Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Love Marriages In India

Most of us have read or seen news about a teenager committing suicide as her parents did not support her involving in a love affair with a guy, and tried to control her forcefully. We do not need to look for specific news, but most of us know these to be pretty normal issues in India, especially in middle class. After looking at this news, and other related news, I decided to write on how the mechanics of Love Marriages work in India, and how it should work.

Before going further, I would like to clarify that,
1. I am not against arranged marriages, and
2. I am not against age old Indian culture and tradition.
3. I am not against the caring and loving nature of Indian parents as well.

Parents in India generally believe that their offspring are not wise enough to choose a suitable spouse for them. And, if the young generation do decide on that, they most likely make the wrong decision, and then in most cases it becomes a duty for the parents to do otherwise.

I think that rather than believing or disbelieving on the abilities of young generation to take this decision, it is a duty of every parent to prepare their kids for this decision, and other important life decisions as well.

I have read and heard at many places that marriage is the most important procession in the lives of Indian and it is also an industry worth thousands of crores. It becomes ironical that marriage becomes most important procession for the parents most of the times rather than the bride and groom.

I believe that kids must be taught few basic things by their parents and then the kids must be allowed to exercise their choice when they grow up. To prepare them for the future, not only the marriage there are some things which every parent must talk to their kids about.

1. Appropriate sex education - It doesn't only include the mechanics of sex, but as a way of expressing intense love and trust for the partner, a source of several diseases including AIDS if unprotected, a probable cause of emotional disturbance if it doesn't involve love.

2. Future life partner - What are the things they should look for in a probable partner, when they think about it?

3. Meeting with friends - Parents should be ready to meet and mingle with friends of their kids if possible. They should also encourage their kids to bring their friends home sometimes. When kids talk about their friends or probably boy friend or girl friend, parents should listen to it and talk as well. They should just live the life of their kids with them. This will instill confidence in kids with their parents and at the same time parents will be able to watch out for something abnormal.

3. Love - If the parents come to know that their kids are in love, they should take it normal and I think it is normal for the young people to fall in love with each other.

4. Marriage - In many cases when two young people decide to marry, parents tend to disagree and provide reasonings that love marriages do not succeed and it's not our culture. Instead if they support the kids, explain what marriage is all about including new life style, new responsibilities, take them to pre-marital counseling, the love marriages will succeed as well.

5. Religion and Caste - This is the most troublesome issue. Many people think that if their kids marry in different caste, something xx xx xx will happen, earth will tear up, volcanoes will erupt and Lord Shiva will himself come to the earth to cause destruction.... And then there is an issue of Family's age old respect or "Khaandaan ki Izzat". I believe, happy and successful generation with lots of respect for their previous generation would increase family's respect a lot more than the act of controlling young generation forcefully and/or suicide attempts.

What I have written above is a collection of sequential thoughts which according to me should be followed not only for successful marriage, but successful young generation as well. These are the reflections of experiences earned by keenly observing the world around, and comparing the contrasts between Indian and American cultures as well.



  1. Well done Anurag,
    I truly feel so proud of you. Atleast someone share the same views as I do. I am a Muslim girl who is in love with a Christian guy. When my parents came to know abt our decision to get married, they went beserk. Now they are getting me forcefully married to someone else. And I feel so helpless and devastated..........

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    I am sorry to learn that you are being forcefully married to someone else. I hope God brings you greater happiness in your life.

    I would suggest you to talk to your parents and approach this issue amicably rather than in a coercive way. I hope that will help.

  3. When you are so strong in your love, have faith in it and get married to the person whom u like.. what is the use having one leg this side and one leg that side ? If you believe that the person whom you love will respect you and your emotionals always, then go ahead and get married. Your parents are you parents - no one can change it.. But your lover once gone, you cant even talk to him after that.. Consider carefully and you live your life for yourself..

  4. Thnaks anurag that u gave such important note for people like me.I m a 19 year old engineering student.I love a girl very much but a different cast.She also love me,but her parretns are forcing her to marry a boy in her community.her family is a bit consevative and will not allow us to marry. out any pls advice me

  5. Dear Anonymous,

    I do not think I know you or your condition enough to advice you. You are 19 years old, which seems like a very mature age when you are at that age, but as you grow up you will realize that it's not.

    Further, I am not sure how old is your beloved and what are the financial conditions involved. If she is younger than you and her parents are getting her married, then the road becomes difficult. She will have to convince her parents to delay the marriage until she has a stable career. By that time if you have a stable career, you will have a stronger footing to ask for her hand.

    Wish you the best of luck.

    Its a weird culture where it's considered immoral or unnatural for two young people to be in love.

  6. These arrange marriage needs to stop completely. If god is ok with it so should humans. The reason why people stay together after arranged marriage is because they want to maintain relationship with their relatives. In reality, they are not happy. Society needs to mind its own business when two people are dating.

  7. Hi everyone reading this blog.
    I am a 26yr old hindu punjabi girl in love with a boy of a different caste since past 7 yrs.We are both computer engineers working very well in our respective jobs.My family is ready but the boy's family is not agreeing for our relationship.They say all type of weird things like we will do smthg if you marry a girl of a different caste.His mom stops taking her medicines when he tries to talk to her about us and his dad starts shouting, yelling and is not ready to listen when he tries to convince him.I dont know what to do as the conditions are getting worse day by day and I dont see any thing improving and there is no hope that anything would be fine in the near future also.Now there is a pressure from my parents also because they are concerned about me getting elder day by day.If we marry without his parents approval and they do smthg wrong we wont be able to face it and we fear it beacuse we dont want that we make any such decision which would take smbdy else's life.Plz advice smthg.plz.....

  8. Dear Anonymous (26yr old Hindu Punjabi girl),

    I can understand your pain. Your boy friend's parents are using emotional blackmail and being escapist.

    Different people solve this problem differently. One is to get married in court, and tell your parents later. They will throw tantrums for some time but then will adjust to the new daughter-in-law. To me, that appears most logical. If parents are being selfish, then there is nothing wrong with you guys being the same.

    Other thing you guys can do is use the same tactics against them.

    Ask your boyfriend to tell their parents that he will marry wherever they want, but they should not expect him to stay happy ever in his life. Ask him to behave as if he lost interest in life in front of them.

    You can probably use the same tactics against your parents. This is the best suggestion I can think of since you guys do not want to hurt your parents.

    Best of luck,
    Yours Raag.

  9. Thanks Anurag for your reply.
    If we marry in the court and then his mom or dad gets an attack then.If they stop eating or do something that affects their health then we would nevI am sorry if I am sounding stupid but we are really worried.
    Anonymous (26yr old Hindu Punjabi girl)

  10. If you are so scared anonymous then you should use the emotional blackmail technique. I hope that would help.

  11. Hi,

    Unfortunately this is an issue faced by a lot of the younger Indian generation, including those who are 'second generation' immigrants in Western countries. To me I feel that parents are so 'anti-love' because its something new to them and it wasn't something that was openly discussed when they went through the marriage cycle.

    I'm going through the same issue unfortunately at this point. Despite both of us living outside of India since we were 6 (now we're 25 and 28, both educated professionals), my parents are very opposed to this alliance (brahmin/kshatriya and from different parts of India) due to:
    1) Love not being the only contributing factor when considering marriage
    2) Me taking an 'evolutionary step backwards' and 'killing my vedic traditions/culture'
    3) The concept of putting my family name to shame because I'm "marrying down".

    Unfortunately I can't use the argument that I'm a responsible 25 year old who has at least an ounce of common sense. I can't use the argument that I'm not completely blinded by emotions or am not doing this to be a 'rebel' or be different to our community norm. I can't use these arguments because they don't listen, they don't have faith in my judgement and they are not open to the concept of marrying an "indian" as opposed to a "Keralite brahmin from this gotra".
    Unfortunately we have a choice of either doing what we want and my parents taking a back seat, or we stop this, break each others hearts and 'do what my parents want' so that they lead a contented old age.
    Hopefully I'll come to a conclusion soon but the 'one thing or other' toss up is painful, soul-wrenchingly painful and draining. It feels easy to give up and give in.

    I wish everyone in this dilemma the best - I don't know what the best solution is.

  12. Dear Anonymous (25/28 year loevrs).

    I wish you all the best. I am now 31 years old and whatever I can suggest from my experience is this.

    If you think about satisfying the wishes of other people, you will never be able to fulfill that, and you will not be happy either. It's a difficult decision to make, but always remember that the first responsibility in your life is for yourself. If you fail at that, you cannot succeed in anything else.

    Your parents are trying to make the society happy, you are trying to make them happy, and you are nowhere in picture. Take a decision for yourself, but never cease to convince your parents about your love, and your decision. Things will fall in place slowly. Not everything goes in life very smoothly, and may be this is your test of life.

    I wish you very very good luck in life.

  13. hi all ,

    This is very common problem in indian youth, there is no way to get out of this love problem for 90% of indian youth. y cant youth take part in educating parents or the people around us. y cant we make them understand after all human beings are one and the same. caste is something which was created by us depending on the work that was done by people.

  14. I think that when we were born on this planet we were given our free will.We were free to go anywhere,free to speak with anybody,free to be friends with anybody,free to marry anybody.This is what God wanted for us.He wanted us to live the way we wanted to.Then why do these god damn parents and the society trouble us.I agree that they have raised us.But I think if they have given us birth,then its their duty to even raise us.And if they cant raise us then they must not have given us birth in the first place.When its the issue of love,they seem to care more about the society than us.The best way out of this situation is to give them a choice between the society or their children.And in rare cases if they choose society then just walk out.

  15. hello raag,, me in love with punjabi guy,, and i m a telugu,, but i love him a lot,, his parents dun hve any problem regarding me,but i know,, my parents wll hve lots of problem regarding caste and all,, we both are of same religion,but for my parents caste is a major,,prob, and wat the society wll say, plzz help,,me i m really helpless, plzz provide me some tips of how to convince them, and i really cant live with someone else, how can i?? plzz help,

  16. Hi Raag,

    Just stumbled across your blog today.. I am in the same situation so many people are describing above.. But im not in a situation of what shouold i do.. I am a mature individual who chose a life partner after due consideration n I am going to stand by my decsion. Rest of the things can be handled on the way..
    For the people who say - What will soceity say (my parents say the same) - Who all constitutes soceity? You ? Me? our friendly/unfriendly neighbour or a bunch of nosy relatives? Out of these ppl just pick who is more imp? These non entities or the person you know you have chosen? Once you have evaluated these things it makes a better point fo arguments and for solving your own dilemmas..

    Till then - Wish Happy Struggle!!!

  17. "Its a weird culture where it's considered immoral or unnatural for two young people to be in love."

    I cried at that.

    Raag, I like when you offer techniques to specific situations. Keep helping, friend.

  18. Hii All,

    I read all the problems and solutions. But i didn't find the correct answer for the problem. I am also in the same situation that I am in Love with a Guy of different Caste. The same struggle is going on in my Family also.My parents are not accepting for my marriage with other caste guy. But my partners family accepted for our marriage. The struggle is going on from past 4 months. The situation is as on First day of my proposal in my Family. Even there is no 1% change in their minds and ideas.I really helpless in this. I dont want to suffer my parents as well as my partner. Ofcourse its not the word to say. But thats only the word i have.

    we both are well settled professionals and not in teenage to fall in attraction or somthing else. Why dont my parents understand that. I am praying to every god to change my parents view. I dont know how many days i have to wait for their acceptance. I am trying my best to convince them.But they are not.My parenst are not againest of Love marriage they only against of Caste,because my sis married(love marriage)with a same caste guy with my parents acceptance,but the guy parents are not accepted initially. My parents only convinced them for their marriage.I dont know why they are behaving like this in my case only. I can truly say one thing that parents always thinks about the society than their children. My parents even ready to leave me if i want to marry only him.But i dont want to lose them.

    Please anybody give me a good suggestion otherthan choosing one among them. If that is only the case i will be away from both of them.

  19. Listen such things are no use arguing upon parents being elder have the ego factor always it's always better to act rather than thinking and working on such things first of all I see is that u r very weak n not strong enough that u have to look forward to prayers.remember god helps those who help themselves so it's better u take some action get married in a court it will be fine after sometime atleast in such case once u r married u can fight more strongly get court married n keep convincing them finally wen u see they r not agreeing tell them quietly what u ppl have done n ask them to get u arrange married ad now if they do n e thing their respect will be a issue n by this u also worried for their respect n dint tell n e one else

  20. A simple formula to all of you determination is everything people will try n ways to emotionally blackmail or do whatever u have to have in mind that u both will get married no matter what n then trust me this determinations gives strength on it's own n this decision in ur mind cannot be changed by Obama too

  21. Hi Raag,
    I belong to Haryana and I belong to SC family and my girl friend is from an upper caste
    I m well settled in Australia and My GF is also working in India in very reputed position .
    In my case My parents are strictly against our love marriage.
    I have been here for 4 years in these four years I have travelled around 12 times to India to make my parents believe that it’s fine.

    U know what have been done to me
    1. Beaten by relatives
    2. Went to police beaten by them
    3. My Aussie license was taken off by Haryana police
    4. My GF was threatened over phone.
    5. Her dad and mom were heavily threatened
    6. I was given a warning that if you see her again she can face big problems

    The most important thing is that we in love from almost 13 years (from school time).

    I am going again this time and hope fully we will be here together.
    My suggestion to everyone would be “NEVER SAY DIE”

  22. wow I am feeling soo great reading all these blog.. Very encouraging

    But seriously life is not easy.. I have similar issue to you all.. I love this guy.. parents are against my choice because they think his parents are not good.. I dont know what to do..

    How to do overcome this matter.. What are you all doing to overcome it.. Please help

  23. I love a boy from school days on wards,We know each other from class 1st (6years).i have grown up with him. we are Best Friends, I & he share everything from childhood. now that he has proposed me for marriage. i have agreed and his parents also have agreed.

    But my parents say that it is mere attraction between us and they say that he has not yet settled in life, Now our age is 29 and they say he is not the perfect match for me. So they are not interested in getting me married to him. They are telling that they will find a perfect match for me and arrange the marriage soon.

    Also my parents have highlighted following difference in us, which according to them will create problem between us, if we get married.

    I am 3months elder to him.
    Our Horoscope doesn't match
    They say Our educational qualification doesn't match - He is Diploma & I m MSc, now doing Phd
    They say our physical appearance doesn't match
    They say I am earning 40000per month and his income is 15000
    They say we both are not trying to see the practical part of life

    But, apart from all these differences We love each other, understand each others feelings, trust each other and share everything with each other. We always have an open talk on issues. We do understand the practical issues that would arise on the long run in our life, we both are ready to face those issues together.

    From my parent's point of view, whether these differences would really disturb our marital life?

    We really wanted to give each other peacefulness through out life.

    Im really not interested to go against my parent's wish and get married, as i love them the most. Now that both of our parents have publically insulted each other, still the situation got worsened.

    I have elder brothers & elder sister. None of them are interested in me marring this boy. They have threatened the boy if he marries me.

    I really dont know what to do. Right now, to tackle the situation, i have told my parents that i have said no, to that boy and i will never marry any one else in life. But we both still have contact with each other. I am right now doing Phd. We both have planned to go for court marriage without informing our parents and then wait for next four years. So that he can increase his qualification and job and i can also finish my phd studies. After 4years we will again speak to our parents and tell dem that now we are settled in life in all perspective and then we wanted to start our family life.

    Please kindly advice me, whether we both have taken a right decision or not??

  24. well said .... really encouraging

  25. Hi raag,
    i am 24 yr old girl.And my boyfriend's age is 25 yrs old.we both want to marry with each other.but the issue is my parents are not accepting this Bcoz i belongs to schedule caste and my boyfriend belongs to rajput family but boyfriends family do have any problem even still they are ready for our marriage. in fact my dad and his dad was very good friends.since past 20 yrs.his dad tries to call my call my dad many times but my dad is now neglecting him and his family.i tried to talk him but every time he shouted and even do want to talk about this topic.i dont want to elope bcoz i love my dad too.he said if we go for court marriage he will never eccept it.i dont understand what to do..
    even his all family members do not have any problem they are ready to eccept me even then i belongs to scheduled caste. i have tried my level best to explain my parents but they say 'NO SO NO'what can i do now please help me.the situation is becoming worsen now.

  26. hi,
    I'm an almost 22 year old punjabi girl who has been in love with a boy for 7 years now. You would think there would be no problem because he is the same caste as me but my dad is very against it because he got into a fight with his dad. My dad is doing everything possible to keep me from marrying him. I haven't even spoke to my dad in over 6 months. He even hates the sight of me now but still is keeping me under his roof and forcing me to stay. I am helpless. There is no reasoning with him. He is not scared to go to jail n he is threatening everyone. I don't know how much longer I can take this. It's been going on for years now. I don't know what to do. Only God can save us now. But honestly I've even stopped believing in him.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.