In Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking,’ Arranged Marriage Is The Anti-Entanglement

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Netflix show on India’s arranged marriages triggers online debate

Indian Matchmaking shows picky individuals with a long list of demands that centre around caste, height and skin colour. A new Netflix show about an Indian matchmaker catering to the high demands of potential brides and grooms, and their parents, has stoked an online debate about arranged marriages in the country. The eight-part series, Indian Matchmaking, premiered on Netflix last week and is currently among its top-ranked India shows. It features Sima Taparia, a real-life matchmaker from Mumbai, who offers her services to families in India and abroad.

The show has become the subject of memes, jokes, and criticism, about the pickiness of the potential spouses and their parents, with long lists of demands centring around factors like caste, height or skin colour.

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Few people in the Capital can talk about matchmaking as insightfully as Poonam Sachdev. Their catchphrase Rishte Hi Rishte: Ek Baar Mil Toh Lein matches and more matches, meet us at least once used to be scrawled along railway tracks across north India in the s. Sachdev, 53, who has been in the business of matchmaking for 30 years, says Covid has made her job more complicated than ever before.

Suddenly, a lot of people seem to believe in a simple marriage. Her sentiments are shared by many other well-known matchmakers in Delhi, who before the pandemic had an estimated 3, matrimonial bureaus. While a large number of them have had to permanently shut shop in the past three months, as business has nosedived like never before, those that have survived say finding a perfect match has never been so tough. I worked over the phones and have already helped a couple of such as families to find the perfect match without obligations as to how and where the wedding should take place.

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Is it a match? A potential couple meet up courtesy of a matchmaker in the Netflix series Indian Matchmaking. A picky year-old from Mumbai whose unwillingness to marry raises his mom’s blood pressure. A headstrong year-old lawyer from Houston who says she doesn’t want to settle for just anybody. A cheerful year-old Guyanese-American dancer with Indian roots who simply wants to find a good person to be her husband.

“International sales have definitely increased,” Ankita says. Over the last month, they’ve seen days where traffic to their site grew by %.

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Don’t settle: Woman in arranged marriage reflects on colorism, misogyny in ‘Indian Matchmaking’

By Shreeya Sinha. India now has more than 1, matchmaking sites, giving parents — and potential brides and grooms — thousands of choices to help arrange modern marriages while allowing families to adhere to longstanding traditions regarding caste and religion. We asked readers, some of whom only gave their first names, who have used such sites to share their tips. Kadhambari Sridhar, 26, from Falls Church, Va.

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‘Indian Matchmaking’ is bringing up uncomfortable issues my culture needs to address

I can give her…95 marks out of It is reflective, sometimes painfully, of a custom with which we are all too familiar: arranged marriages. For desis, either your parents were arranged or you know a couple that was. Some people—yep, even millennials—willingly enter into arranged marriages, as seen on the new reality show.

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What makes a show like ‘Indian Matchmaking’ possible? This book examines marriage in India

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The notion of teaching them to adjust is at the crux of her process, as she works with entire families to find the right partner for their would-be brides and grooms. In some ways, the show is a modern take on arranged marriage, with contemporary dating horrors like ghosting and lacking the skills for a meet-up at an ax-throwing bar. But issues of casteism, colorism and sexism, which have long accompanied the practice of arranged marriage in India and the diaspora, arise throughout, giving viewers insight into more problematic aspects of Indian culture.

As an Indian-American girl growing up in Upstate New York, one part of my culture that was especially easy to brag about was weddings. They were joyful and colorful, and they looked more like a party than a stodgy ceremony. While living under the same roof in quarantine, my mom and I have had a lot of time to watch buzzy Netflix shows together. But I was hesitant to invite her to watch Indian Matchmaking with me, knowing her marriage to my dad was arranged.

Did she like the process?

What should we think about that ‘Indian Matchmaking’ show on Netflix?

Ruchika Tulshyan was 22 when her mother started searching for her future husband. And she has mixed feelings — happy to see her experiences represented but forced to reflect on some hard truths about the way women are objectified within the system. I was disappointed, of course, there’s colorism, there’s casteism, there’s a lot of emphasis on traditional beauty. The show introduces us to a cast of Indian and Indian American men and women — including a single-minded lawyer from Houston, an appearance-obsessed jewelry designer from Mumbai and an outgoing dancer from New Jersey.

As a year-old who had already finished grad school and was on track for a successful career, Tulshyan was shocked to hear that her mom had listed her name and photograph on an Indian matchmaking website without her consent.

The show’s matchmaker addresses some of the praise and criticism it has garnered, her own arranged marriage and how business is booming.

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Mixing documentary modes with dating show ridicule, it maintains and masks the most insidious injury arranged by marriage: caste.

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I was worried about the judgement that would come with it. I had to sit with that for a while and evaluate my reaction. It became very evident that I was trying to protect the problematic nature of traditions in my culture. The way love is defined changes over time, alongside our accessibility to the world; one screen swipe away. This system is global and established politically as well as socially. Traditions in India have perpetuated these ideals to an unhealthy standard, which explains why the biggest selling beauty product in India is a skin lightening cream.

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To her surprise, the year-old met her future husband and is set to get married in January next year. Mumbai-based Anindita Dey—married for over a year now — also met her husband through her parents. However, Anindita makes it clear that while it was her parents who set up the meeting, the final decision was completely hers. Louis Superman, which she shared with Sami Khan. Because Indian Matchmaking follows matchmaker Sima Taparia analysing families and boys and girls to find suitable matches.

In an age when people believed to be largely pushing away the stereotypes, breaking free from the regressive patriarchal mind-set of society, this show throws light on the ugly truth of Indian matchmaking. In other words, it hits the bullseye when showcasing the circus that Indian marriages, mostly considering how even the most well-to-do families can’t still avoid checking the kundali, complexion or height among other conventional criteria.

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Then there was the time my dad told me I was disinvited to his future funeral, because my preference was to date whomever I wanted as opposed to accepting an arranged marriage and that was an embarrassment to the family. He conveniently denies this ever happened, for the record. The reality show follows Sima Taparia, a professional matchmaker from Mumbai who travels around the world helping Indian clients find suitable matches for marriage.

Rather, marriage is a transaction between two families.

In the new Netflix docuseries, “Indian Matchmaking,” affluent Indian singles look for love and marriage with the help of a professional.

The Mumbai-based matchmaker Sima Taparia delivers this meme-friendly one-liner in the seventh episode of the hit Netflix series Indian Matchmaking. But she departs from this well-worn model in her attention to one extra characteristic: caste. This silent shadow hangs over every luxurious living room she leads viewers into. She lumps an entire social system, which assigns people to a fixed place in a hierarchy from birth, together with anodyne physical preferences.

This prejudiced treatment includes, but is hardly limited to, workplace discrimination in the United States. For example, the state of California sued the tech company Cisco in June for allegedly failing to protect a Dalit employee from discrimination by his higher-caste Brahmin managers. When a popular show like Indian Matchmaking neglects this alarming fact of the Indian American experience, it quietly normalizes caste for a global audience.

Contrary to what some viewers might think, the caste system is an active form of discrimination that persists in India and within the Indian American diaspora. One of the primary functions of arranged marriage is maintaining this status quo.

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