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Patel families welcome tribal bahus

Author: Bharat Yagnik
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 13, 2012
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Patel-families-welcome-tribal-bahus/articleshow/11865468.cms

 Seventy nine couples tied the knot in a rather unique mass marriage ceremony organized by Nana Baar Gaam Kadva Patidar Samaj at Thaltej on Sunday. What was special about the ceremony was that at least seven brides were tribal girls who were being accepted in the Patidar fold with blessings of parents of both brides and grooms.

 Sangeeta Babubhai from Bharuch was the bride of Gajendra Patel, a boy from Kalol. The marriage between the two families, one in north Gujarat and other in tribal belt of south Gujarat was solemnized due to the trend of 'Tribal Bahutu' in the Patel family.

 "My maternal uncle's sister is married in the Patel family. They have good land holding, treat our daughters well and are generally free from vices like drinking. It is a good match," Dinesh, Sangeeta's brother told TOI.

 Kadi-based Kalpesh Patel was another Patidar youth who tied the knot with tribal girl Reena from Vadali. The couple's marriage was arranged by relatives who were happy with the Patidar-tribal alliances which happened in the family earlier.

 Such marriage was considered blasphemy about a decade ago. However, the skewed sex ratio in the state, which has primarily affected the Patels among other communities, has forced them to accept tribal girls in their fold. Gujarat has a sex ratio of 886 girls per 1,000 boys in the 0-6 age group. However, with cases of swindlers duping boys desperate for marriage with fake brides who run away after marriage with cash and jewellery, elders in the community have themselves decided to arrange marriages by meeting families from the tribal belt.

 President of the Samaj, Ranchodlal Patel, said that the ratio of girls is skewed in the community because earlier the infanticide was common among many families. Later, sonography machines helped people to selectively abort girl child.

"We are aware now as a number of boys in our community are not able to find brides. The common ground between tribal girls and Patel boys is that both are exposed to agriculture as a profession and also rear animals. We have three to four per cent daughter in laws from the tribal belt," Patel said.
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