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Arranging a Marriage in India
Transcript of Arranging a Marriage in India
By: Serena Nanda
• Almost all marriages are arranged in India by the parents of the bride and groom.
• The considering factors are: personality, skin color, character, education, social class and physical appearance.
• Marriage in India is taken very seriously; it may take years to find a perfect match.
• The bride and groom usually do not meet until the wedding day.
• A family’s reputation is the most important factor.
How does the article relate to the assigned reading?
"The group is tied through mutual bonds of loyalty and can often function as a corporation in situations of war, as well as in peaceful negotiations over, say, marriage payments or trade. In this kind of society, marriage does not take place between single individuals on the basis of personal preference, but between groups." (Erikson, 103)
"... parents have always meddled in the marriages of their children... These nearly perennial issues are tied to the fact that kinship is connected with inheritance and succession. Both institutions are to do with the transmission of resources from one generation to the next." (Erikson, 104)
"... the single most important driving force in human action is the drive for reproduction. Men do their utmost to spread their genetic material, and women seek men who can protect them and their offspring while the children are small and defenseless. Culture and society, including kinship systems, develop more or less as side-effects of these inborn needs." (Erikson, 112)
Current Event/ Social Issue
Some countries also have customs/traditions that are similar to the traditions in India of arranged marriages. In many rural and semi-urban areas of China, arranged marriage is still practiced today. The man’s family explores and asks about the woman’s family so it can preserve the reputation of the family. The bride’s family also asks about the groom’s family to know about the status and wealth of the groom. This would let them to be ensured that the bride would live a happy life.
About the Author
Professor emeritus of anthropology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
Focused on the issue of gender diversity and hijras in India
Arranging a Marriage in India
Analysis of Current Event From an Anthropological Perspective
Serena Nanda (13 August 1938)
Cultural Anthropology, 1980
Neither Man nor Woman, 1990
Gender Diversity. Cross Cultural Variations, 2000
And several more including crime novels such as her most recent book "The Gift of a Bride: A Tale of Anthropology, Matrimony and Murder."
1. Do you agree that it is less stressful and more successful if the marriage is arranged by the family?
2. Can you think of any reason why you should or should not let your parents arrange your marriage?
3. Do you think it’s possible for the U.S. to have arranged marriages become a norm? If it did, would this lower the divorce rate?
4. If arranging marriages became a norm in the U.S., do you think this would help with the self-confidence issues that so many young people face?
5. Do you believe that the traditions in India to arrange a marriage go against our ideas of individualism and romanticism?
6. In India, marriages between two people of similar social classes is very important. Do you agree that this should be a major deciding factor in a marriage?
7. As seen in the article, do you think that parents can be overly picky in choosing a spouse for their child?
Eriksen, T. H. (2010). Small places, large issues: An introduction to social and cultural anthropology. London: Pluto.
Kalyani. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://futurescopes.com/arranged-marriages/8162/countries-where-arranged-marriages-are-common
Nanda, S. (2000). Arranging a Marriage in India. In S. Nanda (Author), Stumbling Toward Truth: Anthropologists at Work (pp. 196-204). Waveland Press.
Serena Nanda. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serena_Nanda
Serena Nanda. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://www.amazon.com/Serena-Nanda/e/B000APHP4Y
Many anthropologists from the United States do not agree with arranging marriage. But from their perspective, they think that when forcing children into something, it is too important to take into the consideration of all the factors that might influence parents’ children, which is serious business and such cases as these should not be taken frivolously. In general, anthropologists have to explore how the process of arranged marriages in some certain cultures make sense and that these cultures have evident reasons for practicing the tradition.