This is an age old Indian debate. Which is better? Love or arranged marriage? Times have changed and opinions differ and this is what I will be discussing in this piece.
During our parents’ days, love was considered taboo. There were lots of barriers, caste, family status, family honour and socioeconomic and cultural impediments. Times have changed though and with globalization, comes uninhibited freedom readily granted for Indian youngsters of the current age.
Love marriage, the choice of most Indian youth of today
On why Indian youth opt for love marriage is because life nowadays is more intricate and complex. In line with that, demands have escalated, alongside expectations. During our parents’ days their parents would say to their son, “Katra thali eh!” and another set of parents to their daughter,”Kaalutheh neetu!” and the two are bonded for life like it or not. They have to adjust to each other’s quirks and habits and learn to love each other under a discernible coercion, imposed by a loving authority which has the couple’s best interest at heart. Serve such an ideal to the Indian youth of today and hear them say, “That must be a century years old.” The idea of marrying a stranger over just a 5 minutes meeting with him/her and their respective family members is ridiculous as far as many Indian youth of today are concerned.
The argument put forth supporting love marriage is that one can know the person well before getting married, so chances of misunderstandings after marriage and potential to end up in divorce will be slimmer. It is not to say all love marriages see the day till death do us part but what is wanted is the ability to make choices and sound decisions. If one finds his or her lover incompatible, they can break up and look for the next one which hopefully is compatible. Rather than marrying a person at the first choice itself only to find him/her unsuitable after marriage and then file for divorce, current Indian youth want to ‘experiment’ and ‘investigate’ the person they are dating then come to the decision if the girl/guy is worth marrying or not.
On what I mean by saying ‘investigate’ is, nowadays a good number of guys and girls go on orgies in their teen and college life. Eventually, most of them settle for arranged marriage – marrying another girl or guy who are clueless about their past leelai.
The base on why bachelors and bachelorettes of today go for love marriage is that they want to know all about the girl or guy before deciding to get hitched, especially their past flings and previous love relationships and why did those relationship failed. You know la, Indians, very the busy body.. Rather than getting to know about their dark past after marriage and feel betrayed and inclined for divorce or worse, domestic violence, ones in the love relationship might as well be in the know before marriage. It is also best to hear the ‘laissez faire period’ straight from the horse’s mouth instead from a third party whose intention would most likely be dubious. All that opening up and brutal honesty before marriage saves a lot of heartache, hassle and since the strings are not attached, one can walk out of the relationship without an albatross around his/her neck.
I mentioned ‘experimenting’ in love. What that means can be summed up in the song below which describes accurately what love nowadays is:
Humans are inescapable from making mistakes and everyone deserves a second chance and if a guy or a girl who had been wild previously or had broken love relationships are genuinely remorseful (because this is what the Indian in the girl and guy expects) for their past debauched and permissive ways, then all is well for Dum Dum Dum.
I am seeing a disturbing trend in Tamil cinema that is being toed by some machas here. They claim that girls are heart breakers while guys are brittle creatures who are always sincere in love. Song lyrics like, “Aan odeh kadhal kai reghe pole, penn ode kadhal kai kuttai pole.. (the love of a guy is like the lines on the hand palms (everlasting), the love of a girl is like handkerchief (temporary).” It’s like saying seghepa irukaruvan poi solla maatan. What’s gender got to do with being insincere in love? Of course it’s all to easy to pass the buck to girls and make guys look like innocent victims right? Gender doesn’t play a role in betrayal in love – character and conduct do and both are gender blind. And then this blame on girls to drink, saying that the heartlessness of girls in love drive guys to drink. Pray tell, did girls stuff the beer bottle inside the said guys mouths? It’s just an excuse to drink and this pretext is spreading like wild fire here. Tamil songs like below make me agitated:
In addition, some guys want a modern and sexy girl friend. Later they dump the girl saying that she is is not wife material and marry a homely angelic girl, most probably in an arranged marriage. This idealism is also present in Tamil movies’ plots and some of our machas lap it up.
Some girls be like gold diggers and dump their boyfriend after milking his pockets dry. Of course these are individualistic stories. I am giving just two general examples on the idiosyncrasies of love here.
When I say love, I don’t mean puppy love and high school love. When you were in school, you didn’t love a boy or girl because he can give you a secure married life or because she can cook well. Heck, he and she go to school just like you. The love feel is due to raging hormones and it’s pseudo love – it’s crush or more accurately, infatuation that will go as quick as it comes.
Sometimes caste comes in between love and families would disapprove because the guy or girl you chose is not from the same caste or is from a lover caste. Mind you, I saw a schoolmate of mine rejecting a boy’s proposal because he was from a low caste. Shocking right? Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.
Whenever it comes LOVE most Indian guys and girls put their preference above everything but whenever it comes to marriage, they prefer what suits their family and their future and that’s where arranged marriage comes in.
Arranged marriage, either compulsion or last resort
Many Indian parents especially those with daughters frown upon love, saying, “We provided what you needed and we know what is best for you. We have brought you up for __ years and we know you will be happy if you marry the man we choose for you so don’t you dare find a man yourself!” The opportunity to feel how love outside marriage feels like is nipped in the bud.
Jaathagam (astrology) sometimes becomes a factor that impedes love marriage. If the astrological stars don’t tally and porutham is low, parents do object to love marriage and convince their grown up children to marry a guy or girl whose jaathagam tallies with their stars.
Also guys and girls who had failed love relationships would pander to their parents’ decision and go through many match makings and give matrimonial ads. Vaalkai eh veruthu poyirum.
And then for those who had been ‘wild’ in the past would want to settle for arranged marriage and the farther the bride or groom’s location from the spot where the ‘anarchic period’ took place, the better. I mean, how many of us would tell our wild period to our parents and to someone who is interested in getting married with us? Not many..
Those considered ‘reject cases’, that is, dark skinned, obese, not very educated, above 30 years of age, physically deformed as well as anti social and introverts’ and also ironically choosy ones only chance at matrimony is arranged marriage. Of course such people are not spared from humiliation, disappointments and hopes only to be dashed on rocks later.
But, nowadays, Indian parents increasingly rather let their grown up children find their own better half and support love marriage. This is because, later if the marriage crumbles, the children have only themselves to blame, parents are free from scruple.
Many Indian parents too want to free themselves from the burden of finding a soulmate for their son or daughter. A relative of mine said that it is hard to find a bridegroom nowadays so she won’t stop her daughter who is in Form 2 from having a boyfriend or change boyfriends. It was her response when other members of our family reported to her over her daughter’s amorous activities on Facebook.. Here’s one frustrated dad finding a wife for his son:
At the end of the day, choose what is best for you but the most important thing in marriage, either love or arranged marriage is honesty. Love and trust then can be built on the honesty. Tepuk dada, tanya selera 🙂