Sunday, November 27, 2005

Arranged Marriage

To me, the concept of an "arranged marriage", so rife in this neck of the woods, has to be one of the most ludicrous propositions I have ever come across. Can you think of anything stupider? Here, let's just throw this guy and that girl together and hope that they live happily ever after.

Apparently, parents take it upon themselves as a quasi-religious duty to marry off their offspring before they make for their heavenly abode. It normally all starts when the child approaches what is deemed as a "marriable" age - around 25 if it's a boy, and a few years younger if it's a girl. The parents will start hunting around for prospective spouses - although it is quite likely that they will already have a few names in mind, which they had made a mental note of as their child was growing up. Visits from friends and family provide an excellent time to gather information about potential life partners for their child. Unbelievably, the only things that matter at times like these are the religion, community, caste, family name, social status and other related qualities of the spouse. Also, if they're looking for a guy, then educational qualifications and income matter; for a girl it's her looks and physical appearance.

Ok, so while I agree that money and looks do count for a bit, and to an extent [a very small one, though] religion might as well, I don't see how these can be the most important criteria in selecting a spouse! If these are the things you are looking for, why not just auction off your daughter on E-Bay? Even more importantly than what the parents are looking for in a spouse, is the question of why they are doing the looking in the first place. Maybe I'm mistaken here, but isn't it the children who are going to get married? Aren't they the ones going to be spending the rest of their lives together? So why don't they get to choose whom they would rather spend it with?

Now, the irony of the whole situation is that if you look at society in general [at least in this country], the divorce rate in arranged marriages is noticeably less than that in other marriages [what I like to call 'normal' marriages]! Why should this be so? What possible reason could there be for this? Is it, as is the most common explanation, because there is less expectation from one's partner in an arranged marriage? Makes sense, doesn't it? You were thrown into something without being given much of a choice, and so you just decide to make the best of it. Kunal once suggested that it might be because the people whose marriages are arranged tend to be the quieter type, with less of a pre-marital social life. Thus, they would be less likely to screw up a marriage by fooling around, and also less likely to try and get out of one if things aren't going great. I think it's a combination of both these reasons, mixed with a few other factors too.

I do suspect, though, that the amount of domestic abuse involved in arranged marriages is more. Dowry deaths, harrassment [both mental and physical] and other such forms of abuse are more likely to get covered up in an arranged marriage. For one thing, the wife having been subjected to playing the passive role in her own marriage is less likely to up and leave if her husband should turn violent. Her parents having married her off, are less likely to welcome her back and she has little else to turn to having been completely dependent on her husband. A woman who gets into a marriage on her own, normally has something outside the marriage that she can rely on if she needs to get out.

Personally, an arranged marriage isn't something that I would even stop to consider, and what's more heartening to know, neither would my parents. The downside[?] is that I'll probably remain a bachelor for life!


21 comments:

KT said...

Aren't they the ones going to be spending the rest of their lives together? So why don't they get to choose whom they would rather spend it with?

Not true. In most cases, the final decision is with the children.

And PLEASE increase the font.

One more thing, link to my blog when you mention my name. Give me some link love!

arnold said...

will rembr to link you [i dont know ur new blog url] and increase font next time... dont fret .. u'll get all the 'love' [link and otherwise] that u want *muah*

IIT said...

Totally wit u on this one, lover-boy

Saurabh said...

Okay ...
The reason I think that there are more divorce rates in the normal marriages [a.k.a the love marriages] is that when you're courting, life is all rosy and stuff.

Both are trying to impress the other person. So, most of the times (unless you're in a live-in), the bad qualities don't come out.

Then, you finally tie the knot and start living together, and then ... things to get messy and stuff.

I think, if you're in a love marriage, you need to work harder on your marriage to keep it going.

I guess its more difficult, but a more fun place to be in.

- Saurabh

Arnold said...

"live-in"'s are the best thing to happen to mankind, far as i am concerned! :D

Anonymous said...

i agree with kt.. i dont know about others but my parents will not force me into getting married to someone of their choice. its just that instead of a friend or someone else introducing me to the guy my parents might..theres absolutely no pressure!! il get all the time i want, to decide. end of the day someone or the other introduces you to the guy, so if its my parents whats the big deal?!

Janice said...

ok i chose anonymous by mistake the last comment was by me

MaK-D said...

yeah "live in" is the best simulation of marriage...
Well if the marriage decision is yours alone then i agree with janice...but if they force marriage ...now thats crazy...
Spot on about the expectations of before and after marriage in love marriage and arranged marriage....especially about the dowry deaths. Sad for country like ours....

Bharat said...

Well well... Let me show you the real picture about today's modern daughters-in-law, and destruction of Indian Families:

Misuse of Dowry Laws

Arnold said...

janice - while it is true that most parents do not force their children to marry a particular person [while some do, though], what I am referring to is the fact that the amount of active participation that the parents take in the matter.... since u are comparing it to being introduced to someone by a friend, let me ask you this - how many of your friends are going to be scouring around searching for people for you to marry? and which of them is going to stop you from marrying someone they don't like?

MaK-D said...

well i guess the married ones will help janice out.....

Renuka said...

Hey I do believe parents should b involved for a bit...Probably not to the extent of forcing their children into something...but seriously arnold, things ARE changing in most cultures now. Its just that it does become diff in a country like India for a girl (or guy for that matter) to get married after one age...hence the rush and the "scouring" as u put it! Another thing, a vast majority of kids especially teenagers end up having crushes n believing its love n there's a high risk of being taken advantage of in the process. Thats something parents do consider cos they r quite aware of their issue's nature n prob have a good judgement of who he/she can adjust wid in the long run.
I jus feel that if the child has chosen who he/she wants to be wid, the parents must give it fair and serious thought, if not...theyr bound to start searching when they think its time.
P.S. Im a strong advocate of marrying only a guy (or girl) who u know well and have gone steady wid for atleast two years...n when i say going steady, I mean not crappy dates at ccd, I mean spending a good amount of time in each others houses, knowing their families etc. so u really know wat ur getting into n are prepared to adjust...whether the person concerned was introduced to u by ur parents or otherwise.

Yashita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salil said...

This is off-topic, but with reference to Aboli's comment.
Why do people expect beautiful people to have beautiful partners?
Cant an ugly person have a beautiful partner?

KT said...

hehe :-)

salil, are you implying something?

lmao

Salil said...

Of course I am!
If the case was true, then who would hook up with an ugly guy like me??

Yashita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salil said...

How do the parents determine compatibility?
That you are compatible with someone, would be known best by you, not your parents!
Whether you or your partner has a complex, YOU would know that - not your parents!

Heh, reminds me of Utpal Dutt's dialogue in Golmaal: "Tum us.se nahi.n shaadii karogi jis.se tum pyaar kartii ho. Tum us.se shaadii karogi jis.se MAI.N pyaar kartaa huu.n!"
(Translation for Arnold: "You will not marry the one you love, but you'll marry the one I love!")

Arnold said...

thanx for the translation dude! *thumbs up*

Yashita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salil said...

aboli said...
1. d decisions made by ppl in 'love' are mostly coloured by their emotions..

what about the decisions made by ppl in love??
(note that i'm not using the quotes)

2. parents are obviously more clear-headed also they r more experienced

it is an individual's decision whether to follow his/her own mind or that of the parents.