Love marriage is not a relatively new event in our culture. It has been practised for a considerable length of time yet the occurrences of such forms of marriage in India are still low. Over the recent few years, the Indian culture has experienced enormous change- the social structure holding the system together has turned out to be more adaptable and young women are seen as equals to young men.
Therefore, union between the two sexes has expanded extensively and this has increased the occurrence of love marriages, as compared to arranged marriage. Be that as it may, this form mostly stays limited to urban and semi-urban regions.
Although a large portion of the society still looks down upon love marriages and all such romantic relationships, the situation has been changing of late, as parents and guardians are trying to empathize with their children and to understand their right to choose their companion in life.
Caste and religion are the two most crucial factors which cause obstacles in the free practice of love marriage in our society, especially in India. This is on the grounds that most people are doubtful in wedding their children in an unfamiliar social setting.
There are also different prevalent issues like monetary standard, similarity in horoscopes, etc. which cause further challenges for people to opt for love marriages.
Love marriages in the Indian context and its evolution
In ancient times, Indian females were credited a substantially higher status than they enjoy in the present society. They were not restricted to the limits of the home and were permitted significantly more flexibility in most of their life decisions.
They had a considerable measure of say when it came to picking their husbands, and love marriages were a commonplace thing. Ideas like ‘Swayamvars’ depended on the assent of ladies and men demonstrating their guts as the best suitor, as we have seen in the two Indian epics as well- Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Love marriages were very basic at that time and were not ostracised by the general public. Even the religious sacred texts and literary works of the time tell stories of Gods and Goddesses falling in love, mostly with mortals.
With the approach and appropriation of religious texts like the Manu Smriti, the ideas of good and bad changed in the society. It was upheld that expressions of the family head were preeminent, and it was great karma to comply with the older folks.
With that, the ladies were assigned as images of respect of a family and were set under the security of men, controlling a significant part of the opportunity they used to enjoy in Vedic time.
Accordingly, arranged marriages turned into the standard (or norms) where the senior citizens fixed the matches for all the concerned youths. Gradually, the idea of love marriage lost fame and turned into an undesired custom in the system of the societal restrictions.
Comparison between love and arranged marriage- why love marriage is better
The main difference between these two forms of marriage- loves and arranged- figure in the bride or groom’s relation with their family. It also depends greatly on the type of culture one is coming from.
The eastern cultures are more likely to be collectivistic (a culture in which greater importance is given to one’s public self than one’s private self, and the society gets more importance than the individual), whereas cultures of the west usually tend to be more individualist (greater importance is given to one’s private self, and the individual is deemed of high significance).
These cultures can be distinguished on the basis of independence (individualist) and interdependence (collectivist). If the individual hails from the former type of society, love marriages seem to be the preferred option, and vice versa.
Sticking to one’s parental decisions might initially seem like a better plan to me as it also brings with it financial stability and social acceptance- the two factors everyone craves for. However, if analysed in the context of a longer run, love marriage seems to be a clear winner, for numerous reasons, which shall be later discussed in this essay.
The primary shortcoming of arranged marriage is as basic as it can get- without knowing a person beforehand, or being forced to inculcate favourable feelings for a stranger, it is practically impossible to attain emotional and physical compatibility. Therefore, sexual relationships initiated through arranged marriages find very little difference from the practice of marital rape.
Love marriages are better in every way as in that case, people choose beforehand and consciously, and even if the marriage ends as a failure, they know where exactly to put the blame, and look for speedy recovery.
Disadvantages of love marriage
One of the significant disadvantages of love marriages in India is that absence of social ‘protection’. Indeed, even right now, guardians regularly do not overlook their children picking a partner for themselves, and let their union be free of their interference.
Very often, complaints emerge from the way that the religion and ranks or social standings or even physical appearance. At times they are careful about the repercussion of the general public and relative temporary fad which might be generated through an unlikely social union through inter-caste or religious marriages.
Along these lines, they now and again decline give to provide consent to the entire undertaking and separate themselves from the couple. Subsequently, the bride or groom feels isolated and if they encounter hardships in the journey of their life, there is no family protection to fall back on.
Some of the time, this separation from guardians and family influence the marital relationship of the newlywed couple as they may accuse their partner for being the reason for losing the family.
Other possible problem can be the lack of adjustment between the newlywed women and her in-laws, as is seen in many Indian families. This stems from a patriarchal sense of societal roles and norms, and can more than often be traced back to a strict adherence to unnecessary conventions.
Moreover, love marriages also carry with them a lot of expectations which the couples have from each other, and not being able to meet up to the same or keeping the spark alive after marriage can lead to depression, sadness, or other mental health problems.
The most serious problem- honour killings
An alarming event seen in many societies, including India, is the practice of honour killings. In simple words, when an individual marries someone against their family’s opinion, usually from a different caste, ethnicity, or religion, an extreme act of violence is committed whereby the couple is killed in order to preserve the family’s honour.
This shows that till date, many families, sadly, value their community’s honour over human lives. This system is always hierarchical, that is, such killings are committed only when a community is violated by a marriage with a member of a different community which is placed on the lower rungs of the socio-economic strata.
Prejudices and discrimination also have a role to play in this case. Serious legislation and law enforcement, alongside proper education needs to be aimed at the eradication of such ugly practices in our society. Honour killings are most common in the states of the northern India, especially Haryana.
With the advent of an era of increased individualisation, love marriages have now become a symbol for one’s freedom of expression through selecting their own husbands or wives. They have larger implications than mere romantic commitments and are gradually becoming an inevitable part of our lives.
Therefore, people need to realise the same, and respect each other’s personal spaces and let everyone live their lives the way they themselves seem to be fit. Only in this way can love (not essentially romantic) triumph.