MARRIAGE AMONG CURRENT
GENERATIONS OF USA INDIANS ADHERE TO
RULES AND REGULATIONS
vivaaH sNskaar ...
New York Times, USA:
Hinduism Today: August 23, 2005:
One Saturday in July, a few weeks after he finished his
medical residency at Brown University, Ronak Shah married Kunal Patel,
another doctor, in a union that embraced every ritual of the Hindu nuptial
script. However, the venerable South Asian tradition of arranged marriages
has taken on an American reinvention.
Dr. Patel's mother and father had a hand in their
daughter's selection. They were in touch with friends and cousins for
suggestions about whom she should marry. But Dr. Patel was free to reject
Less than a decade ago, the decision about whom a South
Asian woman here might marry was still often left to her parents.
|But recently, purely arranged marriage has evolved into a
new culture of what might be called "assisted"
marriage, in which parents are free to arrange all they
like--allowing their sons and daughters choice among nominees.
Some of the impetus for assisted
marriage is coming from young people themselves--men and women
who have delayed marriage into their late 20's and early 30's, said Ayesha
Hakki, the editor of Bibi, a South Asian bridal and fashion magazine.
As Madhulika Khandelwal, a historian who has studied
Indians here, said, "Young people don't want to make individual decisions
In large part, Ms. Khandelwal said, the transition from formally arranged
marriage reflects social changes in India itself, where assisted marriage is
now common among the educated, urban middle class.
That is because, she said, there are fewer extended-family
living arrangements and more women pursuing higher education. The purpose of
assisted marriage here is not simply to
preserve Indian cultural identity, but more pointedly to maintain class,
religious and regional identities in a place where they might easily be
diffused, those who have studied the Indian diaspora say.
Arranged and assisted marriage
have left Indians with the lowest rate of intermarriage of any
major immigrant group in the United States. Among South Asian men and women
here in their 20's and 30's, the vast majority of whom are foreign born,
fewer than 10 percent marry outside their ethnic group, according to an
analysis of the Census Bureau's 2003 American Community Survey conducted for