I just came across this post by Nita. As always, she analyses the issue objectively and dispassionately, something I can never do. Maybe I will as I get older. This post is also a reply to Sidhusaaheb's comment on the previous post on arranged marriages. He links to a Times of India article stating that arranged marriages are catching up in the west. Interesting piece of news that. But, in the western context, arranged marriages would simply mean going on a blind date and eventually deciding to get married to that person.
First things first, as I clarified in the previous post on the issue, arranged marriages per se are not bad. Indeed, I know many people who have had arranged marriages and are living happily. The problem arises when these arranged marriages are forced on the people getting married. Take for example, the custom of getting married to one's first cousin or maternal uncle. A girl is forced to get married to her first cousin because the wealth should not go out of the family. This is often the case with men too. Even when the age difference is very high, such arrangements are made for reasons varying from finances to keeping the family together.
Also, the fact that the west is adopting this system does not automatically justify its existence in the 21st century. I continue to believe that people should be free to choose their partners. Whether it is for love, or for other considerations, is immaterial. What is important is that the choice be with those getting married. Much as we claim that India has evolved, this evolution remains confined to urbanised, educated India. Even in this category, there continue to be forced marriages, even if this reality is too difficult for us to accept.