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Former prince excommunicated from warrior community

August 11, 1997

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ A former Indian prince has been ostracized from his Hindu warrior caste for allowing his daughter to marry a distant, commoner relative, a news agency reported today.

The Rajput Sabha, a group of elders representing the caste of Hindu warriors, excommunicated Bhawani Singh on Sunday for allowing his daughter, Diya, to marry a family aide, the United News of India reported.

Singh, a scion of the family that once ruled one of India’s richest principalities during the days of British rule, will now be barred from community gatherings and family social events.

Fearing attacks, Singh had moved last week’s wedding to New Delhi, 156 miles from his hometown of Jaipur. He said he opposed the marriage at first but later bowed to his daughter’s wishes.

Hindu custom requires marriage within the caste but outside the clan, which includes distant cousins and relations through marriage.

Caste _ and its rules defining individual identity and social interractions _ has been slow to die in India. Although such rules aren’t strictly followed by many Indians, especially those in cities, the Rajputs of northern India proudly adhere to ancient customs. Many are descendants of kings and generals who once ruled tiny fiefdoms in the region.

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