Matrimony in India is considered a social obligation, a meaningful festivity that has a century of origin and purpose. It is deemed as essential, with no exception to the status of life, location or belief. It marks an important milestone in one’s being and a critical responsibility of the parents. The weight therefore results to centuries of systematic matrimony called “Arranged Marriage.”
The challenge, therefore is understanding the history behind such practice and why for many years such practice has been successful. Its relationship to a family’s status and rules of such practices – be it handed down by the culture or by legislation of the modern times.
Purpose of Marriage:
Matrimony marks the beginning of adulthood and a new life. Arrange marriage usually happens between parents, and the couple may not see or meet each other until the wedding itself. Usually the bride, after the ceremony, will live with her husband together with her in-laws, and leaves her natal family behind. In old practices, the bride must learn the way of her new family which is a total stranger to her. Although, in other parts of India, blood marriages occur, and in this case, the bride will feel at ease living with her new family.
Here are some of the reasons why arranged marriage is practiced:
- A decrease in redistribution of wealth – the practice of dowry is important in a matrimony, and the status of the family is usually looked upon before the couple is bounded. With an arranged marriage, the wealth of two families (or in other cases, one family) will be guarded accordingly.
- The building of social realignments – ancient India is divided into tribes, and matrimony between certain tribes or families is an integral part of building alliances. It also formalizes the structure of the society, such as the caste systems, as well as the bridging of different practices.
- Reproduction of families – a family can grow if children are produced. The values and practices will live on to the offspring of new couples bounded by the matrimony. And the future of the race is secured.
The practices of Matrimony in India depends on the region they belong to. India is divided into North and South. Although there are similarities in their customs and ceremonies, there is a difference in the process. Mostly, the North forbids marriage with relatives, but the South is a little lenient with the practice. There are different arrange marriages, and here are some examples:
- Indo-Aryan-speaking North: matrimony linked with other tribes to form new alliances.
- Dravidian-speaking South: blood relatives to strengthen family ties.
- Indo-Gangetic Plain: same castes from another tribe as long as there are no traceable consanguineal ties.
- Madhya Pradesh of Central India – adapts the North India culture, however, there are cases of brother-sister arranged marriage.
The matrimonial practices can happen even when the child is still young – prepubescent stage, and the bride remains in her natal family. Another ceremony will take place ones the bride is at age.
The success of such practice has been seen not just in the social perspective, but as well as economically, and personally. Including here is the decrease rate of divorce, therefore a more form of lasting relationship.