Its We Who Build Community

Have you seen the commercial for 'Community Matrimony' dot com thats being aired across the channels these days? Have a look:

It is wrong on so many levels!

Daughter is going around with a guy that sports long hair. And automatically that's the bad guy? Candidates for marriage - girl or boy - should adhere to certain stereotypes in order to make "good marriages". What about those that do not fit stereotypes? Do they have no chance at marriage without conforming?

Then the whole approach to marriage. The family shown in the commercial seems to be educated and upper middle class. And yet they depend upon the 'community temple' and 'community astrologer' to find a groom for their daughter. Six decades of independence and a decade into the 21st century and we still use mumbo jumbo to find life partners.

Then the most objectionable part of this commercial is the over emphasis on 'community'. It is just a euphemism for 'caste', the deep rooted malady we are yet to shake off. For the most part, people still do not marry across caste lines in India. Note the honour killings taking place in North India when couples dare to exercise their choice.

What does one do when the all knowing 'market' decides to turn a social evil into a business opportunity? Is regulation the answer? How does one address the social attitudes that have allowed space for such unbridled opportunism? We need to take a stand as a society or risk reversing the tiny steps we have taken towards progressive and liberal thinking.

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20 Responses to Its We Who Build Community

  1. RGB says:

    Much as we would like to think that we have transformed as a nation, are progressive and liberal in our thoughts and attitudes, I think we're light years away. When we can stop thinking about caste, creed or colour and start focusing on unconditional love, harmony and happiness, it would then perhaps be a small step in the direction of progress.

  2. Let me confine the discussion to the middle and upper classes.
    Still arranged marriages is the order of the day.These marriage bureaus or community matrimony are mediums through which marraiges are arranged and they exist because there is patronage.It is only in last two decades after the boom in knowledge/service sectors that girls are coming to work in large number and exposed to outside world meeting people.Till then confined to home or narrow circles, they had to depend on parents for 'finding' a suitable partner.Things are changing.There are are more intra caste/region marraiges today .But compatibility in eating habits, status in society, qualifications and income are still major determinants.The cultural traditions of centuries take long time to go and I envisage a broader inter caste marriages atleast among the subcastes to take place gradually encompassing the further divides.

    One cannot decry community matrimony sites or units so long as there is a demand for them. They will wither away as people become broader in outlook and tolerant .

  3. Deepa says:

    @Partha: We MUST decry these community matrimony sites - the voice of protest is what is required for people to start thinking and THAT will lead to people becoming broader in outlook and tolerant.

  4. Rachna says:

    Very valid point! I think of the same thing so many times. We think of ourselves as progressive and modern, but even in cities, the first question we are asked when speaking to a stranger is where are you from? The region, language, caste, color are factors which determine for most people who they will interact with. And, I agree that when it comes to marriage, families are not only strict about caste, but language, culture, color etc. I don't know if banning these websites would solve the problem. I met my husband through a matrimonial website too, yet we are of different castes. From my personal experience, these websites give an opportunity to girls to know their prospective partners a little more personally. But, these days with so much deception, one wonders if that is true anymore. What we require is a mindset change? But,I don't see it happening any time soon. Really a nice and thought provoking post.

  5. Sandhya says:

    Like Parthasarathy Sir says, it will take a long long time to change ourselves completely. We cannot deny that the changes have started taking place. As far as a normal day to day life is concerned, the couples who have gone through inter caste marriages can get along without much problem. But when the child is born, naturally, the family tradition creeps in. Then, one parent has to adjust and very rarely this problem is solved mutually.

    Yes, in a family get together, during festivals etc. and if veg and non veg difference is there, again problem arises. If the couple and their families are broad minded, then it will be easy. My opinion is, more than caste, veg, non-veg food will be a major difference and difficult to adjust.

    Community matrimony sites are useful for boys and girls who are not yet bold enough to look for a partner or didn't get the opportunity to meet one.

    Everything will take time, Deepa.

  6. Deepa says:

    @RGB: Agree with you. Well said.

    @ Rachna: I agree that the matrimonial sites give girls and boys slightly more leverage than usual. But as you say, so many frauds are there. A girl has to kiss many frogs before she can find her 'prince'

    @Sandhya: I think you are a great role model for marriages that cross regional lines no?

  7. PriPat says:

    I want my parents to read this post and the replys of co blogger!!Hoping them to change there minds!!

  8. Very good post! I think it questions the entire concept of women's freedom. A woman does not have the freedom to choose her own spouse. It is done by her parents and community. Today with technology advancement we have just replaced the traditional astrologer with a URL. What has changed? Nothing!

  9. AS says:

    Arranged marriages or not ? You need to look into it in a philosophical way. There has been a change in lifestyle. Earlier arranged marriages were appropriate. Still in some cases it maybe. It depends on individual to individual. The parents objective should be to see their child happiness. There is no differentiation of man/woman in an arranged marriage. Its same for both. It depends on the maturity of the person to select a partner. If one is not that mature enough, then parents can step in. Today the exposure girls and boys have, makes arranged marriage a thing of the past.

  10. Deepa says:

    @AS: Thanks for your comment. My post wasn't really about arranged marriages. It was about the business of marriage. The way in which the market is structured and how technology like internet is being used or abused. Do get your point about arranged marriages being an individual's choice. Keep visiting!

  11. Jaadoo says:

    Deepa
    thanks for taking up the issue. It is so much about stereotyping ideas about what is desirable in a marriage. It also reflects upon the poor quality of ads in the country- on the same lines as the ad that shows a mother feeling terrible about her son's height- Ipsita

  12. That reveals that no matter we have reached on Moon and claim a seat in 'security council' we are still communal in heart of our hearts. Is there a guarantee that there will not be any problem if the alliance is from the same community?

  13. Deepa says:

    @ Jaadoo / Ipsita: You are right. We creatively bankrupt. Or at least on the verge.

    @Kushal: There is absolutely no guarantee. All relationships are a gamble! Ram and Sita, I'm told had perfectly matching horoscopes. And look how their marriage turned out! 14 years in exile, kidnapping, war, breach of trust (agnipareeksha) and finally separation.

  14. radha says:

    Guess there are so many matrimonial sites, they had to think of something different. And how!! Yes, I agree with you on all counts.

  15. Renu says:

    Advertisement are always a reflection of society, instead of controlling them, we must change the society and the change can be brought by youth only.

    I have seen many young people who whatevr might say but at the time of marriage become conservative, its them we need to convert or bring an awareness.

  16. Marriages, especially arranged marriages are more about money than the community. The money exchange ought to be within the community. That said, there are some advantages of marrying within the community as well... :)

    Destination Infinity

  17. Jaadoo says:

    Deepa
    thanks for taking up the issue. It is so much about stereotyping ideas about what is desirable in a marriage. It also reflects upon the poor quality of ads in the country- on the same lines as the ad that shows a mother feeling terrible about her son's height- Ipsita

  18. Very good post! I think it questions the entire concept of women's freedom. A woman does not have the freedom to choose her own spouse. It is done by her parents and community. Today with technology advancement we have just replaced the traditional astrologer with a URL. What has changed? Nothing!

  19. Sandhya says:

    Like Parthasarathy Sir says, it will take a long long time to change ourselves completely. We cannot deny that the changes have started taking place. As far as a normal day to day life is concerned, the couples who have gone through inter caste marriages can get along without much problem. But when the child is born, naturally, the family tradition creeps in. Then, one parent has to adjust and very rarely this problem is solved mutually.

    Yes, in a family get together, during festivals etc. and if veg and non veg difference is there, again problem arises. If the couple and their families are broad minded, then it will be easy. My opinion is, more than caste, veg, non-veg food will be a major difference and difficult to adjust.

    Community matrimony sites are useful for boys and girls who are not yet bold enough to look for a partner or didn't get the opportunity to meet one.

    Everything will take time, Deepa.

  20. Deepa says:

    @Partha: We MUST decry these community matrimony sites - the voice of protest is what is required for people to start thinking and THAT will lead to people becoming broader in outlook and tolerant.