Paper cranes are her tools to spread faith in inter-religion marriages

Fear of rejection because of inter-caste and inter-religion marriage is the main disease Shivani Pal wants to eradicate with the project.

Message of Love Cranes.jpg

One of the origami cranes with the message of acceptance on the bottom of the wings is shown above. Credit: Shivani Pal

Shivani Pal, a fan of Origami, residing in Bangalore, firmly believes she can overturn the societal conviction where inter-caste marriage is treated as a “crime.”

Shivani is working on a project to promote acceptance of inter-caste marriage as part of her education at the Landmark Worldwide group. The project is two-fold: Her and a close group of family and friends make origami cranes with a message about “A Community of Love: Look beyond caste, creed and religion” with a link to a Facebook page.

The second part of the project is an online petition to government officials to create and expand incentives for inter-caste and inter-religion marriages.

Why she’s doing it?

She has a personal stake, as she is also trying to marry a person from a different caste, and some of his family members disagree with the idea of their marriage.

“It has been a tough battle for me,” she says.

The project has given her perspective, and made her realise it’s not just about her struggle. She read many stories about families being broken apart because of fear of social ridicule and being an outcaste.

“If we can overcome fear and replace it with love, just imagine what can happen,” she says. “All this fear we have, fear of not being accepted by society, that has to go.”

Pal says caste was something her Indian ancestors created for a good reason, but now over the last 100-odd years it has been used as a means of discrimination. People use it to look at someone as superior, someone as inferior.

“The only way, I believe, that we can all move towards a society where caste is not discrimination is by inter-caste marriage,” she says.

Message of love through creative medium

So far, the origami cranes have only been distributed to one restaurant, the Malleshwaram branch of the Mast Kalandar restaurant chain, about three weeks ago. K G Pal is the manager of the restaurant. He says he agreed to participate in Shivani’s project because it’s a good concept. He hasn’t heard much feedback from his customers yet.

Shivani is hoping to expand the crane programme to other restaurant. She is speaking to the management at the McDonald’s in Malleshwaram to implement a pilot programme. She is choosing family restaurants to spread the message as a way to reach the older population.

“The real crux is the older generation, our parents, who have more influence,” she says.   

Petition to the government

She knows spreading the message is not enough, so she is also petitioning the government to expand its current incentive scheme for inter-caste marriage. Shivani started a petition addressed to government officials from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

“I was very happy, very surprised that the government has recognized this problem and has taken action,” she says. “I ask that they spread it.”

She wants incentives to be available to inter-religion marriages, marriages between general categories, not just scheduled castes, and include a programme with benefits to parents, such as a reward or a certificate, since they are the ones who need to be persuaded the most.

Fifty-eight people have signed the online petition so far. Manish Garg from Bangalore commented on the page for the petition: “Love knows no boundaries. Every human has the right to love and be loved. This is a good initiative to promote the ‘right to love’.”

Others shared the same opinion. Ravichandra B commented: “Inter-caste proves that we can live in unity and be free despite of the various castes and creeds in their society. They show how love and respect creates a free and happy generation.”

Not an easy sailing

Shivani has struggled to scale up the size of the project since she only works with close friends and family to make the origami cranes.

With afull time job, she only has time on the weekends to devote to the project. She knows the model is not sustainable right now, and that is why she would like to see the restaurants that participate to eventually have their employees make the cranes.

“I’m very clear, whether my marriage happens or not, this project has to take a big, big life of it’s own,” she says.

She remains optimistic about changing cultural attitudes.

“Times are changing,” she says. “It will take another century at least for the whole mindset to go. Caste will be there, caste will not disappear, but this discrimination will go.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Addressing pet dog attacks: A balance between regulation and compassion

Government intervention is necessary to prevent indiscriminate breeding and trade of pet dogs, and more shelters are needed for abandoned pets.

Recently, two pet Rottweiler dogs attacked a five-year-old child and her mother in a  Corporation park in Nungambakkam, Chennai. Based on a complaint following the incident, police arrested the owners of the dog for negligence and endangering the lives of others (IPC Section 289 and 336). As General Manager-Administration of the Blue Cross of India, I have seen several Rottweilers over the years. While there are laws to address such situations, there needs to be adequate awareness among pet owners that dogs like Rottweilers should be taken for a walk only on a leash. A major portion of the responsibility…

Similar Story

Bardhaman town’s tourism potential: Why it must be developed

West Bengal's Bardhaman town has immense tourism potential. Its development must prioritise sustainable tourism and civic development.

Bardhaman town, renowned for its Bengali sweets like mihidana and sitabhog, is also famous for its rich tapestry of folk culture and heritage sites. The town has immense potential for tourism. But the question arises, how much of it has been explored?   This article aims to shed light on Bardhaman's historical sites, the initiatives to promote tourism while addressing the civic issues hindering its progress, and highlight the need to balance tourism with sustainable development.  Heritage sites of Bardhaman Sher Afghan’s tomb  Located beside Pir Beharam, close to Rajbati, lies the  tomb of Sher Afghan, the resting place of the last…