Friday, 29 May 2009

A Close Look at a Sensitive Issue by Ashok Lulla

A Bhagnari father, to whom I addressed the question of how so many Bhagnari girls are marrying outside the community, responded that Bhagnari girls don't seem to like Bhagnari boys, because they smoke, drink, gamble, stay out late nights, and are fairly boisterous in their behaviour.

The daughter of this gentleman is married outside the community, and is settled abroad.

Bhagnari girls, he mentioned are well-behaved, conscious about acquiring a good education and qualifications, and are respectful to elders.

I honestly don't know if this friend was making too sweeping a generalisation, laying so many charges of delinquency on young Bhagnari males. But I am seriously concerned about the fact that a fair percentage of girls from our community appear to be marrying outside the community. This is my individual perception. At the same time, there is a trend of Bhagnari boys getting linked and tying the knot with non-Bhagnari girls.

Social mores and attitudes change, and today's parents are happy if their children, girls or boys, are able to find suitable matches either on their own, or with their parents' help, within or outside the community.

"We are happy if they are happy", is the oft-heard refrain one gets from parents. And there's no question about stepping in and stopping children from settling down with a partner of their choice. "It is a question of their life, we think they know best, we would not like to become spoilers" is the sentiment I hear from people.

But we, as a community, perhaps, within a generation, could possibly end up losing our identity. We don't really have the numbers to sustain ourselves. Communities across India are trying to hold on to their identities, and the politics of identity (caste, language, religion and region) plays a big role in social, economic relations and elections.

Bhagnaris who have settled abroad in places like Canada, USA and Australia have an aching need to connect with news about Bhagnari community. But one doubts their children have any such attachment to Bhagnaris or Bhagnariyat. Because they are largely cutoff from the community, and besides close relatives, do not seem to have any strong linkages with Bhagnari youngsters of their own age. For that matter, we as a community have given up our strongest bond of Bhagnariyat, our mother tongue.

What do you feel about this issue? This post is an attempt to get Bhagnaris to debate this issue. Write in your views to this blog.


  1. I personally don't believe that our girls prefer to marry outside the community because our boys are not well-behaved. My feeling is that the girls generally develop friendship with outsiders either in the colleges or work place and usually such friendship leads to their getting married.

    While no one can be forced to marry within the community for ensuring that the community does not become extinct, we can only create environment where friendship between Bhagnari girls and boys blossoms and leads to them getting married. Some steps have already been taken by our enterprising youngsters in Dubai and will surely bring some 'happy endings'.

  2. Earlier - a very high percentage of marriage was arranged - a small percentage was love marriages between bhagnaris
    and very very few people had love marriages outside the community.

    We had one single TV channel and girls did not study after SSC
    Soon all that changed and girls started going out to study further and TV channels increased.
    With all these changes came awareness and people started falling in love outside the community.
    Once a few families started accepting the new inter-caste couples the kids started realising that yes, there is
    a world outside too.

    People , I feel give lots of excuses and explanation for doing something.
    I do not believe that Bhagnaris are any worse than other people in terms of vices like drinking/gambling/womanising/drugs
    I feel that the girls are just going to college and getting jobs and it is inevitable that kids will fall in love and decide to get

    I do not blame the girls, but yes I do not accept their explanation that the reason for going out of the community.

  3. I think it is a wrong comment spoken for Bhagnari boys that "Bhagnari girls don't seem to like Bhagnari boys, because they smoke, drink, gamble, stay out late nights, and are fairly boisterous in their behaviour."
    Than let me ask "What about Bhagnari Boys marrying outside the community?
    I totally agree with Ramesh Poplay's view and as said "Marriages are made in heaven but performed on earth"
    In this case we have to beleive in destiny.
    No more comments.

  4. Comment - accusing boys of drinking etc. - beyond my comprehension. It take all sorts to make the world and generalising is inappropriate. What about the other person marrying a bhagnari - will not their community be feeling the same - their children going out of their community? Why can't we see ourselves as a forward thinking community that accepts everyone as their own? Do we wish to follow the 'Thakray' path? Come on, we certainly not so chicken-hearted - are we? Sure, a bhagnari marrying a bhagnari is the ideal situation - but lets not create hurdles in the happiness of our childrens' lives. Let's create an atmosphere and encourage long-lasting relations within the community and at the same time accept our childrens' choice.

  5. I think Bhagnaris know too much about every family around them. They end up finding faults with others around and hence would want to avoid some elements.
    The colony has done good for us , but also has its negative effects.
    The Gossip circle of ladies sitting at the entrance of the colony in evening also does more harm than any good.
    All movements of Girls and Boys are monitored and commented about.
    We ourselves are to blame for the situation.
    Would like to hear more about my feelings from fellow Bhagnaris.

  6. How can one generalise,the opinion against bhagnari boys is very subjective,there are all types of people in every country and culture,besides it could be possible that a girl would prefer a sociable boy who drinks and goes to parties?
    Why should the children who are exposed to the outside world be pushed into a restricted choice just because they should marry in a small community where we are already so interlinked so why not get some fresh blood and decrease the chances of medical complications in the future.Wasnt the last generation pushed into totally mismatched arranged marriages and most of them are today leading compromised lives.Here with the internet and fast mode of travel we are looking forward to one world and mingling of cultures and on the other hand we are trying to be narrow minded??

  7. Once upon a time there was a community called Bhagnaris..............

  8. Statistics have proven that arranged marraiges are more sucessful then love marraiges..!! In our culture its not just two individuals getting married its a connection between the two families, which further helps to sustain the relationships..!!

    I personnaly cannot believe that any of our girls or boys are bad or boisterus.

    In my opinion it is the way our lifes are, professional growth, personal commitments, multicultural friends and a community far too dispersed, that there is not time of connecting with each other.

    Also i tend to agree with one of the comment above, that we probably know so much about each other courtesy grapevine that we are apprehensive of each other.

    But what we forget that THIS EXISTS IN EVERY COMMUNITY, so if you give your daughter to another community, just because one does not know that doesn't mean it doesn't exist?

    Eventually no one can force anyone, yes these are matters of the heart and destiny, but don't we also believe that we control our destiny to some extent..!

    So why not give and create opportunities for creating friendship and if anything develops..then why not..!!

    After all, playing in known grounds is far more better than plyaing in the unknown..!

    Ashok, this subject is very close to my heart, am glad that we blogging on this..!!

  9. Certain bhagnari families prejudge other bhagnari families.If they had bad experience with
    Nasta or Mehta or Kataria family,they do not want their sons or daughters married in those families.Hence there is no choice but to marry outside the community

  10. Most bhagnaris want their to be son-in-law or daughter-in-law to be settled in DUBAI and no where else.Why is this shallow thinking on part of some.......

  11. Guys and Gals.

    There are +ve aspects and there are -ve aspects.

    One cannot generalize that most of the Bhagnari boys are bad or all bhagnari girls are good. This issue is almost irrelevant.

    We live in Indian Society and all the characteristics of the larger society will sure percolate down to us.

    Every thing moves on in phases. There is also an issue relating to the demand and supply of good boys and girls in the community which fluctuates from time to time.

    One issue should surely be addressed by all. There is a trend in our community to get close blood relatives married. This practice / custom should be discourages. This leads to various genetic problems in the offspring of the couple. Bhagnaris do have comparatively a larger prevalence of genetic disorders. Marrying outside the community will atleast address this problem to some extent.

  12. discourages = discouraged