Essay on Arranging A Marriage By Serena Nanda

Essay on Arranging A Marriage By Serena Nanda

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In the article Arranging a Marriage in India, Serena Nanda, a professor of Anthropology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, writes about what she learned about arranged marriages in India from interviewing informants and participating in arranging a marriage herself. Nanda brought in some American biases about how marriage and love are “supposed” to work. She initially had trouble accepting why someone would want or let another arrange their marriage instead of seeking a partner themselves. Nanda’s difficulty understanding arranged marriages, is a result of having grown up in a culture that leaves such decisions to the individual. Furthermore, if the quotes given in the article are an indication, Nanda let her biases influence her conduct in the interviews and at times her conversation took a more admonishing or conciliatory tone than a more unbiased tone. Although, the way Nanda interviewed individuals did allow her to get some of their perspective on marriage and see the differences between the American views about the topic and those held in Indian culture.
When Nanda inquired about arranged marriages, she learned about the reasoning behind the practice. One of the main arguments for arranged marriages is that parents, being older and more experienced, are better able to find a suitable match for their children. This belief relies on the trust the offspring has that their parents understand what would be best choice or most suitable for their children. This trust is often discouraged by the individualist ideal and rebel teen mentality sponsored by American mass-media. However, in India trust between parent and child are common. When Nanda tried helping arrange a marriage, we see that parents in India weigh many consider...


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...ent than those she followed before marrying. Arranging a Marriage in India points out mothers and sisters-in-law may dislike the new wife because she is competing with the rest of the family for her new husband’s resources. Rising Number of Dowry Deaths in India points out that with the developments in India’s capitalistic system after British Colonialism, wedding dowries have become a nontrivial means of gaining money and goods for families. It has become a frequent practice for the husband’s family to demand more dowry money from the wife’s family and abuse the wife if her family won’t or can’t pay. Some families will kill the wife in an “accident” so they can get a new dowry through antoher marriage. This issue is a result from the current economic climate and the gender stratification in Indian society and not necessarily solely a problem from arranged marriages.

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