Netflix show on Indian matchmaker stokes debate on wedding culture

Matchmaking is the process of matching two or more people together, usually for the purpose of marriage , but the word is also used in the context of sporting events such as boxing, in business, in online video games and in pairing organ donors. In some cultures, the role of the matchmaker was and is quite professionalised. The Ashkenazi Jewish shadchan , or the Hindu astrologer , were often thought to be essential advisors and also helped in finding right spouses as they had links and a relation of good faith with the families. In cultures where arranged marriages were the rule, the astrologer often claimed that the stars sanctified matches that both parents approved of, making it quite difficult for the possibly-hesitant children to easily object — and also making it easy for the astrologer to collect his fee. Social dance , especially in frontier North America, the contra dance and square dance , has also been employed in matchmaking, usually informally. However, when farming families were widely separated and kept all children on the farm working, marriage-age children could often only meet in church or in such mandated social events.

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Ruchika Tulshyan was 22 when her mother started searching for her future husband. And she has mixed feelings — happy to see her experiences represented but forced to reflect on some hard truths about the way women are objectified within the system. I was disappointed, of course, there’s colorism, there’s casteism, there’s a lot of emphasis on traditional beauty. The show introduces us to a cast of Indian and Indian American men and women — including a single-minded lawyer from Houston, an appearance-obsessed jewelry designer from Mumbai and an outgoing dancer from New Jersey.

As a year-old who had already finished grad school and was on track for a successful career, Tulshyan was shocked to hear that her mom had listed her name and photograph on an Indian matchmaking website without her consent.

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Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking’ Is The Talk Of India — And Not In A Good Way

These men and women — or boys and girls, as they are referred to in Indian society, perhaps to reinforce their youth and innocence — of Indian origin are in their 20s and 30s, living in India and the US. Credit: Netflix. Indian Matchmaking just takes this concept further. Of course, each of these comes with their own good, bad and ugly. I think the entire experience felt like going on a journey with no idea as to what could turn up next.

Nadia Christina Jagessar of Netflix’s new reality TV hit, “Indian Matchmaking” reveals why she wanted an arranged marriage.

First week of Feb, , I received Harbinders profile in daily match emails. I sent my initial interest and started to contact her Brother Gurpreet Singh from 4th Feb. After providing family and pers Read more. My parents were searching a guy for me since 5 years but couldn’t get suitable match. Then they registered in Shaadi.

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Sima Taparia is like a human Hinge algorithm. Card system, except instead of dueling, the players must get drinks with one another. Like all good bad reality dating shows such as recent Netflix hits Love Is Blind and Too Hot To Handle , the dates are largely cringey to watch, and there is ghosting, awkwardness, and family drama.

I hate attending weddings. They are phoney and wasteful. The only wedding I didn’t mind so much was my own. Mainly because of the biryani. How do we make.

Jump to navigation. It was not that long ago parents of young Japanese men and women arranged marriages themselves, or with the use of a matchmaker called a “nakodo. These marriages were arranged more for political or wealth reasons rather than for love and attraction. The two people being set-up had no, or little, say in the choosing of their spouse.

Things are different today. After World War II, western traditions and romantic notions spread throughout Japan, and more people wanted to rely on true love rather than a financial arrangement. This was a strange notion for Japanese to accept because their view on love, and quite possibly correct, is that it is flimsy and won’t last.

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Matches are very often made locally yet. This is very common among the farming classes, even to this day. There is now no recognised match maker, but when a Farmers’ son is looking for a suitable girl to be his wife, he or his people make inquiries among other farmer friends. This sometimes happens at fairs or markets where they meet and talk of such subjects. If a suitable girl is thought to be spoken of, the boy’s friends go on a visit of inspection to see her father and his place or farm and also to see the girl and judge of her suitability.

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By Anika Jain on August 19, While the two lovers have the opportunity to go on actual dates and have some liberties when it comes to deciding their spouse, Sima Aunty is more or less setting up arranged marriages — an ancient tradition in many Asian countries, especially in India. In addition to these superficial preferences, families are very clear about their desire to match their children with a spouse from a high caste — despite the abolishment of the Indian caste system in Rather, it is unapologetically Indian, from the glamorization of fair skin to the marital pressure from families.

Notwithstanding the intense colorism and classism, the stakes for these singles is much higher than any other reality TV show. Now, this is not to say that arranged marriages are entirely forced and restrictive. As an Indian American myself, more than half of the married couples I grew up around had arranged marriages, including my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. In fact, my grandmother had never met my grandfather until their wedding day.

All she had was a picture of him that she convinced her cousin to steal for her.

In Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking,’ Arranged Marriage Is The Anti-Entanglement

Few people in the Capital can talk about matchmaking as insightfully as Poonam Sachdev. Their catchphrase Rishte Hi Rishte: Ek Baar Mil Toh Lein matches and more matches, meet us at least once used to be scrawled along railway tracks across north India in the s. Sachdev, 53, who has been in the business of matchmaking for 30 years, says Covid has made her job more complicated than ever before.

Suddenly, a lot of people seem to believe in a simple marriage.

The day of the wedding these “nakodo” are the first to speak at the wedding party and wish the couple a happy marriage. A very good friend of my family who is.

Five years ago, I met with a matchmaker. I went in scornful. Like many of my progressive South Asian peers, I denounced arranged marriage as offensive and regressive. But when the matchmaker recited her lengthy questionnaire, I grasped, if just for a beat, why people did things this way. Do you believe in a higher power? No idea. Should your partner share your creative interests?

Must read, though preferably not write, novels. Do you want children? Not particularly. The show has received sharp criticism — some well deserved — among progressive South Asians, including Dalit writers , for normalizing the casteist, sexist and colorist elements of Indian society. It explores the fact that many Indian millennials and their diaspora kin still opt for match-made marriage.

The show reveals conversations that take place behind closed doors, making desis confront our biases and assumptions, while inviting non-desis to better understand our culture. The series, which was produced by the Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Smriti Mundhra, presents people who want to find a middle way between parentally arranged marriage and contemporary dating.

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I was in the middle of an editorial meeting at the newspaper I worked for in when it came out of nowhere: an overwhelming sense of fear, the trembling hands, the absolute certainty that my heart was going to burst out of my chest. It would be years before I understood that what I had experienced that day — and would on three subsequent occasions — was a panic attack. I was 24, and just two hours before, my parents had called to ask me to be home on time that night.

I had no intention of watching it.

An honest perspective on Indian marriage culture in ‘Indian Matchmaking‘. (​Photos: Public Domain Pictures). By Anika Jain on August 19,

Frankly, I fail to see what is exciting or new about the show, except the fact that it intends to pivot the gaze of a global audience around the voyeuristic gratification of watching Indians express unfamiliar desires that are strange and cringe-worthy. The profit-guided intention of the show is to demonstrate and oversell Indianness, and what better way to do it than to insist that the practice of Indianness, or indeed a return to it in the case of NRIs is possible in the tacit acceptance of one of its central traditional institutions — the arranged marriage.

Following the ideological winds that blow, the series focuses exclusively on the Hindu custom of arranged marriage as the Indian Matchmaking ritual. Arranged marriages have long been the norm in South Asian societies. The majority of Asians, especially Indians, have their marriages planned by their parents and other elders of the family. While recent studies suggest that Indian culture is trending away from traditional arranged marriages, still fewer marriages are purely arranged without parental consent and that the majority of surveyed Indian marriages are arranged with consent.

Love marriages or self-arranged marriages are still an exception to the norm, and are associated more with urban living and a generally progressive outlook, particularly in the urban parts of India. Rarer, still, are the interfaith marriages.

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