Being reared up in India and gotten educated in Jainism I also believe remaining celibate and serving the nation is the best. This essay is not for those who have sublime feelings like that. We all know marriage is most important and irreversible decision in life, but its importance is not underlined by the thought process that leads to marriage. My ongoing consulting of harried souls in so called love or at the time of marriage has posed a lot of questions to me. First question is, is she beautiful (is he handsome). What’s the boundary of love starting and infatuation ending? Is love marriage better or arranged? Why not do an intercaste marriage if you like somebody? How do you treat the females before and after marriage? Dowry, how much is OK? Let’s begin to answer some of those.
This is one of the worst things noticed in youth, particularly guys. There is a sort of competition in getting the best babe (I really feel bad about this word but much better than maal which is used more often) as your girlfriend. I fail to understand if you are marrying for getting a partner or for the delight of neighbors. The attraction for beauty and fairness is so deeply entrenched that many a times it’s just the physics that concludes the alliance without any consideration for chemistry. As per some researchers it is advisable to have a wife better looking than husband but we must question our thought process whether we are so compelled by the notion of beauty that we fail to see brains or nature.
Love vs Arranged
This is the final battleground for parents and young novices like me. Its does not take more than a Watt of power to say those three magic words but it takes megawatts to actually sustain it. We in India function in an ecosystem whose guards are our parents (sometimes grandparents), relatives and a whole lot of society. Marriage is for bringing two families together and not for showing your mettle in fighting the whole system or society. What is the use of having a spouse whom you cannot introduce to your parents with pride? I for one would say, love marriage should happen only when it can be peacefully arranged. With whatever little experience I had counseling people particularly teens, love for them is guided by notions of beauty and some other youthly pursuits rather than sound logic (you can blame the age and TV). Unfortunately, love comes to an end soon but rationality is the one that drives life. Our ancient scriptures (Saagar Dharmamrit by Pandit Aashadhar: Bharatiya Jnanapith) have given some guidelines whom to marry and why. Though they are general rules I feel they are useful. What’s the harm in reading them anyways?
Many young liberals and progressives have a notion of marrying whomsoever we like and many a times it is born out of rebellion than actually out of love. Before giving any argument, let me bifurcate this topic. There can be Inter-religion and Inter-caste marriage. As per our constitution we have seven religions Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Parsi. Caste is a subset of main religion that can be based on region, occupation or even irrationality. The concept of God to almost any other philosophy is different when we compare religions, but this is not the case with caste where Gods are the same and only the practices are different. Many of us who think we are not so religious are also ingrained with some kind of systematic belief that comes out only when we are exposed to some other philosophy. A change in philosophy is difficult but a change in ritual is comparatively easy. So a marriage of Vaishnav-Shaiv, Hinyana-Mahayan, Roman Catholic-Protestant, Digamber-Shwetabarmight be a much more workable proposition than a Hindu-Muslim, Sikh-Christian, Hindu-Jain, Buddhist-Parsi marriage. Even marrying an atheist can be problem for a believer. In case we are too much tied to our caste and sub-caste then we must think of marrying in the same. Inter-religion marriage might be acceptable only if the two partners are totally out of religion and cynic enough not to fight on the same.
A bigger question in marriage is about the role a partner would take. Here major problems exist with Indian males. They have seen their mothers doing all the household work and agreeing to whatever the father said. The NextGen (or NowGen) wants to marry a studious, working lady who would also function as the mother did. Now this is a problem. With independence now the mantra of many females it is difficult (& bad idea) to dominate them. We must decide if we want a slave or a life partner. If we want a life partner then we must erase the memories of our mothers and have equal rights at home. If not, then it is better to marry a submissive girl who will remain as housewife and take care of kids.
Females are much better suited to do a lot many things than men. They have more cells in retina to see more colors, better nose to smell, better brain function to speak, better idea of others feelings and a host of other things. I could only find 2 Ms that Males have better than females, Math’s and Muscles. It is so easy to give respect to a female by letting her do what she is anyways good at, like selecting clothes, paintings, handling relatives, handling house budget etc. And mind you, you respect her one, she will love and respect you ten. Good business proposition, put in one and get ten. I suggest that “Why men don’t listen – Women can’t read maps” by Allan and Barbara Pease be read and reread for understanding the opposite sex.
This one is for the beggars or extortionists. Consider this, you are in a position where you can demand by force and you extract a juice out of a harried father or brother. Is this any lesser than extortion? I feel it is more than that because extortion ends after paying up money and the dacoits are honest enough not to trouble you after you pay up. This is not the case with dowry seekers. Their demands are continuous and only increase with time. There is nothing greater than having your wife respect you and if you seek dowry the same respect is first casualty. I would advise people to die rather than being hated by their wife. I don’t know how but we must prevent our sisters being married to extortionists. I think only good young men of guts and honor can weed out this problem by not taking dowry even if it is voluntarily given by father-in-law. The pride on the face of your wife when she introduces you to her friends/relatives is priceless; don’t barter it for some government printed paper.
Well I don’t know whom should you marry, but I know little about whom you should not. To give a bad example, it’s like I can’t suggest which brand of TV you should buy but if you buy Sony please don’t try to put Philips parts while repairing it. Well here in India religion plays a major role and if you are even 10% religious I would advice go for same caste. While evaluating a person don’t give more than 10% marks to beauty. After few days your babe/dude would interest you only if s/he is good natured. If you are in love please go to a good friend and ask him to evaluate if this is time pass, social status or real love. A good test for students can be to see their marks before and after falling in love. If still in doubt leave it to parents, their hormones don’t influence their decisions now. Finally don’t be afraid of putting your profile on internet on good matrimony websites or parichay sammelan magazines. May be she/he is just next door.
Wish you Happy and Logical searching of soulmate!