Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Science behind “Arranged Marriages”


For us Indians, arranged marriages are the order of the day. Things are slowly changing in India but arranged marriages far out number love marriages in India. You tell an American about the concept of an arranged marriage and they just wouldn’t understand that. They are like “How can that work?” “Are they crazy?” “Man, I cannot believe this” so on and so forth. For them how can two people who have rarely/never met, on a fine morning start living like husband and wife?
Here Americans date for few months/years and then live as boy friend/girl friend for another few months/years before they marry. They are supposed to know each other very well at the time of marriage and still after marriage lot of differences come up and quiet a few of them end up in divorce. So how can two people who have never shared their thoughts, dreams and ideas together marry obeying their parents and lead a life together afterwards? 
Americans hear with shock and awe the stories of arranged marriages. So what makes an arranged marriage work? Most of my friends and I found our partners through arranged marriage. I saw my “would be wife” for the first time only on the day of engagement. Our marriage was 19 days after engagement but never had a chance to meet her between the engagement and marriage as both of us were in two different states. 
If you closely observe the concept of arranged marriage don’t you think the girl and the boy who gets “arranged married” understand each other better even though they haven’t seen or talked a lot earlier? Let me explain this with an example. Let us take a typical arranged marriage in India. By typical I mean all the various equations like caste, culture, language, age, sub caste, family status, educational qualifications etc are taken considered. Assume the parents of a Brahmin boy from one of the South Indian states is looking for a bride. The boy knows that the girl whom his parents will find for him is “supposed” to be vegetarian, celebrate the same kind of festivals, go to same places of worship etc. He knows for sure that since the girl whom his parents are going to find is brought up in almost the same culture as his they may share a lot of things in common. So now even before he talks to the “would be girl” he has some idea about her likes and dislikes. 
Now assume a hypothetical situation – an arranged marriage between a Brahmin boy from South India and a Muslim girl from Kashmir. Same as the above case, they have never met, talked only for a couple of times. Now you have a problem. Neither the boy nor the girl knows what to expect. The boy doesn’t know the culture in the girl’s house in Kashmir nor she the South Indian culture. They don’t even know each other’s mother tongue. There food habits are totally different. The boy most probably won’t like the smell of the non vegetarian food but the staple food in the girl’s house may be red meat. The girl won’t have a clue of the religious functions in the boy’s house. So in this case it will always be better to talk, date and understand each other’s likes and dislikes before deciding to marry. 
Doesn’t the second example hold true in America? Most often 2 people from entirely 2 different backgrounds brought up in entirely different cultures meet, then date and then decide to marry. They don’t know each others like and dislikes and hence it is important that they talk and go out a lot before marriage. 
Coming back to the arranged marriages in India – things are fast changing in India. Love marriages are fast catching up with arranged marriages in India. Earlier the chances of 2 people from two different castes, religion, language and culture, freely interacting were very rare. With the changing world a Muslim girl sitting in Kashmir can easily communicate her feelings to a Brahmin boy in the Southern most part of India and they can decide for themselves if they want to marry or not. Earlier they didn’t have a chance but to go with arranged marriage. So I believe that with the world becoming so flat with no boundaries, you may see less number of arranged marriages but arranged marriages never will die as it has a strong history of success behind them.

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36 Comments:

Blogger Ajith said...

You'r right .In indian context,Arranged marriage seems to work better than the Love marriage .The reason is simple. Our values are greatly influenced by our parents.So in arranged marriage,its actually a fusion between parents of like minded attitude and outlook. For eg: A college professor would prefer to have a marriage from a family of teachers.Here the marriage life goes fine since the values taught by both families would be common like be humble,dont be greedy for money,spend money wisely ,give importance to education etc. This plays a major role in avoiding differnt reacions when faced with a life situation. I believe arranged marriage may succeed in west as well since parents would tend to look for parents with matching frequencies .

October 08, 2008 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the subject of arranged marriage is coming up more and more as Westerners embrace Eastern thought. LATimes wrote a story on the subject and HBO is even planning a TV show on the concept:

http://www.trendhunter.com/trend/hbo-now-casting-volunteers-for-upcoming-reality-tv-show-arranged-marriage

website for the TV show: http://www.arrangedmarriagetv.com

October 08, 2008 9:17 PM  
Blogger scorpiogenius said...

In India the society is too much fragmented and the orthodox habits are deeply embedded in the society. There are too many factors to look upto before tying the knot. Unlike the West, our family system is so much interwoven into the society that it is far too difficult for individuals to exist by breaking the bond.

I guess we will need a couple of generations more to think the way the West is doing it now..Talking about it, which system is more stable Brijesh?? Ours or theirs???

So....what use is their system of dating, living in and then marrying if its all done to break up in 2-3 yrs?;)

October 08, 2008 11:10 PM  
Blogger Sindhu said...

That was a really interesting read. Very well-written. I wrote about arranged marriage a few weeks back on my blog.

You bring some very good points... it's definitely true that the crux of a successful matchmaking session within an arranged marriage setting has to do with innate knowledge of each others' habits and lifestyle preferences. Otherwise, if you have no clue about any of that, the only way to get to know the person is thru the Western route.

October 09, 2008 2:35 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Ajith,
I don’t think the concept of arranged marriage will become a reality in West.

Anon
Thanks for those links

Scorpiogenius
What system is good – I don’t have an answer. Each has its plus points and drawbacks. I see lot of my colleagues who get shocked by this concept of arranged marriage and asks me how/why this works and my post was intended to them.

Sindhu
Welcome to my blog. You are right. It has to be a 100% arranged marriage looking into all the various parameters or choosing the partner on your own.

October 09, 2008 6:29 AM  
Blogger Kenney Jacob said...

The history of success of arranged marriages is because of our tight society.

In America divorces are common, just because they can afford it.

The family background thing you have mentioned is very true. But dont you think thats an artificial requirement.

Arranged marriages are here to stay.. until we open our minds to accept that marriage is between 2 individuals.

October 10, 2008 6:26 AM  
Blogger preethi said...

Interesting article Brijesh..You are exactly right about the fact that the interests of two people from the same background would be the same and that's one of the main reasons arranged marriages succeed. I think there is also the other fact that people who opt this route to gettin married are initially atleast quite sensitive to their partners' views and interests and work harder in making their marriage succeed than in love marriages where they might take each other for granted..

October 10, 2008 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article is very superficial. There is a lot more that goes into making marriages work. One of the main things is the mind set of the two people involved. If the two individuals want to make each other happy and want to work at making it work, then only will the marriage work whether it is arranged or love marriage. If either one decides to dominate or be selfish about being happy it will not work.

People have to enter marriage ready to face anything. It doesn't really require you to know the person before or for you to have similar backgrounds. It may make it easier but doesn't guaranty anything.

Point to really note is that just because a marriage doesn't end in divorce does not mean that it works! People stay in marriages due to many obligations. Most of the time those obligations are not enough to nature stable family.

Majority of arranged marriages may not end in divorce due to many reasons but they only work if the two individuals and the two families are clear on what they want out of their lives and this relationship. Then only will they be happy.

I believe in arranged marriages and it really works out great for those people who are clear about their life.

Their is more reason to stay together in arranged marriages people are not so quick to give up due to many obligations with family etc. Possibly why love marriages don't last is they enter into it with preconceptions about that person and when it is not the reality they don't want to or feel the need to work hard to make things work. As their is nothing to fall back on.

Its very simple really, love before marriage or after there has to be love. More importantly trust in either yourself, parents or the person you intend to marry.
As long these two things exist any marriage will work whether it is arranged or not.


This maybe reaching beyond the scope of the article but something to think about. The real point of marriage (or sex) is to cultivate responsible human beings who are of use to society but how is that possible if you don't think about the needs of the person you chose to spend your whole life with! It is scientifically proven that only if the couple are happy within themselves and with each other is it possible to bring healthy, bright individuals into this world who hopefully will help move the society forward or at least be a good human being.

Bottom line marriage is hard work as anything is in life no matter how it happens, so one has to have the attitude to do whatever it takes to make it work and also be happy.

So chose wisely and know what you want and you will be happy.

October 10, 2008 8:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Rodrigues said...

Anonymous has written beautifully what I have to say. It's not that arranged marriage is better than love marriage or vice versa. Finally what counts is the love and understanding between the people involved. And the divorce rate in Indian marriages has nothing to do with arranged or love marriages. Seems like marriages even though they are in trouble still don't opt for divorce because Indians are more family oriented and divorce is considered a taboo by many. So most Indians would try and adjust even in an unstable marital relationship.
It's kind of almost disappointing that you speak about religion, caste, etc when it comes to marriage. Finally it should be up to the people who want to marry. It should not matter what religion, caste or community they belong to. If two people love each other and can live with each other it should be fine. Because adjustment and compromises have to be done in any marriage whether arranged or love.

Frankly, I view arranged marriages especially ones which happen within a span of a few days with a skeptical mind. While it is true that most people are good, if I have to spend my lifetime with someone, I would rather do it with someone of my choice who I know at least to some extent. It is strange why people seem to rush even in arranged marriages when a combination of arranged and love can be formed. Maybe, marriages should be arranged but quite some time should be given to the people to understand each other and see if they match each other.

October 11, 2008 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Vishal said...

I actually agree with what Anonymous said above. Low divorce rate doesn't imply a successful marriage institution. In fact, the desirable rate of divorce in any society is non-zero. Surprised? Read my post titled "Is Divorce Underrated?" (link below) or read The Logic of Life by Tim Harford.

http://vishal12.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/is-divorce-underrated/

Vishal

October 11, 2008 8:12 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

anon/kevin/vishal,

The intention of the post was never to compare arranged marriage to love marriage. Lot of people who don't understand Indian culture cannot get the concept of how arranged marriage works and this post was intended to through some light into it. No where in the post I compared both. I know we can have endless debate on which one is better but intention of this post was different.

October 11, 2008 11:43 PM  
Blogger Dilip Muralidaran said...

Also to note the following points...

1. A woman is considered a "vazhavetti", or something (in south india, tamilnadu) to the sort of the one who was not fit to live in a family setup if her marriage does not work. It is no lesser than being a whore.

2. Women are expected to put up with everything husbands throw at them. Almost every other arranged marriage has had problems that have been covered up.

3. Sexual preference, likes/dislikes are never a consideration in arranged marriages hence if one of the partner is a failure in bed i.e., does not satisfy the other then regardless of how compatible they are the marriage is a colossal failure.

4. Dowry is a common practice in almost all arranged marriages. Shocking as it may sound it is concealed as jewelery and gifts the parents give to their daughter when they get married. I see women of wealthy and highly educated families do this.

5. Dowry in turn leads to female infanticide. Look here, its all in there.

http://50millionmissing.wordpress.com

I see no science behind arranged marriages. Force the woman down the throat, if she spits it up then call her a whore? I can't understand how that is a fair game in the first place. Lets all wake up and say Divorce is cool from now on and see how Indian marriages tumble down like Humpty Dumpty.

October 12, 2008 5:32 AM  
Blogger vikky said...

but in America,an example like kashmiri and south indian are very rare,they dont have that diversity in Culture or in anything,so by ur analysis even arranged marraiges should work even more effectively

October 12, 2008 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Historically the custom of marriage had close association with the need of the society. I can comment on the Kerala culture in 19th and early 20th century where for example, Nair girls were wedlocked with Nambothiris. These were purely arranged which gave monetory and and kind of Orthodox value to Nairs. Live-in relationships without marriage where there between Nair-Ezhava men women also. One example from our classic is the marriage between Draupadi and Pandava brothers. It is also believed that Pandu was impotent and used different people to mate Kunthi to give birth to Pandava brothers. The crux here is we have traces of American culture. But we are evolving and so do the Americans.

If you see Kerala or India during Early to Late 20th century, you can see one pattern. Girls were not highly educated and considered a downtrodden. Basically in most of the families men were powerful and authoritative. This brought in two things, girls were indecisive and most of the time lacked opinion. Men in family enjoyed this self claimed position of protectors and grabbed all the decisions with them selves.
As the society evolved and girls are more educated, arranged marriages become more tougher , because girls gained the power to reject and choose. Girls today have their own opinion and calculate twice/thrice before getting into a marriage relationship. You can see many cases of divorce happening due to this phenomenon. I think the indian society will soon adapt the American culture as the girls gain more power and education. With ministers like Renuka Chaudhury men will soon become downtrodden and we will see an opposite phenomenon of what used to happen in early 20th century.

October 13, 2008 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Complete rubbish.
In India women dont have any financial security hence the lower divorce rates.
Arranged marriages were fine when it was a child marriage, and parents would decide. Also it works fine when everyones thought processes are uniform in the given caste/community.
Now with people having varied interests say if someone is interested in sailing, whats the point if his wife gets sea sick. Compatibility goes way beyond food habits and which God you worship

October 13, 2008 9:34 AM  
Blogger Dr.panday said...

All relegions in india are more or less under the influence of mejority relegion Hinduism which teaches its social values from the various sources of puranas which also provides the discriptions of wife in the form of parvati who loves shiva and goes with various kinds of self imposed tortures in order to get him as husband despite of the dislikes of her parents wish to marry her with the shiva.
I mean to say and agree the views of anonymous that the stability of the marreges has nothing to do with arranged or so called love marrieges unless one has the real spiritual love converted into the marriege.In fact the so called love marrieges are on the threat of break coz there is no love associated with its fundamental principle of sacrifice,complete unconditional surrender with devotion for each other.None of the parties are considering their partener as its half part but all feels thamself as a complete in itself.Henca all are free and none require another except some physical requirements which can not be fulfilled in the absence of another and this is the chief handicap and binding factor of the servival of marrieges.The moment this adhesive is removed from the relationship a silent seperation of even physical level starts and ultimately culminates in the form of divorce.In arranged marriages due to various socio economic adhesive factors in the society like joint family system,socio relegeous functions and panchayat systems the bond survives for longer duration than the west.Apart from that the muslim culture which almost ruined the ancient hindu culture and left its imprint of male dominance and female suppression also brings the cumpulsion of sustainability of arranged marrieges despite of the fact that wife is well aware of the extra marital relations of their husbands of arranged marrieges but they do not dare to intervane.Even in their situations from maternal side very strong and suportive financially
can this kind of sustainability of arranged marrieges will be viewed as a better and everlastibg one??

October 13, 2008 7:49 PM  
Blogger shilpa said...

I think..that no matter the route to the 'Mandap' ( love/arranged), the effort that you need to put in to make it work..is similar.I think marriages start to decay when you take someone and your marriage for granted.I like the fact that now a days, a greater number of women enjoy financial independence, and hence are free from a 'need to stay in a bad marriage'.The arranged marriage scenario has changed..I guess you go with what makes sense to you,and work on your marriage every day!

October 14, 2008 9:38 AM  
Blogger Dilip Muralidaran said...

I have some questions for Mr. panday, his claims kindle a lot of curiosity in me. What i would like to know is...

"In fact the so called love marrieges are on the threat of break coz there is no love associated with its fundamental principle of sacrifice,complete unconditional surrender with devotion for each other"

Did you even realize that this sentence is not even gramatically correct to make any complete sense? I wonder how love marriages are on the threat of break? I mean, if you love someone and get married and then you find you don't love them anymore, you get out of that stupid marriage. You don't force yourself to live with that person for eternity putting yourself through misery and depression forever. As a physician Mr. Panday ought to know better, i assumed.

"In arranged marriages due to various socio economic adhesive factors in the society like joint family system,socio relegeous functions and panchayat systems the bond survives for longer duration than the west"

Sorry Mr. Panday but you are completely OFF topic here. The blog and discussion is about Arranged / Love Marriages and not about Marriages in the east and the west. Secondly you answered the pitfalls of the arranged marriage system yourself.

"economic adhesive factors" -> Many women in the arranged marriage system are home makers, or more so indecently called 'house wives' and do not have an income. The husband does not want the wife to go to work because he fears workplace sex abuse or extra marital affair. The husband is god and he provides. If you get out of that marriage you are on the streets, no better than a beggar.

"socio relegeous functions and panchayat systems" -> one who does not manage to get a good husband and does not live with him or gets out of that marriage is deemed to be evil or a pervert or be accused of whore'ing around. Now you give the woman two options. Either live with a husband that beats the crap out of you everyday or dont live with him and be called a whore. I bet 90% of the women would pick option 1 because the economic factors also come into play. Not all indian women are independent financially even if they go to work. They turn over all of their income to the husband and the husband still provides. Remember in almost any religion a woman when walking in public space like the road MUST be accompanied by a man, if she walks alone she is a whore. Apply the same logic to weddings. It makes perfect sense.

"muslim culture which almost ruined the ancient hindu culture and left its imprint of male dominance and female suppression" => This is only true to a minor extent. Any monotheistic religion is also paternal in nature. Hinduism is no angel. What did rama do with sita? Asked her to bathe in fire for no fault of hers. Secondly Sati, Polygamy, Dowry murders, female infanticide, the list is endless. Are you kidding me? Every religion is paternal. It has been made By the man for the man. Its nice to know the woman has a significant part to play in hinduism and other pagan religion but that does not place her on the same platform as the man does. Menstruation is considered ill omen or uncleanly while no one questions masturbation. I ask why? Masturbation is normal like menses, that is also a sexual cycle of a man. Why does no religion have restrictions on people going to places of worship on the days they jerk off to a porn dvd? Because you cannot find out but you can with a woman?

Similarly Virginity is for the woman. Why? Because you can find out, the man is a virgin if he says so. There are no medical tests capable of proving it.

Mr. Panday, its a paternal society and your views are a perfect example. Please treat women like human beings and not like cattle. You cannot buy and sell them in the name of something called "Arranged Marriage". Every woman has the right to choose which man she wants to be with. Its nobody's business to interfere. Not the parents, not the kith and kin, not the government, not god (if at all god exists). The debate of arranged vs. love marriages is so prehistoric in india and its so useless we even have to talk about it. What happens between a man and a woman in the spectrum of love is EXCLUSIVELY that man and woman's business. I fail to see what interest and gain a third party needs to have in it, unless and until of course he is a pimp and is selling sex.

October 14, 2008 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Revathi said...

It is unbelievable how some comments have gone into interpretations far removed from the topic.
Earlier arranged marriages were a must since marriages were between children and were strictly contracts between two like minded families. Nowadays young people in india have started treating this institution like a dating service and with women becoming more and more demanding and independent, it takes years for the poor parents to find some one and mostly, people are well into their thirties when they marry! I dont see much merit in this system in todays context.

October 14, 2008 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Tarun said...

Brijesh, you wrote this very well, I think in India marriage is like a relationship between 2 families, may be that's another reason to standout longer.

econd reason, in most of the marriages wife's are dependent on husband so even there are differences they can't think of splitting because of money related thing. While this is not the case here in west. It's not like that all arranged married women are happy with this. In east women have less power or authority to get decision independently while this is not the case in west. I am saying all this in general because in metros story is little bit different almost in the same trek as here in west.

October 14, 2008 6:39 PM  
Blogger Mani said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 16, 2008 1:55 AM  
Blogger Mani said...

Utter ignorance and vicious leveraging of spatial and temporal invalidities associated with social and cultural definitions is the most significant reason for the most of the social injustices found across the globe!

Is there anything wrong with arranged marriages? Or is there anything wrong with Hinduism? Or is there anything wrong with a girl being Housewife? Or is there anything wrong with a man expecting his woman to be a virgin? Or is there anything wrong with the absence of virginity in a girl? Or is there anything wrong with a woman’s menstrual hygiene being put to question? Or is there anything wrong with third person’s involvement between a man and a woman? It is absolutely nothing wrong with not only any of the aforementioned but also any other socio-cultural definition.

Every socio-cultural definition – be it arranged marriage or principles of Hinduism or even the idea of GOD – is built around the absolute truth as well as the ultimate wisdom of our ancestors with a sole intention to help us live a better life. But all these definitions need to be adapted as the space and time changes. Anything that does not adapt – be it Dinosaurs or Hinduism – will become extinct. Either our failure to realize this due to lack of intelligence or our vicious smartness in bending the absolute truth to our own advantage is the unfortunate reason for the most of our social and cultural shortfalls.

Before we slam the symbolism of infernal punishment Seetha being sentenced to, have we ever appreciated the meaningful representation brought out by the presence of Rama as well as the absence of his female equivalence? It represents a fact that men are polygamous while women are not. It emphasizes the criticality of man’s loyalty to his woman in a society. Infernal punishment that Seetha being sentenced to only represents the other half of the truth.

During pre-industrialization era until 1600s, the economy in every nation was primarily dependent on agriculture, construction and acquisition of wealthier lands through war. It is natural that men were more employable than women during that time. There was nothing wrong with men being money-makers and women being home-makers then. A foolishly ignorant or a dishonestly smart man is the one who leveraged his financial prowess to dominate his woman and to deny her fundamental rights. It is the same hypocrite - who bent the absolute truth behind the spiritual representation brought out by Rama and Seetha to his advantage – who expected the loyalty from his woman while his staying largely disloyal to her.

Marriages are arranged for a reason. Don’t we ever feel the need for help from others? Don’t we know the value of experience and wisdom? Don’t we think people - who lived thirty years more than what we have - know better than us? Of course, Marriage is a business between a boy and a girl. But is not it a team of inspiring parents along with the aspiring couple necessary to run the business successfully? Even when two hearts fall in love with each other, the two minds still need to be tuned by parents for their resonance.

Whether the arrangement should be within a society or not is a separate topic itself. It had been widely within a society due to obvious reasons. A blind confinement to this arrangement without any insightfulness is most likely either due to sheer ignorance or due to vicious smartness and will eventually lead to its unfortunate extinction.

Honesty, Intelligence and Strength should be HIS to continue to be a positive force in this universe. It is because that not only are dishonesty, stupidity and hypocrisy the evil forces but also are inter and intra emotional tie-ups! These evil forces are the reasons why we are suffering and are what we are implicitly discussing here.

October 16, 2008 2:12 AM  
Blogger Dilip Muralidaran said...

"Every socio-cultural definition – be it arranged marriage or principles of Hinduism or even the idea of GOD – is built around the absolute truth" is utter rubbish. There is no truth in the fact that menstrual cycle is unhygienic and infectious that the woman needs to be quarantined. Can i have scientific proof with references to a scientific paper published in a reputed journal that validates the necessity to quarantine women during their periods?

"ultimate wisdom of our ancestors" is again hilarious a claim. Our ancestors believed that the lunar eclipse happened because a snake devoured the moon for a few minutes and then spit it out. Is this a prime example of ultimate wisdom?

Civilizations move forward with the study of things around them. We know why the eclipse happens, we know that the earth is not flat and is round. We have access to technology to actually go to the moon and come back and in a short period of time we can even go to mars.

Religion is nothing but paternal. You do stuff unto the woman because you can get away with it. Why? because you have this book that is HOLY and you should not question it. Why should you not question it, BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT!

We call this in modern civilized times, appeal to authority. It is impractical and stupid and does not work anymore.

October 16, 2008 11:12 AM  
Blogger Mani said...

Let us be clear that each of intelligence, wisdom and knowledge is different from each other. Thirukkural is wisdom; Rocket Science is knowledge; Understanding this is intelligence! We have been dwelling on a woman’s menstrual cycle and its hygiene for quite a while! Let us see how we can successfully move on!

Women were restricted – quarantined is too big a word here – during the periods because menstrual pads were not available yet! We should not question why women were restricted during the periods but rather question whose ignorance or hypocrisy misinterpreted it or viciously leveraged it to his advantage that led to all the injustices done against women.

Our ancestors’ misunderstanding of lunar eclipse or their inability to see the third dimension of the earth is only a lack of knowledge. But their lack of knowledge can not put their wisdom to question. This applies very well to Hinduism, arranged marriage, Thirukkural or any other meaningful socio-cultural definition.

It is an absolute truth that men are physically stronger than women. Let us imagine the time clock winds few millenniums back: Men and women are roaming naked in thick forests. The strongest man is hunting the most number of women. Come back to the present: It is your stupidity or hypocrisy if you ever ask your woman wear a saree during the winter time in Bangalore. At the same time, I want to share with you my utter disgust at young college girls obscenely displaying their ‘JUICY’ asses inside my school campus – Arizona State University.

Advancement of knowledge has certainly improved our life and hence we are able to live longer, deeper and broader! But the core of life has not changed. We should not just stop with taking a step forward to appreciate the advancement of knowledge but also appreciate the wisdom of our ancestors even if it seems to take a step back.

Your uncontrollable desire to reinvent the wheel is not very wise! God bless you, err, bless you, bro!

October 16, 2008 8:22 PM  
Blogger Dilip Muralidaran said...

"We have been dwelling on a woman’s menstrual cycle and its hygiene for quite a while! Let us see how we can successfully move on! " -> Trying to avoid an issue is not fair play. Have you ever lived in a lower middle class indian family which is orthodox for most reasons? They have access to tampons, they have access to medicine but still their women are quarantined for those 3 days. If you deny this fact, well you are just playing a one sided game here.

Quarantined is the word, of you cannot swallow the word then its none of my problem.

Wisdom is no excuse for forcing male chauvinistic bullshit on women. Bharathiyar was a vehement womens rights advocate, at the same time he would not accept bikini's and micro mini skirts. WHy, because he lived in a time when forcing things and stereotyping women was an acceptable practice, just like how slavery was a acceptable practice.

"my utter disgust at young college girls obscenely displaying their ‘JUICY’ asses inside my school campus – Arizona State University. " -> What the hell are you implying here? Women should not display their assets? Mate, all you need is some privacy and tissue paper to help yourself. Seriously, are you telling me that their 'JUICY asses' bother you or is it the fact that you cannot get your hands on them that is disturbing? If you don't like the culture of women displaying asses get the fuck out of ASU, its an english mans land and he will do as his culture and behavioral patterns please him, you have no right to comment on how his women dress or how our women dress there to fit in. Come and join some local college in india like sathyabama university which does not even allow women and men to talk. Sexism is the way of life there and all women should wear sari or churidar. If you talk to a woman or even smile at her you will be dismissed for 3 days. You would love to see HOMELY virgin girls up there and you mind will not be so restless after all.

You are asking women to dress in a particular way YOU deem as responsible way of dressing. The logic you imply about women dressing is something like this. You want nobody to carry any large sum of money in their wallet at all in life because they may get mugged. How stupid can that be? The same logic applies to dressing too?

Am i here to believe you never wear fashionable leg hugging jeans and tight fitting t-shirts that display your lovely biceps that women around you secretly fancy? Come on! What applies to you applies to women too! If you can dress in a way to look attractive so can women. Just quit being jealous about them having tits, its not worth it.

Wisdom is nothing but common sense. Any human being knows its common sense that in a civilized society to murder, rape, lie, cheat, hurt is immoral and illegal. Every piece of Wisdom word is based on this. Thirukkural is no different.

We evolved from primates and we lived as community animals. We know that living as a community is strength and that protecting the interests of the community automatically increases the chances of your survival, hunting and reproduction too. This is fact, go find a biology professor in ASU and ask him this.

Intelligence is because we evolved to grow larger brains than necessary which is also giving us several useful by-products. By products like speech, music, art, creativity, expression etc.,

The issue here is simple. Why is quarantining menstruating women still a rampant practice in indian society regardless of religion? The answer is simple. You know what it is and you just cannot accept the facts. Its laid right on the table.

Arranged marriage is also a form of forcing things down a womans throat (also that of a man). We have come to understand the necessity of allowing the bride and the groom to interact and talk before the wedding so that they get along well but still it is arranged marriage. Somebody out there is INFLUENCING your decision making, or rather made most of the decisions for you and there are just minor parameters you can alter.

When marriages are NOT arranged chances are women will find someone out of their community and religion. This will basically increase the rate of cross communal marriages and get rid of religious tension.

Can i have examples of any society in india or any community who arrange their children's wedding out of their caste / community / religion?

October 16, 2008 8:57 PM  
Blogger Mani said...

Bro! Relax and be patient! It is very unfortunate you don’t seem to have any clue of what is called etiquette. It is quite ironical that you lack etiquette and the same time you talk about civilization! There is certainly a decent and better way to carry out a discussion especially in a public forum with a stranger. Please get this straight in your head first!

Please read this again carefully: “Women were restricted – quarantined is too big a word here – during the periods because menstrual pads were not available yet! We should not question why women were restricted during the periods but rather question whose ignorance or hypocrisy misinterpreted it or viciously leveraged it to his advantage that led to all the injustices done against women.” Have I even hinted at my implicit support for male chauvinism here?

“At the same time, I want to share with you my utter disgust at young college girls obscenely displaying their ‘JUICY’ asses inside my school campus – Arizona State University.” – All I implied by the word ‘JUICY’ is that the word ‘JUICY’ is written on the back of their pants. It is my bad that I did not put it clearly. It is below my dignity to defend myself against your baseless conclusion that I‘d want to study in Sathyabama Engineering College!

If some orthodox families quarantine the women during the periods, then some of the family members, as I clearly said, should be either ignorant or hypocrite. My point was different – restriction of women during a time when there was no menstrual pad available had got a reason.

Of course, everyone has common sense. But wisdom is the accumulation of common sense over generations. Don’t argue with me that you are innately well aware of everything said in Thirukkural, just because you have common sense! That is why I said that you seem to want to reinvent the wheel.

All I had said that the business between a boy and a girl should be run by a team of inspiring parents along with the aspiring couple for a marriage to be successful. There is absolutely no problem with either of love and arranged marriage but only with whoever is involved in it as there is no issue with LIFE but only with the way you LIVE!

Each of intelligence, knowledge and wisdom is as important as each other for us to have better life. Dishonesty, ignorance and hypocrisy are the main reasons for the most of the social injustices. Our emotions also unfortunately play the biggest role sometimes and lead to these social menaces.

October 16, 2008 10:44 PM  
Blogger Dilip Muralidaran said...

I probably lack etiquette just like how your initial comments on women dressing / behavior appears (for reasons of being polite i shall term) "male chauvinistic". Declaring that women with Juicy asses(or juicy written on their trousers) disgust you is not something one would declare in a public forum either. Me and you as Indian citizens have something called freedom of expression. I can write any damn thing on my t-shirt and walk around, so can you. As long as they are not instructions to murder somebody, its all moral and legal.

Secondly, you were the one who had issues with women dressing provocatively in ASU, not me. Its the US of A. Women WILL dress provocatively, that is the American culture. Its liberal and its all about displaying your assets. As a student who went to ASU to study you have the obligation to accept the culture and live in it and follow the law of the land. Its not necessary you need to admire it or follow it, i bet nobody is forcing you to like these shabbily dressed women. Go make friends with Indians who wear churidar or Saree and close your eyes when you see a low rise jean, no one is stopping you. The reason i brought out sathyabhama is to show you how arranged marriage mentality parents force sexism on their children at a young age. These are well educated parents with capabilities to borrow about 40 lakh rupees for an engineering seat. If they can behave so filthily then think about the much more lower section and the financially downtrodden section of the society. It is in NO way meant to insult you or talk you into joining Sathyabhama. I would not make my worst enemy study in sathyabhama, i'd rather poison him compared to 4 years of daily sexism torture i can instill on him. I'm not that cruel.

"If some orthodox families quarantine the women during the periods" -> It is a clear understatement of the fact that proves you have no remote clue about indian families on planet earth. 80% of this nation is either below the poverty line or lower middle class. This applies to more than 3/4th of the families in this country and we're not discussing exceptions here. Leave alone the educated and rich orthodox ones, lets give them a free pass. Families with lesser income means lesser education, lesser education means more orthodox and more religious. Did we ever fall short of road side temples and churches in india? We still have problems with "Female Infanticide". I work for this group and i can write a book on burnt brides due to dowry problems. In fact we rescued a girl who was forced to drink acid and guess what? She went right back to her husband because her parents would not support her and the society considered her an outcast because she did not live with her husband. She was called a whore and she decided dying in the hands of her in-laws was a better option, post all the time, money and effort and plans we put together for her for the past 1 and a half years while she battled for her life in a government hospital with the most ridiculous hygienic conditions.

Not all emotions are justifiable. If someone mugs me in the streets and i fight back and injure one of them thieves badly, that is justifiable. However if i see a tight t-shirt on a girl that displays her you know what, i have no right to justify my emotion and lay my hands on that woman. Emotions need moral justification and common sense if it is going to be put to action.

I'm sure that as a student of ASU you agree with me that the taliban way of government that strictly follows the islamic shariya law is baseless and makes no sense. Similarly, getting two people who have never met before in life and giving them 3 or 6 odd months on the phone to like each other (since they have to anyways) before they get married makes no common sense at all and im sure you know it already. Again this 3 - 6 month is only for the educated and well funded families who have access to mobile phones and who are liberal enough about this. Lets for a moment forget the vast majority who do not fall under this category.

I still have no answer on how arranged marriage is helpful to the society. The government is trying to promote inter-caste and cross communal marriages.

So i ask again. Can i have examples (at least say 10 or 20 of them from the 1 billion desi's in india) of any society in india or any community who arrange their children's wedding out of their caste / community / religion?

How does arranged marriage help emphasize the "freedom of expression", "communal harmony" and "Religious integration" in a diverse and divided society like india on the basis of caste, creed and religion?

Could you please educate me on these topics for the sake of this etiquette lacking individual?

October 16, 2008 11:38 PM  
Blogger Mani said...

I have few serious problems in discussing with you: 1. you are getting too personal - which proves that your discussion lacks something important. For example, “I bet nobody is forcing you to like these shabbily dressed women. Go make friends with Indians who wear churidar or Saree and close your eyes when you see a low rise jean, no one is stopping you” 2. You don’t seem to get some of my points – importance of wisdom, benefits of arranged marriage etc.

I agree that discussing about women in the way I did is no decent either. Please don’t keep dwelling on a point. That makes you look very picky and argumentative. Sorry if I hurt you again! I have a couple of questions: Is arranged marriage the main reason for female infanticide? Have I ever mentioned that arranged marriage should be within the same community?

Please read what I wrote again carefully: “Whether the arrangement should be within a society or not is a separate topic itself. It had been widely within a society due to obvious reasons. A blind confinement to this arrangement without any insightfulness is most likely either due to sheer ignorance or due to vicious smartness and will eventually lead to its unfortunate extinction”

The system of arranged marriage should certainly go through changes to suit the current time. Obviously, there are not many marriages arranged outside a cast yet. But love marriage is not the panacea either. There is equal number of problems among the lovers-turned-couples too. Education could prove to be one of the most powerful tools in this context. Every one has to be educated irrespective of sex, religion, color, race or financial status.

It is also important education should provoke one’s thoughts instead of confining him or her to definitions. In order to achieve this, education should not be confined to class rooms. But education alone would not solve everything. Then why do you have marital issues among educated couples too? Why is super capitalistic giant critically suffering from financial crisis now? It is due to lack of wisdom and the absence of spirituality.

October 17, 2008 1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the first anonymous said it wonderfully..so many truths in it!

October 17, 2008 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first Anonymous get it. The blog author is simplifying things so that he can explain his own situation. Mani, Dilip et all don't get it at all. Just so much words without any meaning behind them.

The so called arranged marriage is a partnership between two families. The marriage is expression of the will of the two sets of parents on their children. It is their vision of how things should be. The western concept gives this responsibility to the children. The "love, respect and caring" is supposed to "grow" as the time goes by but this is heavily dependent on the husband and wife. The values being quoted are bogus. Having "values" is not a Indian/Asian/Eaastern monopoly. Most of the time it is just a facade. The so called working marriages are continued because of societal stigma associated with failed marriages, familial pressure and the status of women in general. There is less stigma associated with being a divorced man rather than a woman.

November 22, 2008 3:40 PM  
Blogger Meghana said...

Hello,

Very well written post explaining our Indian culture with excellent examples.I am really impressed!

You are 100% right,the concept of arrange marriage is an excellent way to keep the institution of marriage.In India marriage is not between a girl and a boy,its a union among two families.

http://meghanaunleashed.blogspot.com/2009/05/institution-of-marriage.html

October 02, 2009 1:50 PM  
Blogger vikky said...

Arranged marriages is a very old concept and they are successfull all these days coz women were never allowed or teached to think individually.Woman going for a job or college or even to a school is not at all encouraged.May be,as one of the above guys said if a couple wants to live happily and are always predetermined that marriage is only for once,they somehow make it possible,this is a concept where no westerner can understand. If we can recall properly this is why female widowers are not encouraged for a second marriage.This is the same case why love marraiges fail because they fight on small reasons,which in their minds is big problem,coz men still think they can dominate as always that worked in arranged marriages and today women want at least their small wishes are accepted.So from now whether it is arranged or love ,both have to act balanced in their relationship.Just because caste,religion,cultures are same doesn't mean arranged marriages are ok,its the individual thinking that matters.

November 23, 2009 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Confluence said...

Arranged Marriages these days are more like introductions where both the boy and girl will be introduced by the parents. They usually date for a for while and then decide whether to go ahead and get married. This has the best of both worlds, whereby the parents will approve of the partners and the boy/girl will have a chance to get to know each other.

December 31, 2009 5:45 AM  
Blogger Confluence.org.uk said...

You can also read about Love Marriage here

http://www.confluence.org.uk/2009/01/24/v-v-ganeshananthan-love-marriage/

December 31, 2009 5:46 AM  
Blogger Shankz said...

So why arranged marriages? In the Indian system, when a boy and a gal marries, they are not looked at 2 individuals marrying, instead 2 families embracing each other. from that point forward those 2 families are no different. the daughter in law calls her mother in law mom, the SIL sees their in laws as parents. they are your family so that we have more happiness. So in order to be happy it would be easier to have 2 families having the same custom, tradition and thought process. (to a certain it is to preserve them as well) but the point is it becomes easier to gel and certain things are taken care easily.. In fact thats why child marriages had been prevalent in India to a large extent.. had the child marriage continued the porn industry wud not have existed :)!! the whole vision of life was to be happy (to reach an elevated level and I call it happiness) and in the Indian system, people did not seek things that can make them happy instead removed all the constraints that prevent them from reaching that point. if marriage doesnt happen at the right time it becomes burden while reaching that point but if it is taken care soon it becomes a vehicle to reach that point.. Is this is the perferct system? Not technically but this is a possibility if you use the tool in the right way..
So if when 2 families merge with the same understanding, custom and tradition they become a vehicle for people reaching the point of happiness.. So what about love marriages. It can be great vehicle as well. but the concern is 2 people need to take up the responsibility of creating that system. It would be a struggle but if they are mature enough they can take up that responsibility. But several times people ignore families which is primarily because gal and guy are not sufficiently mature to look at the bigger picture.

February 14, 2010 4:00 PM  
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October 10, 2011 4:10 PM  

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