Monday, April 28, 2014

Intermarriage



Reposted from Latif's Cavern
In Midnight's Children there was a quotation where the Brits had forbidden the Indian Royalty from passing on their titles to children of mixed marriages. The reasoning went that if this was allowed within a few generations Indian Royalty would have become entirely European.

This is certainly borne out by the Aga Khan who at last count is a quarter Indo-Persian the rest Europe and all of his descendant have married Europeans (his grandson, potentially the future Aga Khan would be a sixteenth Indo-Persian).

At any rate I'm beginning to see this borne out in the Desi Elite among Kampala. The Ismaili intermarriage rate (the Aga Khan of course is their leader) is substantially higher than either that of the Muslim or Hindu communities. Of course the Ismailis tend to prefer conversion of the foreign spouses but even so it's interesting to see that even the "halves" among the Ismaili community are so much more (they've been inter-marrying for more than a generation and even with Africans so it's rather non-discriminatory even though heavily tiled towards Europeans). 

I know that the Aga Khan kept his titles despite intermarrying and even though he is both Royal & Spiritual leader I wonder how much of the British injunction against Royal intermarriage has actually kept desi marrying rates much lower than they should be. I don't have the stars but observationally British Asians have the lowest out-marriage rates among the ethnic minorities.

The Parsis have strong admixtures (the Tatas have Europeans married in) and so do some elite Muslim families (Cipla's founder has a Lithuianian Jewish mother) and of course so do the Nehrus but perhaps if the Brits had allowed intermarriage and not been so paternalistic India (the Indian world from Afghanistan to Burma at it's greatest stretch) would have been far more anchored in Western ways?