As most of you know, for centuries, Indian tradition has given parents ultimate power in deciding who their children marry. As India continues to modernize, however, marriages based on love are becoming increasingly common. The long held norm of arranged marriages is being replaced by matrimonial unions based on love, and the often blinding emotions surrounding it. The institution of marriage, however, is as important as ever, and is still seen as highly honorable. Quickie marriages such as those available in Las Vegas, are not an option, and divorce is regarded as socially unacceptable. Parents therefore find it crucial to ensure that their children’s love interests are acceptable suitors for marriage. For this task, “wedding detectives” have recently become heavily relied upon (Click here for the full story).
The recent Associated Press story available above, speaks of Ajit Singh, a marriage investigator whose business has been booming. Because Indian views on relationships have begun to modernize with the rest of the country, families have begun to employ detectives such as Mr. Singh to validate the legitimacy of the potential union. People are growing desperate to ensure that their childrens’ marriages don’t end in disaster in the face of the complications that love brings about. Because of this concern that many face in this deeply traditional nation, multitudes of agencies that focus on premarital investigations have sprung up. Detectives such as Ajit Singh are “consulted to look for signs of trouble: a potential groom about to lose his job, or a potential bride too flirtatious with the neighbors.” â€œWe start with the house: How many people live there, whether the property is owned or rented, if the subject in question is married or has been engaged before,” said Singh. â€œWe talk to drivers, neighbors, neighbors’ drivers, maidservants.” Parents hire Mr. Singh to find out if the man in question really has the education and large salary he claims, and if the woman in question is “running around.”
This story raises a few issues worth discussing about the society we will all be visiting this summer: Is this sort of spying on future sons- or daughters-in-law ethical? Is it a good or a bad thing that arranged marriages are being replaced by Western-style marriages? Do you feel that the divorce rate will go up or down in India as the culture shift continues. Is it fair to assume that there is any more love in “love marriages” than in traditional arranged marriages?