What your choice of life partner says about ‘us’

Ramesh Ramanathan has an interesting piece in today’s Mint in which the uses the metaphor of arranged marriage to reveal the schizophrenic nature of Indian democracy.

“At the heart of the idea of democracy is the freedom to make choices. But when we talk of democracy and choices, we tend to confine these to “public” issues: should India sign the nuclear treaty, what should be the resolution in Singur, should we have reservations in our IITs?….

“How come we are so passionate about protecting our political rights—wanting to have a choice to make decisions about our roads and schools and hospitals—but so completely comfortable with giving up choice in the single biggest decision that impacts our lives—that of a life partner?

“How come we hold different views on public versus personal choices?”

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Does democracy begin at home? Is this distinction between our public postures and private choices hypocritical? Are we a slightly less-mature democracy as a result? Are western democracies better because this dichotomous distinction is less visible?

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Photograph: a still from the film Kuch na Kaho (tagline: “Love can’t be arranged”), starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. The two stars were later united in an “arranged marriage”, after both had had their fill of failed “love affairs”.

Read the full article: Marriages and democracy

Also read: Has online matchmaking becoming a bit of a scam?

Is it a crime to break a marriage engagement?

How IT has changed the marriage market

For Shyam and Madhu, the show had to go on