In Nepal and India, they marry for love! Crazy, hey.

Not everyone mind, just a select few who have been fortunate enough to meet someone they love before their family have set them up with someone from a suitable background.

It seems almost pre historic, the thought of parents knocking on your door one day and saying ‘Jen we’ve found you a suitable match, you marry next week and you meet him on the big day’ or maybe you are lucky enough to actually meet them before your wedding day, not that meeting them will make any difference, you still have to marry them. Probably best to keep the excitement or intrigue going as long as possible?!?

I met two couples who had married for love, it is becoming more common, but still, around 90% of marriages in India are arranged. Times are a changing though and you only need to speak to the older generations to see how much. Some are glad of the change think it is good for their children to move to the more western way of marriage, others are less convinced and are finding every excuse to set up their daughter, niece, cousin, a grandchild with ‘a suitable boy’ from down the road.

Those that have married for love though are the first to share it and show off the fact. One couple I met in Nepal  met through work, both teaching in the same school and secretly dated before he asked her father for her hand in marriage … yes see still pretty old school … or is that just chivalrous?

Another couple I met in India, decided to get married after living next door to each other for a couple of years and getting on rather well. BUT the families weren’t happy with the decision and so they ran away together and have never been home since. Romantics? Runaways? Radicals? Either way, they seem really happy and wouldn’t change anything for the world.

Love marriages are becoming more popular and many young adults are starting to fight back against their parents, refusing to be set up and instead insist on living a western life of crazy partying, dancefloor snogging and dinner dating like the rest of us. This is only for the upper class few though with the rest of the population, especially those in the rural areas still bargaining their daughter for a cow or two and a slither of prime farming land.

Though it’s not all traditional arranged marriages in the countryside these days, in fact, things are developing fast and a new demand is spreading where women refuse to marry unless their future husband has an indoor toilet.

travel, blog, adventure, India, Fun
A free pedigree dog, if you marry Jen …

I wonder what dad would consider my worth if selling me for marriage. His 1970’s top of the range, better than Bose, old school stereo? No chance, though I am sure he would be happy to give up the dog … Take Baxter and you get Jen free … any takers?

2 Comments

  1. You got the stuff about class-based dynamics wrong. The rest is pretty damn straight. Also, selling girls can’t be discussed in the same breath as arranged marriages. It is an agonizing practice to which very very poor people resort to to feed the rest of their families and themselves. Or to pay off loans or some socio-cultural entrapment that works for the rich. People from all classes marry for love in India. And reading this made me realise that people actually see it as rad and unconventional! It’s sad but it’s like dating website. In this case, people have to please the software as they look towards happily ever afters. It doesn’t always work out. Like everything else.

    • jlowthrop Reply

      Thanks for your comments Hardeep, really interesting insights and thanks for correcting me on bits I got wrong. It really interests me how something that is so normal in a relationship in one country can be so utterly ‘rad’ in another. I hope I get to learn more next time I visit India.

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