Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Outlook.com

Indians Still Tied To Age-old Social Prejudices In Matters Of The Heart

Younger people do not have much progressive beliefs; a 2017 survey found that one-third of young people opposed inter-caste marriage.

Indians Still Tied To Age-old Social Prejudices In Matters Of The Heart
Indians Still Tied To Age-old Social Prejudices In Matters Of The Heart Indians Still Tied To Age-old Social Prejudices In Matters Of The Heart

If you’re a data journalist trying to understand and explain India through numbers, you get used to using proxies to make up for all of the information that you wish you had but doesn’t exist. Consump­tion expenditure becomes a proxy for income (which India doesn’t collect), your ability to accurately report your age to a census surveyor becomes a proxy for numeracy (which is hard to measure). And marriage becomes a proxy for love. While this might outrage some readers who feel that this ign­ores the single experience, from a broad-brush perspective of Indian data it makes sense. Marriage in India is near universal. By the time they are aged 45-49, only one per cent of women and two per cent of men have never been married.

Love marriages are still rare. As of January 2018, at least 93 per cent of married Indians said that theirs was an arranged marriage. Just three per cent had a ‘love marriage’ and another two per cent described theirs as a ‘love-cum-arranged marriage’, which usually indicates that the relationship was set up by the families, and then the couple fell in love and agreed to get married. There has been only very slight change over time—94 per cent of octogenarians had an arranged marriage, and the figure remains over 90 per cent for young couples in their twenties.

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