Four kinds of marriages in modern India. Which ones would you ban?

1. Some marriages have social approval, because they are not about love or lust.

120-year-old from Assam ties knot with 60-year-old

He presides over a family of 122 members, including two sons, four daughters and lots of grand-children, most of whom are married. Salima Khatun, Noor’s first wife, died in 2005.

“Soon after my mother’s death, my father requested us to find him another wife who would look after him.

It was not an easy job to find a bride for a 100-year-old. However, by the grace of god, we have found a new mother, though she’s half his age. She was married once early in life. Her husband died and she has no children,” said the bridegroom’s son, Hazi Azir Uddin. [Link].

A comment below the article thought the couple was lucky, the bride would not have to face a nagging mother in law. I would call them lucky when 60 year old women marry 60 year old men so they can both ‘look after each other‘.

2. Some marriages don’t have social approval, because,“…lust and greed by young blood cannot be said to be correct.”

The Rajasthan High Court says “We cannot allow society to suffer due to outcome of such a bad marriage. Such marriages are giving a bad message to society…”

So, It has been made compulsory that both the boy and girl produce three prominent persons as witness of the marriage from either side at Arya Samaj if their parents object to the marriage.

Before this Gujarat has had a similar ruling, where two adults need parental approval before they can marry.

3. Some marriages have parental approval and so are not condemned for being about ‘lust’.

Link shared by Nish. We are all aware of this, but I still found it disturbing.

“When Munni arrived in this fertile, sugarcane-growing region of north India as a young bride years ago, little did she imagine she would be forced into having sex and bearing children with her husband’s two brothers who had failed to find wives.”

“They took me whenever they wanted — day or night. When I resisted, they beat me with anything at hand,” said Munni, who had managed to leave her home after three months only on the pretext of visiting a doctor. [link]

4. One reason why our Patriarchal society disapproves of Choice Marriages is that then there would be no women willing to marry some men.

What kind of men? (link shared by Desi Girl)

i. Umed Singh, 73, a farmer, “If we hate daughters, it’s not without reason. What do you do with them? You send them out for education and they only bring a bad name to the family.”

Behrana and Dhimana villages have sex ratios of 378 and 444 respectively. Some residents’ reactions.

ii. “It’s God’s gift that most of the children born in this village are boys,” claims Dhimana village sarpanch Om Parkash, 70, a bachelor.

iii. Varinder Kumar Narula, 67, a headmaster: “It has to do with diet. People eat well here and so give birth to boys.”

iv. “You can get a woman for Rs 30,000 any day while a well-bred buffalo costs Rs 70,000,” says Ajit Singh, 45, a bank employee.

v. “… could cost you less but you have to spend …on fares travelling to far off places such as Assam,” adds Ranbir Yadav, 42, a local landlord.

Do these men deserve women in their lives, daughters, sisters or wives?
5. To ensure such men find wives, it is socially acceptable to have Barter Marriages. 
Parents marry their daughters and in return get a bride for their sons.
Not everybody can afford such marriages.
“I know we won’t get married and it’s very depressing,” says Manoj Kumar, 21. “We keep talking about it. But you need a job to get a wife. We don’t see either of the two happening,” adds Mandeep Ahlawat, 19. [Link]
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64 thoughts on “Four kinds of marriages in modern India. Which ones would you ban?

      • They refuse to see because it is inconvenient.
        They refuse to see because it spoils their male utopia.
        They refuse to see because seeing would involve far too much intellectual honesty.
        They refuse to see because somehow, somewhere, in some forgotten part of their being, it pinches.
        They refuse to see because it’s just easier not to see.

        And so they refuse to see the women. They banish them from their sight like an evolutionary inconvenience. They avert their gaze, just like they averted their humanity when they murdered defenseless little beings who committed the crime of carrying an extra chromosome. They pretend blindness so as not to see the women who are not there, the missing women, the women who could have been.

        They do not see, because they are cowards in cheap disguise and their cowardice is accepted by a cowardly society that does not lift a finger to stop the slaughter of it’s own daughters. They do not see because “scum” just about describes them.


      • You know that old man may not have been completely wrong when he said that good nutrition got boy babies. Here’s an article published by BBC News:

        That said, I would guess that considering the low levels of nutrition and literacy in rural India, the gender imbalance is more due to female infanticide than anything else 😦


        • These men believe all good things like a good diet or good karma lead to male off springs. They also think it’s the woman and not the Y chromosome that decides the sex of the baby. We know a high calorie diet has nothing to do with the gender ratio of 300-400 in these two villages. A good diet is not responsible for the female fetuses found in wells near nursing homes, or abandoned or killed baby girls found, buried or left near garbage heaps etc. Also the gender ratio in a poor, under nourished country like India should have favored girls not boys, remember women in a patriarchal society eat only after everybody else has eaten.


  1. //“They took me whenever they wanted — day or night. When I resisted, they beat me with anything at hand,” said Munni //
    Disgusting! How could people be so cruel and lusty…
    Still there are so many culprits of these kind out there in Indian villages who are to be hanged to death…


  2. //”Varinder Kumar Narula, 67, a headmaster: “It has to do with diet. People eat well here and so give birth to boys.”//

    Look what a headmaster says! He thinks the reason he is a male is that his mother was fed well.

    //3. Some marriages have parental approval and so are not condemned for being about ‘lust’.//

    The biggest fallacy: that marriages approved by parents are not about lust and greed. In fact, it IS about lust (What else other than lust is ‘first night’ all about?!) and also greed (dowry).


  3. Sad stories
    Measures that may reduce such gender discrimination may include:
    1.Increasing female literacy
    2.Strengthening of grass root feminist movements
    3.Making all Civil Society organisations including religious and Medical ones gender sensitive
    4.Land reforms & rapid Industrialisation so that joint family system will collapse

    Many of you may be able to add more such points.


  4. We have a feudal India and a progressive India. The latter being a small number. It may take us a whole of another century to have more people with progressive views towards women and marriage. Till then, we will continue hearing such cases.


  5. By nature I’m a hopeful person you know. But sometimes even I get depressed at how so many people think. I know that it takes time to change attitudes. That we have to wait for generations to pass away and wait for the next ones to take over…slowly.

    But I guess I feel sad that such an attitude was created in the first place. I feel depressed because they’re humans…and I’m human too…and that in the right circumstances, perhaps even I would be thinking like that 😦


  6. Meaning slave trade is back in action.

    Also if one needs parents permission for everything let’s send parents to jail for anything we do. Good deal? Also since parents listen to society, let’s send society to jail. Since society is represented by media and stuff, send them to jail. Or just get a ticket to somewhere else and live happily ever after.


  7. It’s really horrible. I have never thought about it. I can’t believe it that it’s still prevailing to this extent. How come they eat so good so that they give birth only to boys. Inspite of having such a bad ratio their egos are at the top. It’s pathetic.


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  9. What about a fifth, more common kind of marriage? One with parental approval.. and force.. Where women of ‘marriageable age’ are brainwashed to marry cos society wants them to be married and their parents want grandchildren and their grandparents want great-grandchildren before they die? Most marriages among the educated in our country arent even about love, lust or greed. They are purely about ego, showing off to society and parental whims!

    At this rate, weddings in this country would need elaborate statement of purposes, background checks and lie-detectors to be approved!


  10. 1. who is going to take care of this 60 year old lady when the 120 year old guy will die (which can be any day ) ..will her new sons and daughters and DIls be taking care of her or willingly LET her marry another guy (hopefully as same age as her ).
    why should a women marry here ? to take care of someone ?why ???? she can might as well spend all that time and energy and earn food and shelter for herself and also save for future ..and may be team up with other women where they can take care of each other toegther , share chores at home and save for future .

    2.less said the better about modern educated and so called liberal people who always want you to follow and not use your own brain and heart .the brave men who do honour killing and the caring parents who lock , beat , emotionally abuse and forcefully marry off thier kids ..
    recently my mom was giving me an example of a neighbour who was a engg topper and MBA rank holder …she elopped with a guy after a good planning..I was smiling when she narrated the story.they got married 6 mnths ago in the court .all this while she stayed at home , did job , saved money and one fine day went missing ..called them after 2 days n said .am off from here ..I know u dnt want to see me again ever ..but thats ok ..
    i hope she is happily married. I am happy she did that as if she would have told her parents , they would haveleft the guy half dead and married her off to some starnger in 2 weeks ..

    3. Most Marriages are about ,ghar ka khana , physical need of guys (they shyly admit ) and yes dowry and benefits of double income ( you get to settle down rt ).. so guys and girls you dont need to groom yourself , be worthy of attracting and maintaining relationship , looks , intellect even your skills don’t matter as long as u have parents who can find you a match . thats why we must always respect our parents .you legally get a right to rape other person with garlic and onion breath if u have one ideal set at home.

    4. that is exactly the reason …
    but ionically they will buy wives , rape who so ever is available ( 3 brothers story ) and even make life for the surviving women a living hell .
    i have heard of a similar village here in karnataka ..where they kill girls ,, so an NGO wnt there and told them to give any girl child to the orphanage where other people can come forward and adopt them. A nice move indeed ..If we cannot make them acpet girl child , we can at least try to save some.
    5. barter system 🙂 … commodities being exchanged ..


  11. Deeply distressed reading this.
    The only solution is a long term one, and that is spread of education and literacy.
    God knows how many more generations that will take before our entire population is covered.

    I used to feel bad about the kinds of marriages reported in our Mythological stories.
    Stories of swyamvaras, Gandharva vivaah, child marriages, parents agreeing to a marriage between their children, and the kids marrying to honour their father’s word, and particularly the kidnapping of brides and making off with them and this being considered perfectly acceptabe (remember Bhisma and what he did to Amba, Ambika and Ambaalikaa?) Practically all the heroes of the Mahabharata have been born under circumstances that we would question today.

    Looks like we still have a long way to go.
    Even boys can become victims.
    There have also been incidents of grooms being kidnapped by the rich parents of girls and forcibly married to their daughters in Bihar.
    God save our society.


  12. “You can get a woman for Rs 30,000 any day while a well-bred buffalo costs Rs 70,000,”….and people say we are progressive n in 21st century etc etc…….

    i feel only some miracle can improve things here……


  13. Yesterday’s Pune Times (which comes with TOI) had a write-up on what an astrologer (approached by PT) predicts for Amitabh Bachchan- a grandson or a granddaughter? Apparently, Bachchan is in a very ‘lucky’ period in his life, so it is likely that he will get a grandson.

    The same newspaper also carries reports on sonography machines being seized in the state.


    • Ah, The Times of India shall never cease to amaze me.

      They can have bikini-clad women draped on the main page of their city supplements and, on the same day, can carry a vituperative editorial on how the media objectifies women.

      Somehow, the ToI’s august editors see no irony in their reportage.

      The paper’s readers are probably secretly convinced by now that the city supplements are put together by a bunch of journalists who inhabit an alternative reality, and who formerly worked for Debonair, Cosmopolitan and Playboy or Vogue.

      Why are the city supplements more about fashion and less about the city whose name they proudly bear on their mastheads?


      • BIG,
        TOI has ceased to be a newspaper.
        It is a business venture now.
        Anything that yields money and captures eyeballs is fair to them.
        Incidentally if there is a bit of news here and there, treat it as a bonus.
        Even the front page has been sacrificed at the altar of advertising.
        None of my letters to the editor protesting against all his have been published.
        I now just call it ” The Advertisements of India”


  14. 1. What in the heaven’s name made this 60 yr old want to marry a 120 yr old man? Is the old man too rich? Is she hoping for a share of his property?(Think Hugh Hefner and his barely-out-of-teens arm-candies) But wait, the old man’s children wouldn’t have been too keen to find a ‘bride’ for him if it were to lead to a lessening of their own shares, no?
    Did the woman agree to this marriage (I am assuming she was not forced into it) thinking that her step-children will take care of her when she is older? Surely she could see that the old-man’s children went bride-hunting for their father just so they could get someone to care for him free of cost, and that there wasn’t a chance in hell of them taking care of her anytime in future?

    2. //”lust and greed by young blood cannot be said to be correct.” //
    Really? Surely the judge is aware that it is greed (for dowry) that drives most arranged marriages in large parts of India? Oh, I get it, it is ‘greed by young blood’ that is incorrect, ‘greed by old blood’ (parents) is quite okay. As for lust, it is the basic assumption behind arranged marriages. How do two virtually unknown people, made to marry each other by their parents, procreate so soon after marriage if not for lust?
    I don’t think our feudal society has a problem with lust at all. It is only ‘love’ /any real affection between the would-be husband and wife which bothers them–it is perceived as a blow to the patriarchal system they are so proud of. Lust and greed are quite okay, even quite desirable.

    3. Horrifying. Human beings apparently have unlimited reserves of cruelty.

    4. //Do these men deserve women in their lives, daughters, sisters or wives?//
    No IHM, they don’t. And the tragedy is, they don’t even WANT daughters and sisters. Only wives.
    And ,well, a WELL-FED mother too–or else how would they be even born.


  15. I think awareness starting young about gender sensitivity is the key. I completely agree that there need to be grassroots feminist movements (like somebody in the comments said). Gender equality needs to be an agenda in all development projects. Adolescents need awareness on sex education, sexuality and gender identity. BTW this (sex education) is banned in Gujarat – one of the most economically developed states.
    Sometimes I feel beaten and lost in this struggle, this is one of those days.


  16. such fools around this world .. they want only male children, they have a problem with gays, they have a problem with the bahu who comes in, they have a problem with women being educated.

    What will happen if all the women in this world die?


    • Then such people will dance for joy. That is exactly what they are hoping so ardently hoping for, a world where all humans are born male by default.

      Imagine how overjoyed the residents of Behrana and Dhimana will be when the census official comes acalling and they will be able to declare with justified pride, “This village has no women. It’s the diet you see.”

      Ah, paradise!


  17. A bit on a different note: In the title of this post you asked “Which one would you ban?”
    I think this is exactly the core of the problem.

    People in India would basically ban everything that they personally don’t agree with. There are ultra conservative groups trying hard to maintain their 16th-century-like ideals and ban all modernity. On the other side, we have progressive educated minds trying to make life in India better, easier and more pleasant for everyone – but they too, would ban everything that has collected the dust of ancient believes.

    It is obvious that if there is a rule imposed, there will be crowds to break the law. Just for the sake of it. Just to show an attitude and try the “forbidden fruit”.

    What people need to learn is to stick to their own business. That includes marriages. When people stop relating themselves to others, measuring their position on the scale, fantasizing about social jump (“in your face” to the neighbours) and so on – there won’t be outrageous marriage “customs”, 500 guests (for show-off sake), dowry or favouring males.

    When there is no audience, there will be no “actors”.

    Ultimately, it’s too early to dream about opposing anything, not to mention banning. Young people in India still prefer to follow traditions which they don’t agree with, rather than stand out and voice their opinions. Parental approval is still more important than emotional maturity. There are hardly any excuses left – people in India have increasing access to better education and financial independence (that includes women). But they don’t seem to be horrified by, let’s say, “strange” marriage practices. And if young and educated don’t care, who will?


  18. I sometimes wish that marriages didnt exist at all! But then maybe it is taking it too far. All these articles and examples just make me so sad! They dont even anger me. It just seems so hopeless at times 😦
    I dont even think these people know that what they are thinking is so full of crap! They are so much driven by what the society “thinks” that they have locked their brains somewhere and cant find the key. I mean, how much brains does one need to understand that they are in this world because of the gender they are trying to kill!


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  20. Very depressing.

    I had a classmate who was forced to marry her cousin while she was just 18, because the elder sister who was supposed to marry him eloped with someone else. There were people around me who talked about the benevolence of the guy’s family to have accepted the second daughter and saved the honour of the girl’s parents. What type of benevolence is this? Substitution on the fly? Fix a marriage date and marry whoever is available. That time I thought this is the worst that could happen to a girl. And now, I read about all these marriages…makes me sick.


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  26. the worst part of reading your posts is that we live in such a protective world an get frightene with the simple problems we encounter everyday when there are such larger things in picture!!! whatever happened to doing something for the society and the country!!!


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  35. This inspired me to post too. As long as women are given a more or less permanent vidaai from their parents home when they get married, this is preciselky the kind of mess that will happen. On the other hand, we have good parents like who really stand by their children. Parents who simply push their daughters to the dogs should simply not have children at all.


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  37. Parents have good choice for their daughter or son
    The law should change
    If their parents are willing for their love marriage then there’s no problem. But of they don’t then just don’t run away for your love because it’s said that love is blind because your mother loves you without knowing or seeing you for the first 9 months when you were in her stomach. Parents choice are always A1 because for their princess they will choose a prince only they can’t see her daughter in difficulties. Don’t go against your parents decision because their love doesn’t lasts they love you for their whole life and you leave them just because for your 2 years undescribed love.
    God have given parents to make your life like flowers not like thorn.
    So the law should be cancelled which is right now running
    The law should be that children can’t run away from home for their 2 years love and forgetting about their parents long lasting love.
    Because today the young generation runs away hurting their parents.
    Because 90% of love marriages without the permission of parents go wrong.
    And at last they come to parents and parents suffers everything.
    Indian law should be changed .


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