When Hema Malini is quoted as saying she is looking for a suitable match for her older daughter, Esha, your eyes can’t help but widen. This from Hema Malini? The woman who flouted society and married an already married man because the two of them were in love?
This woman would rather arrange her daughter’s marriage than let her do her own thing? If your eyes widen at Hema Malini, you’re open-mouthed a little later, when novelist and columnist Shobhaa De says that, so far, she has been “spectacularly unsuccessful at finding the right match for my children”.
Shobhaa De said that? The role model for spunky, independent women?
|Fixed match is the flavour of the season!|
And then, when you really think about these two examples, your jaw just hits the ground. Because these women’s children are not complaining.
Neither, come to think of it, is your neighbour’s son, the 29-year-old advertising professional who lives on his own in another city. Or your own friend, the 25-year-old graphic designer who earns a bomb, has her own flat, and parties every night.
Not only are these people not complaining about parents who are on their case about getting married, but they have actively asked their parents to find them a suitable boy or girl. Pyaarvyaar, ishq-vishq is all very well, but when it comes to a long term commitment, mummy-papa know best.
And all this is happening right in the heart of urban, metropolitan India. A recent HT survey of 603 young men and women in Delhi and Mumbai (between the ages of 17 and 25) revealed that a staggering 93 per cent approve of arranged marriages!
NOT ADVENTUROUS What a change from 20 years ago when young men and women gagged at the very thought of mummy-papa selecting their life partners for them.
“What, me, have an arranged marriage?” they’d ask, absolutely horrified. “That’s an outdated concept. Never!” “Even the word ‘arranged’ was treated with contempt and met with rebellion,” recalls restaurateur Saeed Sherwani. “I can’t remember anyone even thinking that they could marry someone they didn’t know.”
Well, that defiant bid for independence of thought and action appears to have been subverted. Or maybe that old saying that every generation rebels against the previous generation is really true. But for this generation of people of marriageable age, an arranged marriage is not at all a bad thing.
And there are several reasons why.
As far as the rule-breaking, trailblazing generation of 20 years ago is concerned, young people of today are afraid to take full responsibility for their own lives. They are insecure, says Professor Anand Kumar, sociologist at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. They have been catered to all their lives, and they look for that even when it comes to their own.