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Caste system and its impact on marriage among the Tamils in Denmark

Janiya Thulasi Tamilshome

This assignment investigates the role of the caste system for Sri Lankan Tamils in Denmark, focusing on marriage practices and the selection of partner. The purpose of this assignment is to get an understanding of the relevance of the caste system in Denmark, how the young Tamils choose their partner and the challenges they face in relation to caste.

I chose to build this assignment with an review of the Sri Lankan Tamils historical background, by briefly talk about when they came to Denmark and their integration with the Danish culture. Continuing in the assignment I will try to explain and elaborate the caste system, since it is a system with various links and divisions. Finally, I will explain the marriage practice among Sri Lankan Tamils and how much caste means for marriage and the family.

Furthermore, I have chosen to interview 9 Tamil parents, in order to understand why the caste system is important for their culture and especially in relation to marriage and when their children get married. I uploaded a questionnaire in the Facebook group “Du ved du er tamiler når..” to get the young Sri Lankan Tamils views and positions on the caste systems relevance to the Tamil culture and marriage. For the analysis I have further involved my own observations and experiences, to provide analysis and actual task depth and understanding of the caste system of power in the Tamil culture and marriage practice.

The caste system is a big part of the Tamil peoples culture and historical background. The task will attempt to shed light on why the caste system is relevant here in Denmark. In Sri Lanka, the caste system used to divide society into smaller communities, where the caste helped to maintain a hierarchical system. But in Denmark, this is not a necessary system, at least in my opinion, since low-caste children can become doctors, and the upper caste children may end up without an education. The son doesn’t have to follow in his father’s footsteps.

The assignment concludes that the Tamil youngsters are still affected by the caste system, especially when it deals with marriage. Although the majority of the youngsters and their parents do not practice the caste system in their everyday life and socialization, they still think that caste is important for marriage. The majority of the youngsters hopes to see the caste system disappear and expects that this will happen by refusing to provide the caste system on to their children.

But there will always be someone, probably high cast Tamils, who will passes it on to their descendants, and in this way, the caste system will maybe always be a part of the Tamil culture, even though the majority of the youngsters are against caste.


  1. Nithila

    It’s very shocking! Horrible that our people still thinking Cast is very important! Disgusting!!!

    But good job! 🙂

  2. Anonymous

    Interesting to find out, how do the Tamils react to mixed marriages. Especially with those of African descendants?

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