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Not so young Fashion Graduate From National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi, India. Aspiring journalist. Amongst other eclectic hobbies, she likes writing and has written several poems and articles over her school and college life and now for a living. She would someday like to be be a more popular writer than just on her blogs. 'Tis a lady of grand splendor, who waketh in my bed every morning while the sun beckons her towards night...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Eternal Debate : Love Vs Arranged Marriage

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. - Mignon McLaughlin

Marriage, a concept in India, that by sheer virtue of ‘celebrations’ that has taken ginormous proportions and it is blowing up even as I write. And at my age there are constant talks of how I am not really making any efforts to make those lifelong bonds, with a person I have fallen in love with. And the one default question when I meet anybody has been, for long, “So, why haven’t you gotten married yet?” so ‘marriage’ as it is has been constantly on my mind for a while now. (And by the way there is no answer for that. I am hoping my parents wouldn’t be reading this)

But I digress from what this debate is all about.

‘Love vs Arranged Marriage.’

A debate I wrote about when I was in school, won a prize in elocution for when I was in high school, went on to discuss it at lengths with my college friends, conducted debates within a classroom I was facilitating, and now that I don’t have any of that, I am writing about it on my blog. I am left wondering why I haven’t written anything before. I have an opinion about everything. And I have had an opinion about this for longer than I can remember. So I guess here it goes.

A known devil or an unknown ghost – who would you chose?

Ideally one can never be biased about these things. One of the reasons being, that both arranged marriages and love marriages work, if one were to look at it statistically. However, what statistics fail to read are how many of them are happily married, who live as a married couple,* whose attachment towards each other is not out of mere consideration for the society. Ideally parents would have your best interests in mind when they go looking for a compatible partner for you to spend your life with, and would give you time to make the relationship grow. Ideally the guy you marry without knowing him for more than a few months is a dream come true. Ideally when you fall in love, your parents would see your happiness and celebrate your marriage to the person you have chosen. Ideally there would be absolute compatibility with your spouse’s family, you can get over all your fights without it causing any rifts and there need not be great compromises to be happy.

Also ideally there would be world peace, no corruption and a green environment where all of us singing and dancing all day.

But nothing is ideal, neither are statistics. Parents (I know a fair bunch of them, I admit) many times succumb to peer pressure to look for a ‘good looking, , Brahmin, tall, six figure salary in a corporate’ for their ‘fair, beautiful, well educated, homely girl’ in the n number of Classifieds in every Sunday newspaper in India, scrounging in the abyss called caste system. Add to that, my daughters groom has to be better than my best friend’s daughter’s groom. And all that parents are doing are looking for a package for their daughters. Forgetting that what would eventually matter is their child’s happiness. 80% girls in India aren’t even asked for their opinion in the choosing of their life partners.

I have a friend, who ended her beautiful relationship with her boyfriend for 4 years, (the kind of relationship we all had wanted) to not disrespect her parent’s wishes of marrying into the same caste. The boy later had said that “I won’t get married to anyone else, but I chose not to fight it because she would be devastated if her parents were hurt.’ It has been four years, and the boy hasn’t dated anyone else, he is doing his job as a senior executive in a multinational company, the girl meanwhile has divorced her ‘parental choice’ husband, because he would not let his overqualified wife work in a higher position than himself. She now lives separately and her parents still don’t want her to marry the one who has willingly sacrificed his love for her and her family’s so called dignity.

It is not as if arranged marriages don’t work, or love marriages don’t fail. I have seen umpteen examples of them failing miserably, but the individual has a choice he/she can exercise. He/she has a choice not to ‘adjust’ and take his/her relationship forward as they would like to. Rather a informed decision that has been made by the two people who would be most affected by this liaison, than a choice made by others who in all probability are making clouded decisions influenced by the societal norms and imposed judgements. There are families today who give a ‘dating bracket’ to the marriages they are arranging. But why not let the children make that choice themselves. The ups and downs of such a relationship would also give them the responsibility of making it work, rather than there being a blame game. But like for every other thing, I feel a lot of people in India are happier blaming others for their unhappiness or ‘adjusting’ than having a happy relationship with a match that is supposed to have been made in heaven.

Any individual should be given the right to make a choice about his or her life partner. That would also solve a very big issue in India, a problem called caste system. The chasm that is quite wide and call me optimist I think love marriages would close that divide in a time that the entire system has not been able to do in the last 65 years of independence. The inter racial divide closes in so easy if the boy and girl meet in a neutral setting, make a mature decision about compatibility, and make the efforts of keeping their relationship alive (the minimal requirement for any marriage to work, arranged or otherwise) it is a easy and a fantastic way to get the divide to close.

People who defend arranged marriages forget that the Indian system is not only about the urban metro population, but also a majority of sub urban (moffusil) and rural India where the female sex isn’t given a choice before marriage, maybe a change in mentality will also make that mutual respect grow in married life.

I shall always support love marriage, for a family is made with two people who learn to love each other over years of togetherness, but chances of that in an arranged marriage are reduced at the very beginning because you don’t even know what you are starting out with...

This post if for the Sony contest Love Marriage Vs Arranged Marriage on IndiBlogger.com
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