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Sunday , February 27 , 2011
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Varun bride faces Brahmin test

New Delhi, Feb. 26: It took a horoscope to persuade the Kanchi sankaracharya to agree to solemnise Varun Gandhi’s marriage to Yamini Roy.

Swami Jayendra Saraswati had been chosen by Yamini’s mother to conduct the wedding rituals on March 6 at the Kanchi Mutt in Varanasi.

When the sankaracharya was sounded out, he seemed a bit “iffy” — he would neither say yes nor no, sources said. The families of the bride and the groom could not figure out why and wondered if he thought it did not match his stature. “A bit like asking the Pope to function like a padre,” as a source put it.

When the swami’s emissary was approached, he said the sankaracharya had asked for Yamini’s “kundli” (horoscope).

Varun was not sure if she had one but Yamini surprised him by saying she did, the source added. The “kundli” was promptly despatched to Kanchipuram. Within hours, the families were told the sankaracharya was ready to perform the marriage in his “mutt” on Hanuman Ghat.

When they probed, they were told that once the sankaracharya had ascertained that Yamini was a Brahmin, his mind was made up. “He was afraid that she might be a non-Brahmin,” a source said. The horoscope mentions a person’s gotra, from which the caste can be verified.

Yamini is the first Brahmin bride in the Nehru-Gandhi family in close to a century — the last was Kamala Kaul, whom Jawaharlal Nehru had wed in 1916.

Their daughter Indira married a Parsi, Feroze Gandhi. As Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi was not allowed into Puri’s Jagannath temple because her late husband was a non-Hindu even though she herself was a Kashmiri Pandit. Neither of the couple’s two sons chose a Brahmin bride — Rajiv married Sonia, a Catholic from Italy, and Sanjay wed Maneka, a Sikh from Delhi.

Rajiv and Sonia were not permitted inside Kathmandu’s Pashupathinath temple when he was visiting Nepal as Prime Minister on the invitation of the then monarch King Birendra. The reason: he was not a “shuddh” (unalloyed) Hindu while she was from another faith.

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