Thursday, March 22, 2007
Behind the Scenes at an Arranged Marriage

Ramneeq and Preet at their wedding

Three months ago while brainstorming ideas for our "Eye on India" series that showcases special programming from India we all felt we should explore the issue of arranged marriages.

Though they have been around for centuries and most Indians still do get married this way, what struck me and producer Tess Eastment was their growing acceptance among the young.

According to some surveys, almost 92 percent of Indians between the ages of 17 and 25 approved of arranged marriages.

With such high ratings, we thought any exploration of this topic would give our audience a personal and close-up look into the lives of almost 550 million younger Indians

The challenge, though, was to quickly find a couple who had been introduced by their families, but were not yet married, so we could follow all the excitement leading up to the big day.

We got on with the task by asking for help from wedding planners, friends and family. Within 24 hours I had been introduced to 24-year-old Preet Kiran, an MBA and a former business consultant, who was getting married in a week.

I broached the subject of covering her wedding gingerly. "Do you mind?" I asked, "if we bring our camera?"

"Not at all," she replied, explaining she was very comfortable with the whole institution of an arranged marriage.

"It’s traditional because it’s decided by the family,” she explained. “But yet it’s modern because at the last moment you are given the option to decide whether yes or no."

Later that evening I spoke to Preet’s 26-year-old fiancé and businessman Ramneeq Singh. Like Preet, he too was an MBA and invited us next morning to the Sikh temple, where he was formally being introduced to Preet’s family.

Despite initially being a bit tense, he fitted in quite well. What helped further were the gifts Preet’s relatives piled on to Ramneeq. There were clothes, boxes of candy and lots of cash. No wonder younger Indians love arranged marriages, I thought. Such pampering had to be good for anyone’s ego.

As I mingled with Ramneeq I noticed he, like other younger Indians, straddled both the modern and traditional worlds.

Ramneeq drove a $40,000 car, loved music and designer clothes yet had left one of the most important decisions of his life to his family: "Your dad got married that way, your granddad and the people around you … they have all got married the same way," he rationalized. "Probably they (arranged marriages) are successful."

Statistics reveal the divorce rate in India remains under 2 percent. Sociologists say that’s because arranged marriages don’t just bring two individuals together they are also a relationship of two families which in times if crisis are forever ready to guide and provide support.

Next day I learned more of this union between families as both sides mingled and danced at a dinner hosted by Preet and her relatives. Here that I also got a glimpse into what the Indian media lovingly describes as "big, fat Indian weddings."

Huge tents had been constructed to accommodate the guests. Thousands of dollars had been spent on lighting and flower decorations. And to keep everyone happy and entertained there were mouth-watering treats and professional singers.

What was even more amazing was there were several such functions interspersed over a week of intense partying. But the best was saved for last.

One of the largest and noisiest functions at any traditional Indian wedding is called a reception for the "baraat," which means a congregation of guests from the groom’s side.

According to custom, the groom’s family dances and celebrates wildly as they arrive at the bride’s home or any other party location. In this case, Ramneeq’s family played out their role with gay abandon. Dressed in their finest and accompanied by a large band and fireworks they sang and danced the last half-mile to the club where Preet Kiran’s family had organized a reception and dinner for them.

As for the groom, he was dressed in a glittering gold-colored jacket and for maximum effect was riding a white stallion. As he alighted from his horse Preet’s brother embraced him. A group of three musicians then serenaded the guests by playing the "shehnai," a traditional and flute-like Indian instrument.

Almost on cue and looking stunning in a traditional and heavily embroidered Indian skirt called a "lehnga," Preet arrived to welcome Ramneeq. Both then exchanged huge garlands and posed for pictures.

Meanwhile, the guests tucked into 36 kinds of snacks, 42 main dishes and 22 desserts. It was all washed down with copious amounts of alcohol and 18 different types of teas.

In all, Preet’s family alone was spending almost $200,000 on the wedding, which still hadn’t run its course.

Next morning, the couple walked around the Sikh holy book to solemnize their wedding. It was by now evident both felt comfortable in each others company, but Ramneeq told me he would always be ready for the unexpected.

“If you have known a person for years and years, marriage is just putting a stamp on your relations, but in an arranged marriage that surprise and suspense is there.”

As I wished the couple well, I paused for a moment to reflect on the past few days. For someone who had spent the last nine years covering wars, cyclones, terrorist incidents and tsunamis this story was a beautiful and refreshing change.

I had enjoyed myself and walked away with some valuable insight: For all their modern ways, education and truly global ambitions, I had learnt younger Indians remain rooted in their ancient culture and traditions.

You can watch my report here

-- From Satinder Bindra, CNN Senior International Correspondent
I belive in instituation of arranged marriage since it is approved by two families and moreover everybody has a chance to say no if they don't like other person . after all marriage is all about making realtionship between two familes not individuals .
Perhaps arranged marriages are common but I would guess that $200,000 weddings are not. Why didn't you find a typical middle class family to cover for your story. This is nothing but sensationalization. Your story was to be about arranged marriages but you spent more time describing the ceremonies.
I think arranged marriage is bull shit. It is successful in countries like India because of social taboos and stigma attached to divorce.
I see nothing wrong with arranged marriages since, in any event, it is much like friends introducing you to a posible mate. No-one knows you better than your own family. These are arrangememnts that suit everyone, as long as the marriages are arranged and not forced then there is really nothing wrong with it.
The western world has a very different and sometimes negative attitude towards arranged marriages what they dont realize is that for us its part of our identity and we view the dating scenario and broken families (divorces) the same way they look at arranged marriages.
Arrangeed marriages is just a way of promoting and protecting the caste system or rather those in the higher caste. The rich will marry the rich and the poor will marry the poor. This is to make sure their ugly daughters will end up with a rich man (provided they are also rich)
Their rich sons will not marry a girl fr a very poor family even if their son falls for a ravishing but poor lady fr the lower caste. It is self preservation really!
The 2% divoirce rate in India itself speaks the good side of arranged marriages.

Ya its bullshit as u told bec it doesnt allow people living in a live-in relationship,it does nt allow the children to go for a single parent, to become a drug addict or indulge in any crime ( which u will find in the large ratios in diff country, almost 70% such child cases).I dnt deny its not in India, but due this strong rooted culture only a child gets the best possble env to survive in this world.Though I do support Love Marriages as well, but theres nothing wrong in going for arrange marriage.Even in west if u look they are more oe less kinda arrange only.First pls get the proper stats and then comment which will help people to understand ur point in a much better way.
Mine was arranged marriage. Not all families look for rich daughter-in-law or son-in-law. Yes, caste is still a strong feeling in India. Yet arranged marriage bringing two families together is a great thing, life is not without its share of problems for an individual or for a couple. At least in arranged marriages, you'll have support of 2 families as opposed to none. Support does not necessarily means monetary support, but physchological support, prayers for your well being etc.,
Wasif from Pakistan - well said.
Arranged marriages are load of crock and I do not have even a modicum or respect for anyone who submits to this loathsome "tradition".

It is a complete and utter suppression of individuality by the Group (family, society) and has almost no re-deeming value.

thank you
I wonder if there is any correlation between the high rate of arranged marriages in India and the rampant prostitution that is prevalent in India. These marraiges seem to be more like a business arrangement than a loving relationship which may leave Indian men seeking a substitute for love from the prostitutes. Not really that healthy nor as rewarding as a relationship built of love and respect of two individuals vs the family ties but if it works for them that's all that matters.
I think that this is a good system.
Families are the Social Net and it works better for everyone.
The Best is that Children grow up secure without Divorces and are taken care of.
I think that no one should have children and then seperate.
The best about India is MIX of the Modern with the old culture & values.
Mr Mark,
I am srry but I ll have to say that ur assumption is very much wrong.there s no reln bet the arranged marriage and the prostitution in India.Had that been correct, then there wont b any prositution kinda business in the Europeon Nations + any West nations where marriages are more Love than arrange.but if u hv alook the prosti business is booming more in west than in India.One more thing I ll like to state here is when we think of marriage, we are not focussd on onlyhaving "Sex and physical needs", we see it more as a part of life.And in the arrange marriage we not only do respect our partner but there family and family values as well.Everything has its own pros and cones, but thats our identity and our culture and ya we are successful as well.Have doubt.. have a look a the divorce rate and gang rape rates across the globe.
I agree with Jim from Fairfax, you should have covered a middle class family and talked more to the 2 individuals getting married than describing the ceremoney. You should have talked more about their feelings. I have a love marriage but always wondered what an arranged marriage would feel like, i didn't like your article much, sorry
I wonder if people in the Western world really realize that marriage for love is a relatively modern thing, it wasn't common in our own societies as little time as a few generations ago!

I, personally, feel that if the two parties agree, then they should do what they want to do. If that's an arranged marriage, that's fine with me. As long as nobody is forced into anything, then they should be able to chose the values they hold most important for their lives - and for some, arranged marriage is clearly an important thing to them.
Hope this Joke will help:

Two men, one American and an Indian were sitting in a bar drinking shot
after shot.

The Indian man said to the American,"You know my parents are forcing me to get married to this so called homely girl from a village whom I haven't even met once.We call this arranged marriage. I don't want to marry a woman whom I don't love... I told them that openly and now have a hell lot of family problems."

The American said, "Talking about love marriages...I'll tell you my story. I married a widow whom I deeply loved and dated for 3 years."After a couple of years, my father fell in love with my step-daughter and so my father became my son-in-law and I became my father's father-in-law.
My daughter is my mother and my wife my grandmother. More problems occurred when I had a son. My son is my father's brother and so he my uncle.
Situations turned worse when my father had a son. Now my father's son i.e. my brother is my grandson.

Ultimately, I have become my own grand father and I am my own grandson And you say you have family problems..
I fail to understand why the idea of an arranged marriage garners so much Western attention, while the truly negative aspects of Indian weddings are largely ignored. We all know that when you marry someone, you also marry his or her family, so in India they are simply and wisely ensuring family compatibility beforehand.

That said, I find it abhorrent that in India today, it is still the bride's family that is expected (and often going into debt) to pay for all those jewels and silks, and to hand over a hefty dowry to the groom's family on top of that. Expenses like these for parents of daughters has lead to alarming rates of infanticide and selective abortion.

It may be added that openly favouring fair skin is a fully acceptable Indian marriage criterion.

Although I respect that the food, the clothes, the jewels, the rituals and the sheer beauty of an Indian wedding are truly awe-inspiring, I can't help but question the principles of a society that is willing to spend on all that rather than on water, housing, sewage, garbage collection, roads or sidewalks.
I have watched the feature Eye on India in CNN earlier today about 13:00 HK time. Arranged marriage in the Indian society is very strong because it is their tradition.The Indian youth has preserved this tradition in the 21st century which makes them unique and distinct from all of us.This is the true meaning of independence, even though majority of the Indian youth is 'Westernized', they managed to treasure their heritage and culture. They have a strong sense of nationalism
Well sounds all good for the man getting married, what about the woman...what she get out of it? The man receives a bursary of items and money, the brides family puts out 200,000 or more for the wedding. I don't see the upside for females.
@Vera / Brandy,
Ya I do agree that at some extent the dowry system is wrong which really break the bones of daughter's father.But then its a seperate issue from arrane marriage.If we take the isue of dowry,yes that was prevelant in olden days ( yet in some part this is still practiced in India) but now Govt of India has imposed a legal ban on that.Other thing is the education system in India is not yet strong " at each and every level".India is still struggling to overcome that.But if talk only in terms of marraiages,then in arrange marriage ,nowadays, there is no such demand for dowrys among the educated peolple class.Its just a mutual undrstanding of families,of the people who are marrying.Having say that,I ll also like to add,The final decsion is left to the individual hence even they have there share to have a quality time to spend with each other.Just a diff is the courtship period is less as compared to loved ones.And Now a days, there are lot of people that are supporting love cum arrange as well.:-)
End of the day, if aranged marriage makes you happy, its good, if love marriage makes you happy, its good too. There is an element of surprise (a pleasant one - mostly) in arranged marriages which gets lost in love marriage.
Mine was arranged marriage and after 13 years and three kids, i must say its most beautiful thing that happened to me. yet its not a guarantee of a successful marriage. In arranged marrages, there is a added pressure to make it work as there are two families involved, in case of love marriage, prbably its emotional than commitment.

Compromise is the name of the game.

Ikram from Winnipeg, Canada
Very true.At the end of the day only thing that matters is the happiness and love.Offcousre in both the cases, there is strong need of Trust and Understanding that forms the pillars of a happily married life.And also its our due responsibily to give the coming generation a healthy and good environment that helps them growing in this world in all aspects.
Marriage is an institution where merely two people should be regarded as partners for a lifetime. In most cases this is not the case, though, be it Pakistan or India, because both these countries have similar traditional background. Forceful marriages very often result into divorce. According to a survey, both Indian and Pakistani married men were number one as concerned indulging in extra marital affairs. The reason being: no compatibility in married life. In india such cases don�t end up in a divorce( because of strict social structure), in Pakistan on the other hand it is more liberal when it comes to a divorce.
Nasrin from Germany, Arranged marriages are not forced. Families and friends introduce the two individuals & after spending time together (a.k.a. dating) they're able to decide whether or not they want to move their relationship forward. In other words, it's a blind date that may or may not lead to a marriage.
Divorce is a seperate topic. No matter how a relationship starts it can end in divorce. While it is taboo for Indians to get divorced, it is accepted (you may say the norm) for Americans to get divorced. Who's to say which is better. Since divorce is less of an option for Indians, I believe that young Indian couples put much more thought into future partners then others do.
Arrange marriage develops the relationship between the two families.But the misuse of money makes it headache for the poor people who can't invest but have to due to society.
Vera from Ottawa,

Where do you think the money spent on such functions goes? Is it piled up in wads of cash and made into a bonfire? It goes to PEOPLE. In labor intensive India the heavy spending of the rich helps money change hands and trickle down to the not so rich - the flower arranger, the laborers setting up the wedding tent, the man playing the shehnai in the wedding procession, and so on. Please do not question the values of an entire society based on improper knowledge and understanding. India supports a sixth of the world's population on a meager 2.4% of the world's land surface area. It is not a wonder that the "water, housing, sewage, garbage collection, roads or sidewalks" are not always able to cope with the pressure.
This is total nonsense and very typical sensationalization - in a country where the average income is $700 a year, $200,000 weddings are hardly representative of the nation. Nor does the average youth of the country drive a $40k car. You should go and cover real marriages that cost $500 -$4000, the kind that get done in temples, samudayik kendras, on the streets, but of course, that won't be fun, would it? And talk to the guy who rides a bicycle or a scooter - but to do that Satinder Bindra would need to step out of his airconditioned car and 5-star hotel.
While I do agree the article should have focused more on the individual's feeling, perhaps a follow up could be done that talks about what they felt then, what they expected and what they feel now.
Also, I would have liked to see more details about what the meaning behind certain things are, such as Mehndi painting on the hands and feet. Perhaps India holds on to its culture and traditions more than anyone else because they are beautiful and meaningful. Whereas in some other cultures the young feel oppressed by and resentful of their traditions.
So tell me this: I am a white African, who is a Canadian citizen. I adopted a Punjabi daughter. Now, in Africa, the prospective husband pays the dowry. So if I were to arrange a marriage, I will expect the groom to pay richly. Guess it won't work...

Jests aside, my daughter's Indian birth mother chose a western adoptive family, because she did not wish her daughter to be forced into (among other things) an arranged marriage.
Indian women are so lucky on their men! Witness the burn wives that did not provide a dowry .. the police do not even bother to pretend to arrest the ones who did it. If they are lucky they will be burnt to death by loving relatives that want the husband inheritance with no expense in something as boring as a widow! They can be sold and bought in prostitution by beloved male relatives... no wonder that women go with infanticide of girls or killing or female fetuses. They know.. better be death than this lovely men.
Arrange marriages is guite common to hindus and muslim countries i still do not agree the parents has to force their kids to marry the guy whom they dont love,but if money and dowry talks seems like your daughters is the asset for the husbands future.
Not all Indians have arranged marriages. Nobody in my family or my husband's has had one for two generations. Arranged marriages work because of low expectations on the part of both the groom and the bride. The institution exists for two reasons - one it perpetuates the caste/social sytem - people usually have arranged marriages within the same community (not always tho) and because there are few opportunities for young people to meet and get to know each other. It is encouraged because it prevents pre-marital sex. Since women are still prized for their virginity - this practice, while not ensuring it, at leasts doesn't provide the incentive to break it.
It is a sad commentary that people expect so little out of their partner that they marry a stranger.
This article has little to do with arranged marriage and more to do with an overpriced Indian wedding. The sharing of feelings and emotions around an arranged marriage, and why more young Indians are approving to arranged marriage are not described. Like most things, it is not a good or bad thing, as it could go either ways depending on individual cases, but the reasoning underneath why people make certain decisions.
Even in singapore I do here of arranged marriage. But while arranged at times bonds to family together , I cant understand how two strangers can accept it. In india marriages also comes with huge amount spent on the wedding by bride side ,
Really, Now! How representative is this of the average arranged wedding: One family spending $200,000 on the wedding and the 26 year old groom driving a $40,000 car? Like, get real!
Arranged marriage was once common in the west, but modern liberal values of individual freedom and equality have been prevalent for generations now. So most of us, don't care for the idea of arranged marriage. I think arranged marriage is a vehicle for tradional family coercion and repression. If this is part of your culture then you accept it, but if your children grow up in more liberal environment, they will find the idea unacceptable. Many young Indians today have material wealth, but provincial sensibilities from a childhood with traditional role models. Face it, India is still a developing nation with few prospects for most people. Arranged marriage serves that kind of society well, but as India becomes more wealthy and liberal, the idea of arranged marriage will feel repressive and positively archaic. Societies evolve and freedom evolves, but it takes time.
I don't think the way in which people meet be it love/arranged is the important issue here. I think it depends more on compatibility and a respect for one another. If that is in place, everything else is irrelevant. Marriage is a union, and each person should strive to make the other person better and/or support them in their endeavours. I think if we understand this reasoning as a whole society the world would be a completely different place. And you also have to remember, marriage is not for everyone either and thats perfectly fine too.
I find off-the-cuff remarks by westerners-without knowing (or bothering to understand) the cultural norms and quirks that dictate any particular society-to be hypocritical, despicable, and offensive. When you read some of these comments, you would think that the west is a perfect society where freedom means being able to dissolve marriages quickly, abandon parents, and so on. India is far from perfect, but then tell me which nation isn't? And as for the pakistani, you are pathetic to want to find any excuse for India-bashing. Clean up your own closet first you moron! Your Koran sanctions wife-beating, amongst the other things, and with the honor killings and other atrocities that are committed in pakistan don't talk about social taboos and stigmas...
Hi, I have been watching the CNN Indian coverage. Very nice coverage. I�am very proud of my Indian younger generations.

About me:

I am an Indian. Love India. Love Gandhi. I�hatted the dowry system. I married my love of heart with out dowry. I�was bold enough to tell my parents that
I�will not get dowry. My parents respected my feelings.
It was 33 years ago , while I lived in India.
But now I live in Norway and I play raga in electric guitar while my daughetr plays bach.

I gave full freedom to my daughters to
select their love of their heart.. I�am glad my son in laws not pressed me for dowry.

My desire:

I�hope younger generation Indians will deny dowry and it is only way to erase dowry system and by saving millions of Indian parents who suffer for their whole life, both in India and abroad.

I�ask my brothers and sisters. Deny dowry system as much you can.
It is not up to the parents. It is up to you men and women. Be bold. Be courageous to tell your parents that you won�t be the part of dowry system. If they love you they will respect your feelings.

Thanks CNN

Prabhu Kumar
hi, here's my view.
im totally in favour of arranged marriages. when two people are introduced to each other, they are already aware about their intentions. Therefore, the mutual understanding is stonger in arranged marriages.
i do not agree about the dowry system though. In my country, Sri Lanka, this is fading away, which is a positive sign. Lot of young women, including myself and my friends want to go for an arranged marriage. they are long lasting and exciting.
As I know modern Indian men change their mind. Many of them make relationship with foreigner girls. They always proud of their culture & traditions although at other side they also want exit from any traditional customs. The matter is they still not sure or hesitate with their way, even they feel very strong Love and nice relationship with his foreigner girls. At last he will look like a coward in front of his foreigner girl because he can not continue the relationship, he can not keep the promise to marry the girl. He does not brave to get their true love. The choice is hurt his foreigner girl than oppose his family. Why to marry foreigner still taboo ?
please write straigh forward English- some of these comments we cant make sense of them
In India, a Love marriage also gets converted to Arranged marriage. In case of my daughter, once she met someone she liked, she told me about it and from there the two families take over for arranging the marriage!
I belive India lives in Middle Class family and villages,this wedding is more of ceremony courage rather then highliting wedding.I married in this January with a love cum arranged mairage and spent about USD 4000 on all spending.
Here is not talk on spending,this coverage is sensulization,if you want to learn India lets go to village wedding ceremoney,were guest are more important and hospitality is amazing.
I am living most of life outside my native country, Nepal. Still I did arrange marriage which I thought would be a nicest thing to pursue a family life. I went through traditional celebrations. It all went well and going perfectly. Therefore, I was only "observer" before, but now I am staunch supporter of it. I can feel that there is nothing wrong with arranged marriage. Bottom line is two hearts at least should be arranged well to get through all the time, what arrange marriage does too.
It is interesting to know why arranged marriages are successful. It is not only the joining together of two families. It is also about astrology and the belief in pre-destination.The role of the brahmin and his advice also counts. This is why arranged marriages in western cultures will not work. The other elements mentioned above are not there. It is wrong to say that arranged marriages are within the same castes. Ask any Punjabi? There are so marriages between Sikhs and Hindus. They follow the same format, except the introduction is made through a mutual friend or workmate or sharing the same work place.For some reason, there are no arranged marriages between Hindus and muslims. This might be related to the age long antagonism of the two cultures which still persists today. The antagonism might arise from their belief systems. The Sikhs, Jains and Buddists are all byproducts of Hinduism whereas Islam is not.
Any system of marriage that minimizes the divorce rate must be applauded. I would say even 2% is too high. The system of arranged marriage must be perfected even more.Maybe,this can be done with profiling of psychometric characteristis and the use of the computer.
Why not show us an arranged marriage in a poor family where the bride is treated as a slave by the entire extended family and what they do to her if she produces girl children or no children at all?
Lemme me jump in once again..
When we say arranged marriage , in simple terms, we mean that two individual come together, there family comes together as well and they carry on there family tradition and live in the social paramter.Now the other things, like dowry etc, they are offcousre practiced but its not mandatory thing ( and if the individual is brave enough to atnd against his during his marriage, he should do.. but "generally" people wont bec of their own desires).Now this doesnt necessarily be considered for arrange marriage bec its the fault of individual and not the " arrange marriage ceremony".Ya it was very much prevelant in olden days but as the public is becoming more and more aware of this, it will ( will be) eradicated soon
It is pathetic to see some indian millionaire pretending to be Cinderella, talking about tradition when her husband was BOUGHT by her father. Arranged marriages is a scary show of power of indian clans and don't represent the reality of the population of India.

Unfortunately, what CNN Correspondent did not dare to mention, the real tradition behind the arranged marriage is the creation of an informal army of non-rich girls who are denied love and marriage for not having a millionaire father, for not being able to buy a husband.

The tradition behind arranged marriage is the raise of the cold blood and cold heart generation inside India's elite.

The tradition behind arranged marriage is the dominant inequality where free marriage is a risk for the wealth and the power of the clan in the society.

The real indian people is very poor, iliterated and hungry. Without any perspective of future there is no tradition possible.
Arranged marriages are much more succesful with less chance of broken family. It is the union of two families rather than two indviduals. You enter the marriage not because your partner is rich or sexy but with devotion, faith, love and respect for your partner, the marriage vows and an expectation of stable married life. The Indian girls are taught right from childhood that marriage is not a mere affair of senses, it is a duty and a sacred commitment. I had an arranged marriage and lots of ups and downs in my married life but me and my husband stood together to provide a stable home for our kids. I appreciate it over the love marriage which breaks leaving kids with single parents.
Brandi canada

What ever the females side give to the groom. It is going to be their girls property next day along with the groom. Traditionaly the girl goes and lives with her inlaws in their house, she automatically gets what the mother inlaw and father inlaw has collected over the years. This is just a help by the relatives of both sides for the newly married couple to start their new life.
There's nothing wrong with two failies helping their youth get married
Arranged marriage is just like a blind date - young people don't know each other, but get to know each other as they continue communication. They are much more stable, as the couples don't have a huge history together and are not fed up of each other's habbits and charachter. I believe arranged marriages are stronger, long lasting and are healthy for the society - at the end of the day, those are with the least divorce rate!!

this is a country :

which does not provide clean drinking water
which does not provide non stop electricity
which does not have social insurance system
which does not have proper roads

what is the common man getting?

i think in the coming years there will be a civil war in india or a dividation of india .

why are u talking about arrange marraiges and 200000$ marraiges , it could be there but show the marraige of a poor girl , who's father has worked hard all his life and then also he cannot collect the money for his daughters wedding . what about their feelings ?
Can you really call this "arranged marriage" when the individuals have the right to say no at the last moment? I'm guessing that historically marriages were forced onto the future couple and there was no option of expressing an opinion. As some one else commented, this is more like being set up for a date by your friends/family.
i dont think you can say which one's BETTER.arranged or marriage by choice because you can never be sure if it's going to end up in a divorce or not.there's nothing wrong with arranged marriages because most of the time parents know their kids better than the kids themselves.however there are numerous cases where parents only look at how "well settled" the groom and his family are.and then ofcourse their caste[yes even in pakistan].they would rarely understand if the girl said soemthing like "but we don't connect..."
however,i do think that it should be decided in a civil's pointless if the parents force their kids to get into a's really beyond me how two people who barely know each other can live their lives together.
I think why one would give into an arranged marriage all depends on ones self-esteem. Majority of Indians are not at that certain level of self-awareness, which is inspired by universal standards of living. They seem to be living in a world of their own. The case here is of course of a celebrity couple, who for various reasons haven�t been able to deveolpe that particular individual sense freedom concerning their very personal self-awareness which would have lead to a match of their own choice. Better peacefully divorced than a marital bond just for the sake of it. What else would one do other than sticking out an unhappy union, when mostly the brides are forced into a Sathi, if they refused to cooperate. Arranged marriage is a sign of Middle Ages social structure of living. Simply primitive for the mainstream standards!
One would argue that even highly educated Indian agree to an arranged marriage. I would say then the main reason behind this mystery is that the Indians are extremely religious and superstitious.
This article does not cover the entire marriage arrangement process at all. That was the purpose of the article, correct? You did not achieve your objective.

I would have much preferred a middle class or lower class wedding scenario. The majority of the people in this world, including myself, cannot afford such lavish, gaudy affairs. Only a small minority can.

This article was not researched at all. Terrible journalism. Is this how you cover the war on terror, natural disasters, etc.? Again, I thought the focus of the article was supposed to be the process of marriage arrangements in India. Again, you failed miserably. Objective not acheived.
India has a unique culture, and arranged marriages are an intrinsic part of it. I think an arranged marriage is ok AS LONG AS the contracting parties don't feel oppressed or repressed by it. The goal of marriage anyway is happiness and harmony between the couple, and as long as those are achieved, then who are we to judge what's wrong or what's right for them? "Different strokes for different folks." If arranged marriages work for some people, then well and good. If love marriages work for others, well and good too.

However, i really don't agree that divorce rates are real indications that marriages (arranged or not) work in the ideal sense. A lot of couples are compelled to stay together in societies where divorce or separation is taboo even though there is no love or the relationship is abusive. I think the effect of these "loveless" relationships on such couples' children would be as devastating as for those children with divorced parents.
Mr Vivek Goyal from Tokyo
India is blessed that you are in Tokyo. We do not have drinking water, electricity, good roads and hundreds of other facilities you forgot to mention because the invaders robbed our wealth. Today we are working hard to make our country the best country in the world. Unlike you NRI's in short and non reliable indians in full form. If you can not contribute to the struggle for excellence please keep in mind we are world's second largest growing economy and providing the world not only spices and silk but doctors, teachers, IT professinals. If you can see only half glass empty rather than the other half full, I will suggest marry and Indian heart.

Mansi India
Mr Bindra,Get a life!
Tell a real story of how an arranged marriage takes place & what are the social costs to 80% of the families of India.There is some good & lots of not so good.A good story tells the reader all aspects of an arranged marriage, not your $200,000 version.
Well said Mis Mansi!!!
Mr.Vivek from Tokyo,
Dnt worry brother, people like us today are trying our very best to make India a better place to live (in materialistic terms), as other than that its already the best place.
U Should Thank God that u were in India when whole lots of war and what not as going all over the world.. just have look at some of them.. ur soul will get horrified.. nyways I wnt go on that matter.. but I ma young softwre professional and I feel that I am bound by the duties to serve my contry for my whole life and will do that..U dont sow trhe crop just reap.. no wonder some day u ll fly to other place where u ll see more money.. so bascically people like u dnt belong to any country.. I dnt have any problem with NRI's.. its ur own choice.. bt dnt take it as granted to speak anything abt ur own country.. if u cant praise u dnt have any right to
demean it.
Just wait.. u ll see the true developed India in sometime..
A close-up look into the lives of almost 550 million younger Indians?????

Are you kidding!!!???!!!????

I laude the intention of this story. However, to a Western reader with little knowledge of India, it is misleading. By percentages, many Indians have arranged marriages but very few have $200,000 weddings and drive $40,000 cars. This article does not explain it is covering urban, wealthy Indians. The fact that arranged marriage is still embraced by this group is interesting, itself. However, the article implies it is giving "a personal and close-up look into the lives of almost 550 million younger Indians."

In my opinion, this is irresponsible reporting.
This article is very lite in really look at this issue. I would have liked more. Maybe looking at more than one couple.
The 2% divorce rate statistic can be argued both ways. The main factor for if deciding if arranged marriages are good should be the effect low divorce has on the children in Indian society. If the children are growing up health mentally then arranged marriages are a great thing. It's the bad arranged marriages throughout European history that still has Americans reeling from the thought. Americans as individuals are too selfish to put family and children before themself.
Arrange Marriage is for guys who don't have balls.
Yes, arranged marriages are the norm in India and, perhaps, the divorce rate is a lot lower. However, I met numerous women from India who were products of arranged marriages while in California and they were miserable. Many of the women envy American women because we can choose who we marry. We come from choice not being forced to seek something we do not want. Divorce is not part of India's culture, as I understand it. What about the number of men in India, as one of your other articles points out, who marry as a coverup for being gay. Those poor women who entered into arranged marriages with these men. According to your article, they are not even aware that their husbands are leading double lives -- they have children by these men. Is there any way out for these women? If the men are leading double lives in this way, what other ways are they leading double lives?

It seems to me the women are trapped in a tradition that provides them with little sense of choice or freedom. Thank God women in America are not thought of as a commodity to be sold to men or bargained for by men. In India, they believe that you can learn to love someone and that love is not the driving force behind marrying. However, what happens if you end up not loving the person chosen for you? This type of tradition takes away the need for an Indian man to do the work required of earning the privilege to marry a woman who also has a say in the arrangement. All the work is done for him and the woman just tags along. Where is the freedom and self respect in that?

Why would we Americans even want to consider such a tradition. Why do we always look outside of our own country? Why are we letting other countries influence us so much. The Indian influence has crept its way into our nation - jewelry, fashion, work environment, and now arranged marriages? I don't think so.
Well...let's be honest. I am an Indian and know that 2% divorce rate just dont add up. That figure is artificially low because, in India, due to Social stigma, parents rather burn their daughter than to help their daughter file for divorce. Due to the same sigma, unhappy couples live misrable lives. Whose purpose does this serve? Isn't it better some times to file for divorce than to waste two lives, which are just not made for each other.

Let's give all the freedom and independence to all the women in India and then see where the divorce rate settles?

After seeing the western culture, I am so convinced that this culture respect their women a lot more than Indian men do. Sometimes, divorce results from the independence and respect western women get.

Is that such a bad thing?
Ya thats true that this figure is not correct for the divorce rate.But one thing I feel that may be u really had a bad experience of life interms of interaction with Indian men,be there be friend,husband or son.Bec in general terms,Indian men have loads of respect for the women,infact we really worship them.Ya some people dont do but thats not a general thing but this u can see the same in West as well and at bigger level.But if u talk in idealistic terms of culture and families,ur point is not correct.It depends on individual.Talking is very easy when we say we should have divorce easily and all, then please lemme know the figure how many women will seek the divorce without claiming a major amount of money from there husbands.We dnt agree with divorce bec we feel that our priority is to create healthy atmosphere for the family and childeren,and the divorce things have the adverse effect on them.So in case we have to sacrifice our personal wishes, we will happily do that for the sake of our childrena nd family.We have and will always sacricfice at every stage and tahts waht our identity is and its not bad also bec at the end stage of our life we dnt let our parents to live in old age home and we wanna give them best time of therelife they might have never seem.This is what we are...nw dnt give me the examples against this bec again I m talking in idealistic terms and atleast I follow the same..
i think cnn , u are just trying to change the image of india around the world . who's hand is behind this propaganda ?

india is one of the world's worst country to live. there is so much poverty , corruption , bad infrastructure .

family issues as u are trying to show are not like that , even for rich people its very difficult to find a right partner . its just sacrifice . either the girl or boy . but at least the boy and his family gets all the dowry money so they are happy with it .

why dont u show the real problems all the indians face every day every time in their country .
Unknown Sweden!
You said it! But still one cannot put into words or describe or narrate, what the reality about India is.
All this defense in favour of arranged marriages is just a pretext, because these handful of defenders are profiting from this tradion. Only a very very small percentage of people want to dictate their terms upon a vast majority. And all that in the name of so-called customs and traditions. The truth is that India is the one of the poorest countries in the world, and where there�s poverty there�s corruption. Corruption is inherent in all sectors, so that it would take ages to eradicate it. Millions in India are with no self-awareness, let alone they are going to voice against some thing like arranged marriage. Majority of population is starving to death daily. Then on top of that all, one suffers racial discrimination, caste atrocities, and last not least gender(women) supressuion. One is glad to know if ther�s a revolution going to take place, but it will take very very long, if not ages for these heinous practices to come to an end! If you don�t believe me, just open up any web site on India and inform yourself.
right said mr. unnamed from sweden , mr. vivek goyal from tokyo , ms. nasrin from germany and all those who are against the motion.
whatever cnn shows is ok , but we foreigners ( not only westerners ) but we means all the foreigners in any country these days know exactly what india is . as india is highlighted around the world by media propaganda the local television channels in our country are showing us programmes about india.

everyday there is a program showing dowry , racial discrimination , caste discrimination , poor infrastructure , hiv aids , pollution , corruption , slavery ( infact u have a slavery news today at bbc from bihar ) , frustration among youth of india and many more problems that are in india and these problems are increasing everyday , the goverment is doing less to stop it.

so we are well aware of all what india is , please dont tell us , we are very smart.

as far a arranged marraige is concerned it could be beautiful but without all the drama there is in india. infact i like grand wedding parties ( poor or rich )
Mine is a Love Marriage that was arranged!!! We fell in Love and were determined to get married. We persuaded our parents who were extremely against our love and many times violent. But we persuaded then and won over. Now we are all one big family. I think that is the secret in Indian marriages, the strength,support and comfort that comes from one's family that makes life easier and helpful advice to adjust to a new life.
Hey true voice rightly said...
U knw what is India.. but even we knw what is West , Europe,America etc..and we dnt really agree what CNN shows.. bt if u really want to discuss the problems then I can give u more realistic problems in the u wnt agree bec u knw what.. ur frm nowhere.. hey hey.. "carrying a history of inhuman civilization.. what more u expect "
The arrange marriage is possible only if one is bron & brought-up with an Indian culture be it Hindu, Muslim, Christane, etc.
Unlike in Love marriage, its only two are attracted & engage. In arrange marriage, its engagement of not only two persons but two families.
Whether its a love or arranged..its ur own choice .Everything have there pros and cons but to comment on it is not true.We should respect each and every culture and tradition,if u dnt , its ok, bt then dont comment bec it wont lead to anything other than dis respect for dat particular individual.Lets consider this world as a whole single family and enjoy the differnt colours of life in forms tradtions,customs,cultures,festivals etc...
today a minor girl was gang raped in india nithari village.

how many indians are ready to help hir?

no foreigners please .
Your question is irrelevant to current discussion so cant be answered.Sorry.These discussion cn be on some other blogs and such incidents happens in other parts of the world as well.But thats not the debating issue atleast in this section.
mr. Soul - India/UK , as the arrange marraige which they showed on CNN was not the real india . if they had shown a real indian arranged marraiged we would have been more impressed by india .

as i wrote some reality about india , did it cause a pain in your heart ? why? but thats the reality of your country .

so i want everybody to understand that if they will show the real poor arranged forced marraige of india all the indians like soul uk will be angry with cnn.
I wonder why Indians repel the idea of revealing the "reality" about India?
If they are true patriots, who want to help build their country in the right direction, they would welcome any critic and guiding views of others that may prove beneficial in reforming their country. They are very much aware of the wretched socio/eco. conditions prevailing in India, but still these so-called (brain drain) seem to be quite useless in importing fresh and progressive notions into India. As long as the religius beliefs won�t be reformed (superstition, in all walks of life) unless gender discrimination won�t come to an end, there will not, and cannot be any prosperity amongst the nation. The Caste system which is as old as the Indus Valley Civilization, had laid down the foundation of social degradation then, and which is still keeping this horrendous tradition and so-called holy customs penetrate through the human welfare, so that it becomes a sad joke- elepfants, cows, etc become dearer than humanity!!! How can one justify that!!!!!!????
today in bombay , the most develped country of india 30 couples were fined and arrested for kissing in public .

what nonsense is this may i ask u people ?

in our country india if there is no freedom to kiss my lover on the public place how will i love marraige her ?

why is our government so stupid?

i am forbidden to kiss my wife ? does this make sense ?

i think arrange marraiges are good for india. this debate is over . go to your home .
I agree with Rajiv, Satinder should cover a wedding for the low class. This will give us a true picture of the real India. Go back to the drawing board and tell us how what qualities/weakness families consider before selecting partners.
Here is my take on arranged marriage.
There are two types of arranged marriages
1. The family chooses the partner and the girl/boy has no say on it.
2. The family chooses the partner and the girl/boy has the final say. Nothing happens without the consent of the girl and boy

At least in educated, middle class India, we see more marriages of type 2.

Now, living before marriage, in India, is uncommon and hence, according to me, the 'so-called' love marriage is as good as arranged marriage. No matter how long you know a person, as long as you don't live together, there is no way of knowing him/her fully.

Having said this, arranged marriages already start with a compromise and handling surprises after moving together isn't a big deal as both boy and girl anticipate surprises.

Whereas, in the 'so-called' love marriage, you move together thinking that you know the person well only to realize it's not the case.

I necessarily don't say that all of us should get married to strangers but my point is arranged marriage isn't a bad option at all. My wife and I are married (arranged) happily for four years and it seems to working well so far.

Yes, the same social stigma which supports arranged marriages also seem to lessen divorce rates but in our generation, I don't think couples who have arranged marriages live together just because they are afraid for divorce rather they are willing to work through the problems of matrimony through compromise.
i think you forgot to mention that total submission by woman is an integral part of an arranged leaves no room for divorce hence the low divorce rate.
rashid a khan m.d.
Dear Nasrin please study some thing about indian family system before writing some blah blah.
It is great because,
Our children get care from their parents.
Our young people enjoy support from their family.
Our aged folk enjoy love and respect from their family members.

You west people who leave in complete materialistic society won't understand the beauty of Indian culture.

Understand india's population it is larger than that of europe and usa together. Don't judge a country by means of few bad odd events.
The only reason for 2% divorce rate is the society pressure. Someone who is divorced is rejected by the society and won't get high chances to re-marry. It's deeply embedded into the culture, but just like love marriages, arrange marriages can be successful and disastrous. Are the rest 98% of the couples happy, or they are just 'stuck' together?
The only reason for 2% divorce rate is the society pressure. Someone who is divorced is rejected by the society and won't get high chances to re-marry. It's deeply embedded into the culture, but just like love marriages, arrange marriages can be successful and disastrous. Are the rest 98% of the couples happy, or they are just 'stuck' together?
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