This is my take on this: http://treadsoftlyupon.blogspot.com/2006/06/matchmaking-and-more.html
I am not for or against any type of marriage having seen the ups and downs of both sides. I guess the debate has more to do with the procedure of modern marriages than the actual life after. I say modern because what we see today is now what it was intended to become. Just the way writing horoscopes, not letting pregnant women go out in the evening or children play outside after six has taken on modern versions, so has he whole matchmaking scheme. Marriages in India are at fault not becuase they go through this whole charade of girl examination or boy examination but because they have truned a really respectable and necessary procedure in a dreaded ceremony.
In the olden days when communication was not good and the only source of information going around was through word of mouth, it was necessary for parents to consult people, relatives, friends on a prospectives boy’s habits, actions and income. Caste was seen so as to enable their daughter to have the same level of omfort in her husbands house as she had in her father’s something that was relevant to that age because caste was mainly based on the person’s income. gothra’s and nakshatra’s seen because there is a strong Hindu belief that people of the same Gothra descend from a common ancestor, so intermarrying to result in genetic disformity. The writing of Horoscopes technically is done only when the girl/boy reaches puberty where in a learned man comes in assess their behaviour till date, sees their living habits, family, culture, education, money and predicts generally what the person might be like and what kind of life the person might have.
The procedure of seeing a girl before marriage came about becuase the girl being generally secluded and not having a chance to see the boy who is usually away on trips to earn a living or learn, gives them an oppurtunity to see each other, and since it was considered rude to directly stare at a boy, the girl typically gives him something to eat or drink so she could get a chance to glance at the boy slighly. The singing was typically to woo the boy, not impress him with her talent or show him she has a voice. It was also a tradition for the girl’s parents to question the boy about his work, income and such. Infact girls actually had more power and authority to refuse a boy on grounds she needn’t necessarily revel and had the power to choose the boy. They were even given the freedom to go around the town and choose their own boy, especially if the parents of the bride were well off.
Cinema, Serials and general misinformation and magnification of incidents which were menat more as a convenience than a norm have resulted in these traditions of today. It is the people who have abused the culture. I am not against love marriages or for arranged marriages. These are people who are grown enough to get a job, go abroad, and make a life out of nothing, and they can definelty be given the chance to choose a boy for themselves. And a lot of people are these days open to the idea of their kids choosing their own partners. But what sucks is the fact that due to a few people who go to the extremes a rich culture is going to dust. I do not approve of Horoscopes or twiddling around waiting for the right match to come along. If the parents want it, well then set a time limit, if no go ahead and ind your own boy, much like it was done in those days. Arranged marriage is not a business, it is just a chance for the parents to get involved in a singular most important event in their kids life, even though it is the kid who is going to live the life. Unfortunately or fortunately, we come from a country where the immediate and extended family is privy to every little detail that goes on. It is tough luck. Marriage is much more complicated. Just because people fall in love and get married or get married and then fall in love dosen’t make it simple or sane. When one falls in love and gets married, there are already certain things that one knows about their respective partner, and whatever things that come later might take you aback or not and both of you will still have to compromise, work around the rest. In an arranged marriage, the compromise starts a little early. Arraged marriages are not demeaning and have never been, it just has been made that way. The person who is getting married has the ultimate power, they can stand up for themselves and tell that they don’t want to be put through this thing and they will find someone for themsleves. Parents sure are not very open minded, but then how will they know if we keep wuite and go through whatever is being offered. I didn’t want horoscopes to be seen and stars to be connected for my wedding and I said so, I fell in love with this person and I waned to marry him and they were alright with it. I am not defending arrnaged marriages of today or am not agianst love marriages either. If not for two people falling in love and standing up for their love, I wouldn’t be here. What I am against is the corruption of a beautiful culture and little knowledge making respected norms into cattle shows. These convoluted forms of advertising our culture is what makes us look wierd and people talk about India as if it were a wierd place with people floating in air and talking to snakes. I know this blog seems to be like all over the place, but then so were my thoughts and what is a blog for if not throwing down all my thoughts as fast as I can type.