Indian youth might love swiping left and right on dating apps, but when it comes to nuptials, most of them still opt for arranged marriages. According to data on Statistic Brain, nearly 88 percent of Indians still prefer arranged marriages. This is not a surprising figure for a country where children still prefer to let their parents choose life partners for them, willingly or otherwise. Young people of this country are open to love and relationships, but when it comes to lifetime commitment, curiously they still trust the arranged system.
Arranged Marriages come to us as naturally as other relationships.
I still cannot forget the wide-eyed looks from our Austrian landlords when we told them that we ‘met through our parents. They looked at us as if we claimed to have returned from a trip to Mars. ‘How does that work? So, do you guys love each other? So how is it working out for you now?’
All relevant and philosophical questions, we still ask ourselves. But then, we could not stop laughing at how strange the concept was for them. Many westerners are surprised at how commonplace arranged marriages are in India.
This is simply because arranged marriages are part of our lives since our birth. We see grandparents, uncles, aunts, distant relatives, neighbours, friends etc all going about their business of life, with partners arranged for them by their families. For us, it is as normal to enter the institution, as it is for others to enter matrimony via courtship. The dreams of finding love and compassion are strong. But we have the ability to dream so with someone not chosen by us as well.
Hence it is not a surprise that around 75 percent of Indians till prefer arranged marriages, according to The Taj Wedding Barometer*.
The institution of Arranged marriage has evolved a lot
From the perspective of a liberal middle-class household, arranged marriages have evolved with changing times. Generations before ours got married via such arrangement, without getting much say in the matter. But now most of us are allowed to interact with our future partners and get a say in the matter.
With mobile phones, internet and messaging apps, couples get a chance to understand each other better. Texting and video calls, coffee dates, and matching the dresses for the ceremonies, this is how modern Indian couples have moulded this ancient arrangement to their liking.
Children, EMIs, ageing parents, social expectations, stress at the workplace affect all Indian marriages equally. This is when we cease to even introspect on the tag of love or arranged and begin debating the very institution of marriage.
*(a survey conducted by the Taj Group of Hotels, Mumbai)
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own