Monday, May 31, 2010

Same Gotra Marriages

Love is superior to Gotra;
But Science has
something else to say
Writes Vinod Varshney
Nobody has the right to give death sentence to a loving couple, no matter they marry within the Gotra. “Love is superior to Gotra”, says Prof Neera Bhalla Sarin of Jawahar Lal Nehru University of New Delhi.

But Khap Panchayats have recklessly doled out death sentences in Haryana for such marriages. There is a demand from them to change the Indian Marriages Act also. Many consider this demand besmirched by medieval-thinking in modern times.

Today many especially from young generation do not even know what Gotra is. It is therefore natural that the controversy has puzzled so many. What does modern genetic science say on this issue?


Same Gotra Marriage Opposition has backing of Science : Chautala

In view of the genetic characteristics of Indian population, the demand has some scientific validity, says one of the most respected geneticist of the country Dr Lal Ji Singh, the former Director of Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

But his comments can easily be misinterpreted and perhaps are already being done by Navin Jindal, Congress MP and Om Prakash Chautala, Former Chief Minister of Haryana.

According to Dr Lal nothing bad can happen in one or two marriages within the same Gotra or Community. But if marriages keep on taking place in the same Gotra generation after generation then there is a risk of single gene diseases.


Will You Marry Within a Gotra: Navin Jindal

If two recessive genes, one from mother and the other from father, happen to join then the manifestation of single gene-specific disease is sure. So far more than 1,000 such diseases have been identified and include: cystic fibrosis, phenylketonuria (PKU), galactosemia, retinoblastoma, albinism, sickle-cell anemia, thalassemia, Tay-Sachs disease, autism, growth hormone deficiency, adenosine deaminase deficiency, and juvenile muscular dystrophy.

A study on this issue, led by scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad together with US researchers at Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT was published in the September 24th issue of Nature. This study supports in a way the contention of those who are opposing the marriages within the same Gotra.

According to this study many groups in modern India descend from a small number of founding individuals, and could not get gene flow from other groups since then. This happened obviously because of marriages within the same caste and more so within the same gotra.


Restricted Gene-flow Has Created the Risk


This finding that a large proportion of modern Indians descend from “small number of founding individuals" means that India is genetically not a single large population. Instead it is best described as many smaller isolated population-groups. The populations have remained isolated because of marriages within castes.

Traditionally in Hindu society marriages do take place within the caste but marriages within Gotra (further sub-division of caste) is avoided. The study mentioned above is being cited now as the scientific basis to oppose marriages within the Gotra. If marriages take place within the same Gotra then the risk of Recessive Gene Disorder becomes higher. But it does not mean every such couple will give birth to a baby with the Recessive Gene Disorder.

Risk Only When Mother & Father Are Both the Carriers of Recessive Gene

If parents are of same caste and same gotra then there are enough chances that both are carriers of a recessive gene. Recessive Gene Disorder occurs only when the baby carries two malfunctioning copies of the relevant gene, one coming from mother and other from father.

The study mentions, “Allele frequency differences between groups in India are larger than in Europe, reflecting strong founder effects whose signatures have been maintained for thousands of years owing to endogamy (marriage within the caste). We therefore predict that there will be an excess of recessive diseases in India.”

Haldane wrote decades ago that ‘‘if inter-caste marriages in India become common, various… recessive characters will become rarer’’ that means only Indians will have that disease. An example is a 25-base-pair deletion in MYBPC3 that increases heart failure risk by about sevenfold, and occurs at around 4% throughout India but is nearly absent elsewhere.

36 comments:

  1. It is a wrong notion that young persons do not know their gotra. At marriage time every one does. Pundit asks for it during the ceremony.

    In a survey majority of urban people were found to against the same gotra marriage. Like it or not, it is the custom amond all N. indians of all the castes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. With modern scientific diagnostics it is possible to exclude genetic diseases during pregnancy. So why this uproar about running to ban same goitra marriage.
    Marriage shall be based upon personal preferences not that of societies. Let the couple decide what is good for them rather than try to build justification to punish them.
    There is no need to amend the Hindu marriage Act. People are free to marry under the Special Marriage Act .

    ReplyDelete
  3. Richa Upreti KaranJune 1, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    There is a reason why same gotra marriages are not allowed. They are considered to be members with similar genetic make up. Gotras are pretty much lineages, and marrying within the same gotra is considered to be marrying within the "family"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thsi was a reason for long back.....Custom of Goatra came in exorbitance with aryans which is about 1500C BC.It have already been passed enough time in which human have followed same tradition. As a result we people don't have same Genetic map as our forefathers had.So there is no point in accounting the Logic or gene disorder and if it would be it will take a ton of centuries.......but we are killing persons today.....no Future will be gud..if we don't have a great present.

      Delete
    2. I appreciate your view...

      Delete
  4. Interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  5. There might be a minor chance of gene disorders according to scientific research and studies but the problem here is that khap panchayats and politicians are not opposing it on scientific and medical grounds.

    For khap panchayats, it's an issue of social customs and traditions. They believe same gotra marriages to be a marriage between brother and sister in a sense. They might believe in this analogy but they do not have any right to impose their views upon people who do not believe in such customs and definitions. To intimidate them, socially boycott them or to kill them is truly unacceptable. They cannot act as an extra constitutional authority with no respect for the law of the land.

    In some sense, this is also an issue of youth trying to break the shackles of regressive customs and practices (dowry,state of widows,child marriage, female foeticide, girl education etc.)dividing our society, based on caste, gender, religion and now gotra. This challenging of khap panchayats authority by youth has led them to demand changes in Hindu marriage act and pressurizing political parties to support them.

    For politicians, it's always about vote banks and majority opinion within those vote banks irrespective of their personal beliefs and facts. Therefore,a Raj thackrey or Mamta banerjee would not express an opinion on such issues because it does not cater to their region's politics like "Marathi manoos" and "Maoism" does.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If Hindu Marriage Act has to be ammended then the amendment should be to ban marriages among same caste, this will free most of the Indian population from the risk of genetic disorder, but remove casteism from India. Then there will be no demand like caste census. The study referred in Mr Vinod Varshney's article that Haldane was against same-caste marriages as it makes Hindu society endogamous (marrying within same group) not allowing much gene flow, thus putting people at risk of recessive (weak) gene disorders. So leaders who are opposing same Gotra marriages, would also oppose same-caste marriages?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sridevi SunderrajanJune 6, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    "I do know that among Tamil Brahmins, gotra is the first information that is asked for in arranged marriages. If the gotras of the two families seeking a marriage alliance are the same then the proposed alliance is not taken further. This is still the practice. At least down south most of the people are aware of their gotras as is in temples while offering special prayers, the pandit does ask for the gotras. But then again I ma talking of Tam Brahms. "

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dipayan Dey said...

    " i believe love is supirior than anything. we all ahve to die oneday. it doesnot mean that marrying same gotra people will face problem after their marriage. we dont what is comming in our way. but we know how to live a safety and peaceful life. so in love marriages thinking about caste and gotra is useless..."

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is quite confusing. Prof Neera seems to be unconcerned by the risk of single gene disorders. Whereas your article seems to oppose not only same gotra marriages, even same caste marriages. Any how, your article is so difficult, I am not able to confront many of my friends who argue with me with the help of arguments you have given

    ReplyDelete
  10. Check out this Science of Genetics behind the Gotra System - http://www.hitxp.com/articles/veda/science-genetics-vedic-hindu-gotra-y-chromosome-male-lineage-extinction/

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's true that according to the gotra system , recessive genes might meet up if a girl and a boy within same level of the same caste marry each other. They may cause genetic disorders. But in case of a couple who belongs to different level of same caste of distant families, these chances of genetic disorder occurance are very scarce. It's because close relatives of same families might have the same recessive gene as that of his\her partner because they are very close in their genetic pool . But what about those who are from distant families , not relatives from a single angle , from different level of same caste . The chances of having the same recessive gene or the defective gene are very scarce ... ( around .000001% ). Think , if the partners are from different states and different level of same caste , imagine the probability of them having the same recessive or defective gene. So , according to me , this gotra system is not crap , but the khap panchayats have MADE THIS A CRAP on social , religious basis. They're just like bulls chasing the red color without actually knowing why they hate it!!!!
    By the way , i wonder why i'm so interested in all this , and that is because i love a girl from the same gotra that i share. And i know , for me , it's gonna be a hard nut to crack. But anything for her. God bless us all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its v risky for u to merry dt girl bt i salute ur guts!n rely wish ur tru lv to get conquered over al d obstacles...

      Delete
    2. i too luv a girl with same gotra.n dont know what willl happn next :/ .pretty tensed abt it

      Delete
    3. Hello Sir, I m also facing this situation. Can you please help me? Any small help would be lot lot helpful for me.Thanks.

      Delete
  12. It's true that according to the gotra system , recessive genes might meet up if a girl and a boy within same level of the same caste marry each other. They may cause genetic disorders. But in case of a couple who belongs to different level of same caste of distant families, these chances of genetic disorder occurance are very scarce. It's because close relatives of same families might have the same recessive gene as that of his\her partner because they are very close in their genetic pool . But what about those who are from distant families , not relatives from a single angle , from different level of same caste . The chances of having the same recessive gene or the defective gene are very scarce ... ( around .000001% ). Think , if the partners are from different states and different level of same caste , imagine the probability of them having the same recessive or defective gene. So , according to me , this gotra system is not crap , but the khap panchayats have MADE THIS A CRAP on social , religious basis. They're just like bulls chasing the red color without actually knowing why they hate it!!!!
    By the way , i wonder why i'm so interested in all this , and that is because i love a girl from the same gotra that i share. And i know , for me , it's gonna be a hard nut to crack. But anything for her. God bless us all.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think same gothra and same caste marriages are all hogwash, as long as two people love each other and are compatible, that's all that matters, because of this gothra problem, there are so many people who are not getting married, parents are finding it very difficult to find a right partner for their daughter/son. It goes the same with nakshatra in arranged marriages all this counts for nothing, which is what creates problem. people need to think out of the box. I Believe birth and death is everywhere in the world, it does not solely happen because of this gothr and nakshatra, so people need to be open-minded in this regard.

    ReplyDelete
  14. yes, it is true, love is great in this world.

    ReplyDelete
  15. this gotra system seems a bit too weird to me. i was in a relationship and i had to break up coz we belong to d same gotra. despite the fact that our ancestral lineages are from two very different parts of the country. even d fact that the boy is a brahmin and the girl a khatri dint matter. i seriously dont understand why cant d society accept that there is nothing supreme to love. or atlest there should be some flexible way of changing a gotra. n the topic about genetic problems in the kids. a couple can always adopt a kid i guess. and i think if you are educated enough, all this shouldnt be a barrier.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Boy - say Gotram A
    Girl1 - say Gotram A
    Girl2 - say Gotram B

    Rule says - if both boy and girl are same Gotram - they should not marry. So - Boy should not marry Girl1 (from above).
    So lets say he marries Girl2.

    Now this results in Girl2 changing from Gotram B to Gotram A

    After marriage:

    Boy - Gotram A
    Girl1 - Gotram A
    Girl2 - Gotram A

    Where is the difference? Boy could have married either girl. After marriage she would belong to the boys Gotram anyway :)

    hence proved - that Gotrams are not related to blood, lineage etc. I think the saha gotram concept is largely horse manure.

    Anyway - just a few thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. just for your information the gotra of the girl does not change after marriage unlike the sirname...you belong to the gotra you were born in..
      and in case of marriage you cannot marry a girl who has the same gotra as your mother or grandmother(maternal and paternal).so bacically not one but four gotras are considered when you marry someone...

      Delete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thats Rite...
    Dont spoil our love bec of gotra formalities..
    gotra and all is for life... not
    life and love is for gotra.....

    dont do it pls......

    ReplyDelete
  19. my boyfriend belongs to the same caste n gotra as my maternal grandmother...but not from the same families they arent connected fron any angle..but my gotra is different from him but still my mom does not allow me to marry him..is it fair?jus bcoz of gotra m i to give up the love of my life?

    ReplyDelete
  20. My question is "क्या female child का गोत्र marriage में कोई मायने रखता भी है, क्योंकि गौत्र तो पिता से ही मिलता है. " ये बवाल पैत्रक सम्पत्ति को,या विवाहोपरान्त होने वाले विवादों को सरलता से सुलझाया जा सके की वजह से गांव के चौधरी लोगों द्वारा समर्थित परमपरा रही होगी! जिसमें समय के साथ साथ परिवर्तन वांछनीय है:

    ReplyDelete
  21. I like example given by Anonymous. Also when boy fall sin love with girl that time gotras are never been into picture so why to being when bonding by traditions. Live life to the fullest by heart & love and not by gotras...

    ReplyDelete
  22. I know the science of Gotras, my parents taught it, and research strengthens it. People with similar genes are said to give birth to mentally unstable kids. (is tht why so much fanaticism exists in islam... LOL. kidding). But many european countries ban incest and probably why surnames are followed. All that is understood, but the khap and people like them can explain this to the lovers, not kill them. And if they still dont listen then just let them face the consequences, whatever it could be, if there are any negative consequences at all. I mean if you think its wrong then slaughtering people is a demons task. All this in the name of false honour. Whatever happened to the true hindu teachings of Dharma, Karma and getting away from false illusions and false pride (moh - maya). Idiot Khaps.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think the genes of a man passes on to the offspring, which is why since ancient times, women used to go into mans family. I dont know if there is any scientific proof. Maa ka doodh, aur baap ka gotra... asli offspring ki pehchaan... LOL. On a more serious note none of our ancient stories have characters with a patriarchal surname. Rama, Krishna, Arjun, bhim (not arjun pandava, bhim pandava, etc). Draupadi did not have to change her name but moved to the pandava family. Seems like liberal times. Probably this thing tht male genes pass on is true... i dunno. wat say you?

    ReplyDelete
  24. me and my g.f. love each other very much and want to marry but the problem is we are of same goatra,now u tell me,WHAT TO DO,OK U THINK i"M from bihar and she is from ranchi,so we don"T even know each other then how could she be my sister....,WHAT IS THIS HOLY SHIT GOATRA,BY D WAY WE ARE GOING TO GET MARRy,and then direct to the god.......

    ReplyDelete
  25. The blog is very informative and user friendly created by the webmaster,we would also like to share our experience on this blog

    The concept of marriage is defined differently by various cultures,societies and religion different people-different expectations but a common platform for happiness - Expressjodi.com. Find your life partner now,people who match your expectations.

    Like attracts Like, the simplest way for me to look at the law of attraction is if i think of myself as a magnet,and i know that a magnet will attract to it-John Assaraf (The secret).

    Indian Matrimonial Services by Expressjodi.com safe,secure and confidential with a pleathora of choices to reach your soulmate you express your expectations and we help you find your potential life partner, bridging the gap to make two people and their families meet.

    ExpressJodi.com-Common platform for happiness

    ReplyDelete
  26. M in luv with gal 4rm same gotra.it has been 4 yrs n c luvs me lot.ill marry her after 2 yrs......m happy since I got her.c iz my lucky charm. M boy n can convience our parents.dis strength iz given by our true luv.No argument....luv finds its way!!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have recently faced this irritation of Gotra system. Well I dont know how far it is true that marriage of same gotra belonging Boy and Girl generally gives the birth of a genetically problem-ed kid.

    Now from my real life experience I have seen quite a good number of relatives got married under the same Gotra and gave birth to a healthy and problem free babies. And they are living a healthy life. On the other hand, a close cousin of mine got married to a totally different Gotra of different religion. But she faced a miscarriage and now some more issues are coming out in her pregnancy. Can you tell me wat will be the explanation of this situation. If marriage in same gotra creates problems and diseases in Pregnancy period, then why this cousin of mine is suffering?/??
    Actually its all in our mind.If there is an orphan in India gets married to the same gotra girl in future without knowing his own gotra, then wat will be the outcome?

    ReplyDelete
  28. love is superior to all..nd this useless custom should not be obeyed in future

    ReplyDelete