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MAKING A POINT: Mukthiravvala Koteswara Rao, the Ardent reformer who has performed 265 inter-caste marriages in a span of 15 years.
TIRUPATI: Envisioning a `harmonious society', he has taken up the task of performing inter-caste marriages and has finished 265 in a span of fifteen years.
For Mukthiravvala Koteswara Rao, a senior telephones supervisor in BSNL, Tirupati who is with Adarsha Vivaha Vedika, wedding is just the unification of two hearts. No need to look for religion, caste, horoscope and dowry.
Adarsha vivaham Before preaching, he practised the same to let others emulate. The Dalit reformer married a Tamil mudaliar girl in 1991, which incidentally was the first `Adarsha vivaham'. And of course there was no looking back.
He performed marriages of a Marwadi girl with a Brahmin boy in Tirupati, Marwadi girl with a Muslim boy in Nellore and Dudekula girl with Madiga boy in Kadapa. He also had to incur the wrath of a couple of factionists for ruffling their feathers in 1996. He shot into fame when he got a Hindu boy married to a Christian girl, in Christian style in the vicinity of the famous Kanipakam Vinayaka temple near Chittoor.
Odd combinations "My `odd combinations' often created a rift between TDP and Congress followers, RSS and Muslim activists, Reddy and Kamma families'', he says with a smile. On the face of it, it is only about two individuals, their tastes and preferences. But, the issue assumes alarming proportions when two families, two communities or two villages intervene, he adds. During crises, he had rushed with the potential couple to be, to the Press Club here, considered a safe haven. A number of marriages were performed in the glare of media flashlights.
His job, needless to say, was never a bed of roses. He had to escape four murder attempts and was kidnapped sixteen times for his `unwarranted intervention' in the social custom called caste.
Success rate How about the success rate? " Twelve out of the 264 marriages failed due to intervention of either of the families trying to prevail upon one to get rid of the other.'' `Getting rid' is not easy, he says, recalling the horrific incident in Sodam mandal where a girl was stripped naked, made to dip in three tanks and three wells and her tongue scorched with a heated iron rod.