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

This Matrimonial Ad For ‘Ultra Rich Achievers’ Will Make You Tear Your Hair Out

More from Shambhavi Saxena

What’s worse than a sexist matrimonial ad? One that’s sexist and classist to boot. And there’s no greater example than the recent Young Achievers Matrimonial (YAM) ad that appeared in the Hindustan Times’ print edition. And it was a disaster from start to finish.

The ‘meet up’ was scheduled for August 12, International Youth Day. Because nothing screams youth more than what can only be described as a walking yearbook of obscenely rich, eligible brides and grooms. Let’s take a close look at what they think makes someone ‘marriage material’.

Source: YAM.

The list begins with fairly gender-less indicators like “entrepreneur” and “graduate from top universities”. But it ends with the bizarre demand for “Beautiful girls”, like a sign in the window of a super sleazy establishment. It’s almost as if beauty is the only achievement in a girl’s life. Aren’t we all obsessed with how women look? Aren’t we constantly assigning worth and value to a woman based on her face and her body? Aren’t we always acting like women are just commodities? It might have actually been impressive if the event organisers had owned up to all of this. But the explanation for this blunder is even more entertaining. According to one Mr. Sreeram, who runs the show at YAM, that last requirement was added on the suggestion of an attendee at a similar doctors-only YAM event earlier this month. Here’s what he told The News Minute about that interaction:

[A]n ENT specialist asked if he could bring his engineer daughter with him. When I refused saying that this meetup is for doctors only, he said that maybe I could add ‘beautiful girls’ as a category in the next event. His daughter is a beauty pageant winner.”

Mr. Sreeram has now cancelled the event after racking up some major backlash online. He has also said he will submit an apology to be printed in the Hindustan Times. But what happened happened, and it’s a symptom of something very sick in our society.

If there’s one thing India is more obsessed with than marriage, it’s social status. And since the onset of ‘modern times’, all anyone cares about is your degree at an IIT, or ‘phoren’ university, or your job in the civil services, or your medical practice at a private hospital – because this is the only way to ‘roshan’ your family name, and truly be ’marriage material’. At least, that’s for boys. For girls, your wedding vows are only as good as your degree and how quickly you can drop your career to please your in-laws. Whatever, nobody has actual dreams or passions. Upward social mobility is the name of the game.

But even these neurotic preoccupations are a cover for something else. One might argue that education and employment is becoming the new caste. After all, so many people subscribe to that drivel about meritocracy – that a person should be judged solely on their merit, because you only need to ‘work hard’ to succeed in life. It’s a tempting thought, but I think we’re beyond being deceived any more.

Education and employment have not and cannot replace caste. They are simply a front for it. Who occupies society’s highly coveted jobs? Who occupies circles like the YAM? Let me put it more simply. Who can afford a 25,000 registration fee for a gassed up cocktail party where you flip through potential spouses like a telephone book? We are not talking about exceptions – people from marginalised and underprivileged sections of society. We are talking about the rule – savarna men and women, sitting on a mountain of wealth from ancestors who never had anything taken away from them because of their caste, their beliefs, the food they eat, or the work they do. And it’s these people, the rule, who create and inhabit circles like the YAM events. They always have.

Since 2014, IITIIMShaadi has been running a matrimonial service dedicated to the country’s educated elite. And with a 70% success rate, too, its founders say. It’s one thing for an individual to choose a partner based on the privileges they have over the rest of society. But to have a portal, or monthly meet-ups?

The creme-de-la-creme are always going to hold power over society. It is a self-feeding, self-absorbed group. And no matter how it tries to position itself, initiatives like Mr. Sreeram ensure that a level-playing field never exists.

Created by Shambhavi Saxena

Do matrimonial sites promote elitism and social hierarchy?
You must be to comment.

More from Shambhavi Saxena

Similar Posts

By India Fellow Social Leadership Program

By It's Ok To Talk

By Aqsa Shaikh

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below