By Satyen K Bordoloi
Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Society opposes. They get married nonetheless but can't 'live-happily-ever-after', even for a short while. They hadn't contended that their fragile love would be chased by a 5000-year-old history of caste-based oppression.
The boy E Illavarasan was a Dalit. His wife Divya, was a Vanniyar - a caste higher up than his.
After their marriage, the 'upper' castes rose up in arms and burnt hundreds of Dalit houses in the boy's Naikkankottai village of Dharampuri district in Tamil Nadu.
The villagers endlessly taunted the girl's father, who committed suicide. The guilt-ridden girl went back to her widowed mother. On July 3, she disowned her marriage and refused to return to her spouse.
Next day, the body of the 19-year-old husband was found near a railway track. Media reports cried suicide. A national investigating agency is not ruling out murder.
It is not the first time that the innocence of love has not only been crushed but also ground to dust by the brutality of the caste system.
This despite 63 years of the Constitution of India whose drafting was helmed by a Dalit, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, who outlawed casteism having seen the violence unleashed by it.
Ambedkar had said that the greatest constitution would fail unless it was backed by men who followed it. In a nation where caste-based divisions are part of personal and national DNA, his words have proved prophetic.
Image: A distraught Divya, the wife of the late Illavarasan.