research institute for compassionate economics

Support for laws against intermarriage

By Payal Hathi January 25th, 2018

Because within-caste marriage is so important for preserving caste distinctions, and because intergroup marriage is seen as threatening to dominant groups in many societies worldwide, SARI asked non-Dalits the question: In your opinion, should there be a law preventing high caste and low caste people from marrying each other?

This graphs shows that the proportion of non-Dalit adults who support such a law ranges from 60% in rural Rajasthan to about 40% in Delhi.  Data for Mumbai are not shown here because estimates for this graph pool men and women and only men were interviewed in Mumbai.

This graph also shows responses to a similar question asked of white adults in the United States between 1972 and 2002: Do you think there should be laws against marriages between blacks and whites?  The comparison is striking.  In each place in India, support for laws against intermarriage is higher than it was in the US 45 years ago.  However, support for laws against intermarriage in the US was nevertheless quite high until recently: only 30 years ago did support for laws banning interracial marriage fall to less than one fifth of the white population.

This graph was published in “Explicit Prejudice: Evidence from a New Survey” in EPW.

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