Self Arranged Marriages in India
Self-arranged marriages, in contrast to other marriages, is an arrangement where the choice of spouse rests on the respondent alone. While this is an indicator of female autonomy in India, where most marriages are still arranged by others, this marital arrangement is increasingly becoming the norm among younger cohorts and thus is the primary focus of this paper.
We adopt a multivariable, multilevel approach using data from the second round of the Indian Household and Development Survey 2011-12, to explore the various dimensions of Indian society, most importantly, cultural groups, regions, and the emancipatory role of education toward modernization of Indian marriages.
In the domain of still limited research on the subject, we enrich literature by evidencing that self-arranged marriages are strongly entrenched in the cultural system based on caste, religion, and region. Additionally, the education of parents and parents-in-law, in particular, the education of mothers is positively associated with self-arranged marriages.
These findings indicate that the change promoted by modernization and developmental idealism diffuses through education; the family still exercises a significant amount of influence even though the marriage is self-arranged; and finally, the effect of the mother’s education stresses the importance of the gender dimension in marriage studies in India.