India may be advancing on all fronts, but when it comes to choosing a partner for their sons and daughters, even the mothers belonging to India’s urban middle class have extremely traditional views.
A survey of 25,000 mothers of would be brides and grooms registered on Shaadi.com found that 67% of them felt that their opinion of their child’s prospective partner counted as “very important.” Another 30% mothers who believe their opinion is “fairly important”.
In comparison, in societies like those of the US, parents hardly believe that their opinion is crucial in the selection of partners by their children.
The findings are in accordance with the trend of ‘parent-created’ matrimonial profiles on sites Shaadi.com and Bharatmatrimony.com. Unlike in the West, where matchmaking or personals profiles are created and managed by those who wish to get married, a large proportion of Indian profiles are created by the parents or other ‘senior’ family-members of the would-be bride or groom.
Not only do Indian mothers believe that they have an important role in deciding who their son or daughter gets married to, but they also held on to traditional ideas of what made an ideal family for an alliance.
“66% mothers would not want their child to get married in a family which has a single child as compared to 34% who wouldn’t mind it,” Shaadi.com, one of India’s biggest matrimonial sites, said. Traditionally, Indian families preferred to make matrimonial alliances with others which had many members (prospective uncles and aunties) in it.
In the old agrarian Indian society, a large household was considered a symbol of both prosperity and security, despite being vilified in TV soaps. “The traditional Indian joint family system is still preferred as it provides security and comfort,” Shaadi.com noted.
The trends are reflective primarily of the urbanized Indian middle-class families which typically use platforms such as the Internet to find partners for their young men and women, and show that despite urbanization, middle class Indian mothers remain traditional and protective.
The mothers, however, are liberal in allowing their children to interact with their would be spouses before getting married to them. ”84% mothers feel it is extremely important to let their children know their partner well prior to getting married, 14% feel it is somewhat important and only 2% feel it is not important,” the survey found.