Marriage Validity Controversies (1938-)


( Indira Gandhi's controversial ".. neither conventional nor legal.. " Vedic wedding) (image. Guardian.co.uk)

A considerable controversy also erupted at this time over validity of Arya Samaj marriages. With low caste converts to Christianity being reinducted into Hindu ranks after shuddhikaran or purification, orthodox Hindu society was not prepared to accept these reconverts or marry with them. With a few deaths of such converts often from very rich families or landed gentry, property disputes began reaching the Courts and the existing laws proved inadequate. With neither side willing to budge, a Marriage Law for Arya Samajis was deferred for almost 25 years. Luckily a fortituous occurrence took place. Krishna Hutheesing (a sister of Jawaharlal Nehru) wanted to marry a Prince - a Jain by religion. Such a marriage between parties of different castes although then allowed in law (by further amendment in the Brahmo law in 1923) was frowned upon and meant separation from the family and community. They arranged to be married under the Adi Brahmo Law of 1872 and gave false declarations (as was done in B.K.Nehru's case also). When these facts came out, the Adi Brahmo's fiercely objected to misuse of their Act and began to watch the banns. In 1938 Jawaharal Nehru's daughter Indira insisted on getting married to her sweetheart Feroze. Once again being of different faiths they could not be legally married under any law of the time except the Adi Dharma Law. The elders (incl. Rabindranath Tagore) of Brahmo Samaj at Shantiniketan, Delhi and Allahabad were consulted (incl. by M.K.Gandhi) and who after considerable disagreement advised instead that the long pending Marriage Validity law for converted low caste Arya Samajis be enacted, which was speedily done in 1939 by an obliging Britiush Governemnt, enabling the loving couple to be wed in early 1942 by secret pre-Vedic Adi Dharm reformed Brahmic rites taught to Nehru's priest by Adi Dharma elders at Allahabad in the presence of Brahmos like Sarojini Naidu with the groom wearing a sacred Brahmic thread in secret. Ever since, these Adi Dharma rites have been used by the Gandhi-Nehru family for their marriages - such as for Rajiv Gandhi to Sonia Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi to Maneka Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi to Robert Vadra etc. and the Vedic law of Adi Dharma has never been repealed despite passage of the Hindu Code in 1955 which repealed all such similar marriage validity laws for other faiths.
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