Shakyajata writes: “Dr B.R. Ambedkar, the great leader of the ‘outcaste’ (or ‘Dalit’) people of India, recommended in many of his writings a very specific way to put an end to the ‘hell of caste’ from which so many people still suffer in modern India. This ‘infallible’ method, he said, was exogamy: inter-caste marriage.
On 13th February, a Triratna marriage took place in India which was inter-cultural, even inter-racial, as well as inter-caste.
Tarun and Daya had met at the Nagarjuna Training Institute, Nagpur, trained in animation skills at the Aryaloka Computer institute, Nagpur, and gone to live and work in the animation industry in Delhi. After registering their legal wedding, they celebrated their “Buddhist wedding” in Alwar, in the deeply conservative heartland of Hinduism, in Rajasthan.
It is difficult for Westerners to imagine what a radical event this was. From different castes and from opposite corners of India they fell in love and married as practising Buddhists and Ambedkar followers, from Buddhist families.
The wedding was very beautiful, both of them dressed in non-traditional white - and not without mishap, as the celebrant was unable to officiate at the last minute.
The stalwart Jnanajyoti took over with a cool and dignified authority, to direct the ceremony; four of us guests backed her up with standard Indian puja chanting including the Refuges and Precepts and Mahamangala Sutta. Then Achala and I poured water from an antique brass pot onto their hands, which were joined with a bundle of homespun cord; they then broke off a piece and tied it round each other’s wrists; rather like a ring exchange ceremony, simple and beautiful.
Everybody seemed very happy to witness this joining of two utterly different communities, brought together by their Triratna Buddhist connection and Dr. Ambedkar’s vision. It will have an incalculable effect of radicalising and harmonising these communities, and we wish these two families much success; they are breaking entirely new ground, and it will not be easy for them. May they be well and happy!”