They operate at the awkward nexus in modern Indian society between intracultural custom and intercultural connectivity, a conflict-prone junction built by a sudden 20-year economic boom that came without a societal user’s manual.
The average Indian man is likely more financially successful and socially engaged than his father—more likely to have a car and a Facebook page—but the popularity of matrimonial websites might suggest that he is simply using these resources to preserve an antiquated and gender-prejudiced conception of marriage that’s counterintuitive to modernization, at least by the Western definition.
It’s one of more than 100 Indian websites that comprise the country’s thriving online matrimonial market, where an individual can browse for his or her ideal spouse among a catalog of potential candidates organized by the personal information that apparently matters most: religion, caste, income, fairness of skin, family background, and so on. Unlike online dating services, which at least superficially foster some sort of romantic connection, and which are effectively nonexistent in India, matrimonial websites are predicated on the idea that the first meeting between two paired users will be to chat about their wedding.
They succeed for the same reason every online resource does: They offer convenience and expediency in an arena with high demand for it.
I belong to no caste; I am not Hindu; I have no Indian heritage. For them, matrimonial websites simply seemed to be a matter of convenience, a casual way to meet other singles online in a country where dating sites haven’t really taken off.
India is a country where sex is “something that’s both sort of resented and incredibly desired,” Kevin, a 20-year-old college student in Delhi told me, and the Internet provides a sort of parallel community respited from traditional restrictions on the libido.
Last week, I joined Shaadi.com, India’s oldest and most popular matrimonial website.
Call it anthropological curiosity; call it a metric of my own narcissism.
What those factors are, exactly, has changed as the country has, but the crux of the matter remains constant: if you’re an Indian woman, it’s statistically likely that your parents will choose the man with whom you spend the rest of your life.In December, Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit described her city as a “rape capital;” in June, the New York Times reported that visits by female tourists to India had dropped by 35 percent in the first months of 2013.I joined to explore the “labyrinth of complicated patriarchy,” as Time Magazine recently labeled India that has borne the brunt of global criticism in light of the Delhi gang rape last winter and the string of publicized sexual crimes since.Call it acclimating to the Indian single life after coming of age in the West, where India is often seen as a country of arranged marriages and impenetrable glass ceilings.If there’s truth to caricature, then call my joining the online matrimony network a modern-day leap onto a bandwagon of millennia-old social custom.“Shaadi” is the Hindi word for wedding; is, intuitively, a wedding arranged via the Internet.by establishing Indian peoples as inferior and incompetent who need to be civilized.”Ramasubramanian’s study qualitatively confirms that the India offered to us in the West is an India of “inept subordinates” who deserve either our scorn or sympathy.