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Marriage is the secure institution for the perpetuation of the species and also for maintaining the property granting rights. In India, arranged marriages are the centuries old tradition dating back to the fourth century.
The culture of arranged marriage is considered as a foundation stone of the Indian marriage system. In ancient times, the marriages often took place at the time when bride and groom were in their adolescence age.
The boy’s parents searched for a suitable girl with the help of middlemen and approached the girl’s parents with proposition.
The middlemen or negotiator suggested suitable date and hour of marriage according to the birth charts of the couple. In that era, generally marriages took place at the hometown of the girl and bride’s family acts as a host for the groom’s family.
Arranged marriage in the Indian subcontinent is a tradition in the societies of the Indian subcontinent, and continue to account for an overwhelming majority of marriages in the Indian subcontinent.
Despite the fact that romantic love is “wholly celebrated” in both Indian mass media (such as Bollywood) and folklore, and the arranged marriage tradition lacks any official legal recognition or support, the institution has proved to be “surprisingly robust” in adapting to changed social circumstances and has defied predictions of decline as India modernized.
Among the Hindus, vivaha or marriage is considered a sarira samskara,, sacraments sanctifying the body, which every individual has to go through in life.
In India, marriages are often equated with arranged marriages particularly due to the social structure. It is a topic that is controversial and widely debated.
When you watch elaborate Indian arranged marriages and analyze the complexity and effort involved to make it successful, you may wonder how and when this practice started.
Interestingly, a recent research conducted by a postgraduate student of Amity University, New Delhi has brought to light the finding that arranged marriages in India originated during the Vedic period of Indian history.
The ceremony and the institution of arranged marriages also took its shape during this time.
The right to marry is a component of Right to Life under art. 21 of the constitution of India which says, ‘No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law’.
This right has been recognized under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. Art. 16 of the same states:
1. Men and Women of full age without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion,
have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during the marriage and at its dissolution.
2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.
Marriage in Hinduism is a sacred relationship. It is both an obligatory duty (dharma) and a samskara (sacrament).
Unless a person renounces life and accepts the life of a renouncer (sanyasi), he is expected to marry and lead a householder’s life.
It is an essential aspect of the four ashramas (brahmacharya, grihastha, vanaprastha and sanyasa)1 and the four aims (purusharthas) of human life, namely, dharma, artha (wealth), kama (sensuous pleasures) and moksha (salvation).
For a Hindu woman marriage marks the end of her life as a maiden. She has to leave her parent’s home to begin life anew in her her husband’s house, amidst new people and new surroundings.
After marriage her relationship with her parents remain formal and minimal. Marriage therefore become a matter of anxiety and stress for many women, till they become familiar with their new surroundings and the new people in their lives.
The early stages of marriage is a make or break situation in case of many.
It is also the period during which the bride either becomes popular in her new home or unpopular, depending upon her behavior and her relationships with each member of her husband’s family.