24th July, 2017.
My mother had to go through 75 men before she found my father. I must say that they are probably the best parents that I could get. They met through the long and monstrous process called the arranged marriage.
My family personally have known friends and relatives that have arranged their daughters with a dowry ranging from 15 lakhs to 2 crores.
64% of Indian marriages are arranged.
There isn’t sufficient evidence to support if arranged marriages are better than a love marriage. However, I can surely say that according to the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, it is against the law to give or take property as contingent to marriage.
I experimented to understand the process of arranged marriage through the eyes of a highly educated family.
I registered with ChavaraMatrimony.com, (CM) a leading christian matrimonial website. Ideally, or un-ideally, this would be done on my behalf, by my parents.
CM is managed by the Catholic (CMI) Priests. Working according to the law, they don’t ask for dowry, they imply.
To ensure safety of the girl, parents usually feel compelled, to ask for the price. Dowry is repackaged as ‘Gifts’. The gifts are contingent on marriage.
While registering on the website as a woman, it is mandatory to put the color complexion, and the body type. The CM website gives you a call for verification of the profile. The caller asked me to share my blood group as well.
No questions about interests, hobbies and passions in life.
There are “preferred qualification for the spouse” though.
Other than age, height, religion, preferred place and preferred qualification the website asked me for the preferred workplace (of my desired spouse), required marital status, required physical status (normal/disabled), required family status about my partner.
Except, the parents’ occupation is asked for, but not shown for the man’s profile.
Parents wait for the man they are interested in to click on their daughter’s profile.
The parents do not prefer to search and click on a man’s profile. It would bring much embarrassment if the sent proposal is rejected. Like a rejected friend request.
The Catholics have religious retreats, and not even once would they talk about the evils of the dowry system, or mention to discourage the dowry system. They do however encourage helping the impoverished so that they can get married.
“If I spend 60 lakhs for my son’s MBA I have to atleast get 60 lakhs from the dowry to justify the cost!” – My mom is hilarious
A lot of justifications sound like, “We are not asking for it, they are just giving it as a gift.”