#1 There’s no such thing as a transitory phase between student life and married life
According to Indian tradition, life is divided into four stages*;
- Stage 1: Brahmacharya (0-24 years)
Period of life in which students equip themselves with education, spiritual knowledge and values that they will require later on in life. They are taught to lead a disciplined life, concentrate solely on their education and to remain celibate.
- Stage 2: Grihastha (24-48 years)
This stage refers to married life during which the husband and wife unite to perform their worldly duties, raise children of good character and lead a harmonious social existence.
- Stage 3 & 4 are related to retirement and the pursuit of self-realisation
* The stages were created in ancient times and were used mainly to refer to males. The timeframes are only rough guides.
# 2 Young men and women are brought up to eventually create a household that is a microcosm of heaven
Indian traditions revolve around one central idea: the purpose of life is to be liberated and attain oneness with God. The wife takes on the role of Grihalakshmi (Goddess of the home) and is given a high status as she is the first teacher of man. The husband is the Grihastha ( God of the home) and he is responsible for treading on the path of righteousness while supporting his family. Together, the husband and wife worship God and create an environment where love, noble thoughts and good character are paramount.
Dating, for the most part, is not done with the intention of finding a future spouse that is going to complement your spiritual journey. For that reason, it is not deemed necessary and is not widely accepted in the Indian community.
#3 All life decisions of an Indian are ideally made with the blessings of their parents
Dating is derived from Western culture, which is individualist in nature. Indian culture, however, is collectivist and this is probably another reason why dating doesn’t sit too well with Indians. In Indian culture, the family of a spouse is highly involved in the married life of a couple. In fact, some couples stay with their in-laws after marriage to support parents who are ageing . In addition, parents are seen as representations of God on earth for all the sacrifices they undergo to bring children up and are given ultimate respect in Indian culture. The inclusion of parents in selecting a spouse ensures that everyone is on the same page and makes life a whole lot easier for the couple once they are married.
By now, you are probably wondering how in the world people are supposed to find a suitable spouse if they don’t date them first. Well, that’s where the infamous Indian arranged marriage comes in! Usually someone that knows the families of both the bride and groom really well brings forward the proposal of marriage to the groom’s family after identifying that both families are of similar wavelengths and lead complementary lifestyles. The families meet and the bride and groom get to know each other to see if they can foresee a future with each other.
With the added help of Indian astrology, which is in fact, more scientific than you might think, the charts of both the bride and groom are cross- matched to see if they are compatible in ten categories deemed necessary for a successful marriage ( longevity of marriage, good health, progeny, physical and mental compatibility etc). If they are, then the marriage is given the green light !
I personally believe that both love marriages and arranged marriages have equal chances at success, given that the marriage takes place for the right reasons. At the end of the day, dating or no-dating, we can all trust in the fact that we will only end up with the person we are meant to be with. Que sera sera- whatever will be, will be!
Do you know of any other reasons that contribute to the Indian dating taboo? Leave a comment down below:)
I am a 20 year-old University student living in Australia. As I was born in Malaysia, brought up in Australia and have never lived in India, I am no expert in Indian culture. However, my love affair with this beautiful culture has been running strong for many years and I hope to share my passion with everyone this blog reaches:) Happy reading!