ARRANGED MARRIAGE – its effect on teenagers

 Arranged marriages are the norm in India. Though I am not completely aware of how marriages work in the western counties, books, movies and people have led me to believe that choosing a partner for an institution like marriage is one’s own choice. While this article has not been written to argue about one type of marriage over another, it has been written to make people aware of the fact that the thought of arrange marriage is instilled by orthodox parents in the minds of their children from the very beginning. 

It is wrong to consider arranged marriages as forced marriages because when it is taken into account superficially, and the fact that a girl is to be married off only when she is 18 or above is also taken into account, it seems ridiculous to even suggest that it is forced. But if we look a little deeper, we will see that many times it is.

For instance, a fifteen year old friend of mine, a teenager, recently did not do so well in her examinations at school. Over that, she did something that most indian parents considered evil- she started dating a guy. But just like most stories go, their parents had to find out and they did. The conditions in my friend’s house got worse and a sort of unspoken unrest existed in her house at all times. It can be compared to the ‘Cold War’. But unlike the cold war, the tension finally broke out in her house and her mother handed over a very pretty photograph of her sixteen year old daughter to a marriage bureau. The girl cried every night after the incident, wondering which stranger was viewing her photograph at that second. She was wondering which stranger would dream of getting married to her that very second. And I guess, that thought makes the strongest-hearted of us shiver for a second. I can only wonder how she would have felt.

As we can imagine, her grades could have only dropped further down due to this incident. She still lives with a constant fear, a constant insecurity. 

The instance above, is not a summary of one person’s experience. It’s the way a sociey works. It’s difficult to believe that this exists in a so called civilized world that we experience today. But I too was shocked on hearing this.

The girl above is not really associated with arrange marriage and yet she is. She is not because she isn’t married yet and she is because as days pass, she can only think of how close she is and if she can actually fight off her parents’ threat. 

But I’m pretty sure many of you will ask me, what is all this fuss over marriage when there are so many other important issues. Well, it is just a small way to make you aware of the prevailing circumstances and to give you a chance to put yourself in such young girls’ and teenager’s shoes and I still wonder what I would have done, had i been in her shoes!

‘Arranged marriage is not wrong when it is the girl’s choice to get get married usuing that particular way of carrying the institution of marriage. But when forced, it destroys the feeling of security and happiness and the respect of a person. It hinders her personal development.’