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Saturday, January 13

Arranged Love, Love Arranged

I have written earlier on the subject of marriage portals and how these portals are more about family psychology than technology!

The Great Indian wedding is amongst the most colourful, engaging, furiously-reinventing, cross-over social concepts of our times. And therefore of utmost interest and curiosity to me. Found this very well written and researched piece by Tavishi P. Rastogi in HT Brunch.

I have tried to summarise the main points raised over this business of 'arranged love' or better still 'love arranged' marriages.

A recent survey of 603 young men and women in Delhi and Bombay(between the ages of 17 and 25) revealed that a staggering 93% approve of arranged marriages!!A generation ago, metro India rebelled against the very idea of arranged marriages. So, why does Gen Now want Mummy-Papa to find them spouses?
Many cultural/ societal/ individual shifts have been happening often at high pace that have resulted in this...

1. Defiance --> Compliance
Then - The caste/sub-caste restrictions on marriage were far more stronger; so young couples in love had to necessarily rebel.

Now - The new nuclear family parents are far more accomodating and relenting to inter caste/ even inter religion marriages...hence, love is accepted and complied with and almost invaribaly accompanied with the pomp and panache of an arranged marriage! I just attended one such marriage in Mangalore last week. In fact at the sangeet, the love story of the bride and groom was enacted as street theatre with the accompaniment of Bollywood music in front of parents, elders and close friends and relatives!!

2. Risk Takers --> Risk Averse
Then - Love was worth taking the risk of parental disapproval and societal flak.
Love marriage was an emotional decision!

Now - Career obsession by both partners, extremely busy lives and a comfortable lifestyle are too tempting to risk over the mundane but necessary subject of marriage.
Arranged Love marriage for many is a 'considered decision'.

3. Social Decision --> Individual Decision
Then - Part of the angst among young couples was that almost everybody(except the groom and the bride) had a role and decision/ veto power. Arranged marriages involved joint/ consensual decisions.

Now - Arranged love/ love/ love arranged are individual decisions, aided by the internet/ open source parents/ nuclear lifestyles. Diasporic joint families are more for props in the back-drop of a well choreographed sangeet than for 'decision making'.

4. Life Partners --> Lifestyle Partners
Then - Arranged or love marrianges were to get a spouse as life partner.

Now - Young men and women today are looking for perfect spouses/ complete packages/ perfect 10 partnerships that will complement their carefully constructed lifestyles.

5. Hi Tolerance, Lo Expectations --> Lo Tolerance, High Expectations
Self explanatory. Bound to happen when marriages are increasingly being treated as lifetsyle choices/ decisions!

6. Then : Arranged = The arrangement of finding a nice match(status & family compatibility) done by elders

Now : Arranged = The convenience of a finding a safe match(individual compatibility and parental acceptance)

For an increasingly consumerist culture, the market forces are bound to intersect personal spheres. Therefore, marriage contracts, arranged loves, and lifestyle partners are it's natural fall-outs...

Of course no trend completely replaces the earlier patterns or basic human needs, values and aspirations...


john dodds said...

Is this soley an intra-India phenomenon or does it cross national boundaries or occur within Indian populations in other countries?

Manish said...

The little that I have read about NRIs(non resident Indians) suggests that this behaviour crosses national boundaries...

Like many facets of India, arranged love can be attributed to Bollywood.

The current reigning super-star of Bollywood- Shahrukh Khan was the one to champion the concept of 'arranged love' marriages.

Most notably through the blockbuster Dil Waale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge'(The ones with the heart will sweep off the bride)!
It's one of the biggest Indian movies ever(popular).

I personally know of many Indian families and their young ones who come to India to get an arranged marriage! Have you heard of an Indian movie called - Bride and Prejudice?


FiNK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manish said...

hey kajal, while writing this post, I had thought of you:-)
thanks for being so honest with your thoughts on the subject!

what was it on NRIs that you were researching?

Tanaya said...

Hey Manish

Finally in 3 days managed to read this post properly.. your observation is perfect i think coming from how i personally feel about the whole topic and seeing friends around..
For Eg - my 27yr old roommate finally gave a go ahead to her mum asking her to look for someone.she has been in relationships and things didn't work out for some reason or the other and finally she has given off the duty to her mum.. that in no way means mum decides and she marries.. that just takes off the head ache of her hunting for someone.. Mum can suggest people and so she can go and date them..and i think she feels much more secure about the fact that her mum is suggesting someone so lesser chances of meeting weirdo's whereas wen doing so personally, never know who or wat that person is like...

Besides that i think also i leave with about 7 other girls in my house, me being the youngest and the oldest being 28..unmarried all..all of them are extremely carrier oriented.. advertising, media and films..extremely demanding careers in terms of working hours..also otherwise they all want to be with people who can understand that demand and have enough money, can provide a good lifestyle, et all.. the gooey love is all there at the back of their minds but i think other practicalities of life always overpowers the mills and boons bit of their heart..

i think expectations have changed.. more practical expectations in terms of materials over love being the food one can live on.. does not work like that anymore..

Ya so all in all.. think an interesting post with bang on observations...:)

Manish said...

hey thanks...really love reading your elaborate replies to the posts.