Published on October 29th, 20131
Let’s talk about arranged marriages
Why are our ideas of ‘progress’ prompting us to think that a love marriage is superior to an arranged one?
An arranged marriage is not a taboo.
It is said that it is a mark of a free society when individuals have the right to take their own decisions and make their own choices. Yes, very much. And after seeing the headline of this column, if you’re thinking that I’m going to run down the entire concept of ‘arranged marriage’, you are wrong. I personally don’t think entering into an arranged marriage is that much of a crime.
I am 27. I am at an age where most people are either already married, or are asking me when I will marry. If you are unmarried at this age and what’s worse, single, you may even have to field questions such as, “Are you straight?”. But nothing beats the ultimate discussion when people get to know that I am okay with an arranged marriage. Even more stunning for them is when I tell them that I have registered myself on an online matrimonial site and I am looking for suitable girls for an arranged match.
My experience with most of these types is that they just can’t believe I would opt for something like an arrange marriage. I’m sure most people think I’m some kind of loser; “Arre! How can you want an arranged marriage?”, “An arranged marriage for a Mumbaikar? Don’t you know love marriage is a trend here?” are two questions racing through their heads, if they haven’t had the courtesy of actually refraining from asking me the same outright.
I am okay with the idea of looking to find marital bliss and love with a stranger. If you don’t agree with me, that’s too bad. I feel that arranged marriages and love marriages are two sides of the same coin. Finally, it doesn’t matter which one is being chosen. Of course, there are people who find amazing partners who go on to become their life partners, but then there are some who don’t mind arranging a marriage, too.
Being on an online matrimonial site is a good tool to mock people. But why? If you can use online sites to date people and flirt with them, why can’t you use them to get married? Of course, I’ve had my fair share of people on these site who are interested in their ‘carriers’ and who go for satsangs every day, but that doesn’t make them any less desirable. There is every chance of finding a suitable person online possibly spending the rest of your lives with them.
In today’s day and age, arranged marriages are considered regressive, and most times, the perception is that the two people coming together in an arranged marriage have had no say in the matter. Most of us look down upon it because we equate it to ‘marrying a stranger’. But the truth is that there are couples that become strangers after being together for years. After all, didn’t all of us fall in love at least once in our lives with people who used to be strangers? A marriage is an institution which needs two understanding people, and to hell with whether those people came together through a love or an arranged marriage.
So let’s not make a big deal out of this arranged marriage thing, okay? If we are progressive enough in everything else, let’s be progressive enough to accept that others’ ideas of marriage may be different to ours – even if that idea involves marrying a stranger. It’s fine to scout for a marriage partner. It is not mandated that you shall love each other for 10 years before getting married. I think a year of courtship is pretty cool, too.
Jatin Sharma is a media professional who doesn’t want to grow up, because if he grows up, he will be like everybody else. ‘Overdose’ is his weekly take on Mumbai’s quirks and quibbles.
(Pictures courtesy www.bubblews.com, confrontinglove.com. Images are used for representational purpose only)