There is a strategic programming that undergoes the child brain. They are taught mythological stories of Shravan bal who carried his blind parents to kashi on his shoulders. They are told about Ramayana where Ram obeys his parents and goes into the jungle for 14 years and they are told about Sita and Ram, who were faithful to one another till the end of tides. Mahabharata however is mentioned in passing, where the next incarnation of Ram has an affair with a girl older than him or where he organizes his own sister to run away with Arjun, who in turn was married to a woman, who was a common wife for five people. Phew.
My friend was living in Singapore for last four years and came back to India. Surprised as I was with his visit, I inquired.
'Just came to marry,' he said, 'Mother and father are looking for the bride to be.'
The same mother and father whom you had no time to meet in last four years. Obviously his parents and every parent they met thereafter were proud of their son, like an example set up.
As questionable his attitude was, that all suddenly he decided to come back, I realized he was physiologically incapable of taking his own decision and needed his parents help to decide. Also, he would have no value in Singapore but in India his value doubled as a foreign returned husband.
Indians generally fall into common categories. Some feminist who believe in freedom and upliftment of woman are very vocal about the concept of arrange marriage, where a woman is not given a choice at all.
Some modern Indians who claim, 'We do give our child complete freedom and he/she can choose from any girl we ask him too...' believe that love is important but so is caste, culture and tradition.
Some Indians are of the opinion that there is no marriage without love and these people, usually the modern Shahrukh Khan loving, 'friends' enjoying people believe that arrange marriage is the rot that is rotting the indian society. This blasphemous idea is not accepted by the tradition loving, caste based Indian parent who still dread the habits of people in different cast. This indifferent results in creating a confusing and never ending battle between arrange marriage and love marriage and both the sides do not realize that they are fighting the never ending battle against the question of 'marriage'.
A girl who graduated with me in college, got her marriage fixed in her final year. Obviously she couldn't say no as it was recession time and there were less jobs out there. She was systematically programmed that if she cannot get a job she had to marry, that was the plan all along.
If we look back in history, marriage is fist time mentioned in vishnu puran in the story of Parshurama. Parshurama on seeing his mother in love with another man, beheads her for she broke the law of Shvetaketu. Shvetaketu one day saw his mother in arms of another man, horrified he complaint to his father. His father simply said, that woman in the world are free to be with anyone they wish to. Realizing that this would create serious question on parenthood, he started the concept of marriage, where a man and woman are legally bound to each other and cannot see other people unless the partner wishes it. Here Shvetaketu was talking about physical marriage and not emotional marriage. In modern world, physical marriage has nothing to do with the legal marriage and that is not the topic of the post.
Scientifically speaking, marriage is the unification of souls. People feel the emotional void and need a companion to share this with. Biologically a man is comfortable with another female and a female is comfortable with a man. However, this void is temporary, and sooner or later what remains is ego, hungry ego that feeds on dominance over the partner and the world, 'adjust' comes into the marriage.
In olden days there was a social gap where the entire house hold revolved around 'samsara' where the woman was always the housewife and men worked in the society. Now, woman have stepped outside the house, they work shoulder to shoulder with men. The emotional gap that resulted in marriage is fulfilled with the office colleagues during lunch or coffee breaks, resulting in more and more tension in married life.
Obviously I am grossly wrong, I cannot generalize the concept, agreed. But you cannot disagree that 60% of the marriages, love or arranged, are bound to fail and there is nothing anyone can do about it. The concept of marriage is build on emotions, which are fragile, bound to crack and uncertain. The only thing you can do is you can accept it or reject it.
P.s. Some interesting views on marriage by other blogs.
http://www.themisfitgirl.com/2011/03/love-marriages-love-marriages.html by the Misfitgirl
http://unthinkunwind.blogspot.com/2011/03/marriage-mirage.html by Rohini
http://phoenixritu.com/2011/03/marriage-the-great-indian-scam/ by Ritu
http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/marriages-are-sold-to-women-in-a-glossy-cover/ by IHM