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If You Get Married For One Of These Reasons Then Marriage Is A Social Obligation For You

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By Japleen Pasricha:

Why does young India get married? Or to be more precise, why does young educated urban/sub-urban India get married? The ideal answer(s) to this question would be:

Because they have found the love of their lives,
that person is the one for them,
they want to wake up every morning next to them,
they cannot imagine their lives without them,
they want to spend the rest of their lives with them,
they want to grow old with them.
(Okay, sorry! Too much mushiness happening here!)

But hey, we are talking about India, aren’t we? So who is this young India? Let’s define them first:


We are the young Indians, we go to college, we complete university, we have fancy degrees like and MBA’s from even fancier institutes like the IITs and IIMs. Some of us even have foreign degrees; you see imported maal is always good. We work in big multinationals and banks and what not. Our dear young India is very modern, you see. We only talk in English, drink black coffee, strictly use Apple products, we eat in high-end cafes and lounge bars and we mingle with all sorts of people, men and women alike. We are very open-minded, you see. But we also don’t forget that we, at the end, are Indians. We should never forget our sanskars. So when it comes to finding “the one” for us, we turn to our mommys and papas. Because we respect our elders and we trust their choices, even blindly.

So besides these (obvious) reasons what are the other ones that make young Indians take the big step? Let’s list down some of them.

My parents think I should get married.
It is high time; I should settle down, get married and have a couple of kids.
The society expects this of me.
Getting married is a social duty.
If I don’t get married how will my family grow, and most importantly the heir who will carry on my name.
I want a big fat dowry.
It is beneficial for my business
I want to have sex, unlimited sex.
I am now in the marriageable age (or what that even means)
My friends and cousins are getting married.
I have a few grey hairs now, better get married than sorry.
After a degree in engineering, an MBA and a job as an investment banker, I am earning enough to settle down.
Ooohh, I have always dreamt of getting married, and all my girlfriends are already hooked up. So it’s only fair that I should be too.
Arranged marriages- because that’s how we roll.
Because I don’t know how to talk to women, better mommy finds me one.
Because I never talked to guys, and of course mommy knows the best.
Because “log kya kahenge” (mind you, this is one of the epic ones…)
(My head might crack up but the list will go on and on. So I better stop here.)

Young India has a truck load of pretty good reasons to tie the knot. Mind you, they all are very rational and logical. You see, the young India strives for perfection. And what is perfection without a fair, homely convent-educated girl or a teetotaller boy from a decent family based in the USA/UK with a handsome package. What else does one need? The young India follows its timetable very sternly and marriage is of course a part of the timetable. Then come the kids and after that we all know how life goes on.

How does young India contribute to the society? By getting married, which is very important. It is almost a social obligation. And you have to get married, no choice bro! Doesn’t matter if you are ready or not, doesn’t matter if you know, let alone love the person, you have to get married. Because it is the right thing to do. And who told you that? Of course your mommy and papa and they know the best. And who told them? Of course their mommy and papa. Hence it goes on, without any one ever questioning the mommy and papa that why is it so important to get married. It is a tradition, a ritual which has been passed down generations and young India doesn’t dare to raise an eyebrow (well, at least the majority doesn’t). Because you see, we are Indians and we don’t argue back with our elders. And we are very much better off than the West, where relationships are weak and divorce rates are high. Chi! We are so much better! Although we do ignore the fact that we have a low divorce rate because divorce is still a taboo in our country or domestic violence is rampant or many women are not financially independent or the parents don’t accept their daughters back at their homes and many more such archaic excuses. We only care what the statistics say. And numbers speak louder than real situations, of course. So 10: 1 and we won. Bohoo West!

We are the young Indians and we are proud of it. Although even after having white-collared jobs, we expect a large dowry and also want the woman to leave her home, her family and everything and come and live with us. Our parents should become her parents and our family should become her family. Because that’s the way it has been, isn’t’ it? And who questions such traditions? Tauba Tauba, not we! We are the cultured young India. We haven’t forgotten our values. So our wives come and live with us and our families and take our name, and wear ridiculous symbols to shout to the world that they are married (even if they don’t like to, they must). Then our kids take our names and we become their first guardians. And so with kids we fulfil our duty to the society. We have given them the future of India who will make India a better place to live in (hopefully).

And that’s how my dears we make marriage a social obligation, because this is our happy land and to reach the happy land what do we do? Yes, you guessed it right. We get married!

This article has been published earlier on the author’s personal blog, here

You must be to comment.
  1. balayogi

    What are the natural attributes of good relationship? What are the culturally/regionally injected/expected ingredients of a relationship? What are the petty generalizations within which most of the intellectual elites liberally to confine and define relationships as if it is merely a social issue? And so on.

    Are n’t most relationships, especially, conjugal ones, more to do with primarily addressing and satisfying purely personal issues connected with one’s body, mind and spirit.

    But in the process we end up mixing so many factors while what really matters in any relationship is the personal rapport, it could range from specific task/expectation fulfilling deal or sublime and unqualified love or logically indefinable devotion etc.

    Here I am giving links to some of my old write ups some talk about relationship in general; some the much maligned status of women in family and social relationship; some reflect my very personal emotional relationship wherein I find ways to justify all types of behavior and one important tool which intrudes to define many relationships, namely Morality etc.

    Read all of these when you have time and respond








  2. Anupreet Kaur

    Very well written, Japleen. Keep it up!

    1. Japleen Pasricha

      Thank you Anupreet! 🙂

  3. Deep Manchanda

    All points taken, Achieved what?

    P.S – Moreover it is written by a women for a women.

    1. nebuchadnezzar3

      ‘by a woman for a woman’? What does that even mean?

    2. Suniti Agarwal

      I agree

  4. feelingsmusings

    i think this article could have been done up in several other (read:better) ways. very lopsided, not to mention outdated.this is my personal opinion only. not implying that the article is talking about a cooked-up social set-up… all this is true…but there is a lot more to the institution of marriage …

  5. Synapse

    Good thought. It’s a maze we are stuck in. I see some comments and wonder, if not this, what else will work for us? We didn’t make any rules or social norms because why bother, if those are already there why think too much, accept it and be proud of it. It’s easier to, not think (other than career, coz that’s most important) about redefining societal values.
    Good job Japleen. For those men who think its about women by a women,then try reading carefully again, you will get the answers(btw I’m a male and it wasn’t hard to read through)

  6. Eon Heath

    Well, the article was amusing, but thats about it. The idea that marriage is something a person enters into due to it being another social norm is quite untrue. And for each reason stated, “Mommy knows best” is not an answer either.

    One thing i fail to understand is, though the writer tries and portrays a mindset of being “modern” and chides the rest to be “literate fool” for following a modern culture and yet marrying in the old school, why is it that anything that is “western” has to be right? Why cant it be that, what we follow is right and the west be wrong? When will we stop looking “up” to the so called “West”? Until we respect ourselves, how can we expect others to feel so about us?

    Lastly, though a few points pointed out here are true. That one of the reasons for the low divorce rate is the social stigma that follows. But, is it the only reason? or the biggest reason? It can also be because, we are mature enough to give the relationship another chance, a little more time before just parting ways.

    And, i didnt really figure out how domestic violence is even remotely related to this article?

    Lastly, rather than citing examples or references from surveys or studies, i can tell from my own personal experience. No one in my friend circle or my family (extended family included) has married due to any of the above reasons so mentioned by the author. It was always a personal decision / choice.

    On some level, though this article presents the writers personal views, i just feel to some extent it could have been much better and given the credits, a wider point of view.

    p.s.- The above expressed thoughts are only my personal opinion.

    1. Snigdha Chotani

      Totally agree with you Eon..

  7. Eon Heath

    Err, forgot to sign up for the follow up comments. My bad. :-/

  8. Shreya

    I am from a non-metropolis yet a tier-2 city, but have been studying in a reputed college of Delhi for past three years. Despite having a good educational background and prospects of a good career ahead, despite being only 22, my parents are already panicking about my marriage!

    The reason, precisely pointed out by this article, because everyone my age back home is getting married, majority of my batchmates from school are either married or engaged. Which makes my parents, family, their friends, friends of friends, people I don’t even know, feel that it’s high time I get married. If I don’t get married soon, I will surpass the ‘marriageable age’ and will run out of ‘suitable matches’. All of them feel it’s their moral obligation to get me hitched. Even a slight mention of the fact that I want to study further and make a career is met by bewildered looks from relatives, who bitch behind me back that I shouldn’t have been sent to Delhi to study in the very first place since that is the cause of my defiance of the ‘prescribed social norms’. It’s as if I’m the last person whose opinion holds even a little significance in the biggest decision of my own life!

    What the author has mentioned in this article might be a waning reality in metro cities, but let me tell you, it is more or less the reality still in the smaller cities, even among the educated. Maybe not for all, but for some, the ‘social obligation’ of getting married is actually the most pressing issue of their 20s. Kudos to the author for catching the pulse of youth which the society can’t!

  9. Surabhi Jha

    The parents in Indian families are so opinionated that they aren’t ever ready to even listen to what their child has to say in this regard.Now when we understand the thing so well and actually feel the pain,hope the coming generations do not face the same disgust.

  10. Ellina Dutta

    hats off to u for this piece of writing!! m a 22 yr old n among my relatives of my age m d only one not married! chi chi on me again.. hell lot of pressures on me.. y on earth did i reject an NRI guy.. damn it!!! who does dat.. finally i had to leave for with an excuse of higher studies to find my peaceful piece of life.. but still being unmarried people think i have been spoilt by the SHEHER Ki HAWA!!!! i wish i cud make my uneducated or half educated read dis blog .. but i wud like to thank u for this great deal of motivation

    1. Tinti

      Hats off to your attitude!!! Always remember its YOUR LIFE, so live it on your OWN TERMS.

  11. Mr.A

    hatsoff dudos i want to say dis thing for all people who believe things to be done in indane way……………………Basically our constitutions are enlightens of countries like germany,france uk. How could they quesion western way of doing things as…………………..

  12. Ankita

    A biased article. Look around! Speak to people! Know them! Observe and broaden your perspective.

    1. Mr.A

      biased? this is not the right word.This is some wat called as frustated

  13. Anitha Choudhary

    Don’t know when we Indians are gonna stop living for the society and start living for ourselves… Hopefully atleast parents of this generation should come out of the typical stereotype and understand what their children actually think and help them take their own decisions rather than inflicting what the society thinks is right!!!

  14. AnonymousWoman

    Some of the points that you have raised here make sense. The reasons for lesser divorce, for example, are legitimate.

    However, on the whole the article is pretty biased and has a hint of frustration maybe due to social pressure. I am 22 years old and no one till now has ever mentioned that I should soon get married. I do not plan on getting married (at all if that’s possible i.e., if I don’t meet a man I am ready to share the rest of my life with) and I don’t believe that marriage is “our happy land and to reach the happy land what do we do”. Neither do I believe that having kids after marriage is essential (rather, as per my original plan, I don’t want kids at all ‘if I happen to marry’).

    Last but not the least, a small piece of advice. Please look around you and see how many:
    1. Married couples are actually moving in with the groom’s family
    2. Women take their husband’s last name, and
    3. Wear “ridiculous” symbols to shout to the world that they are married.
    The India that we are now living in doesn’t really do most of the above (vouched by my cousins’ decisions and behaviour). Let’s not push this obsolete buck around.

  15. Shilpi

    Lovely article japleeen…true to thew core….for those who do not agree choose to be ignorant …with all the data available for how this institution itslf has caused so much of misery for young women….and the institution itslef is opressive and BIASED FOR WOMEN…i pity…. IGNORANCE IS A CHOICE GUYS…U choose to be ignorant… we choose to see the reality

  16. sarab


  17. Aditya Singh

    Hypocrisy is prevalent in both genders equally. We want to be an individualist to score points among our peers and the opposite gender and a conformist to score points among the others.

    Apart from this, i don’t like it when certain things originating from Indian philosophy are mis-interpreted in the society. An example is – sanskars and ideas about love marriage. Love marriages were very much prevalent in India since times immemorial and have been mentioned in ancient literature as well. Who called it a western idea ? Culture becomes a scapegoat in the end.

  18. surpreet


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