Misconceptions and prejudices about arranged marriages

January 4, 2011


I was watching a video by a very talented artist from Ninjabi.com the other day. It presented me with the usual argument: very traditional parents who want their daughter who has been born and raised in a Western country to accept an arranged marriage. All they’re concerned with is whether she will be provided for adequately. She on the other hand has no such wish. What was really interesting to watch was the style in which it was presented. All hand drawings. Very similar to the video I did for a Herpes Virus awareness campaign.

She added it on frame by frame and it worked really well. The only problem was that it did not add much to the information most people already have about arranged marriages. Granted, she is from a traditional family that is orthodox in its beliefs, but the same cannot be said for every Indian and every Pakistani on the planet. It greatly surprised a few people to listen to the interviews on the front page of the website because they didn’t realise some young Indians in Australia and around the world are quite happy to let their parents choose a partner for them. They’ve been brought up in and out of Indian communities around the world, they’ve grown up in the West, they’ve been educated in the West and given the opportunity to date. Yet they still want parental involvement when it comes to choosing a partner. This is also what intrigued me.

Growing up in the seventies, in Central America, I believe in self-determination. Completely, but when it comes to choosing a suitable partner, I’ve discovered that a pesky little thing called hormones gets in the way. It seems almost irrational to other cultures that we should allow such an important decision to be taken solely on the basis of feelings. This seems to be the reason why these young people are looking to tradition for stability and guidance. They don’t want to abdicate responsibility, rather they wish to share it with others who they believe have their best interests at heart.

It is also why they see matrimonial websites such as shaadiconnections.com as viable alternatives or hybrids of dating and arranged marriages.