Family Arranged Marriages in India Versus Self-Arranged Marriages in the United States

Topics: Marriage, Arranged marriage, Culture Pages: 7 (2325 words) Published: March 18, 2011
Family arranged marriages in India versus self-arranged marriages in the United States

Marriage has been defined in numerous terms by different cultures. The factors that play into creating a successful, happy marriage are viewed differently by people in different cultures. Family arranged marriage has been the tradition in Indian culture. Modernization, globalization, and urbanization have brought about the concept of self-arranged marriage from Western cultures, such as the United States. Despite these efforts, family arranged marriage still outnumbers marriages of love or self-arranged. According to Devika Chawla in her essay on Hindu arranged marriages, 95% of all Hindu marriages in India are still arranged (2007). Nice job of introducing this informationCultural relativism suggests that each culture should be understood in terms of the values of that culture and not judged by the standards of another (Miller, 2007). Under cultural relativism, the United States and other Western cultures can gain a better understanding why family arranged marriages work in India. Nice job here!

The Hindu culture of India, which constitutes of one of the oldest religions in the world, has been practicing arranged marriages since ancient times. Hindu marriage is derived from laws that come from 3,000 year old hymns known as Vedas and Smritis, from the Vedic and Epic age of 4000 B.C.-1200 A.D. (Chawla, 2007). Under these laws and scriptures, marriage was seen as a religious rite and duty, required by all human beings for the wealth of the community. Many male interpretations of the Hindu scripture outlined four main aims for Hindu life. These aims are: dharma, artha, kama and moksha (Kapadia, 1958; Lipner, 1994). Citation formats look great!Some of these aims had similarities to Freud’s psychosexual theory on personality where the ego works to balance out the impulsive desires of the id and the moral responsibilities of the superego (Boyd & Bee, 2006). Kama is similar to the id part of personality because it works to satisfy a person’s instinctive, emotional and sexual urges. Artha did not have a direct relation to Freud’s theory, dealing with a man’s enjoyment of wealth. Dharma is similar to the ego part of the personality, because dharma works to please and satisfy both the kama and artha aim. Moksha represents end of life and recognition of inner spirituality. These aims are to be accomplished by living life in four stages of life, which are: bramacharya, grahastha, vanaspratha and samnyasa (Chawla, 2007). This info is interesting but does pull the paper off topic a bit. The second stage, grahastha, dealt with marriage and included goals of dharma, sex, and procreation. Relating Freud’s psychosexual theory to the four aims of Hindu life, creates a universal understanding for people outside of Indian culture, contributing to the ideas under cultural relativism.

Family arranged marriages are generally organized by parents and in past times used the help of a traditional-matchmaking sambhla. The sambhla would use certain criteria to make a match based off of caste, social structure, moral and academic compatibility, family’s moral history and horoscope compatibility (Mulatti, 1995). It is important to understand that this was not a match made for love and the parents overall made the decision as to who would meet. This is in contrast to how matchmakers are used here in the United States. We do give certain criteria that we are looking for in a mate, but overall we are looking for love and attraction, unlike Indian culture. Indian arranged marriage is traditionally patrilineal and male emphasized, leaving the bride to be economically dependent on her new in-laws. The bride’s family does receive a “bride-price,” which is a substantial sum of money or goods given by the groom and his family before the marriage is contracted (Schwimmer, 2002). However, her personal material wealth, also known as stridhana, is taken by her...

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