Many husbands and wives in India never knew each other before they got married. Some
husbands and wives had never even seen the person they were going to marry before their
wedding day! Instead of dating and then deciding to get married, many couples in India are in
arranged marriages. An arranged marriage is when parents set up a marriage for their children.
Marriages can be arranged when someone is still a little kid. Some couples get married
when they are 20, after they have been in an arranged marriage for more than 10 years. For
many parents it is so important that they find a good husband or wife for their child that they
start looking when their child is still a baby.
Arranged marriages are not as common now as they used to be. Now, many Indian
families are becoming more modern and letting their children choose their own husband or wife
like most Americans do. Still, there are lots of parents (even in America) who think that the best
way to get married is to be in an arranged marriage.
1. What is an arranged marriage?
2. How is arranged marriage different from what you would expect to happen in your life?
3. Are there any benefits (good things) to arranged marriages? Think of one thing that
might be good about arranged marriage.
In the United States you can look in the newspaper at personal ads. People place these
ads to meet someone they might want to date. India also has personal ads, but they are a little
different from ads you might see in an American newspaper.
In India, parents advertise in newspapers to find someone for their son or daughter to
marry. They advertise “Brides wanted” or “Grooms wanted” and then interview the people who
respond to the ads.
1. How are personal ads in Indian newspapers different from personal ads in American
2. What you think/feel if your parents put a “Bride wanted” or a “Groom wanted”
advertisement in the newspaper?
Here are some actual examples of “Bride wanted” and “Groom wanted” advertisements from
Indian newspapers. Some of the words seem strange, because they are a code used for
newspaper ads. Use the key below to decode a “Bride wanted” and a “Groom wanted” ad. Re-
write the advertisement in your own words.
Brahmin - highest caste
Fair - Indians are quite color-conscious. Light skin is preferred to dark skin. Young men
and women are very careful about not getting too much sun so as not to be too dark.
Homely - This refers to how good a girl is at cooking and cleaning.
25/189/8,000 - age/height/salary in Rupees-per-month (42 Rupees= 1 dollar)
Decent marriage - arranged marriage
Convented - educated in a private school, preferably a religious school.
Eng med - English medium - wants person who has gone to a school in which English
Initials: College Degrees- B.E. [Bachelor of Engineering]. B.Ed [Business Education],
Mech [Mechanical Engineering], MBA [Masters of Business Administration], MA Econ
[Masters in Economics], DME [Degree in Mechanical Engineering], DBM [Degree in
Business Management], MNC [Multinational Corporation], MSc [Master of Science]
No bar at all - caste not a consideration
Hostel - a boarding house for students or working people where all men or all women
Beautiful match for established businessman, 41/172. High Caste divorcee with two kids in
hostel. No bar at all.
Looking for a bride for our son, 31/170, own house, graduate, handsome, government
employee, 8,000/-. Educated, pretty girl desired.
An industrialist, Hindu, upper caste, Bengal family of Calcutta, is looking for suitable groom for
their daughter. Honors graduate, although convent educated, age 23+/5'3", very beautiful, well
settled in her own industry. Groom must be from a respectable family, professionally qualified,
preferably B.E. (mech) with MBA, settled in business or holding senior position in reputed
Now, use the newspaper codes to write an advertisement your parents might place to find
someone for you (or your brother or sister) to marry.