Indian matrimonial is one of the most celebrated institutions in the world. The pomp and traditions of Hindu marriages are well known globally. Marriages in India are mostly arranged, by families and relatives within their religion, caste, and culture. Although matrimonial websites in India have seen a rise among their users in the last few years, many Indians still prefer their partners to be approved, by their families.
Arranged marriages still play a pivotal role in the Indian matrimonial. A study revealed that more than 70% of Indians between the age group of 18-35 years still prefer to marry someone chosen by their parents and relatives. This figure shows that although love marriages are gradually being accepted, arranged marriages still dominate the institution of Indian matrimonial.
Arranged marriages are prevailing for as long as anyone can care to remember, yet, it does have a history and evolvement associated with it. Let us have a look at the history of arranging marriages in India:
History of Arranged Marriages:
Arranged marriages can be traced to the Vedic period that took place in different forms. Indian matrimonial in those days was more empowering towards women than it would be in the future. The brides were ask for their consent before agreeing to marriage. Families belonging to royalty conducted ‘swayamvar’ where the princess chooses a husband for herself among various princes from all over India. Ancient India also witnessed ‘Gandharva Vivah’ in which the couple married for love.
However, by 500 BC, the emergence of Hinduism brought a list of duties and expectations from man and woman. It encouraged patriarchy, sati, and strict rules that put an end to the independence of women. They were now under the influence of their father, husband, and later on, their son. Not only that, this era introduced child marriages, dowry, and other customs that stripped Indian women of their freedom. Arranged marriages started symbolizing status in upper-caste families by marrying their children in influential families within their circles. The practice eventually started to spread throughout the population of India.
Development of Arrange Marriage Scenario in Indian Matrimony:
As the years progressed, arranged marriages started taking a different turn. Families looking for a bride or groom would let the relatives or matchmaking agent. The criteria, for matchmaking, were determined on various factors such as:
Religion is still an important factor in Indian matrimony. Although people have started accepting love marriages, inter-religious marriages are still frowned upon and face resistance among the older generations. Arranged marriages rarely take place outside one\'s religion.
Although the younger generation overlooks the barriers of caste for matrimony, in arrange marriages, families still prefer matrimony within the same caste to maintain the family status and rituals. Castes are further divided into sub-castes.
Horoscope matches are made by analyzing the birth chart and astrological conditions of both the bride and groom and by tallying how likely the match would be successful? Horoscopes continue to play a vital role in deciding a match in the present time.
Culture in arrange marriages refers to the way of living and ideologies of both families. In other words, an orthodox family would prefer a like-minded family, and a family with liberal values would look for likewise.
As petty as it may sound, individuals are chosen based on their looks, height, weight, skin complexion, etc. To be sure, it is a denigrating practice; yet it is followed nonetheless.
Education and Income:
Families look for someone well-settled and like-minded for their children. Education is an important factor in arranged marriages. Income, too, helps in determining the suitability of the individual, especially while selecting a groom.
Once the desired criteria are fulfilled, the families decide to go ahead with the engagement. The couple is allowed a few conversations to get to know each other better. Once the couple is engaged, the priest decides the marriage date, which may be after a few months or a year.
Arranged Marriages at Present:
The Indian matrimony has seen an acceleration of matrimonial websites as a way of arranged marriages. Matrimonial websites in India are proving to be the perfect balance of technology and tradition. People of marriageable age, particularly in urban areas, prefer to marry someone of their choice as well as their family.
Matrimonial websites in India help people to find their perfect match as per their expectations. Later after shortlisting some potential profiles for them, they can seek the approval of their family and take things forward. It allows people to make a match with someone they feel compatible with. With matrimonial websites, a person can connect and know about various other people before making a choice.
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