A Defense of Arranged Marriage
Various cultures in the world outside of the West practice arranged marriage whereby the prospective marital couples are virtual bystanders in the process leading up to the choosing of partners. Most times there is the avoidance of courtship, and cultures that do not recognize dating, have arranged marriage to fulfill that function. Arranged marriage is a norm that has been accepted among the young people who grew up in that culture, and because it has been going on for generations, nobody actually questions it. The initial reaction one gets while reading the three articles to be discussed in this write-up is that of outrage. What parent would foist a total stranger on a son or daughter? Why would these intelligent and sometimes well-educated young people stand by passively while their parents make marital choices for them? The theme of arranged marriage is the common thread that runs through the three readings to be discussed in this write-up. Cultural differences do exist; but the substance of parental or familial primacy in these events cuts across all cultures and backgrounds. Author Serena Nanda, in “Arranging a Marriage in India,” examines the strong tradition of family arranged marriages in modern India and her experience as a participant in one such marriage while visiting that country. Oriana Fallaci, on the other hand, shares her experience as a witness to a wedding which came about as a result of an arranged marriage in Pakistan. The story of a young girl, Nisa, whose parents repeatedly arranged new marriages for her as each previous one failed, was told by Marjorie Shostak who lived with the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert and had a direct interaction with Nisa. It is interesting to note that across these cultures, there exist common factors which have to be considered before each marriage process takes root and proceeds further. Such factors include, but are not limited to, Social status, jobs of the groom and...
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