In the words of Folsom, “Endogamy is the rule that one must marry within one’s own caste or group. However, it seldom permits marriage of close kin”. Endogamous marriage is that which is controlled within the group.

Actually, endogamy and exogamy are relative words. That which is endogamous from one viewpoint is exogamous from another viewpoint. In the subcaste exogamy of Hindu the marriage is contracted outside the subcaste but the same marriage would be endogamous from the viewpoint of the race or nation.

Forms of endogamy

In India, the following forms of endogamy are to be found:


1. Divisional or Tribal endogamy. In which no individual can marry outside his own tribe or division.

2. Caste endogamy. In which marriage is contracted within the caste.

3. Class endogamy. In which marriage can take place between people of only one class or of a particular status.

4. Sub-caste endogamy. In which choice for marriage is restricted to the sub-caste.


5. Race endogamy. In which one can marry in the race. Causes of endogamy

Generally, the following can be the causes of endogamy.

1. Policy of separation. Meaning where by the will to live in separation from others.

2. To keep wealth in the group. When any woman of a group marries into another, her children also belong to other group and in this way the numerical force of the first group suffers.


3. Religious differences. Generally marriage between people of dissimilar religions is not considered good.

4. Racial or cultural differences. Racial exogamy does not take place due to racial and cultural differences.

5. Sense of superiority or inferiority. At the root of caste endogamy and racial endogamy is the sense of superiority or inferiority.

6. Geographical separation, people who are separated by iong distance naturally do not prefer to marry one another.


Advantages of Endogamy

Roughly, the following advantages derive from endogamy:

1. It tends to maintain the sense of unity within the group.

2. Women are happier within their own group.


3. Other people do not gain authority over the group’s wealth.

4. The business secretes of the group are kept in tact.

5. Purity in the group is maintained. Defects of Endogamy

The following are the defects from which endogamy suffers :


This shatters the national unity.

The scope for choice of a life-partner is limited due to which malpractices such as unsuitable marriages, polygamy, dowry system, bride price etc, are fostered.

It generates hatred and jealousy for other groups. This is the main cause at the root of casteism in India.

In this way, at the present time, it has become necessary, both in the national and the international interest, that the endogamous tie be made void. The unfortunate consequences of dowry and other similar institutions are to be seen in the form of suicides committed by marriageable persons. Polygamy, unsuitable marriage and late marriage lead to corruption in society. The one method of avoiding such consequence is to put a stop to endogamous marriages. These ties are being constantlybroken by the effects of modern western education and civilization.