Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Arranged Marriages. Yay? Nay?

NO. I am not getting married as much as I would love to now. I’m kidding. No, not the getting married part. I would love to but..okay. I shall elaborate no further. Off topic already.

“The Modern Society of Today will not tolerate the Ideals of Arranged Marriage.”

In a world so modern and free, it is hard to imagine that arranged marriages still continue to manifest in certain cultures, especially that of the Indians. Every now and then we hear debates over such marriages versus love marriages. Today, class was no different. Based on 2 short stories – “Everything’s Arranged” and “A Question of Dowry”, I dare say the modern society of today will not tolerate the ideals of arranged marriage; just as our position highlighted above.

In brief, “Everything’s Arranged” is the story of Rukumani and Devanayagam, the 2 forbidden lovers whose parents are all for arranged marriages. Unknowing to this couple, their parents have already arranged for both of them to tie the knot. However, when their love was exposed, the arrangement was called off. It was, as the family has put it, a shame to have them known and loved each other before they were supposed to be married. “A Question of Dowry” on the other hand is about Sivasothie’s tragic end to a wedding arrangement similar to that of Rukumani’s. The difference being that the latter was due to money matters – dowry. That aside, it is the arranged marriage that my groupmates and I decide to highlight.

As marriageable youths of the 21st century, we find this issue irrelevant to the way of life today. What the older generation deemed as ideal, we believe is no longer practical. First and foremost, one is stripped away from the liberty of decision-making. There is no freedom to practise one’s rights to choose a life partner. Rukumani and Sivasothie are both bounded to their families’ decisions. Even when the former tried to break free, she had heavy consequences to pay. Marriages are forever, supposedly. Those who believe in arranged marriages believe they really do as long as the couples are not involved with each other in any way before their marriage. Love can be nurtured. So they say. More often than not we know that is not the case within today’s modern society. Even marrying the person you love can end up in divorce, what more one that you don’t know if you can love. It’s a risk that will last a lifetime.

Secondly, a modern society also exercises the importance of education. Like Rukumani who attends a university, her exposure to education broadens her perspectives on life especially regarding relationships and marriages. She compares herself to Amy and Johnny who are free to love each other. She reflects on her own wishes and acts on it. Unlike her parents, she is no longer confined to traditional views. The modern ideals of practising self-rights and independence have permeated the younger generation deeper than the older ones can imagine; and credits go to knowledge and exposure that comes with education.

Thirdly, injustice to women’s rights. Arranged marriages place women on a platform similar to that of inanimate objects with a price tag. It denies a woman’s rights to be human, to be heard, to be loved. Both women in the story have no rights to say anything and neither are they allowed to defend themselves. They are instead sold as goods. Both the girls were paraded like goods for sale by the family without their consent, as if they had no feelings and thoughts of their own. It is a great disgrace to women to be made so cheap and invaluable.

Lastly, arranged marriages deny love. As humans, we are all blessed with the gift of feeling. We know what love is. However, arranged marriages do not consider this natural emotion as relevant at all to a marriage. Instead, it is bought with a prize – the dowry. This deprives the couple involved of the God-given human affections. Sivasothie never had the chance to love. Rukumani however, was robbed of her chance.
Clearly, arranged marriages aren’t that ideal after all. Yet, I am aware of the prevalence of differing thoughts still present in the society today despite modernism. Nevertheless, we still believe that the modern society of today will not tolerate the ideals of arranged marriage.

I felt like I just wrote an argumentative essay. Gosh. How dry. Presenting it was definitely more interesting. Anyway, this gave me a rather good preview for my coming position paper though. It already sounds like one more than anything else. Haha. But it was good. I had the chance to refine my persuasive skills. Likewise, my presentation skills. Like debates, there is always only the choice between 2 options, either one or the other. I am by nature more of a person who sits in the gray areas, therefore, this was good exercise to polish my firm stand on the position I have chosen.

So, arranged marriages? Nay.

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