Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, May 22:
Odisha may pride itself as the land of Lord Jagannath where differences of caste, creed and religion dissolve in the universal melting pot of love and brotherhood. But every now and then, an incident happens that reminds us that caste discrimination is alive and kicking in the state.
A young woman who had got married to a person belonging to a different caste had to undergo more torture to get herself re-admitted to her own caste after she returned to her parents’ place, unable to bear the torture at her in-laws place.
She had to get her head tonsured and her father had to throw a feast for the villagers before she was allowed to get into her own caste fold again.
18 year old Lachma Ambagachia, daughter of Raghunath Ambagachia of Nilimari village in Goudaguda gram panchayat under Malkangiri sadar block had married Pitamber Bhumia of Munusha village in Sindhimal gram panchayat two years back, said sources.
While Pitamber belonged to the Bhumia caste, Lachma was from the Gouda caste. Lachma’s family was excommunicated by the villagers after her marriage to a person belonging to a different caste.
Two years after their marriage, Pitamber threw Lachma out of his home. Left with no option, Lachma went to her parents’ home at Nilimari. Her father Raghunath requested community leaders to accommodate his daughter into their caste fold. The community members held a meeting in the village. Later, a meeting of community elders from adjoining villages was held in which it was decided that Lachma could only be accommodated in the caste fold if she got head tonsured, said sources.
On coming to know of the decision of the community elders, Lachma tried to stealthily escape from her home to commit suicide on several occasions, said Raghunath, Lachma’s father. Later Lachma agreed to get her head tonsured after much persuasion and counseling, he added.
Community elders from Nilimari and adjoining villages held a meeting in the village on Friday and got Lachma Ambagachia tonsured. After Lachma’s father Raghunath threw a feast for the villagers and paid some money as penalty, Lachma re-entered her caste fold, said sources.
The incident has drawn criticism from many quarters.