Arranged marriage still beats dating in India

Recently on 2 April 2016, the Indian newspaper The Hindu published an article titled “Running in the family“. In this post, I will make some observations about the article.

The article opens by quoting an excerpt from the women’s self-help book – Do you Know Any Good Boys?: A Woman’s Guide to the Arranged Marriage by Meeti Shroff-Shah. The excerpt mentions how the authoress was asked by a relative of a prospective groom if she can cook. The author’s reaction to this was to outrage internally, “If I were a little kid, this could be the moment I flung a toy car at his face.” I think the reaction was rather excessive. Good cooking skill is an essential attribute that almost every men looks in a wife, usually after beauty and youth. I think all men should also have good culinary skills to be more well-rounded and less dependent on women. The article also mentions that the authoress went through about 40 prospective men before she found a man willing to marry her. Quite amusing, if you think about it, since she can admittedly cook only pasta. I am not surprised at all. She probably had very high requirements for her man. I pretty sure her one of make or break questions was: “What do you do?” It is code for “How much do you earn?” Anyway this book seems like a bag of laughs. I will probably buy a copy.

The article then mentions that only 5% of Indians marry outside their castes. I have mentioned it my last post. Many love marriages are actually same-caste marriages. I have observed many women discreetly asking about the caste before they start dating the man. This ensures that there is less resistance from the families at the time of marriage. Thus, even while dating, family is frequently on the mind of the young people. Many people also date the person suggested by the parents before they get married. This they call the “arranged-cum-love marriage”. This kind of arranged dating is also gaining popularity in India. Most young people in urban India nowadays, have at least some say in their marriage, as opposed to the old days when basically most of the decisions were made the parents. The article also mentions that all this is an illusion of choice as various limiters still exists on their choices, such as caste, class, horoscope, food (omnivores vs. vegetarians) etc.

The article mentions to a study from the National Institute of BioMedical Genomics (NIBMG). The study by Analabha Basua, Neeta Sarkar-Roya, and Partha P. Majumdera was accepted by the PNAS in December 2015. The study took DNA samples from 367 unrelated individuals. According to the study, endogamy (marrying within caste) started around 1500 years ago for higher castes. The study also found that male members of higher castes had offspring with lower castes for sometime. But the reverse was not observed, indicating female hypergamy based on caste or higher castes misusing their power. The Marathas continued to draw warriors from the peasant castes, but eventually the warrior castes or the Kshatriyas closed themselves off from the lower castes around 1,100 years ago. Given that the caste system has existed for hundreds of years, it will be slow to fall.

The article also mentions the rising popularity of dating apps. But notes that most people use to apps to experiment and then settle into an arranged marriage. Mostly because there are no established rules and no experiences of elders to draw on in dating. For some dating comes first, and arranged marriage is a last resort if they are unable to a mate by dating. Harrish Iyer’s case has been mentioned, who is gay and whose mother is looking for a boy for him to marry.

Either way the basic rules that I have mentioned in my past posts still apply. If you fulfil those criteria, it will be relatively easy for you find a girlfriend or wife.

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