An open letter to the Founder of IITIIMshaadi.com

Dear Dr. Ajay Gupta, Founder of IITIIMshaadi.com

Dr., eh? That too from Delhi School of Economics? Pretty impressive! Just a quick question, did they also teach you something called mutual respect and equality? Oh wait..

I just stumbled upon a Facebook post which said now men from IIT and IIM have a place to find their “soul mates”. I clicked on it and whoa, was I fumbled? Your extremely fresh idea to build a matrimonial website based on educational qualifications than evils like caste, class, race etc is damn progressive, I must say. Even trivialities like common interests and hobbies and compatibility didn’t find a meager mention because as the tagline of your website goes Alma Mater Matters. Well, I must congratulate you, Sir. You have solved that mystery which even Chetan Bhagat with 6 books down couldn’t.

You see, Sir, I have recently turned 25 and your website has come like a blessing in disguise to me. Like every dutiful, middle-class, educated Indian girl, it’s time for me to stop and smell the rose in my journey called marriage. After all, what good is my education when I can’t garner a good husband? You see, Sir, just like you, even I’m a PhD student at Jawaharlal Nehru University. And after three degrees down and on the way to the fourth one, I think I have realized the true meaning of my education, all thanks to you! However, Sir, when I with utter joy tried to log in to your site to search for that true soul mate, I found out to my dismay that I do not “qualify” to register on your prestigious site iitiimshaadi.com. Why, Sir if I may ask, why? Am I not good enough? Is it my qualifications, double major in German Studies that didn’t find any parent group it could attach to?  Is it because Humanities is as it is a disrespected field? Or is it because my university is largely a leftist one? Even the poor university couldn’t get enlisted in your élite group of institutions.

Or is it so because your pretty boys from the IITs and the IIMs might get intimidated by a highly educated woman like me? Is it why the eligibility criteria for women on your website and I quote is “Country-wide reputed graduation institutions on wards“. If I may ask, why Sir, would you need women from even “country-wide reputed graduation institutions“? If I’m not mistaken didn’t you mention the site has lower entry requirements for women to give “a larger pool of choice to the men“. I mean, as you rightly mentioned “some highly educated men, in terms of practicality, like women who also consider taking care of the home a task as good as a job.” Weren’t you the one who said, “They were looking for intellectual compatibility, but at the same time wanted women who would understand their hectic lives and dedicate more time to the house—while doing some part-time work, someone with a half-day job would have also worked.” After all, that is the true meaning of a woman’s life to serve as a maid and a fuck-buddy for her man, isn’t it, Sir? To be highly educated and intellectually compatible but dissolve herself in-house and part-time work. My parents would be so proud of me today, after all, this is why they brought me up and provided me the best education. They owe you, Sir, they owe you.

But I haven’t even come to the best part of your excellent website, Sir, if you may allow. The homepage of your site has a slide show of a few images with the header “Preview of things to come“. What a stroke of brilliance, Sir, what a stroke! The image starts from a marriage ceremony being culminated to a fancy car with the tag “IITIIM shaadi“. The message behind the images is loud and clear: Enroll in IIT or IIM and get a bride and a car FREE FREE FREE! Voila! After all, this is a “gift” and not dowry. You Sir, win hands down.

I’m grateful to you for making me realize the true meaning of my existence. Now, I’m just waiting for some IIT/IIM boy of yours to pity on me with my useless humanities degrees from an even useless university, marry me and end my misery. However, if you or any of your pretty boys somehow didn’t like my earnest appreciation of your venture, they are welcome to shoot questions at me. I do hope your pretty boys will come up with some quality arguments. The whole point is to have a dialogue, right Sir?

Enroll into IIT/IIM and get a bride and a car FREE FREE FREE!

Enroll into IIT/IIM and get a bride and a car FREE FREE FREE!

 

Update (as on 29.08.2014): I emailed the above letter to the Founder, Dr. Ajay Gupta on 26.08.2014 and received a response within less than an hour. Like the website, Mr. Gupta’s words were big and hollow. He mentioned he “respects”others’ opinions and expects the same. Very politely and smartly he has tried to explain his “philosophy” behind the site and conveniently ignored all my questions. However, fearing such angry letters, I assume, a few changes has been made to the website. The changes are following:

  • The image with the car has been removed and replaced with an image showing the wedding venue. Mr Gupta surely feared dowry accusations, but how much his mentality has changed, if he or his relatives will demand dowry for future weddings can only be speculated.
  • The introduction of the site has been changed. It no longer says that women must be from “reputed institutions” while men from “élite”. The current introduction is a more general one without any gender bias. However, if this bias is carried out in further steps, one can’t be assured.
  • More options have been added to the “Am I eligible” list including PhD and Masters, however Humanities still didn’t find a mention. According to the site, the list of institutions are also being updated.

The post will be updated if any other changes occur. Although, Mr. Gupta is trying to cover up his sexist remarks and patriarchal attitude towards women, how much will be put into practice cannot be said. Let there be hope!

Update on 12.09.2014: I and the open letter were recently quoted in an article in Deccan Chronicle, Banglore. Check out below:

unnamed

Disclaimer: This article has been previously published on Feminism in India here.

Marriages in India- a social obligation?

arranged_marriage-resized-600

Why does young India get married? Or to be more precise, why does young educated urban/sub-urban India get married? The ideal answer(s) to this question would be:

  • Because they have found the love of their lives,
  • that person is the one for them,
  • they want to wake up every morning next to them,
  • they cannot imagine their lives without them,
  • they want to spend the rest of their lives with them,
  • they want to grow old with them.

(Okay, sorry! Too much mushiness happening here!)

But hey, we are talking about India, aren’t we? So who is this young India? Let’s define them first:

we are the young Indians, we go to collge, we complete university, we have fancy degrees like B.tech/M.tech and MBAs from even fancier institutes like the IITs and IIMs. Some of us even have foreign degress, you see imported maal is always good. We work in big multinationals and banks and what not. Our dear young India is very modern, you see. We only talk in English, drink black coffee, strictly use Apple products (hey don’t you dare, Steve Jobs is our God), we eat in high-end cafes and loung bars and we mingle with all sorts of people, men and women alike. We are very open-minded, you see. But we also don’t forget that we, at the end, are Indians. We should never forget our sanskars. So when it comes to finding “the one” for us, we turn to our mommys and papas. Because we respect our elders and we trust their choices, even blindly.

So besides these (obvious) reasons what are the other ones that make young Indians take the big step? Let’s list down some of them.

  • My parents think I should get married.
  • It is high time, I should settle down, get married and have a couple of kids.
  • The society expects this of me.
  • Getting married is a social duty.
  • If I don’t get married how will my family grow, and most importantly the heir who will carry on my name.
  • I want a big fat dowry.
  • It is beneficial for my business
  • I want to have sex, unlimited sex.
  • I am now in the marriageable age (or what that even means)
  • My friends and cousins are getting married.
  • I have a few grey hair now, better get married than sorry.
  • After a degree in engineering, an MBA and a job as an investment banker, I am earning enough to settle down.
  • Ooohh, I have always dreamt of getting married, and all my girlfriends are already hooked up. So it’s only fair that I should be too.
  • Arranged marriages- because that’s how we roll.
  • Because I don’t know how to talk to women, better mommy finds me one.
  • Because I never talked to guys, and of course mommy knows the best.
  • Because “log kya kahenge” (mind you, this is one of the epic ones..)

(My head might crack up but the list will go on and on. So I better stop here.)

Young India has a truck load of pretty good reasons to tie the knot. Mind you, they all are very rational and logical. You see, the young India strives for perfection. And what is perfection without a fair, homely convent-educated girl or a teetotaler boy from a decent family based in the USA/UK with a handsome package. What else does one need? The young India follows it’s timetable very sternly and marriage is of course a part of the timetable. Then comes the kids and after that we all know how life goes on.

How does young India contribute to the society? By getting married, which is very important. It is almost a social obligation. And you HAVE TO get married, no choice bro! Doesn’t matter if you are ready or not, doesn’t matter if you know, let alone love the person, you have to get married. Because it is the right thing to do. And who told you that? Of course your mommy and papa and they know the best. And who told them? Of course their mommy and papa. Hence it goes on, without any one ever questioning the mommy and papa that why is it so important to get married. It is a tradition, a ritual which has been passed down generations and young India doesn’t dare to raise an eyebrow (well, at least the majority doesn’t). Because you see, we are Indians and we don’t argue back with our elders. And we are very much better off than the West, where relationships are weak and divorce rates are high. Chi! We are so much better! Although we do ignore the fact that we have a low divorce rate because divorce is still a taboo in our country or domestic violence is rampant or many women are not financially independent or the parents don’t accept their dauhters back at their homes and many more such archaic excuses. We only care what the statistics say. And numbers speak louder than real situations, of course. So 10 : 1 and we won. Bohoo West!

We are the young Indians and we are proud of it. Although even after having white-collared jobs, we expect a large dowry and also want the woman to leave her home, her family and everything and come and live with us. Our parents should become her parents and our family should become her family. Because that’s the way it has been, isnt’ it? And who questions such traditions? Tauba Tauba, not we! We are the cultured young India. We havn’t forgotten our values. So our wives come and live with us and our families and take our name, and wear ridiculous symbols to shout to the world that they are married (even if they don’t like to, they must). Then our kids take our names and we become their first guradians. And so with kids we fulfill our duty to the society. We have given them the future of India who will make India a better place to live in (hopefully).

And that’s how my dears we make marriage a social obligation, because this is our happy land and to reach the happy land what do we do? Yes, you guessed it right. We get married!

Disclaimer: This article has also been published on Youth Ki Awaaz.