Arranged Marriage in India
India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world which in turn encompasses a diverse and rich, cultural, historical, religious and social dichotomy. The question I posed for my annotated bibliography was “how is marriage arranged in India”. In order to understand this concept, I must delve deeper into why it is so prevalent and how it has withstood the test of time the. The historical significance of this process is important and I will discuss how it has evolved into modern and present day family life. I ponder how the selection process occurs from one cast to another. I will discuss the traditions and what Indian’s deem as the importance of mate selection when it comes to culture and economics culture, economics. The process of spouse selection is quite unique and one the Western world finds odd but intriguing. What do Indians think of the term “love” in respect of marriage?
India is one of many countries that put greater value in collectivism versus individualism. An individualistic culture put a greater value on self-reliance, personal freedom, personal autonomy, and personal initiative. The collective culture has a sense of concern for others and an interdependence that results in harmony. When one is born into a collectivism culture, that person, through birth, belongs to a family or an extended family. That family then in turn makes concessions to that person’s well-being and safeguards those individuals’ interests. Collectivism influences the beliefs that the family and its decisions they make collectively are far more important than individual freedoms and personal autonomy. This belief in the Hindu culture goes a long way in explaining how arranged marriages work. In fact, many Indian families begin marriage arrangements at the birth of a child. The Indian family is considered to be well knit, resilient, and enduring, much like those in Oriental cultures. It is not uncommon to find three generations living in an Indian nuclear family. Essentially, India is split into two sections when speaking in terms of marriage arrangements and Hindu kinship. In the Dravidian speaking south, they want to strengthen kinship ties by arranging marriages with blood relatives. Marriages are actually encouraged between cousins in the south. Continual exchange of daughters among only a few families is commonplace. In the south there is no clear cut distinction of whether you are from that family by birth or marriage. In the north, the Hindu bride is expected to go live with her new family (whom she has most likely never met), where she is required to wear a veil and learn new ways according to her clan. In many rural and urban parts of India, an astrologer is consulted to ensure that the two prospective partners are well suited for each other and whether they will enjoy marital happiness. Indians as a whole subscribe to the Calvinist theory that life is predestined and preordained and they are helpless as far as choice is concerned. A point system is used also in determining ones compatibility. Total of 36 possible points or (guntas) is assessed according to different parameters. If one scores under 18, the match is rejected. If the score is between 18 -24 points it is thought to be average. And one who scores above 25 is considered compatible. India considers love not to be an important value when deciding whom should be wed. A courtship as a prelude in testing if the relationship will last is also not a prerequisite in deciding who a mate should be. Love is considered a weak basis on determining a spouse in India. Love is a term that has greater importance in westernized nations, (ones usually high in economic standards of living). These countries also have a much higher divorce rate. The divorce rate in the United States hovers around 50% where India’s is just over 1%. In traditional Hindu society, marriage is considered a sacrament and not a contract, therefore, marriage is for...
-Divakaruni, Chitra Banergee (1995) Arranged Marriage 2nd edition Doubleday
-Ingoldsby, Hamon (2003) Mate Selection Across Cultures 1st edition
Sage Publications-Thousand Oaks, California
-Sangari, Kumkum (1989) Recasting Women 1st edition
Rutgers University Press
-Seymour, Susan C. (1999) Women, Family, and Child Care in India 1st edition
Cambridge University Press
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