in Tamil Nadu. We have surveyed all of them. We are 5% of the population in Tamil Nadu.

Is this the case with both Iyers and Iyengars?

Yes! All sub-sects are suffering this problem. There are also economic differences.

Imagine finding 40,000 brides from elsewhere -- won't that skew the numbers in those regions?

I am not going to find all of them in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. I am also trying among sub-sects of Brahmins in Tamil Nadu.

Tambrahms do not demand or take dowry. UP and Bihar Brahmin girls can marry here without dowry. I am getting a response from them already.

Tamil Brahmin girls have always been interested in higher studies, professional courses. Can that also be a contributing factor, as the boys may not be equally educated, and just a graduate or so?

In any family you will see that girls excel boys academically. Brahmins opted for family planning in Tamil Nadu and that is another reason for the shortage of girls.

Even some 30-40 years ago it was not uncommon to find Brahmin girls marrying late, in their 30s or so. Today later marriage must be more prevalent?

It is happening because girls are working and they are also looking after their family. We tell young couples to have two children. Many have only one.

You are advocating marriage to Brahmin girls from UP and Bihar. What happens to things like aachaaram, kalachaaram (customs and practices) and so on as theirs may be different from Tamil Brahmins'?

The difference will be very little. They will adjust easily. Only language will be a problem. They will learn.

Of course, you are also assuming Brahmin girls from up North are willing to marry Tamil boys -- there could be so many issues, like language barriers, food customs......

We take more rice and less chapathis. They take more chapathis and less rice. Both items are same. Idlis and dosas these days, everybody has.

Tamil Brahmins are vegetarians, while Brahmins from some other regions may be non-vegetarians....?

In UP and Bihar they are mostly vegetarians.

Is dowry practice still common among Tamil Brahmins, or is it a dead custom?

Maybe it is 1% prevalent. It has been almost eradicated.

Why not popularise marriage between Iyers and Iyengars? ill it help?

We are doing that among all sub-sects. It is a new trend initiated by Tambrahm associations.

There is also much emphasis on kulam, gotram, Vadama, Vadakalai, Thenkalai and so on. Maybe if these differences were buried, the shortage of brides can be met?

Now nobody sees Vadakalai and Thenkalai. Iyers marry all sub-sects. Iyengars do not differentiate among Vaishnavite Brahmin sub-sects.

There have been marriages among South Indian Brahmins in the past. How have they adjusted to life in Tamil Nadu?

In Andhra and Karnataka also there is a shortage of girls. Those who have been married here adjust easily. Many are love marriages.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

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