Believe it or not, matrimony as an institution arose as a thought of knowing the paternity of a child! From this primal need, over the centuries, developed the firm institution of marriage as we understand. As civilization and kinship grew and societal relationships became more structured and complicated, marriage was believed to be the foundation of family and society and what kept it together. Culture and civilisation was to be passed to future generations through foundation of marriage.
During Vedic times, practices such as ‘Swayamvara'(Indian bride choosing her own partner out of a gathering of potential grooms selected by the father) and ‘Gandharva'(where Indian bride and Indian groom woman took each other for life companions with only Gods as witness.) was prevalent. Polygamy (multiple wives) and Polyandry (multiple husbands) was also commonly accepted by the society.
Classical Orthodox Times
Indian matrimony have traditionally been arranged and grew in importance when historical Vedic religion gradually gave way to classical Hinduism (the ca. 500 BC).Large sections of Indian society moved towards patriarchy and caste-based rules. Matrimonials began to be arranged by parents and elders in the family, with no say of the future groom or bride. Alliances were fixed in childhood to prevent inter-caste marriages, prevent teenage promiscuity; widow remarriages was prevented to control female chastity and purity.
Since 19th century, with education and exposure to western thought, matrimony as institution and even the arrangement of it, has become quite liberal. It is now seen more as a life-long companionship/friendship; not just on a physical and financial level but emotional and psychological level as well. Men and women now have more freedom and a say when (after completion of education, satisfactorily settling in career), how (whether love, arranged or love-arrange) and to whom (taking good time find out compatibility) they would like to marry.
With changing times and liberal notions about marriage, potential partners and the presence of the internet in our daily lives, online matrimonial sites have become quite popular for searching future partners. Matrimonial sites have the advantages of:
- Being fast, from uploading profile to sending matches per criteria, these sites provide matches much faster that friends and relations traditionally could;
- Access to a wider database of prospective Indian bride and Indian groom breaking caste, religion, language, age, and country barrier;
- Anyone who wishes to marry – whether it is for first-time or divorcee, self or on behalf of someone else-can search the sites for potential matches;
- Offering online chat sessions to the prospective Indian bride and the Indian groom providing freedom and privacy of conversation;
- Stepping in with matrimonial prospects; a role that was once performed by the extended joint family but is now diminishing due to nuclear family;
- Allowing searches to be customised according to one’s preferences without being judgemental and offering absolute privacy; even allowing uploading birth horoscopes for the benefit of those who still believe in it!