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Page history last edited by Dhara Patel 9 years, 6 months ago

Loves Me...Loves Me Not

Faiyza Osman and Dhara Patel



Marriage is a memorable event in the lives of couples all around the world. In India, marriage is a meticulous but joyful process. However, opinions are changing regarding whether these marriages should be arranged, dating within different castes, and divorce. As the subcontinent of India learns of other cultures, it begins the tug of war between traditional culture and modernization. So what do we do? Does the traditional Indian marriage deserve to be preserved, or is it time for India's younger generation to explore other means?



The Arrangement


Marriage in India is done in many different ways, but there is usually a common link: a matchmaker. The matchmaker is generally an older woman who is a socialite with connections to many families. However, if no qualified matchmaker is available, the family may resort to matrimonial advertisements. After finding a possible fiance for your child, there is an evaluation that must be passed on both sides. These topics include...


Values and personal expectations
Age (the groom is desired to be older by only a few years)
Castes should be the same or similar


And many more!  


The Traditional Marriage


Before the ceremony, there are steps to be taken. The female guests have a mehndi, also known as henna, party, of which the groom is not invited. Each guest receives a mehndi pattern on her hands and feet, while the bride must have it covering her forearm. It is believed that the red color of the mehndi will strengthen the bond between the newlyweds. Another party is the Sangeet party. Basically, the friends of the bride and groom celebrate by singing and dancing the entire night. Yet another religious ceremony is the Ghari puja, which is preformed on the wedding eve. There is one Ghari puja for the grooms side, and one for the bride's side. Both of these ceremonies are done separately. The bride and groom are not the only components of an Indian wedding, for friends, family, and the entire community are always involved. However, the style of the wedding ceremony differs in each region of India.


Seems like the wedding of a dream, right? Especially since it is an important part of the complex Indian culture; but there is one issue...India's youth is leaning the other way. Modernization has swept across India in all aspects, so where does that leave its marriages?


The Tug of War Begins


Today, the younger generation of Indian-Americans would argue that arranged marriage does not shed a very nice light on either gender. If given time to find a partner of their own, this type of marriage could be happier than an arranged marriage. Multiple "rules" of the Indian marriage process effect the opinions of those against it, such as caste. It is rare, basically unheard of, to marry outside one's caste. The only exception would be if a lower class female is wed to a higher class man. Perhaps the man is in love with a woman of a higher caste, but society would not allow it. What are you supposed to do? Another problem would be how often the bride and groom see each other before their wedding. Part of the traditional Indian wedding is that the bride and groom do not see each other until the night of the wedding ceremony. Although many would argue it is simply tradition, what about those who are curious to see who they are spending the rest of their lives with?


So what do we choose?










Hear It From Their Mouths.... 


Welcome, everyone to Talking with Sneha! Today we are discussing a very controversial topic...marriage! No prewedding makeovers today, though. We are talking about arranged marriage! I have two guests today on my stage...everyone please welcome Aadya



Aadya is 27 years old but has a proposal for us. She is part of the growing population of Indians beginning to go against the traditional practice of arranged marriage...my second guest takes the opposite stance. Amisha is fighting everyday to keep Indian culture alive within her own family.




Aadya, let's start with you. How did you go about marriage in your own family?

Aadya: Well, it started with my father putting marital ads in Indian immigration ads when I was in my late teens and early twenties..

Sneha: What types of things were in it?

Aadya: Oh, you know, "Young Harvard graduate, slim with a dark complexion"...very typical things to find in an Indian marital ad.

Sneha: How did that make you feel?

Aadya: I felt almost...like...like a used car being put up for sale...

Sneha: What do you mean?

Aadya: It was as if my father was just...giving me up to whoever would take me...

Sneha: Have you had these feelings since you were a young girl?

Aadya: no...not exactly.

Sneha: Why the sudden change of heart?

Aadya: As a little girl, I thought every couple found love through their parents' arrangements...but as I grew up, I discovered differently.

Sneha: Was anything else bothering you?

Aadya: I'm sorry?

Sneha: I mean...were there any other signals that made you know that this was wrong to you?

Aadya: oh yes! Like when I began to get emails from boys and their fathers asking my height, weight, place of birth, and so on.

Sneha: Like an interrogation?

Aadya: Exactly what it felt like...

Sneha: Well our other guest, Amisha, is 32 and a mother of two girls. How do you feel about this?

Amisha: My own wedding was arranged.

Sneha: Have you always been open to this method

Amisha: It is the only method I have come to know...

Sneha: India's youth completely bashes arranged marriage. What would you like to say to them?

Amisha: Arranged marriage is a part of Indian culture. You can't just abandon it because it is "not cool".

Sneha: Would you say image is the issue?

Amisha: most definitely...our teens see in their movies and t.v. shows and hear it in their music that people are  falling in love with anyone. So how do you think they want to find love? Exactly like that.

Sneha: Wouldn't most people call that free will?

Amisha: There is an easily distinguished line between free will and having our children marry whom they happen to be infatuated with that week.

Sneha: Don't you ever wonder what it would be like if you married a college sweetheart or someone along those lines?
Amisha: It is just puppy love. I have had my share of affairs with American boys, I will not deny you that. However, my first serious, successful, and lasting relationship was arranged. My parents were arranged, and their parents, and so on. Why change it now?

Aadya: Because it's time for women to speak up!

Amisha: I am not trying to silence our gender. I am very outspoken, myself, but I will not speak against my own tradition.

Aadya: To live your life...

Amisha: Am I not living it? I have two beautiful daughters and a hard-working husband. What more could I ask for?

Aadya: your OWN life...

Amisha: I am not unhappy, so I consider this my OWN life.

Sneha: Aadya, why do you fear arranged marriage so much?

Aadya: India needs change. We cannot continue to travel along this dry road with the same values and traditions.

Amisha: I disagree. Every other culture has been traveling along this "dry road" since they have become a civilization. Why different for India?

Aadya: Because India itself is very rigid and unforgiving. I would like to break away from such a life.

Sneha: Well there you have it! Opposing view points out on the table. What do you think? Are you an Aadya or an Amisha? Don't hold back! Tell us! See you next time on, talking with Sneha!





So Who Wins?


The opinions in India are changing about every aspect of its traditional culture. Whether the marriage is the person's choice depends on their belief. Is it time for change? Or should these old traditions stay untouched? There is no sure answer of which side will win this tug of war, but as long as there are conflicting sides, there will always be a fight.









Works Citation:  

"A Modern Indian Woman's Struggle with Arranged-Marriage." New York Magazine -- NYC Guide to Restaurants, Fashion, Nightlife, Shopping, Politics, Movies. Web. 13 May 2011.


"Hinduism and Caste System." Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and Other Resources. Web. 13 May 2011.


Lorette, Kristie. "Indian Wedding Ceremonies" How to Videos, Articles & More - Trusted Advice for the Curious Life Web. 13 May 2011.


"Indian Marriage Ceremonies and Wedding Ceremonies Explained" Easy Indian Cooking and Culture. Web. 13 May 2011.



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