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Arranged Marriages in the Sikh Diaspora

Many Westerners, who have grown up with the concept that marriage is the final word bond between two individuals who have fallen in love, discover the idea of arranged marriages alternately fascinating and weird. But in areas on the planet where organized marriages are practiced (such as India), they seem as pure as the concept of “falling in love” seems to us. One of the attention-grabbing issues about Sikhs, as wells as another teams of people in India, is that they’ve moved to many various components of the world and brought much of their tradition with them.

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Because of this, there is an opportunity to see what occurs when two different cultures work together and maybe trade or adapt to each other’s ideas. The focus of this paper is the see how the dispersal of Sikhs all over the world has affected the apply of organized marriage and their attitudes about it.

As anthropologists typically note, most marriages on the earth usually are not just alliances between people; they are additionally alliances between households.

From this perspective, the idea of arranged marriages begin to make slightly more since. Parents spend a lot of time seeking brides or grooms for his or her children. Generally, the man’s mother and father are the ones who do the investigating, though the girl’s dad and mom spend simply as much time in making themselves look good and maybe promoting. When the man’s parents meet with the family of the potential bride, they take many issues into account: the class or caste of the individual, the family’s financial situation, the status of the household and the person, the well being of the family, i.

e., if they’ve any heritable illnesses, and many other things.

Once they’ve found an acceptable match, the man’s household sends a good friend over to behave as a messenger. This person relays any needed information between the two households, and if the girl’s household is involved, a gathering is set up. It is with this meeting that the man’s family sees the girl for the primary time. This makes clear how essential the girl’s household background is to the potential marriage than the lady herself. During the assembly, the woman is carefully scrutinized to see if she will be appropriate along with her new household. If every thing goes well, the lady will finally present herself in order that the man and his family can see and meet her for the first time. Eventually, if everyone is happy, dates for engagement and marriage are arranged.1

The above sketch of what occurs in an organized marriage is, in fact, greatly simplified. What actually takes place varies from tradition to tradition and sometimes within the culture as well. Arranged marriages have taken place for 1000’s of years in India and different components of the world. While the precise means by which the arrangement ought to be performed could also be disputed, the concept of arranged marriage itself is generally not questioned. In situations where Sikhs or other groups have taken the practice of organized marriage to other components of the world (especially the West), nevertheless, this is precisely what typically happens. Presumably that is due to the affect that Western tradition has on the society.

One of the most important areas of battle in such situations is when kids, who may have spent all or most of their lives within the Western society, have totally different views on arranged marriages than their parents.

One of the most typical conflicts happens when children, particularly those that have been in the Western society for a really lengthy time, take on the customs of relationship that different folks in that society have. In India, and perhaps other countries which practice arranged marriages, relationship is both not allowed or not heard of. But in Western societies such because the United States, relationship is the traditional method by which people “fall in love” and get married.

Many young Sikhs in Western societies have faced the obstacle of selecting between what the need to do, i.e., marry somebody they’ve met and fallen in love with, and doing what they really feel is true, i.e., let their mother or father organize their marriage for them. Because Sikhs are typically very attached and dedicated to their family and their culture, this is often a troublesome determination. On one hand, they do not want to disobey their mother and father by marrying somebody that they don’t approve of. And then again, for these which have been launched to the idea of dating, they do not wish to go away the choice of whom they will spend the rest of their life with totally to their dad and mom.

Ideally what occurs in such situations is that a compromise is made between the youngsters and the parents. For instance, the parents might decide that it is okay for his or her son or daughter to choose his or her own mate as lengthy as it is someone from the identical caste with a good family. Of the children may decide to let their mother and father arrange their marriage, however will only conform to marriage after meeting the individual and getting to know her or him. As you might expect, however, such compromises are often not reached.

Many Sikhs have posted their opinions about organized marriages on internet discussion teams. One of probably the most commonly reoccurring subjects is the query of whether or not individuals ought to marriage outside of their very own caste and/or faith. Traditionally, marriages in India solely occurred between members of the same caste. But outdoors of India, caste distinctions are less noticeable, particularly among the youthful technology. In many cases, youngsters don’t see the importance of marrying folks from their own caste as much as their parents do.

One person, a member of the Jat caste whose parent insist that his spouse also be a Jat, questioned the position that the caste system plays in Sikhism. “One of the fundamental principles of Sikhism,” he writes, “was to abolish the caste system and consider that everybody was equal.” When he asked his dad and mom why it was so important that he marry one other Jat, they merely said that that was the way in which their family all the time did things, i.e., it’s part of their conventional heritage. What could appear perfectly natural to folks typically seems complicated to youngsters who have not grown up with a strong sense of household tradition.

The sturdy influence that Western society can have on Sikhs is demonstrated by one girl’s quest to find her “soul-mate.” The idea that there is somebody on the market that was “made” for each individual is probably a purely Western phenomenon. This young girl utterly embraces the concept: “[I] have always believed that we every have a soul mate somewhere on the market, and it’s our duty to seek out them, fall in love with them, and be ready to spend the the rest of our lives with them.” She argues that insisting that people marry from within their very own religion only hinders individuals from “the one”.

Interestingly, though people in Western societies are free to marry whomever they want, individuals are inclined to marry inside their own faith and sophistication anyway. One examine found a ninety p.c of all marriages within the US occur between folks the identical religion, ethnicity, class, education, and age group. So in many ways, the so-called love-based marriages usually are not as different from arranged marriages as they could seem. One of the targets of organized marriages is to be positive that folks marry individuals with whom they’re compatible. The identical is true for love-based marriages in the West.

Some individuals have even argued that arranged marriages do a greater job of creating sure that individuals are appropriate than marriages based on falling in love. One woman argued that love-based marriages typically fail because the people are so focused on the “love” facet of the connection that they’re typically faced with “dashed hopes and missed expectations” later on. “Life has a means of burying romanticism as [financial] and family demands take over,” she writes.

Of course not all younger individuals agree with this perspective. Many are convinced that marriages based mostly on love have a much better likelihood of lasting than organized marriages. They typically site examples of arranged-marriages-gone-wrong to prove their point. One of essentially the most poignant of these tales I found was by a girl who was born in England and later got here to the US. She had already been courting for a very lengthy time before she obtained married, and had even had two guys propose to her. But she claims she agreed to an arranged marriage only to please her dad and mom. After her marriage ceremony, she had the sensation that she was by herself alone in a lodge with a man she barely knew who was imagined to be her husband. She stated she felt extra like a prostitute.

Obviously, there is no simple reply to the question of which form of marriage is “better” than the other. Perhaps it’s meaningless to ask such questions, since each forms of marriages are a traditional a part of the cultures during which they’re discovered. And in every of those cultures, there are instance are when these marriages work and once they don’t. The best insight to be gained is when totally different form of marriages are available contact, for that is when the variations and similarities between them are clearly seen.

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