Friday, August 14, 2009

The evolution of the Arranged Indian Marriage.

In Chapter 4 of my book, we meet yet another character Viki, Lucky's future husband. Lucky doesn't really know why Viki wants to meet her but none the less agrees to do so and with one thing leading to another gets married to him in the end...........

I don't know if this is true the world over but definitely in India, there is a subtle pressure to get married the moment one is "settled". The concept of settled has changed from the age of 16-18 for girls in pre-Independent India to a post doctoral degree for both boys and girls in modern times. In fact, the whole Arranged Marriage scene itself has evolved.

Arranged marriage pre-Independence:
Village barber would bring news about potential groom or bride to father/uncle or head of household while cutting hair or giving an oil massage. Both sets of elder statesmen would meet to discuss details about wedding ceremony etc etc and marriage would be solemnised. Bride and groom would only get a glimpse of each other (if lucky) prior to marriage.

Arranged marriage post-Independence:
Village barber, community busybody or any well placed relative would suggest potential groom or bride and once again family elders would decide details of wedding etc. Groom and bride may/may not be allowed to meet each other before the wedding. This largely depended on the level of education of both families.

Arranged marriage post-60's:
With more and more girls going to college, potential grooms/brides would be suggested by larger network consisting of family, friends, employers, community busybodies and even marriage bureaus. More interaction between potential spouses was allowed but still with adequate chaperoning.

Arranged marriage in the 80's:
After both sets of parents checked out compatibility etc, groom and bride were allowed to meet alone from the first meeting itself!

Arranged marriage in present times:
Grooms and brides both register themselves on Internet websites and arrange to meet each other after several Internet exchanges. Then if they like each other and find each other compatible, they get the parents involved and go ahead with the wedding details etc etc.

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