The high-ranking Hindu cleric tapped to perform the impending marriage ceremony of Varun Gandhi has finally agreed after making sure the Gandhi-family black sheep's bride passes the 'Brahmin test,' reports the Calcutta Telegraph. Varun will be the first Gandhi to marry a Brahmin -- i.e. a member of Hinduism's foremost caste, of which the Gandhis are members -- since India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, wed Kamala Kaul in 1916.
Varun is the "other" great grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, and the one who defected from the family-run Congress Party to join the right wing, Hindu nationalist BJP, so it's not much of a surprise that's he's gone Old School with his bridal choice. But even though he's a non-entity where politics are concerned at this point (happy to be the BJP's pet Gandhi, whose principal usefulness is in embarrassing his family), the right-wing Gandhi's nuptials could add to the pressure on India's most eligible bachelor -- Varun's cousin Rahul.
According to the Telegraph, Varun's family approached the Kanchi sankaracharya to perform the ceremony, but they were told that the cleric was on the fence about whether the event was prestigious enough for his involvement. Only after he asked for and received the bride's horoscope -- which confirmed her caste -- did he agree.
When the swami’s emissary was approached, he said the sankaracharya had asked for Yamini’s “kundli” (horoscope).
According to the Calcutta-based paper: "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."
Notably, Gandhi Number One, Rahul, who is himself the son of a "mixed marriage," has led by example in fighting against caste-based discrimination -- by shaking hands with erstwhile untouchables and eating and sleeping in their homes on the campaign trail.