Are arranged marriages a good tradition or an outdated notion?
Marriages are made in heaven. This proverb holds good as far as traditional arranged marriages are concerned, especially from an Indian perspective. India is known for its cultural diversity especially with regard to its hundreds of languages and religions. Above all Indian society is caste-ridden especially among the Hindus. Love marriages take place but very rarely and invariably without the support or consent of the parents, since they are steeped in caste system and strong religious beliefs..
The arranged marriages are still the order of the day in India and they are strong and going on steady backed by a strong caste system and religious back ground. This traditional belief and practice is in vogue ever since a child is born whether it is a boy or a girl. Some downtrodden people out of their ignorance fail to record anything as to the birth of their children, but they too are forced to have birth certificates for their children as they grow.
In the case of a middle class or an upper class, the birth of a child whether it be a boy or girl, its number, the date, time, its star, lagnam etc are invariably and particularly noted down in order to prepare a horoscope for the concerned boy or a girl. In the case of a girl, even the time during which she attained puberty is scrupulously and carefully noted down, which is very vital in writing her horoscope by an astrologer. When a daughter or a son attains the age for marriage, in the traditional form of arranged marriages, the real hunt for a suitable alliance seeking either a bride or bridegroom begins in right earnest by exchanging horoscopes through professional marriage brokers. These brokers exchange these horoscopes among those who seek alliances.
Again it is interesting to note that two horoscopes of a bride and bridegroom are compared and even matching is done by using certain standard yardsticks. The total number of such yardsticks used for matching a bride and a bride groom are said to be ten and out of the ten yardsticks, at least 7 yardsticks should be ok or okeyed so as to proceed further on the assumption that their matching is ok. Besides, the star of a girl is also compared with that of her future father-in-law or mother-in-law. Thus we see the astrology plays a very role in the traditional form of arranged marriages.
A classic example to show that still traditional arranged marriages hold their sway is the hundreds of ads that are published in popular English and vernacular dailies, weekly magazines, with full particulars of their height, details of horoscope, their caste, their details of employment, salary etc. Popular TV programmes like ‘Kalyana Malai’ etc are telecast advertising the details of a bride or bridegroom seeking suitable alliances.
Another monumental evidence to show that still traditional marriages hold their sway is the proliferation of marriage halls with ultra-modern facilities. In cities like Puducherry and Chennai, popular cinema theatres are being converted into traditional marriage halls with ultra- modern facilities, since they are very lucrative from a monetary point of view.
These traditional arranged marriages are invariably held either in popular marriage halls or in temples, during an auspicious occasion what we call as ‘muhurtham’ which is most suitable for conducting the traditional arranged marriages.
Thus we see, still the arranged marriages are a good tradition and they are increasingly becoming popular since they are conducted by spending lavish sums and by providing sumptuous feasts. Above all such traditional marriages especially among Hindus are invariably conducted by Brahmin priests according to Hindu customs and ceremonies the famous among them being ‘Saptapadi’ meaning going round the fire seven times by the marrying couple, which actually sanctifies the marriage.
Thus, it may be safely concluded that in India still the arranged marriages are a good tradition and they are currently in vogue.