Monday, May 11, 2015

Dalit Groom Wears Helmet at his wedding to Guard Against Upper Caste Villagers. Glorious and timeless Indian tradition marches on..

RATLAM:  A groom in Madhya Pradesh traded his ornamental headgear for a sturdy helmet as he was attacked with stones by upper caste men in his village - all because he dared to ride a horse to his wedding. Late on Sunday night, Pawan Malviya's procession slowly made its way through the village in Ratlam district. The groom wore a suit, a helmet and carried a sword as he sat on the horse. Half-way to the wedding venue, the procession faced a barrage of stones.

Around half a dozen members of Pawan's family were injured. Pawan belongs to the Dalit or unprivileged caste and was ordered not to ride a horse to his wedding by upper caste villagers, who argue that lower caste men are not allowed to take out a grand procession.

The groom's father had been worried that villagers would throw stones and had asked for police protection. As part of what district officials described as a compromise between the two sides, the upper caste families agreed to keep their doors shut so they would not have to see a Dalit groom on a horse. Regardless, the procession was attacked with stones when it reached the village square, and blocked.

When the group resumed its journey, the groom was wearing a helmet and there were policemen on rooftops to guard against any attack. Around 30 villagers have been arrested and scores more have been booked under a law that bans caste-based atrocities.