Namboothiri grooms turn to orphanages for brides

via published on August 25, 2011

By Reema Narendran – Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Not only do they have to please the deities, but the priests from Namboothiri families in the state now have to please the officials of the Social Welfare Department also. Call it the sign of the times, the young Namboothiri priests looking for a bride have started approaching the orphanages and shelter homes under the Social Welfare Department of the State Government.

The Thiruvananthapuram Children’s Home Hall saw such a marriage on Wednesday when Anand from Kannur and Sheeba, an inmate of the Mahila Mandiram here tied the knot. The Kozhikode After Care Home will give away two girls,  to two ‘pujaris’, on August 29 and September 15.

“At the Kannur Mahila Mandiram, we have received a total of seven applications from young priests. So has the After Care Home in Kozhikode. We look at the applications, enquire about the bridegroom and his background before giving the girls away in marriage,” said K K Subair, district probation officer, Kannur.

Most of the men, who have approached the government-run shelter homes, are in their thirties. “They usually wait and try their best to get a girl from their own community. Only when such attempts fail do they approach the institutions,” said Subair.

The priests in the Brahmin community are facing a major social problem, with girls of the community unwilling to marry them and be part of a very disciplined life. “There are several factors to it.

The lifestyle is different, so is the dress code and most often the girls in the community, who are generally more educated, prefer men with white-collar jobs. This is not only for the money, but for the lifestyle too,” said K M Parameswaran Namboothiry, state general secretary of the Yogakshema Sabha.

 While the girls from Namboothiri families are unwilling to take on a spiritual life, the boys are not willing to marry girls from other communities. “That would mean having to accept a whole family into their fold. Whereas in the case of a girl from an orphanage, the involvement of the family can be avoided. This is why they prefer to marry girls from our Mahila Mandiram,” said Subair.  However, the Brahmin community as such has no qualms about their boys getting brides from orphanages. “Being the wife of a priest is no easy job as the bride has to follow rigid rituals, strict rules about purity and impurity, dos and don’ts about purification rites and total isolation for certain days. If a girl from an orphanage is willing to adopt such a way of life, we have no problem accepting her either,” said Parameswaran Namboothiry.

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