This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Ojaswini Srivastava. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Shallowness Of ‘The Big Fat Indian Wedding’ And The Absurdity Of ‘Arranged’ Love

More from Ojaswini Srivastava

By Ojaswini Srivastava:

‘The Big Fat Indian Wedding’, as it is famously called, is all about dhinchak dresses, expensive gifts, loads of dahej, distributing sweets to the whole mohalla and having reserved an extra-large banquet hall decorated extravagantly, playing high volume bollywood masala music, a grand food-stall and a long guest list. Read the above lines again and answer the question — “Is this what marriage shall be?”

Indian wedding

Sadly, this is marriage in our “traditional society”. I am not against anything, any form of celebration or style of enjoyment. But I am in favor of a more sensible and deeper concept of marriage. Why do we have to show off so much? What do we show off? That we have a lot of money? That we are marrying our daughter in a wealthy family? That our son is our prince? That we are very traditional people? That we celebrate so exquisitely that the whole world remembers?

I ask, why do we need to prove all these things like this? What do we do with the bride? We ask her to quit her job, sit at home, become an obedient slave and agree to each and every word her husband says? What do we do with the groom? We keep nagging him with the tag of “you have changed after marriage, you don’t care about your parents anymore…this and that”.

Firstly, I don’t say this happens in every family with every married couple or in every marriage ceremony. Secondly, I say that this is happening in many families, to many couples, in many wedding functions.

My first and foremost problem is with the concept of an ‘arranged marriage’, according to which we are supposed to marry a stranger and live together forever. If we fall apart later, we are terrible people for the society. If we oppose an arranged marriage, we are worthless kids who can’t do one ‘little thing’ for their parents who spend their whole life looking after us. I accept the fact that arranged marriages have modernized over time. But you too cannot deny that this modernization is limited to certain sections of the society.

The typical arranged marriages are nothing but a loveless, forced and helpless relationship meant for life. It is forever covered under the burden of society, families, filial pressure and traditions. Even if you say that people do fall in love over a period of time in arranged marriages, I will counter you by saying that it happens because they have to. They have no other options but accept what happens. It is a kind of ‘forced love’. Love, whereas, must be natural. (But, our society has a long way to go to start believing in and regarding anything as such. We have to overcome many notions like, “marriage is essential for everyone”, “pre-marital sex is a sin”, “a girl is not the ‘possession of her biological parents” etc., to reach a phase where natural love is what leads to marriage).

The point that I wish to make through this article is – please start looking to the deeper realities and stop accepting everything as it comes. Marriage is beautiful and love is wonderful. But why cannot we let them both be natural, selective and free from obligations? Falling in love because you have to get married to a certain person out of filial duties and societal set up is anyways obligatory and not anyone’s first choice. It is a compromise.

Getting back to where I started – all the show off and glamour involved in the Big Fat Indian Wedding is really shallow. Get closer to it, and you will meet the questions I have raised above. The show off is not worth it because the marriage, the ‘holy tie’, is just an obligation, a compromise, a suppression of emotions and surrender to the society for the two people taking pheras around the holy pyre.

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  1. Mahathy Yelugam

    Good article… This is what exactly on my mind!!!!!!

  2. Shar


  3. John

    So you are saying only arrange marriages are shallow n “Big Fat Indian Wedding” and Love marriages are deep and no show off thing !!
    Not a supporter of show off but ddn’t get your “deeper concept of marriage” ! Love is again a big showoff nowadays..its became a trend rather than a state or emotion.
    I think marriage itself is a obligation; Love or arranged doesn’t matter ! If you love someone so deeply why do you need to get married? Why do you need any kind of certificate or ritual to hold so called Deep Love ?
    Its the insecurity that plays a big role here..its just a matter of degree of liberation; in arrange it is less and in love marriage its more…that’s it ! But there is no qualitative difference !!
    Self Deception in short !

  4. Satwiki De

    Well-written and bold. Kudos to the writer. Well done. 🙂

  5. Arya

    I do not think I have read a more biased article than this. Arranged marriage and loveless..!! Dude, you need to open your eyes and look around. Just because you are unable to comprehend the beauty of love in arrange marriages you cannot simply bash the whole concept. I won’t say that that they are superior to love or anything, but marriage is marriage and it does not matter if it is love or arrange. Also, dowry is also asked in love marriages, it is you who so blind.

    Haha! If people started following your though process all marriage celebrations will stop. I do not find anything wrong with the Big Fat Indian Wedding at all! They are most fun events for anybody and everybody.

    You can always opt out of marriage if you want to. I do not at all share your views on marriage being restrictive in any sense (and especially for women). Stop living in 18th century and embrace the metro-sexual nature of urban Indian living.

    1. Adya

      Stop living in an isolated reality. more than 50% of girls in India are married before they turn 18.

    2. ItsJustMe

      Can you please tell me where you found this statistics? Dont spread absurd notions, just keep it to your own ignorant self

    3. Shalini

      Considering there are still more villages in india than cities and most people in rural or semi rural areas do marry their daughters around the age of 14 to 20 it’s actually correct that most people do get married before 18.
      ItsJustMe & Arya, you seem to be some of the few lucky people in india who have never seen a conservative person. You must be in heaven.
      As for embracing the metro sexual nature of urban indian living. Not everyone living in usban india is urban in mentality or even urban in their upbringing. It’s hard to do that when so many people around you are conservatives who are sure they are very liberal.

    4. ItsJustMe

      @Shalini : The average age of marriage in India for women is 26 and men is 29. You know what that means? Over 50% are married under the age of 26. If over 50% are married under the age of 14, that would have been the average age of marriage in India for women. However logic and mathematical aptitude is not a feminist’s friend. Because then half of their claims will just fall apart. At least accept the fact that Adya and you were wrong about the age of marriage. The article itself is more than just debatable (translation : ridiculously exaggerated and inaccurate), but accepting your factual errors is where you should start from. This is not about winning an argument online, it is about how you see the society you live in and what your attitude is towards the ills of it. I look at this society and see a lot of bad things that should change, but I dont start off by lying about social indicators.

  6. artemis1991

    Please explain what love is to me.. Please do… Love is a trend like what a commenter has stated. In fact, the idea of love these days is so convoluted, that it doesn’t really matter if the marriage arranged or not, it’s all gone into the crapper anyways. @John As for one saying that marriage isn’t truly required, I would disagree, this is not me being narrow minded, but if you really do love each other, then why not make it official? There is a thin line that is currently differentiating us from animals these days, the fact that we have thumbs is not it. If we were going to shed everything, then why not walk around naked? The world is churning out messed up children because of messed up parents and this trend has been continuing. Loveless marriages happen not because of society but because of people unwilling to stand up to society. And since that’s not as easy as it sounds, they will probably continue until either the society and our folks get a lobotomy or we get together and grow a pair.

    1. Adya

      1. Why do we need someone else’s permission to make love ‘official’?
      2. What’s wrong with being naked?
      3. What is it exactly that separates humans from animals?
      4. What are messed up children? Who creates them? What are the conditions for creating them?
      5. Grow a pair of what exactly?

    2. ItsJustMe

      1. You dont. Set an example, get into a live in relationship and stay in it. However if you are not strong enough to do that stop blaming society for your weaknesses
      2. Depends on the individual. I would like to cover myself in public. You can choose not to which is quote unconventional. When people see you in the streets they will stare at you. It is something instinctive because it is strange. Its like seeing an elephant in public restroom. So stop blaming people if you are going to do that, do it understanding the implications of that choice. Do not expect the whole world to accept your outlook and attitude. Instead try to do what you like despite what society thinks of it.
      3. Well if you have studied anything meaningful in your life other than humanities and gender studies you wouldn’t have to come to a social network seeking this answer.
      4. Messed up children are the ones who tries to get the whole world to accept what they think is the right thing, so that they can doing it without being judged by society. People like you are the messed up children, who does not have the guts to go out and do what you want or stand up for what your idea of marriage and love is and decide to take out your frustration at this on society. Guess what social attitude is not going to conform to individual attitudes at every issue. Individuals needs to have the courage to do what they like. At least they should stop blaming public for their cowardly self not being able to live life like they want
      5. Grow a pair of balls. It is an old figure of speech which refers to the modern expression “have some courage and self worth”. Get some sense of the world outside your capsule of hatred and you wont be asking these silly questions again

  7. ila

    It is people’s choice if they want a big fat wedding or not. For some people marriage is the greatest day of their lives and they want to celebrate they will with all the opulence in the world. If you don’t like it don’t condemn it. Of course, i agree that some families have social pressure but that kind of pressure exists everywhere not just in india. If you watch bride movies of hollywood you will notice the kind of pressure there is on the bride for the wedding and everything to be perfect. Also, i live abroad so i know about this. Agreed indians like to take it to a whole new level, but whats the harm in that? If you don’t want it like you are free not to have it. Society will talk but its for you to not hear them… Just like you talk about a big fat indian wedding, the society will talk about a low key wedding. Although many of the issues in your article are true. Also, many people fall in love when their marriage is arranged and before they get married. It cannot be generalized. Your article is too generalized. It is people’s choice how they want to get married and just because they want to get married in a fancy and grand manner does not mean it is shallow. lastly, in response to your question, “is this what marriage shall be?” i would like to say that that whole celebration is called a wedding… not marriage!

  8. vishalbheeroo

    Very honest article on the hypocrisy of the big fat marriage and the exploitation of people with this crap argument they use, you must sacrifice for parents. I laud the writer for this thought provoking article that unveiled the lid on the so called celebration of marriage to showcase indecent amount of wealth.

  9. panda

    what a badly written article.and makes no point, really.

    1. Amit Anand

      LOL how narrow Minded you are! it is wonderfully written artiicle Uncle !

  10. Khushboo Ojha

    I agree with most of the points made here, sadly I don`t see anything changing in this society.

  11. Suril Vithalani

    Why are you so against people who have money and who would want to spend it on the biggest day of their life? It’s really none of your business to comment on the amount of money people spend, as long as it’s not coming from your pocket or it’s not an issue of national interest. Also, what part of India are you living in? You think every part of each of the 29 states of India is so forward and open to the concept of dating that everyone will find their life partner on their own and will go for a love marriage? And who told you that arranged marriages are loveless, forced and helpless relationships? You’re extremely wrong on this whole issue and if you are not saying what I think you’re saying, then you’re unclear. Also watch this video to get an idea about arranged marriages:

    1. Diksha

      Hey dude, I agree with all your points but not with your attitude. You say “It’s really none of your business to comment on the amount of money people spend, as long as it’s not coming from your pocket or it’s not an issue of national interest” come on now, this platform is for bringing change and not about anybody’s selfish interests. If we keep on minding our own business then who will bring the change desired today? Look around, many people don’t have enough money but they spend like they are crorepati when it comes to weddings!!! Some people even take a loan just for grand wedding… I ask what’s the use?? This was about poor or middle class families now coming to those people who have more than enough money to spend on wedding….. What if they just arrange a small function and the money which they save be given as charities or for some noble cause?? This will indeed help our nation to prosper and the bride and groom will get much more blessings from all those people to whom this money goes!! And those blessings will be much more in number and even more valued than those they will get from the people attending the wedding…. I bet on it!! You have a point about arranged marriage and blah blah blah….. But you just need to change your attitude and get a broad mindset!; that’s it!!

    2. Suril Vithalani

      Alright I agree and believe that if someone has a lot of money, then a part of it should go to charity and should be used for the betterment of the poor and underserved of the society. But as Shahbuddin Rathod quoted on Kabira’s saying “If the water inside the boat and money in the house increases, then you should start emptying it out with both your hands”, the people who knows this saying doesn’t have enough money and those who have enough money to do so don’t know about this saying. Also, in my opinion, arranged marriages are not bad and in no way are as bad as the author describes them to be and I am also not against people who are spending money on their functions and we are no one to comment on how they use their money. So according to me, the author has a narrow mindset and a bad attitude but it’s just a matter of opinions.

    3. ItsJustMe

      What does spending money in wedding has to do with whether it is love marriage or arranged. Just look at the luxurious weddings of the west. Nobody wants to comment on how they conduct their affairs. Apparently its their business, but if Indians do something, its third world nonsense come on

  12. DD

    Nice article… Well written. But I didn’t get about the shallowness you are talking about… Plzz explain. There is a different kind of mutual understanding even in arranged marriages. I agree its not that you love a person immediately after marriage because it takes time. Who says love marriages are successful? 8/10 marriages break!!! Because the two people don’t know what adjustments are! They just like few habits and think they can do with it their whole life. In arranged marriages you slowly start knowing each other and then start adjusting…. That’s what is important in marriage. I am not saying that you are totally wrong but neither are you completely right. I am not supporting this age old custom of arranged marriages. I know it has its own drawbacks. Anyways nice article.

    1. Prachi

      “But I didn’t get about the shallowness you are talking about… Plzz explain. There is a different kind of mutual understanding even in arranged marriages. I agree its not that you love a person immediately after marriage because it takes time.”

      It is already mentioned, “they do not have an option” 🙂

  13. Diksha

    Basically I first of all don’t believe in marriage in itself. I mean what do you expect that signing a piece of paper doesn’t bring you closer to anyone!! Just putting that ‘mang Mein sindur’ n ‘gale Mein mangalsutra’ doesn’t make a permanent bonding with certain person. Staying under one roof doesn’t help you to fall in love!! Can this piece of paper, mangalsutra and one bed bring two souls any closer if they actually don’t want to??? Its all about your happiness!! If you are happy to stay with a total stranger and spend your life trying to be happy with him then you are most welcome. But if not then better walk out of it. You don’t need to get married for staying happy. All I can say about marriage is that it should not be any type of bondage in which you are forced. After all its the matter of your happiness. And yeah, the most important thing I don’t get is about the concept of ‘love’! Please someone explain it to me!! And yeah, no filmy answers plzz. I am already fed up with this holy crap!!! Better give me a genuine answer.

    1. Shilpi

      yo gal..there u go… i totally agree to u..marriage is a patriarchal “institution ” to satisfy n serve the patriarchy!!!
      Sex is more primordial and instinctive… any race only knows how to continue species .. “Love” is what the society invented.. love is not monogamous… that is a fabrication of the society for social order..which we impose on ourselves due to the fear of female sexuality!!!

      Hope this answrs u
      Loves 😉

      Hope this

  14. Jayasmita Ray

    Your article was quite jumbled up and biased to be honest. Arranged marriage has certain reasons for its existence. How do you associate the big fat indian wedding with the evils of arranged marriage? Even love marriages can have bigger style weddings. What is wrong with a bigger style wedding anyway? What is wrong with our family wanting to celebrate an important event in our life the way they want to? Seriously, is it our job now to tell people how to spend their money? If they spend more money and enjoy weddings in a different way, they are show offs?

    Weddings are wide-range in this country based on the region, religion and culture. You cant generalize the nature of big wedding ceremonies or even arranged marriage like this. Please give balanced arguments.

    1. Suril Vithalani

      Totally agreed 🙂

  15. Astha

    I agree with all the critique against the unnecessary pomp and splendor of marriages, the madness around ensuring that people DO GET married, and the horrendous idea of arrange marriage. However, I will in fact ask: Why marry? Is it not a social obligation that we try to fulfill by getting married? Why can I not simply be with the person I love, for as much time as our love lasts. It is love that matters.

    1. Shirish Kirtiwar

      Astha, not getting married seems very logical, until kids out of union comes along. when they come, motherhood & fatherhood is demanded. Not just by society, but also by us- emotionally. I mean lets be logical, kids devoid of parental Love aren’t healthy citizens. plus, there are alot of issues concerning like property etc. that comes along when you are in a relationship.
      Yes, marriages seems like a leech which sucks our personal life out and it is always about the two (in monogamy). But, for the many things which we have taken for granted in our society, marriage is important. Yes, many people can live a life alone or in monogamous/multigamous love affairs(personal choice) but their is no stability in that kind of a thing.
      their would always be pros and cons to Marriage, whichever culture you live in.

  16. Sonakshi

    Way too much generalization, eh? I am all for equality, but the question isn’t about choosing either love or arranged marriage as right or wrong.
    What about marriages that are arranged in the West? Does the concept remain as offensive and absurd?

    It is not about ‘what’ kind of a marriage you have, it is about the autonomy, understanding and respect for personal choices and opinions in every relationship.

    1. shivam

      choices are needed to be questioned time to time.Hiding behind the logic of personal choice is like doing the same mistake of continuing all rituals just for the sake of respect to parents,tradition n blablaa… dowry has become a problem of whatkind,to know about just look at the gender ratio in most of the states or talk to poor and lower middle class.we have to move toward the community oriented persons which will include service to our parents apart from community.
      iknow my response may be seen as very offensive,but before replying i request you to see these videos

  17. Sanmeet G

    Marriage is not just about 2 people spending their life together or at least it wasn’t till our generation who feel it is. Its supposed to a union of 2 families. I know some might disagree to this but a couple doesn’t live alone forever, they meet with their families to celebrate festival together once in a while. And the whole reason to have a so many rituals in marriage is to get bride groom close and both the families and friends closer. I do agree sometimes the amount of wealth flown is too much but both the parents have saved money for this very reason (specially bride’s father). I know its a pressure for parents but no father will regret having that and feels proud to have thrown a big wedding. Each ritual in marriage has a purpose behind. Engagement is the confirmation that both the families like each other and would like the bride and groom to spend sometime to get to know each other. The time a couple spends together before a love marriage is the phase between engagement and marriage. The only difference being you know the guy from your friend circle in love marriage and u know the guy through your family in arranged. I am not against love marriage. I don’t like people who think they don’t need their parents opinion or permission about who they should spend their life with. They obviously have spent more time than you and know you better than your self.

    1. Sheetal

      If you think your parents know you better than your ownself, then its time you start growing up and figuring out what you really are… Its most important to connect to yourself before anyone else and NO, your parents can’t do that for you, mama’s boy… Its good to take your parents’opinion but its pathetic to consider their opinion as the bottom line… Final decision lies with the couple, not the families… They have to live together, families come together barely 3 times a year for festivities… (once in a while as written by you).. And if you need rituals to get to know each other, pray tell us have you gotten married to every friend you ever made in life to get to know him or her better, with something like 20 ceremonies???? And especially bride’s father spending, eh??? why plz??? Is the couple so useless that they cant sponsor their own wedding??? then maybe you should consider getting financially strong before jumping into marriage (n before u jump to stupid conclusions, i mean both should get financially independent, not just the guy).. Grow up, dude…

    2. Shilpi

      loved ur reply sheetal 🙂 way to go gal 🙂

  18. TheMonk

    Absolute nonsense served up as a piece of journalism. It is irresponsible and absurd to generalize that all arranged marriages as unhappy and unhealthy. All my siblings, all my cousins and their children are happily enjoying their arranged unions. Did you know that in the USA, where marriages are not arranged, the divorce rate is 50%? The next time when you pen an article, please keep your personal agenda out of it.

    1. Kriti

      The 50% divorce rate that you state to support the argument is a statistic floating around for decades and has been a stereotype than a researched statistic. ( i goggled it). And the above article is not even idealizing the US society. Another factor people do not always pay heed to is the fact that women here are pressurized into believing that divorce is NOT AN OPTION. No matter what, a cheating husband, an alcoholic, a wife beater, a patriarch, women must LIVE WITH IT. That might be one reason the divorce rate is not high in our country. And having loved and fallen apart is- i think- better than having been forced into love with a man you are not even compatible with (kundlis don’t count here). But i do believe that families must be given the choice to “show off or not” at their child’s wedding. And it is in fact more about reciprocity than show off in Indian marriages, wherein a family invites all people who invited them. Therefore the ‘long guest list’. And i believe there is nothing wrong with that.

    2. prachik

      Hey! No offense but it’s a good thing people are opting for divorces, at least they are choosing to be happy rather than staying in a loveless marriage and making each other miserable. This choice can’t be made in India without facing pressure ridicule and resentment, thus the low divorce rate! I know there are many couples, in all strata, that are in unhappy marriage s just to appease the society. The society doesn’t come and gives you a pat on the back for every degree you earn but is ready with ammunition to ridicule every misstep one takes. And personally, I’d rather blame myself for a breakdown of my marriage than my parents, thus love over arranged marriage!

    3. prachik

      And yes, this article could have been written much better by putting forth sequential arguments rather than equating big fat marriages to arranged marriages

  19. radhika

    marriage is a gamble, with arranged marriages being a far bigger gamble than love marriages. you are more likely to be open to adjusting with a person who you like/love than don’t..

    1. Utkarsh

      In arranged marriages, people weigh the options much more.
      Anyway, how do we know if a marriage has succeeded?

  20. smita

    Beautifully written !! Just loved the article !

  21. TheDoc

    READ THE FIRST LINE AND YOU CAN MAKE OUT THE ARTICLE TO BE WRITTEN BY AN IMMATURE FEMALE FREEELANCER!! Why the hell am I EVEN reading this piece of garbage… Wait, What the hell! Why am I even commenting on it!

  22. Sailee

    Dear Writer,
    I am a girl and i am all aware of this crap that you’ve mentioned, but i would request you to be mature enough to understand what happens and what not and “WHAT EXACTLY IS INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE”
    please write something which actually makes sense. dowry and arranged marriages are wrong way that you portray India to the world. I am ashamed to read this blog which is not relevant to the title and to the new generation.
    Moreover writing this blog you’re making sure that if its happening in reality the current generation will keep pn following as if its a tradition.
    I would ask you a question ARE YOU MARRIED TO SAY ALL THIS???

    1. Abhinav

      I think this article makes a lot of sense. Even with the “modernizations” people have talked about in the comments, a large section of Indian society still have arranged marriages as mentioned in the article. Oh and even highly educated folks from IIT’s and IIM’s are guilty of dowry culture. So we are getting modern, but we’re still living in the dark ages as far as culture goes. I give the author kudos for writing this article and just so that it is clarified, I am happily married and mine wasn’t an arranged marriage.

  23. Rukmini

    Dear ojaswini,
    Even I am girl. I agree to what Sailee has mentioned below. This blog is out of nowhere, i am shocked to read such things from a Indian girl from this generation. I may sound offending but How stupid you could be to portray our country to the world like this…
    Marriage doesn’t only include dowry,quit her job, sit at home, become an obedient slave. THATS BULLSHIT… Because today women are growing and are considered as equals and they make sure that they run the family smoothly and efficiently. And nowdays guys prefer a girl whose well educated and working so that they can live life to the fullest and make sure the family’s horizon broadens

    Wake up girl what world are you living in

  24. Maitri

    I think this article must have made more sense ten to fifteen year.Major portion of the society has modernized or modernizing.There is change that is coming, why cannot be denied and it’s time to appreciate and move forward.

  25. Manav

    Hi Ojaswini,
    Great article. At least someone has the guts to come out and say the truth instead of surrendering to it. I would just like to mention that it feels like you were really emotional and aggressive when you wrote this article. I assume that you saw someone suffer a lifetime of arranged marriage. I can understand that. Just ignore these stupid negative comments. Haters gonna hate.

    1. Arun

      If someone doesn’t agree with you, call him hater. Only thing that this article highlights is the narrow mindedness of the writer. “We ask her to quit her job, sit at home, become an obedient slave and agree to each and every word her husband says”. No one expect this from bride anymore. I have seen people suffering in both arrange marriages and love marriage and people living happily too. As far as topic of per-marital sex is considered it is a different discussion which has little to no relation with topic of arrange marriage and sex does not equal to love .I am guessing you have never seen or heard of people committing suicide in so called “natural love” .

      If you have the money, u have the right to spend to spend it. Just because there is hunger and poverty doesn’t mean that you can’t spend your hard earned money on yourself. If that’s the case i appeal to the writer to sell his laptop/ipad/desktop (whichever is used to write this article) and use the money to buy food for poor children.

      As far as show off is considered, human is a social animal (ask any anthropologist). Most of the things we do are for show off, fact supported by the billions of dollar that BMW, AUDI, APPLE , GUCCI , ARMANI earn. Why take a car loan for BMW when you can easily buy HONDA CITY ,for show off( i am not including few cars purchased by enthusiast ). Why buy GOLD/SILVER/Diamond jewellery( I am assuming authors owns a few pieces)

      You are too ignorant or biased to consider the fact the that even in arrange marriage the opinion of bride/groom matters. Arranged marriages are not performed on gunpoint. Arrange marriage are based on assumptions that our parents are more mature and experienced (not necessarily more educated). If you are so independent i suggest you to move out of your parents house at 18 years of age(legally Mature) and survive on your own.
      The cases of dowry or domestic violence appears in both love and arrange marriage. They are nothing but a by-product of our patriarchal society.

      The article is nothing but a biased opinion of a narrow minded writer who considers himself to be too modern to believe in arrange marriage.

      PS: This article paints me as a supporter of Arrange Marriage but I support both love and Arrange Marriage. My parents marriage is arranged and brother’s is love.
      I belong to a young generation and have a girlfriend too. Whether i go for arrange or love marriage is my family’s and my decision .(still undecided) and will be decided when time comes.

  26. Ram Prasadh

    I hate to disagree, but the point which the author makes about arranged marriages as loveless forced and as a helpless relationship makes me think that the author is a bit lunatic. Everything has its own hardships and leftovers. Not all arranged marriages go in vain and neither the opposite happens. I have seen my grandparents live for 50 years of arranged marriage life. I am not in negation of love marriages, but please don’t act absurd by demonizing arranged marriages.

  27. Allia Shah

    I dont agree with all the points mentioned in the blog but i believe there is a lot of weight-age in this topic of marriage being a social obligation. Its about two people declaring their love for each other and spending their lives together. Be it love or arranged, marriage is all about compatibility and understanding between the couple and should not be taken as a one day social show off event. The event can be pompous or subtle depending on people’s personal choice, but it shouldn’t be a burden for anyone. If it’s with the purpose to please the society (who is going to be least concerned about the happiness of the couple post-marriage) then its useless.
    Also, I believe marriage is all about happiness, if falling in love eventually after marriage and pleasing your family makes you happy, go for arranged…..if falling in love naturally and then decide to spend your lives together, go for love. If you are against any of the above don’t do it at all !!! The baseline is, do what is best for you and what makes you happy!

  28. Shesha Chaturvedi

    I was referred to this link by a friend of mine who had an arranged marriage which eventually formed into love. The author of this post seems to be very young and naive w.r.t. with the matrimony experience! I respect her views but rather than balancing and weighing both the ends one is making one sided judgements. How many love marriages did she study before finally coming on such conclusion? Nowhere in Indian marriages these days parents pester their kids to marry someone they don’t like. It is personal choice of young ones whether they want to take their parent’s views into consideration or make their own decision. Majority of parents today are well-educated and have good exposure. Again there are very few those sort of girls who will act like seeta-in-distress marred by the wishes of their in-laws. Today’s women are confident and it has nothing to do with love marriage or arranged marriage. Being a 30 year old myself, I haven’t encounter such situation as narrated here yet! (I agree exceptions can be there or some rural or families in small towns must be facing such things but nowhere in my social circle or the circle of friends and family.)
    People take chances, fall in love and fail in love, or don’t fall in love at all and then date their parent’s choices before making a final choice. It is just like those dates arranged by your friends or some online dating sites you see in Hollywood flick!
    Regarding fat weddings— Indian weddings are fat because of fat families, fat social gatherings and fat budget of parents. We Indians are not loners and everyone give reception suiting to their pockets. Dowry system is taking a back-seat and brides to be are making sure their parents do not have to undergo such pressure by taking a stand. Still some communities are still practicing dowry irrespective or arranged or love marriages.
    The situations stated above have nothing to with the type of marriage but depends more upon family. Even in love marriages sometimes a woman goes through too many horrendous experiences just to prove she is not a misfit in her beloved’s family.

  29. anika

    Naked Truth always hurts! And that is what has happened here. Of course, no argument can be made without generalisation and yes there are exceptions to these rules. Yes yes yes! I get it.
    But people who are talking about how modernisation has happened, how more people are educated, even someone from your celebrated IITs or IIMs settled in the US has the same old “Indian traditional values” when it comes to their marriages. Don’t even get me started on the culture in the smaller towns and villages. There are just a handful of big cities in our country, rest of India is made of these small towns and villages. Just because it didn’t happen to you or your friend, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen AT ALL. People living in their little bubbles either should try to understand or well go back to your “modern” lifestyles without understanding that 90% of Indian Marriages are exactly how the author has described. I know it is difficult to take in this sort of truth because either you have supported the hypocrisy or have made plans of a big fat wedding juicing your parents’ life-savings. Yes you are free to do that, full support there, but someone who feels otherwise is no less an individual. This is how badly these “traditions” have brainwashed you all that you cannot see anything beyond a bride dressed as a Christmas Tree!

    1. Utkarsh

      What do you want to say? Have you got it all figured out? Love, hate, money.. how much we need? how to get it? If yes, then please enlighten us all.
      @bride dressed as christmas tree: This is how society has evolved. What should we do? Start living naked and evolve all the way again! If someone doesn’t like the way weddings are in our society, its the issue of the bride and groom in question. They should sort their issues and do it in a court room. Who’s stopping you from that?
      If you want a wedding that is quiet.. Yes you are free to do that, full support there, but someone who feels otherwise is no less an individual.
      And plus, modern is generally considered superior to traditional, so you have got an upperhand.

  30. Aishwarya Sandeep


    I don’t agree with you. These days people do voice their opinions in Arranged Marriages. I just have one query for you. Why is it that Love Marriages don’t last much and arrange marriages last longer in comparison. Rather love marriages should never end as per your article. But that’s not the reality.

    A person needs to be mature before entering into and taking responsibility of the relationship. If this responsibility and commitment are not there, then either marriage wont survive.

  31. Sam

    Love is state of sublimity of bonding.Not necessary to be with particular person or pet. Its understood that human (most of them) needs someone to share a lifetime apart social circle. Life is not simple as we debate. Yes, some of our traditions are exaggerated and are considered to be an opportunity to grandeur weddings. And bottom line, the society has always to say on everything not just marriage. Its all about the person who has the courage to convince her/his parents and do what he likes, simple. I know many people around my community both men & women who are living bachelor life in their 50’s. You are here to live for yourself not for others.

  32. B

    Arranged marriages are extortion from the groom’s family, as they must pay lacs for the girl’s jewellery and clothes (bari), and the poor husband spend the rest of his life as his wife’s ATM.

  33. Varanya

    The concept of arranged marriages as you’re suggesting is not what it is. If you’re completely acceptable to meeting someone and then falling in love and dating him and then saying yes to marrying him then an arranged marriage is pretty much just that. Very rarely do you see people insisting on the girl marrying the first guy they meet or whatever. It’s like meeting someone with similar goals and interests -which really is something we all look for- and then debating. It’s the lowest common denomination really. And you narrow the search for what you want. I think most people don’t ‘force’ anything. It’s natural. If you met someone you liked it would be thr exact same thing. Engagements these days don’t happen at least 3-6 months till the girl/guy get to know each other. And people have gotten married in less time when ‘in love naturally’.

  34. Nicky

    I agree with the ”forced love. Love should be natural. You should fall in love.” Cocept. Those are the exact words that I tell my relatives and friends. And big fat weddings are optional, though most people go with that option. In my state, girls are like a gold jwellery shop display during the marriage. Its no longer worn to make the girl beautiful. Its to show that more gold you have, the richer you are. If you wear only 3 golden chains, you are poor. But there are many families who do not go with this. My parents would rather spend more on my education than on my gold jwellery.

  35. P. Chakrabarti

    Hats off to the writer…hats off to the line ” an obligation, a compromise, a suppression of emotions and surrender to the society for the two people “…there are actually very few people who after arranged marriage, by a matter of luck, find their spouse worthy of attraction or romantically stimulating..most dont…& lead a boring, compromised life…forced love…bt at the same time have to say this..that some people are not so lucky as to find love by themselves..everybody doesnt have that devoted that case arranged marriage is the only option left to secure a future…

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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