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According to the article, “Arranging a Marriage in India,” written by Serena Nanda, almost all marraiges in India are arranged. The bride and groom might engage in a brief conversation before marrying, but most of the time, the bride and groom do not meet each other until their marriage. In fact, dating or interacting with the opposite sex is inexistent in India. Nanda, an American, believed that arranged marriages are wrong. However, her young, educated Indian informant believes that it is perfectly right that her Indian parents would choose her husband for her. Nanda’s informant thinks that she is too inexperienced to choose the right husband and thinks that without the stress and pressure on herself in searching the right husband she can enjoy life better. However, despite those reasons, Nanda was not convinced that arranged marriages were good not only for her informant, but for anyone. Nanda asked her informant that how could she like a man that she did not know personally or did not like. Her informant replied that she would like man if he was good. Even though an American would find arranged marriages as “wrong” and “weird,” according to the article, in India, arranged marriages are kind of “necessary” in the sense that every important resource (examples include job, house, social life) are gained through family connections.
Six years after working with this particular informant, Nanda went to Bombay, a modern city in India. There she examined the arranged marriage process for one of her friend’s son. It seemed to Nanda that family reputation was the most important along with the potential bride/groom’s looks and character was deemed as just important when arranging marriages. Nanda’s friend also did not want girls who were too independent to marry her son, because girls who were too independent would not be suitable to live with a joint family. Nanda’s friend’s anxiety is not too excessive though. After all, in India, if a family chooses a wrong wife for their son, not only would it be bad for the son’s wife and the son, but it would also ruin the family’s reputation. Divorce is also highly uncommon and looked down upon. However, luckily, Nanda was able to find a perfect match for her friend’s son. The match was a fashion designer who lived in the countryside and dreamed of going to kicking off her fashion career in a modern city like Bombay.
This will sound every ethnocentric, but I have no problem with arranged marriages, because I grew up with this mentality, because arranged marriages are very common in my Vietnamese culture. However, I think that the informants in the article were very judgmental. I did not think it was right or nice for the Nanda’s friend to reject a girl for being “fat” and for “wearing glasses.” I also did not like that the family did not like the very educated girl because she was too “independent.” I think that a girl too independent would prose a problem for a joint family, but I also think that a married couple should be able to live alone. But Indian culture might ay otherwise.
I was also shocked when Nanda stated that in India, a boy who worked for the military was looked down upon and probably would have a harder time finding a wife. Even though that is somewhat true in the United States, I think the military in the US is overall respected and a boy in the army would almost have an equal chance of finding a wife as a boy that was not in the army. Even though I liked this article, it never really explained whether or not arranged marriages are usually successfully. I wondered whether divorces rarely occur in India because Indian couples fear ridicule if they divorce or since arranged marriages really do work.
As mentioned in Ember and Ember and the article, the purpose of arranged marriages is to form new social and economic ties and are usually not developed through romantic love. Similar to the article, Ember and Ember states that parents usually select a bride/groom that is in the same caste or social class. Unlike the Ember and Ember, the article seems to note that the arranged marriages, at least in India, did not including dating or meeting with the marriage partner until the wedding itself. Ember and Ember states the dating is becoming more common in “arranged marriages,” but Ember and Ember is around eleven years younger than the article.
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