Arranged marriages losing respect in India?


It wasn’t long ago when love marriages faced a similar wrath and were considered a taboo. Finding love on your own and choosing to settle with him/her meant being disrespectful towards your parents and family. However, there’s a recent shift towards this trend and while love marriages are gaining popularity, arranged marriages are increasingly looked down upon. No wonder when Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor decided in favour of an arranged marriage, everyone started speculating the reason behind his move. More than anything else, people questioned the ‘need’ for an arranged marriage and his ‘failure’ to find love on his own.

Not only this, people who opt for arranged marriages are often viewed as ‘non-achievers’ with ‘lack of options’ and such marriages as ‘forced marriages’. However, if we examine arranged marriages in context of urban India, there’s hardly any scope of calling them coerced. These days, parents only act as intermediaries and scour their social networks for potential match for their adult children, in other words, parents facilitate a sort of dating platform, where two individuals meet, and then try to weigh the pros and cons of marrying each other. It is primarily a modern Indian version of an arranged marriage that involves long periods of dating and courtship without giving in to the pressure of marrying someone you barely know, as infamously elucidated in the Indian history. This is what perhaps Shahid Kapoor also went through and no, there wasn’t any sword of Damocles hung over his head and neither his parents went on a hunger strike to get him married.

Disparagers may question the success rate of such marriages, but here Psychology Today comes up with a counter, “A study in Jaipur, India a few decades ago found that people in love marriages were more in love for the first five years, while those in arranged marriages were more in love for the next 30 years.” This makes it hard to say that arranged marriages are not bestowed with love and may end up in a divorce.

What most people fail to realize is that compatibility, love, trust and adjustment pave way for forming the most lasting unions and marital success has little to do with how the alliance was formed. Dr Rajesh Goyal, Consultant Psychiatrist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, says, “Marriage is something where you start knitting your life along with the other person and you discover new things about your partner every day. In arranged marriages, you discover these things after getting married, which further add to the mystery and the charm, whereas in love marriages, you already know a lot about your partner.” Hence, it is difficult to say whether a love or an arranged marriage is responsible for couples parting ways and which one of the two deserves to be looked down upon.



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