It’s Time To Ditch Arranged Marriages And Give Love A Chance

Posted: July 29, 2015

Arranged marriages have always been a norm in India, but here’s why it’s time to ditch arranged marriages and give love a chance.  

One prominent phenomenon that has been held superior by India like a trophy, is its foundation of arranged marriage and traditions that place faith in tying two individuals together. Hinduism alone portrays eight sorts of marriages. Among these, an arranged marriage is the most mainstream and supported method for choosing two human beings’ destiny.

Our great ancestors presumably decided to arrange their kids’ weddings with the thought that if they wed them into great families (though the qualities of a ‘great family’ largely stay vague till date), since great families are relied upon to deliver good children who are undoubtedly expected to make great spouses.The same age old logic applies for young women too.

While I am happy to be born in a country known for its holy people and saints, and my brain was completely loaded down with ethics and Hindu convictions at a youthful age simply like many other Indian Hindus, I was astonished when I realised the emptiness of our value system, supposedly praised by the entire world.

The ancient rationale has clearly failed to meet the needs of present day times. Recently, one of my buddies met (in fact it was a one-to-one interview)  a potential family. The groom was bashful, with a delicate voice, and didn’t appear to think much about what was going on around. In India, a wedding is not about just cohering two souls, but more about establishing a bond between two families forever. Thus, parents play the role laying down all the standard procedures of marriage. His mom took her turn. She was truly something; an old, educated lady prepared to a great degree on what she really needed.

Here’s her prerequisite sheet that she shared:

  • Girl should get up at 6 and start cooking, since her son is an IT professional and of course, will have lunch.
  • The girl should bring loads of money as an added attraction.(Dowry was clearly masked in words as we don’t need anything, but you ought to offer a sufficiently large sum. A small query: Who literally likes giving their well deserved cash away to another person?).
  • Girl should be capable enough of doing household work, ignoring the idea of hiring a maid, citing budget as a concern.
  • Girl ought to welcome their relatives yet not her’s. (Another funny thing, even now trying to make sense of what it implies).
  • Girl should give her entire salary to her husband, hence proving our Indian society is a patriarchal one with males controlling the income of the family .

Since the time she narrated to me the entire episode, I have been rooting out those damn ethics and qualities that we, as Indians, choke upon right from the day we are born. Where do those so-called traditional values exist in this entire business of marriage? Upon cautious investigation, you would understand that arranged marriages are definitely a minor business exchange. Yes, I mean it! For one, there is product of worth included – the husband to be. Two, cash trades hand; cash is given relentlessly by the lady’s family (once in a while, more than eight zeros). Thus, determined.

This is not a just a post about lighting a flare against arranged marriages or dowry. This is only one indication of how we have failed our own ethical value systems. Perhaps it’s the ideal time for all of us to act upon those morals that have been claimed lavishly and consider marrying not based on money or necessity for household services. May be, pop in love and compatibility for a change.

Cup, flowers and hearts image via Shutterstock

Originally published at author’s blog

Me, Vineela Krishtipati, a full time dreamer and a part time blogger. Born as an

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Comments

8 Comments


  1. Well written .. All the best for future posts.

  2. This article does not have depth.One cannot generalize on one person meeting someone whose mother behaved thus and declare that arranged marriages are sham and that we should opt for love marriages.
    Marriage is when two people,two minds,two mature persons come together to bond for life whether it is arranged or self-arranged.
    Yes indeed,there should be freedom in choosing a life partner.
    In an arranged marriage two people come together and learn about each other which is quite adventurous.
    In a love marriage two persons think they know each other and yet find out sooner than later that they have miles to go before getting to know each other.
    In any type of marriage there has to be understanding,affection,compromise and give and take.
    The two persons in any marriage have to remember that they both are equal and yet each person has his/her strengths where there is no rivalry.
    They have to work in cooperation and coordination.
    There is nothing wrong with our arranged marriage systems.Infact it was a beautiful institution that kept our society cemented together unlike in the West where there are broken homes,in fact now there are no homes with proper families!
    Distant hills always seem greener to those who live far away.

    • Hello Vijaya,

      Firstly, thank you for the genuine feedback. Regarding the article, as I have clearly mentioned in the conclusion part, my whole intention was not disrespect our arranged marriage tradition and its values. And the article is not the debate between arranged and love marriages. The scenario I have represented is quite common in our Indian Society, 70% of the cases are going through the same struggle satisfying the demands of the groom and his family. My point in writing this article is to enlighten at least a few readers how in the name of our arranged marriage rituals for example, dowry, aadapadachu katanam etc.. are making the girl and her family suffer like hell. Hope u agree with me. And once again thanks for the feedback as it is my first attempt in this arena.
      Thanks,
      Vineela Krishtipati.

    • Namaste Vineela!
      It is always good to have a dialogue and I too thank you genuinely for your reply to my feedback.
      I do agree with you that more than often boys and their families do act superior.
      I am fully in accord with you that under no circumstances should the girl’s family give in to such avaricious and unreasonable demands.Even in arranged marriages the girl and boy have to meet and talk to each other and agree to get married.Arranged marriages have to be vetoed by the main persons the groom and bride to be.
      At the opportune time in case there are unreasonable demands the girl should make it crystal-clear about her opinions and the ethical value systems.
      Demanding dowry etcetera are certainly unpermissible malpractices.
      This is where we women,our daughters and daughters-in-law should stand up for their dignity and not bend backwards just in order to get married.This smacks of humiliation and I am with all women who speak loudly against such unfair practices which have no sanction in our dharma and shashtrams.
      We have indeed to fight such social ills.
      Education with enlightenment is imperative.

      Recently I was reading an article on the concept of Hindu marriage.
      I was really impressed by the profound observations and connections to our Itihaas and Shashtras.

      http://swarajyamag.com/culture/are-hindu-marriage-vows-misogynistic/

      My very best and thanks!

      VCM

  3. Every time the question of modern arranged marriages come up, I see this sentence which some commenter has repeated here as well. Girls today don’t want to live with their in-laws or demand to stay alone with their husbands. I really don’t see the problem they have with that statement. I mean when I get married I am expected to leave my family behind and go live with my husband, why shouldn’t my husband do the same? Some people say then who will take care of his parents? Well who will take care of my parents? (My sister and I are their only children).

    I sincerely believe that every newly married couple should live on their own, even more so in an arranged marriage setup precisely because there is – usually – very little interaction between the bride and groom before the wedding. I know that people nowadays make sure that the couple to be talk to each other but realistically, how much can you learn about another person in half an hour or over lunch/dinner? Can you discuss sexual history, financial expectations, how many children you want, what your values are or long term life goals? (I don’t mean just career, but do you want start your own business or travel the world etc). The first couple of months after getting married is a very important period where both people will learn more about each other and adjust to living with another person. I cannot imagine the complications when you have his entire family around you, hovering with their expectations. Even if your husband agrees with your opinions, he’ll likely not admit it in front of his parents since ‘society’ will call him names – just for standing up for his wife!

    Before I met my now-husband (ours was a love marriage btw), I met 6 potential grooms – all from respectable families, teetotalers (according to their parents at least!) and all the rest of it. One guy never even opened his mouth, till date I have no idea what he was like but his family said yes! Another one wanted to know if I would cook for him after marriage because he read on my blog that I was an atheist. Seriously dude WTF? (I didn’t know to cook but I learnt after marrying my husband since he told me frankly that I was under no obligation to, he was perfectly willing to take over cooking duties for the rest of our lives! It’s obvious why I love him 😉 ).

    One proposal I rejected outright because of his mother (very much like the lady in the article). She found fault with the fact that I spoke in English to her son (even though that was the language in which he spoke), that I went up and joined him for a private conversation around the buffet table without asking ‘permission’ from my mother (I’m not supposed to even talk to your son in private, will I be allowed to f*** him?) and that I was an atheist (even though her son openly admitted to the same thing). Again I cannot imagine the life someone will have when both parties cannot be honest with each other from the beginning.

    There is nothing wrong with a man wanting a woman who can cook or who is working or a woman wanting a man who will take care of her financially, as long as it is a mutual decision between husband and wife. The trouble is – esp in arranged marriages – everyone else in the family will have an opinion and they get forced onto the girl. I’ve seen numerous instances where the woman is forced to quit her job after marriage or vice versa when it would have been better for everyone if you had chosen the right girl in the first place!

    Also people always talk about the problems faced by women in arranged marriages but the flip side of the coin is that there are plenty of men who are also tired of this system and who face their own issues. It’s about time we all grew up – and let our children also do the same. If a man/woman can vote and drink at 18, we need to ensure that they are mature enough to select the spouse of their choice as well. And that goes both ways! At least for me personally, my mother confided in me after I introduced her to my husband to be that she was grateful I had found someone on my own. This way she wouldn’t have to bear the responsibility or guilt if something goes wrong later 😀

    • Perfect !! Your reply was so balanced! Of all the points I have heard – The first point was the most valid and could not have been better. While there is definitely no problem in living with husband’s family, I have never understood how is it a problem when one leaving their parent’s house is tradition and other if leaves – is frowned upon.

      The most important point is – while as a woman , she is expected to take care of her in-laws(which is perfectly fine) but while taking care of her parents is not so much popular. And another comment I have heard from people now-a-days is – “who is asking you not to take care of your parents?. You can surely take care. No body is stopping you” . But excuse me – At this age when they need us , how can you just take care of them by visiting them on just one day in a week and on phone while you stay and take care of your husband and in-laws!

      While there is no revenge factor here that because a woman moved out of her parents house, so she has to move out of her in-laws house as well. But my point is – that then let us not have double standards in trying to be responsible children for our parents after our marriage whether it is a woman or man. In this case – Its seriously unfair and also out of balance!

  4. nice blog , i think it should start from guys end , who entertain this dowry ritual standing spinelessly in front of their parents

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