Amitab Bachchan & Jaya Bhaduri with Amitabh’s Parents, Via Pinterest
Love Marriage is still an exception in India
There very few epic stand-offs that rival that between Indian parents and love marriage! The broad understanding we all have (thanks to the constant diet of Bollywood movies) is that all Indian parents are controlling and love marriage is not in their vocabulary. The reasons proffered ranges from the importance of commitment and practicality to the fear of losing control over their wards.
Parents are opposed to love marriages because arranged marriages are the norm in our country and anyone trying to challenge this stranglehold of arranged marriage is considered to have gone “astray” from the family traditions.
In order to maintain peace with the Jodi-making generation (As opposed to the Jodi-seeking generation), we are going to turn the question on its head and ask why arranged marriages are so prevalent in our country?
10th February 1840: Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) and Prince Albert (1819 – 1861) on their return from the marriage service at St James’s Palace, London. Original Artwork: Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)
We are arguably the oldest culture still thriving, the societal norms set in the Indus Valley over 5000 years ago are still followed. If our epics are believed to be factual, then the rules of our society were set up 4 eons ago. Older cultures like older people look upon change with suspicion.
Arranged marriages have been the norm the world over for a very long time. Love marriages have gained currency only since the famed marriage of Queen Victoria and Price Albert, about 200 years ago. We will get there at a more stately pace in the next 200 years with one caveat: If and only if love marriages prove to be more successful than arranged marriages.
We speak different languages, follow different but similar traditions and the flora, fauna varies enough across the country to earn the sobriquet “Indian Subcontinent”.
Our food habits are varied! A single meal of Roti-Subji makes my staunch south Indian father positively ill while a dinner of rice and sambhar makes my Delhiite neighbor feel very heavy! I made a mango chutney in the Bengali style and my taste buds decided, adding Panch Phoran wrecks Mango Pachadi.
How do we ensure our tiny but, significant differences are propagated across generations? By insisting on marrying within our own groups, i.e., arranging marriages. It has helped preserve our Indianness despite multiple invasions since the time of Alexander and foreign rule since the time of Mohammad of Ghazni.
Life here makes a mash of what is tradition and what would come under religion. We let our holy books cover every aspect of life from what would be a good time of birth to elaborate rituals at the end of life. And we let traditions govern our religion. Even when we change the faith we follow, we carry our traditions along. Do churches in any other country have a Dwaja Stambhamat the entrance? I doubt it.
How can this mishmash of tradition and religion not dictate marriages? And marriages can be subject to dictates only if they are arranged.
Love marriage is not part of our societal makeup
Weddings in India is a celebration of the collective, not individuals. Marriages take place between families. It is both a means of propagating the families forward and ensuring a sufficient number of retirement activities for the older generation: social activities like Weddings, Namakaran and yes, condolences double with every wedding!
More gossip, more people to share gossip and more people to gossip about. This social network has managed to subsume even Facebook, forcing the younger generation to mind their P’s and Q’s when posting online!
The only way to remain part of the collective is following the tenets of the collective. The primary tenet is marrying within one’s culture.
There is also an economic angle to the preference for being a part of the collective by marrying within the community. The huge extended family is always willing to pitch in and help the members(s) in need, fiscally or otherwise.
The price one pays for this security is conformity. Conformity is assured and ensured by arranged marriages where the partner is carefully chosen to fit in the family.
Opposing love marriage is just responsible parenting!
We are the nation that gave the world Yoga. Yoga sutra teaches us to take responsibility for our lives. “I am late because the bus broke down” is a no-no, “I am late because I didn’t plan for bus breaking down” is the correct reason.
However, we have internalized and personalized this advice and introduced an element of selfishness into it! We keep our homes clean by throwing trash out onto the street, we work towards the economic and social prospect of our families disregarding the society at large.
This strain of responsibility certainly extends to children’s happiness. How can the apple of the parent’s eye handle the vagaries of love? Will the child have the sensibility to choose wisely or will the latest Bollywood heartthrob look-alike capture his/her heart?
Parents simply bypass the heartache of failed love by arranging marriages. They are simply taking responsibility for their children’s future happiness.
Indian parents helping their children by passing on answers at the exam hall by climbing the walls! Via BBC
Parenthood is frequently a journey of diminishing expectations especially for Indian parents who are peculiarly involved in every aspect of their child growth and development.
Heard the term Helicopter Parenting, where the parents hover anxiously over their wards at every phase of their lives? Indian parents take it a step further, they are parenting quadcopters!
They track their children from birth until their own batteries run out. They are so invested in everything their children do, they become exceedingly anxious about their prospects as time goes on.
At 2 years the child seems to be a veritable genius. How can he/she not be the next Einstein or the next Bill Gates? At 12, they begin to wonder, will he/she even pass high school?
They decide the child does not have the capacity to decide on a career path and frequently pick the college and course for the child. They pour time, patience and money into ferrying the child to a dozen different classes to ensure the child makes it into the college.
Then starts the next round of worry. Can he / she ever hold down a job when remembering to close the lunch box before putting it in the bag is too much to do?
They just follow the downward intelligence arc to its logical conclusion and decide they cannot trust children to choose sensibly. They decide to arrange their lives by first arranging their marriage!
Love marriage and Mark Zuckerberg
When Mark Zuckerberg is praised for not letting anyone else run his creation, Facebook, why aren’t and shouldn’t parents be praised for managing their children’s love life?
Love marriage is similar to dating. The western world where dating is the norm has40% out-of-wedlock childbirth. They have a well-defined sex-education from middle school years. In a country uncomfortable reading prescribed Sanskrit texts and English plays because of the reference to sex and a country with absolutely no sex education, can you imagine what will happen to our birthrate? We are already the most populous country in the world. Now imagine the stress on both the social fabric and social security of our beleaguered nation!
I have no clue if we were made in the image of God or not. But, children are certainly made in the image of their extended family – eyes like mom, height like dad, intelligence like grandpa etc. Basically, they are their creation and our contribution to a better planet. Then, it stands to reason, the extended family manages the direction of their children’s lives.
What decides health and happiness better than the choice of spouse? Arranged marriages are the best way for parents to ensure their children are on the right path to happiness and prosperity.
Convincing your parents for love marriage – 5 Tips!
Having said all that, the bottom line is life is moving at quark speeds these days. Between advanced science and humanities lesson, we learn to understand ourselves and our interests very quickly. Social Media like Facebook and Google+ quickly shrinks the world to a village. And if Hillary Clinton is right, and it takes a village to bring up a child, then, this village has a hand in your upbringing and values. The person you choose to spend the rest of your life is a denizen of this village but probably a lot different from what your parents expect.
So, how do you convince your parents to approve your love marriage? Here is a 5-step approach.
Pick someone they would approve of! They don’t necessarily want a boy / girl whose great-great-grandfather was friends with your great-great-grandfather. They only want someone who can empathize with the journey your family took over the past few generations. Shouldn’t that be a given in a significant other?Prove it is more than puppy love. Remember Kamal in Manocharithra? He stays away from Saritha for a year to prove his seriousness. What would be the minimum length of time both the sets of parents would need to believe in the depth of your love?
Prove your maturity. You know all the minor irritations you create – leaving the sugar bowl open, not emptying out your pocket before dumping clothes in the laundry hamper, leaving late for work perpetually, not informing your whereabouts? Fix them. Pronto. This level of self-awareness and self-improvement shows you are maturing as a person.
Fight their fears. Parenthood is an exponentially decreasing curve of parents significance in child’s life. Marriage quickly reduces the significance of your parents. Every extended family fears a love marriage would reduce the role of relatives in one’s life at warp speed. Before even bringing up the issue of love marriage, first prove how important your family is to you. Spend time and energy shoring up their affections.
Win over each other’s family. It requires a modicum of humility to pour energy into befriending someone who views you with distrust. Both as a couple and as an individual, it is worth it. They will remember this when you need company grocery shopping, assistance in the kitchen or help babysitting.
That’s not all, we rounded up expert advice on convincing your parents for love marriage. Check it out here.
Can’t handle love marriages? Finding a soulmate starts with a great marriage biodata.
If you are in love with someone from a different caste or religion, you probably have a tough road ahead in convincing your parents to agree with your choice. Intercaste marriages are challenging for several reasons.
1. Indians don’t seem to like inter-caste marriages
Data collected by reliable surveys show that India’s preference for intercaste marriages is very low. According to the India Human Development Survey (IHDS) conducted by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), only about 5% of the 42,000 households they acknowledged intercaste marriages.
What’s more surprising is that there is not much of a difference between rural and urban populations in India when it comes to preference for intercaste marriages!
2. You can get married out of your caste and then get murdered!
Couples face immense family problems after intercaste marriages. It seems Indians don’t just register their dislike for inter-caste marriages only via surveys. Some of the regressive families take matters into their own hands and hand out a death penalty to the offending couples!
Honor killings, a sudden disappearance of the bride / bridegroom, ‘suicides’ (that’s how they are reported to the police), are real consequences of crossing the caste boundaries. These incidents don’t just happen in Bihar or Haryana. Even economically developed states like Tamil Nadu has deep-rooted misgivings against inter-caste marriages.
3. Nobody will come to your support after an inter-caste marriage
Because intercaste marriages are an unpopular concept, couples who elope to get married find themselves cornered. They strain of severing all ties to family members and the possibility of being discovered puts a heavy toll on their lives.
In many cases, they will have to relocate to a new city and build their lives from nothing. Here is a poignant story from one such victim!
But, don’t despair and not all hope is lost! We have created a step-by-step playbook that will help you in convincing your parents about inter-caste marriage and navigating the marriage ceremony itself!
Step 1: Understanding your parent’s worldview
Your parent’s background and worldview about caste can determine how easy or difficult it is for you convince your parents.
1. Orthodox: There are parents who are thoroughly orthodox and will not let their children marry out of the caste / religion at any cost. These parents believe that marrying out of the caste is a setback to their prestige or standing in the social circles and an affront to their religion / beliefs / traditions.
2. Don’t care about caste / religion: There are parents who actually don’t care about caste or religious affiliations. They just want to make sure that the children make the right choice when it comes to marriage! These parents have a liberal opinion about intercaste marriage as they might have married out of their caste or been exposed to a different culture outside India.
3. Middle of the road: There are parents who don’t care about the caste as long as the caste has a better social standing! This opinion is rooted in the idea of arranged marriages as a means to climb the social ladder or create a better economic future.
Here is a video that will give you a wide cross section of parent’s opinions about inter-caste marriages and love marriages.
Wondering why Indian parents are against love marriages and intercaste marriage? We analyzed the psychology of how parents think and came up with tips on how to overcome their objections. Click here to read this blog post.
STEP 2: The art of breaking the news to your parents
Once you determine which camp your parents belong to, you can frame a strategy to break the news. Pick one from the below options depending on your situation. There are different approaches depending on how your parents view intercaste marriages.
1. Direct approach: Round up your parents up and break the news! This is a ‘shock and awe’ approach that will be a start of a major battle of attrition. Whoever gives up first will lose!
This battle may go through the following stages:
Parents will first express outrage.
Some of them will even beat the crap out of the son / daughter.
They may ask you to get out of the house and not show your face again.
If you stand firm, this anger will graduate into emotional blackmail and pleads.
They will have some of your relatives to drive some sense into your brains.
If you go ahead and marry without their approval, they may not show up for your wedding.
If you lucky, they may change their mind once they see that you are happy and the relationship gets back on track.
There is a distinct possibility that its curtains for your relationship with you parents forever!
2. Indirect approach: Share this news with someone in your family that’s close to you (anyone other than your parents). Pick someone who has a lot of influence / goodwill with your parents. Confess your secrets and explain to them why your choice is good for you.
The idea here is to make this relative your ally in your quest to convince your parents. The job of convincing your parents falls on this relative. You will face the brunt later on once the cat is out of the bag, but you can deflect the initial anger and rage away from your path.
3. No decision is also a decision: This approach involves playing along with your parent’s wish to get married but saying no to everyone they present! Eventually, they will get fed up and ask if you have anyone in mind 🙂
4. Leverage familiarity: One way to out-flank your parents is to introduce your love interest to your family just as a friend and nothing else. Let your love interest spend time with your family members and gain their trust over a period of time before you break the news! This strategy works well if your family is not too orthodox as they may not even entertain your ‘friend’ especially if your friend is of the opposite sex 🙂
If your parents are orthodox, the indirect approach should be your approach to breaking the news about your love interest and the possible intercaste marriage.
STEP 3. Convincing your parents
When we look at the 5% of the intercaste marriages, we can make a couple of logical conclusions:
1. Intercaste marriages do happen!
2. Some of the couples that chose intercaste marriages must have managed to convince their parents!
When we look at couples that have a successful intercaste marriage, there are some lessons that you can draw upon in order to convince your parents.
You need to see how many of the above points are in your favor and act accordingly.
Sometimes, you should choose one over the other. It’s either your parents or your love interest. Be ready for this. But, don’t be foolish as well. If you cannot survive as a couple independently, don’t take rash decisions.
Are your parents against intercaste love marriage? Here are 7 expert tips to convince them! Click here to read this comprehensive blog post.
STEP 4: Handling inter-caste marriage ceremonies
Assuming you are able to convince your parents about the intercaste marriage, here are a few practical tips to help you navigate the wedding rituals:
a. Intercaste wedding rituals involve a lot of compromises. Both the families would want to do everything as per their cultural practice or norms. From your side, please make sure their tussle doesn’t hurt your relationship with your fiance!
b. Some intercaste marriages end up having separate wedding rituals on different dates and locations. In a way, its a lot more fun! Example: One of my cousins married as per Hindu traditions and then had a ceremony at the Church at a later date.
c. Compromises are inevitable in intercaste marriages. For example, non-vegetarian food may have to be skipped if the other party is sensitive to such preferences.
d. Some couples forgo all ceremonies and just organize a reception. This is a great option if you think the drama of your families butting head is too much to handle.
e. In many cases, the girl’s family calls the shot in terms of marriage rituals as they end up footing the bill! This boils down to negotiations between the parents.
Check out this video of an intercaste wedding ceremony for your inspiration!
Riteish is a Maharashtrian Hindu and Genelia is a Christian. Their inter-religion wedding ceremony was stunning and involved two separate events based on Hindu and Christian wedding rituals.
Are intercaste marriages successful?
There is no statistical data available to conclusively declare the success or failure of intercaste marriages in India. There are many notable marriages in Bollywood that have stood the test of time. There are divorces and separations as well (As it was the case with actress Amala Paul recently).
However, the right question to ask yourself is are you ready to deal with the three common challenges of intercaste or inter-religion marriages?
Challenges you should overcome for a successful intercaste marriage
1. Cultural differences and rituals: Dress habits, food habits, and even language can create a lot of friction in the long run. After marriage, as interaction with the in-laws and the extended families increase, you will have to deal with situations where your spouse may not meet your expectations.
2. Dealing with children: Many inter-religious couples raise their children to practice both the religions or in some cases decide to embrace one religion. This can potentially become a flash point in the future.
3. Social pressures: Intercaste couples in rural areas of India face immense social pressure. Honor killing is common in India and even in big cities renting houses can become a challenge when the landlord is picky about your family situation!
Yes, there are rules for dating a musician! Now imagine what happens when you choose to marry one!
Marrying a musician will eventually become common
If you are in India and dating a musician, your parents might have already created enough drama to make sure you have fixed a wedding date. And now, you are marrying a musician!
Music happens to be a growing business in India. According to KPMG, the music industry in India will be worth over $300 Million in less than 5 years from now!
Bollywood music comprises 80% of the music industry and the rest includes regional and classical music as well as western music. As the music industry grows in size and reach, brace yourself for seeing the word “musician” in matrimony ads!
It is obvious that if you are planning on marrying a musician, you need to tune yourself to a different lifestyle after marriage!
We decided to listen to what famous musicians have to say about their marriages to draw important lessons that you will find useful and also figure out why it is difficult for musicians to have relationships and how to handle a relationship with a musician.
1. Learn to love traveling
Musicians, the world over, have one common challenge to deal with. They end up traveling a lot. Let’s say you are marrying a popular classical musician or even an upcoming classical musician in India. They probably are dabbling with playback singing for a couple of regional languages film industries or even mainstream Bollywood movies. Recording songs can take them places. One in a while they also need to travel to different cities for private shows.
You also have seasonal music festivals (such as the December Carnatic music festival in Chennai as well as the Thiruvaroor festival in south Tamil Nadu). That’s not all, musicians end up traveling abroad (especially to the US) where there is a strong demand for classical musicians.
So be prepared to either travel a lot get ready to take charge of the household when your spouse is globe trotting!
2. Be ready to be ignored
Being a musician requires a lot of hard work. The only difference is that the amount of preparation that successful musicians put in before major concerts and events are enormous.
They will be busy preparing for weeks at a time for an upcoming event and there is only one thing on their minds, i.e. music. Everything else, including you, becomes secondary!
Image Credits: Kayaniv
Here is what Bombay Jayashri, who sang Pi’s Lullaby in the movie – “The Life of Pi” had to say about her marriage and the difficulties faced by her husband.
“I think it was very difficult for my husband Ramnath to understand me for a long time. I don’t think it is easy because several days before the concert I go into a zone and nothing can shake me out of it. And once I have gone out, sometimes even I forget that there is someone out there waiting for me to come home. And when I am on stage I completely forget that I am a wife, a mother or a daughter. So to cope with all this and still believe in oneself is not easy for a spouse.”
3. Dealing with adoring fans
If you are marrying a musician known for looks and talent, be prepared to deal with hordes of adoring fans who really don’t care about the fact that your spouse is no longer single! You will have to deal with groupies as well as stalkers. Here is what Sonu Nigam, a leading playback singer for Bollywood Movies had to say in an interview.
Image Credits: Bollywood Hungama
“I started getting slightly popular, the female interest around me grew. I met with a lot of wonderful women of different mindsets, qualities, and nationalities.
During a concert tour in Israel, I first realized how popular I had become. As soon as we came out of the airport, the women who were swooning over Chunky Pandey left him and showered me with kisses. My face was plastered with lipstick. I quite enjoyed that phase. I still get a lot of female attention and like it. Who wouldn’t?”
Jealousy and suspicion can destroy your marriage. Marrying a musician requires an inherent ability to trust your spouse.
4. Your spouse and your parents
Let’s assume you are marrying a woman who is a famous musician. It does not change the equation your wife will have with your parents.The same tensions, prejudices, cultural issues that plague women in every other profession can come into play. Musicians don’t have a “get out of the in-laws” pass. Their hectic schedule and preoccupation can sometimes come in the way of performing family obligations that your parents might consider very important. Be prepared for some fireworks!
This is what happened to Asha Bhosle.
“When she was only 16 years old, she fell in love with 31-year-old Ganpatrao Bhosle; he was Lata’s personal secretary. Asha was resolute in her desire to marry him, and much against the wishes of her family, she eloped with him.
However, her married life to Mr. Bhosle was short-lived; after a few years with him, she returned to her mother’s house with her two children and pregnant with her third. Although the details may never publicly be known for sure, the stated reason for the collapse of the marriage was her mistreatment at the hands of her in-laws.”
5. Learn to love your spouse and her music
Image Credits: Bollywood Hungama
Researchers have found that couples that adore each other and put them in a pedestal tend to have a life-long relationship. This is true for musicians as well! If you are marrying a musician, be prepared to learn more about her music and what makes her talent special. Show your commitment to her by supporting her in whatever way you can. A supportive spouse is a sign of a mature, long-lasting relationship.
“He would often come after office to my studio if we were recording Shreya’s songs and our adda (jam) session and khana (food) would happen. I love his unconditional love for her. He knows her as a friend and that friendship is unconditional. He is a techie, an entrepreneur, loves music, is a wonderful person and is her biggest admirer and one of the most solid supporters of her in her life in whatever she does. He is besotted by her singing.”
6. Musicians and ego
When you are a successful musician, you will end up having trouble in managing your ego when things go south. This is true for any successful artist in any profession. Rajesh Khanna’s marriage to Dimple Kapadia is an example of how volatile relationships can become when things don’t go well.
Let’s take the case of Pandit Ravi Shanker. He was once married to another Sitar exponent, Annapurna Devi. In the 1950s, she performed along with Ravi Shanker and supposedly received more adulation than Ravi Shanker! Then, all of a sudden, she vanished from the limelight and took a backseat. Here is what she had to say about her vanishing act.
Image Credits: Alexandra Ignatenko
“Panditji (Shankar) was not happy, as I received more appreciation than he did from both the audience and the critics whenever we performed together in the 1950s, and that had a negative impact on our marriage. Though he never categorically stopped me from performing in public, he made it clear in several ways that he wasn’t happy with the fact that I was drawing more applause.”
7. Musicians are arrogant
Musicians are not born arrogant. Nobody is! It’s just that once they start becoming popular, they are worshiped wherever they go. They are no less than a movie star in a country that adores music. No wonder, they end up living in a world that is completely insulated from the reality. This translates into arrogance. You may have married a musician before she became famous or have seen through all these issues to marry a musician. But, remember to play your role in keeping everything grounded!
T.M. Krishna is a popular Carnatic musician. He is known for his articulate views on classical music and is an active proponent of classical Carnatic music. In an interview to The Hindu, here is what he had to say about musicians.
Artists are very easily arrogant because we have at least 50 people around us telling us we are the best in the world. We live in this bubble.
If you are grappling with the question – “Should you marry a musician?”, here is a simple takeaway:
Marrying a musician is no different from marrying someone from any other profession. However, before marrying a musician, it helps to be aware of their unique characteristics that are dictated by their lifestyle and work-related pressures. At the end of the day, marrying a musician requires the same amount of hard work and sacrifices that you will need to make in any marriage. Finding someone that can reciprocate the emotional investments and personal sacrifices you will be making will ensure that your marriage remains strong for the long term!
George Bernard Shaw had this to say about marriages.
“When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.”
Love marriages in India have always been a controversial topic.
Countless men and women in love struggle in convincing their parents about the choice of a partner. Some of them marry against their parent’s wishes while some of them break off their relationships for the sake of falling in line with their parent’s wishes. For those that fall in love with people from other religion or caste, the outcome could be deadly!
In this article, we will take a look at the different aspects of love marriages in India, its evolution, real life challenges faced by couples, and its future.
Love marriages in India had a late start
In the book “History of Marriage” by Elizabeth Abbott, there is an entire chapter on the age of the bride at marriage. The chapter focuses on the practices of different societies from around the world when it comes to when women married. On India, the book summarizes the following.
Marriages in India where Hinduism is popular was seen (and continues to be seen) as an activity guided by God or divine intervention.
Women were married at a very young age as young girls were seen to be more malleable and can be molded or trained to fit into the husband’s or in-law’s household.
Between 1921 to 1931, the number of child wives rose from 8,56,5357 (8.5 Million) to 12, 271,595 (12.3 Million).
The book also quotes Mahatma Gandhi who was married at thirteen and later took a strong stance against the custom of child marriage. This is what he had to say about this issue.
“Little did I dream that one day that I should severely criticize my father for having me married as a child.”
You might be surprised to note that the problem of child marriages in India continues to be serious in this day and age. Just look at the chart below. Darker shades represent lower age at marriage. The all Indian average age for brides is 20.2 years. You might think that’s a great number. But the fact it is an “average” and even the average age at marriage is 10 years younger than those of brides in western countries.
So why are we discussing child marriage? Child marriages are forced marriages and always arranged. Children neither fall in love or have serious romantic inclinations. So the question of romance or dating never arises in the first place.
But it is not gloom and doom. With greater exposure and education, women in India are now getting to meet their husband before marriage. While this does not automatically mean that women prefer love marriage, it definitely indicates a greater choice or say when it comes to marriage. Just look at the chart below. As you can see, a greater proportion of younger women met their husbands before marriage. This trend is accelerating indicating a couple of things:
Younger women (as a result of a changing culture and improving education) have a greater say in who they want to marry.
Greater choice means a greater possibility of having a romantic relationship.
When did love marriages in India catch on and why?
Love marriages are nothing new in India. The Hindu religion depicts love marriages among Gods, we have had love marriages among Kings and Queens have had love marriages well before India got its independence. Interestingly, the history of India would have been different had it not been for a love marriage that angered a king! Here is an extract from an article published by a non-profit organization
A single love-marriage between Prithviraj Chauhan and Samyogita, daughter of his cousin and king of Kannauj, Jai Chand, perhaps played a more significant role in changing the history of India than several other factors. Though the mothers of both were sisters, Prithviraj eloped with Jai Chand’s daughter. In return Jai Chand––unlike other Rajput kings and chieftains, who supported Prithviraj––allied with Muhammad Ghori, who succeeded in capturing Delhi in his second attempt in 1192.
There is no authentic information or data (based on our research) on the number of love marriages in India spanning the 6 decades since independence. However, there are some broad trends that point to a more conducive environment for the growth of love marriages in India.
Literacy rates are climbing steadily. Increased levels of education directly translate into better job prospects and financial independence. All these factors become critical requirements for love marriages to flourish.
Increasing urbanization and migration of population from rural to urban areas create opportunities for men and women to interact with diverse people and cultures. They no longer bound by diktats of the village elders in matters of relationships and marriage.
Nuclear families, as opposed to joint families, are popular in India. the number of nuclear families grew from 135 Million in 2001 to 172 Million in 2011. Nuclear families that have migrated to urban centers tend to lose out on the social connections needed to initiate arranged marriages. Hence, we are seeing a greater reliance on matrimony sites as well as love marriages.
As you can see the growth of love marriages in India is a direct result of increasing urbanization and education levels. These factors also have an impact on culture as Indians in urban centers get exposed to new ideas through local as well as foreign media and brands. Case in point is the changing dating scene in India and the growth of dating apps.
How Bollywood promotes love marriages in India
Most Bollywood movies involve a plot that includes the hero falling in love with the heroine. He invariably goes up against the wishes of the heroine’s father or her villain uncle, only to emerge victorious after either winning her father’s blessings or beating the hell out of the cruel uncle. Voice of America published an article that explored the impact of popular culture and laws in promoting love marriages. Here are some extracts that point to the impact of Bollywood in promoting love marriages.
Observers cite one conduit of popular culture in particular – the Indian film industry and its common theme that love can overcome all differences.
“Bollywood’s movies are really amazingly portraying that ‘love is everything’,” says Dilip Amin, who runs a website dedicated to giving advice to Indian interfaith couples.
“Bollywood films generally have been an interesting kind of place where a lot of conflicts and issues about Indian society have played out,” Rohit Chopra, a lecturer at Santa Clara University, says. “The theme of ‘love conquering all’ was actually a theme that was reflected in many films,” he said.
Chopra says many movies in India highlight the conflict between traditional and modern approaches to life.
“On the one hand, they have tended to, I think, on the whole, reaffirm conservative values about family and about authority, and about a the role of women…and generally, the male being the authority figure. But on the other hand, even while generally making an overall conservative point, they have explored these issues,” he said.
Bollywood movie stars have also led by example. Love marriages and intercaste marriages are common in the industry. Here is an extract from a research report.
The above image is an example of how Bollywood has helped confront restrictions against love marriages by setting a great example.
Love marriages in India – Challenges & Tips
The extent of challenges couples face with love marriages in India depends on whether they were able to convince their parents to agree to their marriage. Some couples elope while others manage to convince their parents to agree to their marriage.
However, couples realize that their struggle to get married doesn’t really end with just the marriage. As with any married couple, couples in love marriage also face challenges that need hard work and patience to navigate.
Let’s look at some of the common issues couples face with love marriages in India.
Interaction with parents: Depending on the extent of relationship couples continue to have after love marriage, there is a degree of underlying tension and disharmony when dealing with parents. Parents are keen to justify their opposition to the marriage while the couple is keen to project how “normal” they are in dealing with the day-to-day life. Lack of trust and clashes pertaining to food habits, clothes, and customs can make every encounter with parents miserable.
Raising children: Be prepared to raise children without parental support. However, there are instances where children become a conduit for repairing frayed relationships with estranged parents! Children can also face identity issues because of inter-religion / caste marriages in India and in some instances, they may even face discrimination in social activities. Taking the arranged marriage route for children belonging to intercaste or love marriages can be a little more challenging.
Social life: In situations where couples relocate after marriage elope, the complete lack of family and friends network to lean on can create enormous strains on married life.The couples’ education and economic background can play a big role in helping them adjust to a new place and establish social connections that can provide support.
Culture, religion, and money: It is surprising that the same forces that couples fight to get married i.e. culture, religion and in some cases, money, resurrect later on to pose a new set of challenges for love marriages in India. As passionate love gradually fades away in the face of the day to day monotony of married life, all lifestyle differences dictated by the couple’s background can become major points of contention.
However, it is not all doom and gloom with love marriages in India. Here are practical tips that can help you overcome these challenges.
Love marriages in India are aligned with the underlying philosophy of India i.e. unity in diversity. Embracing the concept of ‘love overcoming all other differences’ is something that every couple in a love marriage should be proud of. Remembering this fact alone can give couples in love marriage a significant spring in their step!
Cultural or religious differences (if the marriage is intercaste) can provide a great opportunity for discovering new practices and cultivating a greater understanding of the world around us. Couples in a love marriage are in a way better off as they have more opportunities to learn from one another.
Men and women born to parents that went through a love marriage or intercaste marriage, tend to be more open in matters of their own marriage. There are plenty of instances where men and women are open to intercaste arranged marriages as they have had a flexible and open upbringing in an intercaste family.
Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, in her article titled “The 12 ties that bind long-term relationships” explains that “People who approach their daily lives with zest and strong emotion seem to carry these intense feelings over to their love life as well.
Couples should see each other in their element when they are confident and know what they are doing. For example, if you watch how good your husband in the local cricket league, you probably will love him more.
Cultivating a greater tolerance for your partner’s beliefs or cultural red lines or a clear separation between love and beliefs can help create harmony in love marriage.
Love marriages in India is certainly an uphill struggle as there is a need to overcome the deep-rooted traditions and perceptions about the institution of marriage and its purpose.
Inspiring love marriages in India
Here are a couple of news stories that chronicle incredible love marriages in India. These stories really serve as great inspiration for couples in love marriage.Just click on the images to check read the details.
Intercaste marriage in India is a controversial topic. Parents invariably want their children to marry someone from the same caste and religion. However, changing attitudes towards traditional beliefs, greater exposure to the outside world and urban migration has resulted in changes in attitude towards intercaste marriages. However, the perception of change remains just a perception as facts about intercaste marriages in India say something else.
Let’s look at seven facts about intercaste marriage that you should know about.
1. Only 5% of Indians have intercaste marriage
According to the India Human Development Survey, conducted by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and the University of Maryland, only 5% of Indians have embraced intercaste marriages. The IHDS Survey is the largest non-government household survey in India and covers 42000 households. There is no major difference between the % of Indians in rural and Urban India when it comes to intercaste marriage. Over 11% of the survey respondents claimed to have intercaste marriages in Gujarat and Bihar while only under 1% of the survey respondents in Madhya Pradesh said they had an intercaste marriage.
“The phenomenon of honor killings is the outcome of that socio-psychic milieu of typical societies where certain patterns of the behavior of human beings, particularly the females, are recognised as marking dishonor to their families and communities and the lost honor is reimbursed by killing them.”
Researchers asked the survey respondents to rank the responses they received for their ads and also specify which responses are good enough for them to follow up on for further conversation. The researchers noted that on the bride’s side, there was a willingness to trade off education level of the prospective groom for the sake of finding someone from the same caste. Similarly, on the prospective groom’s side that placed the ad, there was a willingness to shortlist self-described “decent-looking” women as opposed to “beautiful” women from a different caste.
The researchers noted that on the bride’s side, there was a willingness to trade off education level of the prospective groom for the sake of finding someone from the same caste. Similarly, on the prospective groom’s side that placed the ad, there was a willingness to shortlist self-described “decent-looking” women as opposed to “beautiful” women from a different caste.
5. “Caste no bar” – Really?
The Hindu published an interesting article on the topic of what Indians seem to declare in public and what they actually practice. A 2013 research report published by researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara and Berkeley revealed that more than half of the prospective brides contacted by the researchers through
A 2013 research report published by researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara and Berkeley revealed that more than half of the prospective brides contacted by the researchers through matrimonial websites expressed an interest in potential partners belonging to caste groups other than their own.
The willingness to go beyond the caste was found to be higher among less affluent upper caste women and more affluent scheduled caste women. However, this willingness was motivated by the opportunity to climb the social ladder by marrying an upper caste man or improve the economic prospects through intercaste marriage.
The study tracked online matrimony sites for caste preferences and reports that anywhere between 20% to 60% of users choosing to say “caste no bar” in their profiles. However, researchers learned that stating “caste no bar” does not mean that the users discounted caste when shortlisting profiles.
6. Which Indian state has the most intercaste marriages?
According to a study done by researchers from Princeton University in 2011, It is found that inter-caste marriage is highest in the western region (17%). Intercaste marriages are the highest in Goa (26.67%) followed by Punjab (22.36%), Meghalaya (25%), and Kerala (21.35%).
States having moderate to high intercaste marriages are Haryana (17.16%), Manipur (18.33%), Tripura (17.81%), Maharashtra (17.79%) and Karnataka (16.47%).
The states showing very low percentages of intercaste marriages are Jammu and Kashmir (1.67%), Rajasthan (2.36%), Chhattisgarh (3.38%), Madhya Pradesh (3.57%), Bihar (4.60%) and Tamil Nadu (2.59%).
The southern region of India is socio-economically more developed than other regions of India. But the study results show that incidence of intercaste marriages in India is only about 10% of the marriages.
7. Does better education result in more intercaste marriages?
It seems like common sense to assume that as more men and women get a better education, the incidence of intercaste and inter-religion marriages will go up substantially. However, the Princeton study (as referred above) shows that increasing education levels have no impact on the preference for same-caste / same-religion marriage. In fact, more education leads to a drop in preference for intercaste marriage!
The study found that couples who married recently have a higher % of intercaste marriages compared to couples that married 20 years ago. Also, inter-caste marriages happen more when either the man or woman or both have a second marriage.
Want to learn how to convince parents for an intercaste marriage? Click here to read our comprehensive blog post.
Jodi Logik’s stance on intercaste marriages
There is no explicit provision for stating your caste or indicating caste preferences in your Jodi Logik profile. However, you can write about your caste or your preferences around caste in the About section. We believe shared values, interests, lifestyle habits and goals are more important in determining the success of a marriage.
Sensible arranged marriage facts to dispel your doubts
Arranged marriage facts are in short supply. In fact, myths about arranged marriages are more popular!
People jump to conclusions based on the constant vilification campaign of arranged marriage as an evil practice that needs to be stomped out! Stereotyped matrimony profiles, dowry deaths, and domestic violence all contribute to this negative opinion about arranged marriages.
That’s not all, whenever there is a debate about love marriage vs arranged marriage, we tend to base our arguments on personal experiences or anecdotal evidence. Also, authoritative sources that highlights facts about arranged marriages in India are not easily found.
Jodi Logik minions decided to put aside personal emotions and look at some of the conclusions that researchers have come to on the topic of arranged marriage.
Research reports are also subject to further scrutiny and come with a lot of caveats and assumptions. However, they are definitely a more rational approach to unearthing arranged marriage facts and in finding out if arranged marriage is something you might even want to consider.
So we have unearthed 6 scientific arranged marriage facts that you should read before you write it off!
1. In Love Marriages Romantic Love Decreases with Time
You read it right. In 1982, psychologists Usha Gupta and Pushpa Singh of the University of Rajasthan in Jaipur ran a study comparing marriages of choice in the United States to arranged marriages in India.
They found opposite trends: love marriages experienced a lot of initial passion and little compassion thereafter while arranged marriages experienced no initial passion but increasing compassion as the years went on.
Moreover, 10 years after marriage, couples that chose arranged marriage were nearly twice as compassionate as couples that chose love marriage – a result reinforced in a paper by Robert Epstein and Mansi Thakar highlighted in the January/February 2011 edition of Scientific American.
2. Do Young and Educated Indians Prefer Love Marriages over Arranged Marriages?
In October 2013, Manjistha Banerji, Steven Martin, and Sonalde Desai from the University of Maryland conducted a study to find answers to (arguably) the most popular assumption among Indians that young and educated Indians seem to run away from the concept of arranged marriages. Here is a summary of the results from the study.
A key reason for “parent supervised arranged marriages with participation” emerging as the most common form of marriage arrangement is that it is best suited for a cultural context that does not have a dating culture of the kind existing in the West. Such a “dating culture” requires that it be socially acceptable for the young to “romantically link up with each other without any kind of adult supervision in a setting that is not defined directly as leading to marriage” and to “try out” different potential mates before deciding on a marriage partner.
In other words, arranged marriages continue to remain popular even among educated Indians.
3. Do Educated Women Prefer Love Marriage?
Findings from the same study cited in the earlier point, show that education makes a huge difference in the extent or autonomy or freedom that women have when it comes to choosing who they will marry.
The greatest difference between college educated women and their less educated counterparts, was not in the extent to which daughters arranged their own marriages or even shared the marriage search jointly with their parents. Instead, we found that parents in India are still doing the major share of arranging marriages (including many families where the daughters have college degrees), but that daughters’ autonomy is being expressed in their increased power of participation in a parent arranged marriage set up.
In other words, young, educated Indians tend to have a veto power on the choice of the partner selected by parents.
4. Monkeys in Brazil Believe in Arranged Marriages!
Karen Strier, professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and her research team observed and collected genetic data from a group of 67 wild monkeys living in a protected reserve in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest: infants, mothers and possible sires.
They found that six out of the 13 adult males they studied spent more time in close proximity to their mothers than would be expected by chance. These same six monkeys, on average, sired the greatest number of offspring!
Strier also found that there was no inbreeding among sons and their close female relatives, a process that might also be mediated by mothers. “Mating may be less random than we think, perhaps because of the influence of the mothers,” she says. Does this not sound like arranged marriages?
5. Religious Leaders and Researchers Agree on Arranged Marriages
You don’t always need a research report to bring out cold, hard, arranged marriage facts. According to Brian J. Willoughby, an assistant professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University,
“Whether it be financial support for weddings, schooling or housing, or emotional support for either partner, parents provide valuable resources for couples as they navigate the marital transition.”
If you ask your parents or religious leaders about the advantages of arranged marriages, the most common responses you are bound to hear will be that parents can make sure your hormones don’t make you lose sight of ground realities that will later come and bite you. Hence, all the unromantic requirements pertaining to the prospective match’s education background, career, family, physical traits etc actually works in your advantage!
Don’t believe them? Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavior Research and Technology, says parents “screen for deal breakers.” More disturbing, your arranged marriage probably won’t be much different from your “free-range” marriage. Stanford University’s Michael J. Rosenfeld said: “The people we end up married to or partnered up with end up being similar to us in race, religion and class background and age, which means that they might not be all that different from the person that your mother would have picked for you.”
The researcher constructed a model of marital choices that assumes that arranged marriage serves as a form of informal insurance for parents and children, whereas other forms of marriage do not. In this model, children accepting the arranged marriage will have access to insurance but might give up higher family income by constraining their geographic and social mobility.
Children in love marriages are not geographically/socially constrained, so they can look for the partner with more wealth. The model predicts that arranged marriages will disappear when the net benefits of the insurance arrangement decrease relative to the returns outside of the social network!
In simple language, love marriage is possibly are more “profitable” from a financial sense when compared to arranged marriages and this might explain its decline worldwide.
In summary, it’s not all that easy to discount either arranged marriage or love marriage.