Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking Sparks Debate on India’s Big Fat Wedding

Date: 2020-08-05 11:31:51

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Most Indian marriages are still arranged. And a popular Netflix show Indian Matchmaking has sparked debate globally about India’s arranged marriages and other wedding practices. Critics accuse the show of stereotyping and commodifying women, lacking diversity and promoting a backwards vision of marriage where astrologers and meddling parents are more influential than the preferences of brides and grooms.

“He asked me, ‘Are you ready for this marriage or someone is forcing you?’” recalls 29-year-old Aparna Vats who met her husband through an arranged marriage. “Traditional arranged marriage is more like a deal. You check the social status, the mental status and financial status of both families.

“I think arranged marriages are also fairly common in India,” says 29-year-old Darpan Mago who lives in New Delhi, “as Indians, we want a secure set up so we generally tend to look for our partners who are of the same community.”

Yet arranges marriages have come under heavy criticism in India.

“India is not a homogenous society,” says Amita Sahaya, author of The Shaadi Story: Behind the Scenes of the Big Fat Indian Wedding.

“There is massive stratification along the lines of caste, community, religion, western exposure, education, height, fairness,” adds Sahaya, “and too much of the individual is also not encouraged because in a way, you have to adapt to your family.”

But positive change is taking place with the younger generation who are more flexible.

“Ultimately the change is happening, whether you like it or not, whether you have the family approval or not,” says Sahaya.

“These dialogues which have hit social media in this unprecedented ways maybe the beginnings of continuing with the process of searching where we want to be as a society.”

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