The Indian marriage system.

Indian marriages are all about show off and wastage of money. People spend millions of rupees on marriages. Marriages in India are like a business where very little importance is given to love. People here expect you to fall in love after getting married. In India, arranged marriages are more prevalent than love marriages. There are many cultures prevailing in India some of which even forbid love marriages. According to research by Statistic Brain Research Institute, around 90 per cent of the marriages across India are arranged. If you go for love marriage, you’re judged by people and labelled as shameless and characterless.

I’ll give just an outlook of how marriages are arranged in a few cultures in India especially by the family of a girl.
The family firstly searches for an eligible bachelor or appoints people to search for an eligible bachelor for their daughter. Also by eligible I mean a person who earns good, is respected by society, has a good family background and obviously looks good. I’ve just prioritized the traits according to the Indian families. They don’t even ask the girl about the kind of partner she wants to spend her life with. They search for a guy according to their own specifications. After that, they look at his pictures, judge him according to his looks, ask about how much he earns and take out a thorough investigation of his family background as if they’re FBI or something. If they get satisfied with all this then they meet the family members of the boy to know more about them. And then, when they’re on the verge of finalizing things, they meet the boy. After that, they give the girl and boy a few minutes to talk alone and then ask them if they’re ready to get married to each other. Just imagine two people who barely know each other are now going to get married.

Parents here think that because they’re older and they’ve seen the world, they exactly know what is good for their children. They think that they know who would be the perfect partner for their children way better than their children themselves.

Sometimes girls even compromise with so many things just to get married to a stranger. They compromise with their career, change their personality, the way they dress up and so much more. All they tell a girl is that they’ve to adjust and compromise after marriage and to me, this sentence makes no sense. Sometimes both the partners are left with no choice but to make themselves fall in love with each other due to family pressure. I do respect the concern of parents regarding their children but just so you know, parents aren’t correct always. I’ve seen arranged marriages failing too.

The Dowry System.

The dowry system has its roots in India since medieval times. Under the dowry system gifts, cash, jewellery, property etc are given by the family of the bride to the groom’s family. Sometimes, after marriage when the bride’s family is not able to fulfil the demands of the groom or his family, the bride’s in-laws even torture her, kill her or drive her to commit suicide. Dowry violence is prevalent in India. The growth of greed by the groom’s family results in the physical, sexual and mental violence against the bride. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 7,634 women died in 2015 – 20 every day – due to dowry harassment. They were either murdered or left compelled to take their own lives. Seeking a dowry has been outlawed in India since 1961 but families still expect them. It is rarely reported as a crime and many families still give and take dowries without even objecting.

It’s weird, but I do have a phobia of arranged marriages. Thinking about all this makes me restless and anxious. Thinking about marrying someone I don’t even know makes me feel uncomfortable and uneasy. I’ve seen people around me who’ve been married for 20 to 30 years or more. Some of the people married are so different from each other and don’t even seem to be compatible but still, they’re married and love each other. And the reason for this is that at their time they were left with no other option but to love each other. They never opposed but agreed silently. So many women at that time killed their dreams and desires because their family got them married and all they were left with was managing household and bringing up children. Unfortunately, few women are still doing it till date.

I might not be completely correct about all this but don’t we learn and acquire from what we see happening in our surroundings?

106 thoughts on “The Indian marriage system.

  1. You couldn’t have said this any better.
    People still don’t learn. They are still living with the old mindset. They don’t even ask the girl or boy what do they want and would go on deciding everything like they control them.This is still the sick society that it was before.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. This is so sad. It is even “sadder” when well exposed and highly educated families join the misguided crowd in partaking in such ancient dehumanising tradition. We have this happening in some parts of my country as I am typing this but I am happy that boys are girls are opening their eyes wide to fight for their rights. They know the constitution of the nation and know that when a culture or tradition threatens their human rights as citizens, it’s time to push it aside and breathe. They know that they have the right to search and choose for themselves whom they want to marry. Parents are only there to guide them, not as dictators. In my tribe, the dowry system can be scary in some states especially when youre a ‘foreigner’ that is interstate marriage. The amount of item accompanying the bride price is overwhelming. Sometimes the men don’t finish the payment. But the good thing is that they’re not disturbed mush to finish the payment and no violence in that respect. They only finish up when they have the money. All these things make life more complicated. It’s time for the government to pass regulations guiding these things.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. These preparators are hungry for wealth and value money more than a person’s life. I personally think that the government should make stricter laws against this system. The Dowry system needs to be abolished completely as soon as possible.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dowry system is not the problem. The problem is greed. In the time of our ancestors, way before white wedding came in place, it was just a little token to show that marriage has taken place. In my tribe, that’s the main marriage, without it marriage has not taken place. In modern time it’s to sell the bride to bondage and slavery with huge monetary demand. It is a time when the parents want to recover all the money they spent on the bride from conception to employment. In my locality, communities are now enhancing the dowry system and are restricting it to a few and affordable items.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. This is one of the most powerful writings, I’ve ever read. It takes a whole lot than just a pen to write such an amazing post. You’re absolutely correct with the Indian marriage system. One of my friends didn’t even get the opportunity to talk his future wife…the family (/father) chose the bride coz the family was respected. Then the father showed his son the photo & the son (my friend) obeyed him & tied the knots. He saw the face of his wife during the varmala ceremony coz the rest of the time, her phase was covered (ghoonghut). This all happened 20 yrs back or so but I still remember it. Not just women but men also go through the same drill…coz like you wrote “parents know the best for their kids”….the intention is good but the parents MUST talk to their kids & let them decide what they think… That would be a great start to break the barrier. All kinds of marriages fail….arranged or love. I’ve always believed in love marriage….I need to know a person before I can call her my life partner & my parents were always supportive….though my love marriage failed after 9 years as we were drifting away from each other. So love marriage isn’t perfect either. But the most important & biggest difference is that the man & woman get the chance to decide….not the parents. Persons aren’t machines that we need to check the specification to see the durability, mileage, long lasting strength etc. We’re talking about two persons….hearts…soul…emotions…feelings….energy…vibes.

    Though after a couple of years of darkness, I started believing in love once again & since last almost 13 yrs I’ve been married to my beautiful & loving wife. Cast, religion, community isn’t important to me…it’s the person, whom I’ll be spending hopefully rest of my life. My parents & siblings always supported me….which unfortunately don’t happen with every single daughter / son.

    See, by reading your lovely & lively post, I got an opening in me & I was able to share my story….coz I get you…

    Falling down & rising up are the part of life….whether it’s arranged or love marriage, people would rise & fall & some will again rise…at least people get the chance to choose themselves, they take the full responsibility coz it’s their own lives…parents must understand & respect their kids, it’s not about the match, it’s the sacred connection that’s the biggest no matter what people would say or they even preach lies…πŸ™

    Liked by 9 people

    1. I’m really grateful to hear your story and you’re blessed to have such supportive parents. There are many out there who aren’t even half as blessed as you. Parents want best for their children but sometimes they don’t even give an opportunity to them to speak their heart out.
      Loving before marriage makes more sense to me than loving after marriage because in the latter case you’re left with no other option but to make yourself fall in love with the other person or get divorced.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. You’re welcome. Parents need to understand they can’t make every choice for their kids…Kids need to be exposed to the world with good & bad experience….that’s how one evolves

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Arranged marriages have their positives and worked, despite couples having their ups and downs….they got on with it.

    There is a distinction in that arranged marriages are not like ‘forced marriages’ where the bride (and sometimes the groom) doesn’t have a choice.

    Love marriages…I never subscribed to that terminology. Those couples aren’t the only ones who fall in love. They also tend to fail as the infatuation period ends and the reality of marriage and commitment kicks in.

    In the modern day era I like to use the term ‘introduced marriage’ where the couple have been brought together through a common friend, family member or wedding fixer.

    In a nutshell badge it how you want. But if you’re lucky to live in a more developed city in your country you have a better chance to be the master of your destiny. In more rural areas traditional unions arranged strictly by elders will still continue.

    As for dowry? Shame in anyone who asks for it, accepts it. Simply NO room for that practice in a civil society.

    Good post!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’ve seen people getting married because their family wanted them to and they didn’t even try to oppose because they thought that no one would listen.
      Yes, exactly. In small towns and villages, elders are the ones who fix the marriages and the bride and groom aren’t even allowed to meet or see each other before their marriage. Then how would someone even know if they’re compatible or not?


      1. There’s a balancing act here. Some people spend years trying to find a ‘compatible match’ via whatever technical app there is. The problem with that is in some cases time will pass you by. Today you find a match…but there is no guarantee you or them will stay as they are always. There is an old saying that marriage is a bit of a lottery….well you need 10% and 90% comittment to make it work. Make it work when you make that first transition, make that first home purchase, have children, educate them, marry them off. As long as couples have the attitude to dedicate their lives to each other, then who cares ‘how they met in the first place’. Good example…you start a new job and join a new team. But you didn’t check before hand whether you were compatible with each team member….however over time you learn to work together…..

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Wow! I have watched Indian movies where the tradition is being displayed. I noticed that they love gold jewelry a lot, it is mostly used to dress the bride, jewelry on nose, wrist, legs, navel and so on. Through this post I am able to know more about the marriage rites.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Ah! That’s real. Indian marriages are pathetic, waste of wealth and this dowry system is the most annoying part of it. Well written dearπŸ‘

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Sometimes I wish WordPress would adopt the thumbs down. I appreciate your writing, but this subject makes me very sad. I too have known people that were in arranged marriage, most tried to seem happy to others, but I could always see the sadness in their eyes. It doesn’t help I can often feel people’s emotions and it often hurt my heart when one would ask another if they were doing alright in their new marriage. The smiles and words of celebration hid what I could see and feel. Thank you for writing about what I became aware of about 14 years ago.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Shivani ……you have taken a very narrow view of the marriage system and generalised it….yes there are flaws….but I request you to travel India and you will find that the simple marriages ceremonies far outnumber the big fat weddings… Dowry was always a curse …but then it did not start as that…what started as a girl getting her share from her paternal property turned into this dowry system with the bridegroom’s side demanding……we got to end the system…don’t be part of it one can force you …love marriages are also not fool proof ..see the number of divorces…
    Mine is a love marriage…just spent a few thousand on the entire event…
    What I wish to say is that better than sitting and criticising one should move out and bring about the change one is looking for ..

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I know that it doesn’t happen all over India that is the reason I clearly mentioned: “in a few cultures in India”.
      Yes, we got to end the dowry system and that’s what I strive towards. Also, I’m not just sitting and criticising. I’ve seen it happen that is the reason I wrote about it and I try to do the best I can to end it. I know it well that just sitting and writing won’t help.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Right …what’s wrong everyone knows ….the intent here should be to bring out what’s being done to eradicate a wrong or what you have done to set things right’ …..your article is silent on both these aspects…hence my comment
        God bless

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I believe the change starts with oneself and I’m trying to bring about a change from my family itself. Everything I wrote happens around me and as I wrote: “we learn and acquire from what we see happening in our surroundings” so I just pointed out my opinion.
        Everyone has their own perspective and opinions. You’ve yours and I’ve mine so I believe there’s no space for getting offended.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I think I’d be phobic if I had to take arranged marriage seriously. I mean, I know it’s serious. So many women dying over dowries? That would only fuel the fire of fear.

    In my experience, arranged marriages are either folklore (and for me, folklore is important) or aberration of family ambition. I won’t say that feelings have to be the only thing; but there is friendship, too, that comes from getting to know each other (before a wedding) and growing to enjoy each other’s company.

    I don’t know, what do I know. But I do know this is an excellent review of the phenomenon as it has happened in India and how it’s happening now.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I believe, you should know your partner well before getting married. What if one gets arrange married and the partner is completely the opposite of what they wished. It will either ultimately end in a divorce or they’ll just continue their marriage and force themselves to fall in love with each other. There’s so much uncertainty.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I wouldn’t agree with you completely here, as because I’ve seen people wanting to have an arranged marriage, are happy with their arranged marriage and have spent minimum on their wedding.
    My point here is I’m of the belief that the more one spends on their wedding trying to show off, the more their roots are porus, the main reasons for failed marriages. I know it sounds funny that after both the girl and the boy’s parents have had their decisions made, the two get to meet once and decide (where this decision is just formality sake, as the fate is already sealed) But in the new India, the concept of arrange marriage has grown much better, the opinions of the two marrying are now considered, and the pressure to marry is not because the other side is good/wealthy, but because the person’s age is increasing and the fear of remaining unmarried (which for what reasons i don’t know these people think is a curse) eats them.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I know arranged marriages work out too that’s why I specifically mentioned that in some cultures people still don’t inquire of the consent of their children. And if they do then it’s just for the sake of formality.
      Also, I completely respect your point of view too. Everyone has different opinions and perspectives.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes i agree, but that’s why I mentioned too about the main pressures for marrying not being money/happiness but the ever increasing age of the person. I’m not a supporter of arranged marriage, but the concept of it which was before is certainly improved as of today

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Yeah, in few culture of India they took pride on big fat wedding and some parents won’t ask for their children opinion on marriage.
    Yet love find its way in arranged marriage too. There might be more compatability among arranged marriage couples.
    The dowry system is not good.The problem is not with arranged marriage it’s mainly by the dowry system. Hope it would eradicate by us in upcoming generations.
    I agree with what you said about arranged marriage.Still I am having positive aspect of arranged marriage.Bcoz I saw many couples being happy in arranged marriage.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. It’s so hard for the Love to find a place in this human world ?
    All for money, power, prestige…
    And what for ?
    All forgive one thing. We born one day, without nothing. We are nude from the mother.
    And we die one day. The material things and other prestige, don’t follow us, on the other side.

    Miss G

    Liked by 3 people

  13. It even feels worst when dowry in cash and luxury has been directly asked from groom’s parents and then they expect that the girl should accept them as a family. Double standards in this society still exists.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. The challenges that Indian women face are sometime appalling. The ratio of men/women is so off-balance, that I’ve been concerned at how the inevitably violent male response will play out. It seems that these days, women’s families can actually demand a dowry instead (in the Chinese style) as men’s prospects are particularly dim. A more extreme example caught my attention as another alternate solution:

    Liked by 3 people

  15. This is an interesting post. I learnt about this thirty five years ago. However, you have added some interesting personal details, which are very shocking and shiwt a deeper inequality for women than we have currently in the West, although some men do think they can dictate how to dress and behaviour to women in Britain as well. Only recently in our history high heels were compulsory for office staff in many cases. This too was a patriarchal pleasure which women complied with to please men. How strange women can be in their assumptions that they are not loveable just as they are. In fact many men prefer natural beauty, and dislike the painted and fake looks.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Marriages in Nigeria are equally as expensive. There are parts pf the igbo tribe (my tribe) were ridiculous rites have to be fulfilled to show to the bride’s family how capable the groom is. Minimalism is still very foreign to my people.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Indeed, parents are our well wisher….but unknowingly they commit mistakes…. They focused over physical appearance buy forget about psychological match which is the key need for a long lasting love.. .and let the couple a few minutes to talk, understand each other and decide their career…
    Even In many case the couple has no right to have a premarriage meeting….and society let them to make love before understanding themselves……

    Liked by 2 people

  18. We all know about the strict cultures of India that sometimes get suffocating. Arrange marriage is unfair for both men and women, worser for the latter because of practices like dowry. You have wonderfully framed the plies of Indian women with words.

    Liked by 1 person

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