Love Marriage or arranged marriage? A question a married couple is often asked in India where traditionally the parents choose one’s lifelong partner. Love is blind but the caste system in India is not. This is what Ashok and Kritika Devi, had in mind when they were in love for four years in college and wanted to get married.
Kritika and Ashok were of different castes and after college, Kritika’s parents had already started looking for eligible bachelors for her wedding. The parents refused to get the love birds married as they were born into different castes.
During that time Ashok was working in a government enterprise in Tirpur, when they coincidently met advocate Gunasekaran. Gunasekaran is the co – founder of Adhalinal Kaadhal Seiveer (AKS), an NGO that helps inter – caste couples get married.
Gunasekaran took responsibility for Kirti and Ashok’s marriage. Kritika’s parents threatened the advocate but the advocate was adamant and said it was against his principles to separate the couple. The distressed couple and Gunasekaran sought the Tirpur police’s help in getting married, but Tirpur police initially refused to file a complaint against Kritika’s parents citing the reason that the couple belonged to a different district. But Gunasekaran took the matter up with the commissioner of Tirpur district after which their complaint was filed and they were given full police protection.
When the couple was getting married under the protection of the police, much like a Bollywood movie, Kritika’s family reached the venue and had a violent clash with the policemen. Nevertheless, the bride and groom managed to get married with a few policemen sustaining injuries. After the marriage, the couple was taken to a secure home in Tirchy owned by AKS where they were provided with all the necessities but could not go out due to the imminent danger from their families. Gunasekaran took care of their respecting families adopting a legal course as well.
After 10 days, Kritika’s family signed a document stating that they henceforth have no relationship with their daughter but for a month, the family kept scheming to separate the couple. Seeing this new hindrance, Kritika and Ashok took off to Coimbatore where Gunasekaran arranged jobs for the couple. Things finally started settling down after two months.
Now, after almost a year of marital bliss, the couple is in Ashok’s native place and Kritika is three months pregnant. AS for Kritika’s family, they have stopped troubling them but her parents still want Kritika to divorce Ashok and stay with them. In Kritika’s village the family is socially ostracized and avoided due to the inter caste marriage. The villagers threaten Kritika’s parents who are pressurized to coax Kritika into coming back to them. Even today, the couple is scared to leave their house even to procure necessities as there is still a chance that they may be harmed by the family members.
Currently, due to Covid, Ashok doesn’t have a job. The government had promised jobs and money for inter – caste marriages but Ashok and Kritika haven’t gotten either the job or the money. Still, Ashok feels that during the time of the marriage the government, police and the local authorities fully supported them enabling them to get married. With a baby on the way, Ashok is applying to various government jobs and is hoping he will get a job soon, as the couple does not have any other means of sustenance. Ashok also expressed his immense gratitude to AKS without whom he could not have married the love of his life.
The story of Ashok Kritika do bring home several issues that are still plaguing our society but it also stands as a firm example of the strength that it takes to fight back.