The caste-based violence over Jat reservations in Haryana in February has so upset Jagdeep Singh of Rohtak that he has decided to include a new and progressive vow in his wedding ceremony this month.
The Jat reservation agitation was a series of protests in northern Indian, especially in the state of Haryana, for affirmative action based on caste. Many Jats demanded inclusion of their community in the OBC (Other Backward Class) category so they could get special government benefits. The protests turned violent and virtually paralysed the state for 10 days.
Jagdeep was so distressed by the destruction and mayhem that he no longer wishes to be identified with his caste.
Taking a firm personal stand on the issue, he has decided to include a special vow in his wedding ceremony that will take place of July 13. Although the usual wedding rituals have the couple taking only seven vows, Jagdeep and his fiance Seema will also pledge not to discriminate between their children based on gender, and abjure their caste.
They have had their eighth vow printed on their wedding card. It reads: “Putri ya putra ki prapti hamare liye ek samaan khushi layegi. Aaj se hum apni jaati-gotra ka tyag kar sarvashrestha manav jaati ke uthaan me sehyog karenge. Apne santan ko bhi hum shresth jati-viheen samaj ki shiksha denge (Son or daughter will make us equally happy. Today, we relinquish the concept of caste and will contribute in propagating humanity instead. We will teach our kids to believe in a caste-less society).”
Jagdeep, who is 28 years old, is a research scholar doing his PhD in microbiology from Maharshi Dayanand Univeristy, Rohtak. Seema, also a Jat, is a school teacher in Hisar.
Speaking about his son’s decision to take this vow, Jagdeep’s father Rajender Singh told Hindustan Times: “I am happy that my son and daughter-in-law are putting human values ahead of caste…A society free of caste prejudices will be a better place to live in. There will be lesser problems.”
Jagdeep has also started a page on Facebook called ‘One-Caste India’. “The page is a hit with the MDU students who have seen a lot during the Jat reservation stir. We want to take this slogan to Delhi this Independence Day. We are getting booklets printed on the subject,” he said.