Monday, October 29, 2007

Making arrangements

It is estimated that 70% of marriages here are arranged marriages; seems crazy in a modern era. Of course it makes much more sense when you realize that the wife moves in with the husbands family. Divorce is quite unusual here and a cause for much shame for all. If the family does not get along with her, the next 30 years will be terrible for the entire family.

Sandy spoke to some of her friends who are young women. They are waiting on their parents to select a husband for them. Their parents will select someone from the same caste. The women are educated and, generally, the parents will select a husband who is equally educated. If the women just hate the man the man the parents selected, they can say no, but their will be an immense problem in their family and they may be forced to leave it.

The young women complain that women have very little say over what happens in their household. In addition, they feel it is unfair that men can do anything with impunity and the wife must just obey him.

One more unusual thing is men can be very loving with their children and friends (men holding hands is a very common site), but they can not be loving with their wives; you almost never see men and women holding hands or being affectionate in any way. It is a very different culture.

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