Similarly, it is believed that when intercaste marriages take place, they lead to erosion of the caste system. Is it really so? The answer is not a complete yes or no. There is erosion, of the woman’s caste, in most cases that I know of. But even when the man’s caste does not really gain or lose a caste-conscious member in its fold, it often gains a new practitioner of its values. It is similar to what happens in many inter-religious marriages. So unlike the practice of dowry, where there is a distinct growth in the practice, in case of caste, the growth in much more understated. This is mainly due to the prevalence of patriarchy. Women upon marrying a man from another caste, take upon the man’s surname, his family practices, his family’s language, and his family’s values. They may or may not give up their own but they tend to assimilate into the new. In keeping with the patriarchal tradition, children of such marriages take on the caste of the father. So while there may not exist an overt caste affiliation, the practices and values of caste are passed on and inherited. The same applies to inter-religious marriages, where children are treated as being born into the father's religion.
The manifestation of patriarchy's influence is not limited only to the practices of dowry and intercaste or inter-religious marriages. Patriarchy combined with the ‘caste power’ also takes all those – women and men – who do not belong to politically identified religions or are agnostic to be Hindus. So applying Hindu identity and upper caste practices to abandoned and orphan children in the institutional care, abandoned or unknown dead, believers in animism with or without a label of religion, etc are common.
In sum, if caste and practices like dowry are to be done away with, the practices of patriarchy must change.