Even though marriage and dating practices are in flux among Indian-Americans, “Hindu tradition still holds sway through mixers, matrimony websites and matchmakers,” reports the Huffington Post (April 23).
While matchmaking and arranged marriages endure in many Indian villages, such arrangements tend to be informal, making use of “extensive kinship networks,” said Connecticut College religion professor Lindsey Harlan. But increasingly, matrimony websites, such as Bharatmatrimony.com, are being used by parents in both India and the U.S. to match up their children. It is estimated that 10 percent of the clients are immigrants to the U.S. or American-born Indians. Applicants specify religion and caste to the site, which has more than 20 million profiles.
Using matchmakers is another popular method, but today such services stress consultation with the singles as much as their parents and stress the role of choice in religion. One matchmaker asks clients what being a Hindu means for them—“going to the temple each week? Simply being spiritual?” Other American innovations, such as mixers, are more risky, leaving more room for choice and going against arranged marriage traditions. Yet 90 percent of Hindus in America do end up marrying within the faith, according to a recent Pew survey.