South Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - Patterns of Marital Change in Delhi-NCR

Friday, July 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Tamarind, New Building

Some scholars have hypothesized that urbanization and industrialization would lead to a global convergence in marriage behaviors as developing countries adopt the delayed self-arranged marriage styles typical in the West. Using an innovative new dataset, this paper examines changes in marriage behavior across three generations of families in of Delhi NCR. The data reveals a convergence around the ideal age at marriage in the early to mid-twenties. Very few respondents reported that intermarriage, whether by caste, religion, language, or class, would be accepted in their family. Respondents reported an expected decline in parent-arranged marriages as a growing number of boys and girls today are expected to play a role in their own partner selection. This involvement ranged from allowing children to veto partner options identified by parents to letting children select their own spouse with parental approval but did not extend to “love marriages.” Households with migrants and those who eat with individuals from other religions were more likely to expect children in their family to be involved in their spouse selection. Residents of NCT were less likely to expect a solely parent-arranged marriage. There was emerging evidence that it may be incorrect to assume that the decline of parent-arranged marriages would also signal a decline in the significance of caste. Individuals who revealed discriminatory attitudes against SC/STs were the most likely to endorse children selecting their own marriage partner.

Megan Reed

University of Pennsylvania, United States

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