Saturday, November 20, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Dalit wedding in "royal" style

Dalit wedding in "royal" style
Rajendra Sharma, TNN, Nov 19, 2010, 10.57pm IST

ALWAR: While the scion of Jodhpur's ex-royal family tied the knot in a
glitzy ceremony in Jaipur on Thursday, a Dalit family in Alwar set out
to show that royalty isn't just defined by royals (former).

A Balmik family, which works as scavengers, took out a royal baraat
with bands, horses and elephants. The procession was led by a royal
elephant. Even the bride and groom were dressed in traditional royal

It was the wedding of Surendra Kumar with Poonam. The procession
started from Hajuri Gate Mohalla of Alwar and went up to Swarna Road
in the town. The baraatis were all also dressed in royal clothes.

"It is an honour for us and will restore the confidence of the entire
community that India is changing for better," said Mahadev Chawria,
groom's father. Ten to fifteen years ago, the community could not have
thought of bringing out such a procession, he said. "But we have
realised that there is no social hierarchy and everyone, irrespective
of caste and creed, is equal," he added.

This was first time when a dalit family successfully solemnised a
wedding in royal style. Similar attempts in the past had backfired as
the upper caste community in the area had resisted the dalit families'
taking out royal-style processions.

Recently, a dalit family in Bansur was attacked by the upper caste for
performing post-wedding puja in a temple for which they had taken out
a massive procession.

However, the incident failed to deter the Balmik family of Alwar, who
took the procession in royal splendour despite the possibility of a

"Women from our village have gone abroad and the society is changing.
We had heard a lot about royal weddings and I had requested my
brothers if they could organise a similar wedding for me. I am happy
that it looked like the wedding of a princess," said Poonam, the

Rakesh and Kailash, her two elder brothers who are based in New Delhi
said the media hype for royal weddings had inspired them to organise a
similar ceremony for their sister. "It cost us a good amount of money
as we had to hire buggis, horses, elephants from other districts,"
Rakesh said.

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