Streams

Arranged Marriage and Micropolis

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Arun Venugopal, reporter and the creator of Micropolis—WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City—explores the old-fashioned practice of arranged marriage. He’ll be joined by Fraidy Reiss, who founded Unchained At Last, an organization to help women leave their arranged marriages, as she herself did. 

Guests:

Fraidy Reiss and Arun Venugopal

Comments [7]

jgarbuz from Queens

Every marriage is bad. No other species has "marriage." It's literally a MAN-made institution that can only be kept going by brutal force, like with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Most women who can make living will take the chidlren from the father, as if she literally owns them, and he can do nothing unless he lives in the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan where women can be stoned. Otherwise, in our westernized, feminized society fathers are done for. Any man who gets married today deserves what he is going to get in the end, unless he is the cunning snakehandler.

Apr. 10 2014 01:23 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Every marriage is bad. No other species has "marriage." It's literally a MAN-made institution that can only be kept going by brutal force, like with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Most women who can make living will take the chidlren from the father, as if she literally owns them, and can do nothing unless he lives in the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan where women can be stoned. Otherwise, in a westernized, feminized society today fathers are done for. Any man who gets married today deserves what he is going to get in the end, unless he is the cunning snakehandler.

Apr. 10 2014 01:22 PM
Eric Blair from NJ

@jgarbuz,

For the love of God, PLEASE pick up another book, put down the video games, *AND* get out a little more often!

Apr. 10 2014 01:20 PM
Tom M. from Toronto

Can you comment on today's breaking news regarding Narendra Modi (the likely next Indian PM) admitting he was married 45 years ago, but abandoned it a few weeks after? Apparently he was married at age 17, but betrothed at age 3.

Apr. 10 2014 01:13 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

"Marriage" and "family" are institutional relics of bygone eras when people actually needed each other for some reason or another. By the end of this century these practices will be considered ancient barbaric institutions when babies are produced in factories ala "Brave New World." No one will have parents nor children. NO fuss, no mess, no bother.

Apr. 10 2014 01:03 PM
R. Salam-CUNY Prof. from Northern NJ

I'm a sociologist who has done research on arranged marriage in the South Asian immigrant and second generation community. The function, actual practice and how people experience what we call arranged marriage varies widely and is inextricably linked to socioeconomic, cultural, generation but also the group's relationship to the rest of society. For communities who want to maintain group boundaries of class, caste, religion, etc, there is more pressure to conform. And where the group feels disconnected from the larger society and/or turns in on itself, it is even more the case. There is "traditional" arranged where parents make the decisions and a whole continuum of "semi-arranged" marriage which might include set-ups and rights of refusal to "find someone yourself as long as they fit our criteria." Arranged marriage is both a personal choice but also affected by larger cultural and social forces, including conflicting gender ideology and notions of autonomy among educated people choosing "arranged marriage." People face dilemmas around their gendered experiences and their sense of themselves as individuals. What has also changed the norms of arranged marriage is the nature of marriage itself in "post-traditional" society and this is true among the educated, urban middle classes in South Asia. Compatibility, companionship and marital satisfaction are valued within the context of contemporary "practitioners" of arranged marriage. While there has been a backlash against "love marriages" in South Asia because of the increase in divorce, I would argue that it is not "love" which is the issue but rather educated people having higher expectations of egalitarianism and satisfaction in marriage.

Apr. 10 2014 12:40 PM
SR from New Jersey

I am an Indian American, and had a arranged marriage. i.e., our meeting was arranged by our parents. I have combined 13 aunts and uncles from both my fathers and my mothers sides and all had arranged marriages and my 2 sisters too. I am giving you my take from observing all these people, and many of my friends. Almost all, except for a few exception have been 'miserable marriages". All I hear from them is how much of a misfit they are with their spouses, this includes my own parents and in-laws. If by the fact that these marriages look successful because they stay married, does not tell the whole story. There are many compelling reasons why they parents arrange the marriage.

Parents control who their kids marry, mainly because
they want to let their extended network know that they are in control of their kids and
Their kids are bought up with the right values( i.e. they will not succumb to the attractions of the opposite sex".
Almost all these marriages go through at least 25 years of dissatisfaction, and invariably their bonds are strengthened or lets just say that the man of the house moves from being emotionally dependent on their moms and move on to being emotionally dependent on their wives, the marriage settles down to a low humm of rhythm.
This also means they will be marrying with in their caste and and follow the same religious and cultural norms.
And the grooms parents will try to find a 'meek, submissive and religious' bride, which will ensure that she will not break up a bad marriage and they can continue to have control over their son's finances. after all a son is their retirement plan. In such societies there are no government programs as in social security benefits and disability benefits or medicare.

There is also a lot of social pressures to stay in a bad marriage. Also with in Hindu religious practices, there is no concept of divorce. a couple is bound to each other for 7 lives. and most of these couples will never say they want to legally separate. many just live separately if they choose to. Also with in the Hindu marriage act, a man can marry again in these cases as long as his first wife does not contest. I have seen this happens too. And it is very rarely that the first wife will contest since her husband is still providing for her.

All i am saying is, even if someone interviews these couples, almost all will claim their they have a great marriage and they will give a big thumbs up for 'arranged marriages". the entire vicious circle gets repeated. They do not think their in another way, and 'what will people say'. one should never wash ones dirty laundry in public. religion and society bounds them together. does it mean they are having a successful marriage, i don't think so.

This is still the trend in small towns and villages. a few google search on 'Khap Panchayat" will reveal a lot about what is being done to control the 'wayward' youth who want to follow their hearts.

Apr. 10 2014 08:29 AM

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