The discussion about love marriages vs. arranged marriages is a very big topic for a lot of Indians. When I write my blogs against arranged marriages, as I believe it causes a whole lot of problems, I obviously get a lot of responses by people who believe the opposite. There are actually a whole lot of people who oppose love marriages so much that they say it destroys their culture. And whom do these traditionalist people blame once again? The west of course. I would like to set a few things straight for you.
First of all, nobody said that arranged marriages cannot ever work. When I write, I write about my personal experience and while my parents, who were living in a marriage which was arranged in a very traditional way, were always happy, I see in my surrounding that there are hardly any happy arranged couples. By happy I mean that they not only accept their fate but that they are truly in love with each other and happy with the person whom they married. People who are, in my eyes, overly proud of their culture, their traditions and of course in connection with that their religion, insist that this is the only way. Love marriages, which are just in the same way sometimes successful and sometimes not, are in their eyes imported from the west and destroy the original Indian culture.
The reality is that the west had arranged marriages, too! They were common in the Middle Ages and while the lower classes started love marriages earlier, the aristocracy continued marrying their daughters to other families, creating strategically beneficial connections even still in the 19th century! Especially royal families linked countries with each other by giving their daughters into wedlock.
When I was in Greece, older people told me that they had even still seen marriages being arranged there – so that is nothing completely foreign to the west or at least Europe, either! It just seems outdated, an ancient concept that is not valid anymore because it proved to be impractical and not fitting the society anymore. It is simply a development and nowadays they just remember arranged marriage as something of the past.
Seeing how Indians blame the west for the increasing love marriages, I wonder whom the westerners blamed in that time! When that change happened in the west, when young people started marrying whom they wanted, whom did they blame?
Considering this thought, I believe you can follow my conclusion that this is something that happens naturally and with the development of time. People in the west slowly accepted that love marriages became more and more frequent until arranged marriages are now not anymore part of their culture. In the same way Indians will have to accept this and I would be happy if they stopped blaming the west.
Indians have to accept it anyway, there is no other way. In families where one of the children decided to marry out of love against the wish of the parents, they have already accepted their child’s spouse. Grudgingly but yes, they did because they had no other way. They still believe it is wrong but they see it is happening.
I guess tomorrow I will use some more space of my blog to write about such and similar developments in different cultures.