Skip to main content
main-content

Über dieses Buch

This book is an extensive and thorough exploration of the ways in which the middle class in India select their spouse. Using the prism of matchmaking, this book critically unpacks the concept of the 'modern' and traces the importance of moralities and values in the making of middle class identities, by bringing to the fore intersections and dynamics of caste, class, gender, and neoliberalism. The author discusses a range of issues: romantic relationships among youth, use of online technology and of professional services like matrimonial agencies and detective agencies, encounters of love and heartbreak, impact of experiences of pain and humiliation on spouse-selection, and the involvement of family in matchmaking. Based on this comprehensive account, she elucidates how the categories of 'love' and 'arranged' marriages fall short of explaining, in its entirety and essence, the contemporary process of spouse-selection in urban India. Though the ethnographic research has been conducted in India, this book is of relevance to social scientists studying matchmaking practices, youth cultures, modernity and the middle class in other societies, particularly in parts of Asia. While being based on thorough scholarship, the book is written in accessible language to appeal to a larger audience.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Marriages in India have since long been a topic of much anthropological, sociological, and general interest. In early twenty-first century, as India acquires a new form of global identity, accruing to its economic policies of liberalisation and a rising professional middle class, discussions on ‘type’ of marriages preferred by young Indians, have been abounded.
Parul Bhandari

Chapter 2. Pre-marital Journeys of Romance

Abstract
Each time I approached potential interviewees, requesting for an interview, they enquired on the topic of my research. I specified that I was mainly interested in understanding their experiences of spouse-selection and views on marriage.
Parul Bhandari

Chapter 3. The Modern Family

Abstract
In a South Asian context, it is difficult to analyse marriage without acknowledging and tracing the involvement of the family in spouse-selection. In fact, one of the most popular types of marriage, namely arranged marriage, is defined on the basis of the family’s dominating influence on the choice of spouse.
Parul Bhandari

Chapter 4. The Third Wheel: ‘New’ Matchmakers

Abstract
Another important ‘actor’, as it were, in the process of spouse-selection is the matchmaker, who not only balances the dialogue of marriage between two families but also steers the conversation between the marrying individual and their families.
Parul Bhandari

Chapter 5. In Pursuit of a ‘Good’ Match

Abstract
The fixation of finding a ‘good match’ was famously described in Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy (1993). A narrative of post-partition India, the novel revolves around Rupa Mehra’s obsession of finding a suitable spouse for her youngest daughter Lalita, from amongst four ‘candidates’ or prospective grooms.
Parul Bhandari

Chapter 6. The Gendered Makings of a Modern Couple

Abstract
A common site in Delhi is of couples holding hands, sitting next to each other, engaged in deep conversations, or even quarrelling. This site of ‘togetherness’ in the hustle–bustle of the city is certainly indicative of the increasingly open discourse, if not complete acceptance, of pre-marital romance in modern India.
Parul Bhandari

Chapter 7. Love in the Time of Middle-Classness

Abstract
In this book, so far, I have looked at matchmaking through the lens of different ‘actors’ and concepts that define ideals of spouse-selection, all the whilst, eschewing from using the categories ‘arranged’ and ‘love’ marriage. Indeed, right at the outset I explained that these categories can be reductive of the myriad experiences of matchmaking, and though there are also ‘in-between’ categories of ‘arranged cum love’ marriage, yet these too, at times, are unable to explicate the dynamics and exact workings of contemporary matchmaking.
Parul Bhandari

Chapter 8. The Injuries of Love and Matchmaking

Abstract
In the previous chapter, I focused on that articulation of love which insists on its viability and merits, often in opposition to at least one set of parents. I also explained how the process of negotiation with parents strengthens the bond of love and feeling of togetherness for the couple, as they together develop strategies and display patience and perseverance in face of acute opposition. At the same time, there is also another kind of experience of love, one that does not strengthen togetherness, but causes grave emotional and physical pain to at least one individual in the couple.
Parul Bhandari

Chapter 9. Conclusion

Abstract
As I was finishing writing this book, Amazon Prime released a web series, ‘Made in Heaven’, directed by Zoya Akhtar, Rita Katgil, and Alankrtia Shrivastava. Spanning 9 episodes, this series revolves around two individuals who have recently established a wedding planning company. By focusing on middle and upper class weddings’ behind-the-scene drama, as well as the personal struggles of the two central characters, this series addresses certain key issues related to Indian marriages such as inter-caste, inter-class marriages, re-marriage, dowry and its contemporary forms, place of astrology and superstitions in matchmaking, and themes of infidelity and sexual harassment. As such, this series provides an account of contemporary matchmaking in India, debunking popular beliefs including that superstitions do not have a place in modern marriages, or that inter-class marriages are easily acceptable, or that dowry is not practised amongst the educated class.
Parul Bhandari

Backmatter

Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner

    Bildnachweise