Looking at marriage as one of the themes highlighted in One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni, one can compare and differentiate the pattern of marriage between the two cultures. India believes in arranged marriages, while the Arabian Gulf countries believe in love marriages. The two sides present varied advantages and disadvantages between their systems of arranging marriages in their respective countries and cultures. Arranged marriages in India and Arabian Gulf countries indicate some comparisons and differences between the two cultures, lifestyle, and system of marriage.
In India, people follow the arranged system of marriage. The system of marriage in this country is considered significant by the people. It has some advantages and disadvantages to the citizens and immigrants. Indians give much significance to family relationships and the system of marriage preserves the families. The children in Indian families’ obey their parents, and it is their parents’ duty to care of them. The parents have to find appropriate spouses for their children from suitable families to protect their families (Pooja). There is no chance presented for the children to marry outside their own caste, religion, economic class, and social status. The advantage of this marriage system is that the couple is protected from problems that originate or arise from the disparity in class, caste, and religion. Marriage between families makes the different families develop mutual relationships. In One Amazing Thing by Chitra, Cameron’s skin color makes the character to fear him and also the unkempt beard of Tariq makes other characters associate him with terrorism. When Cameroon switched the lights “they were ready to listen to one another. No, they were ready to listen to the story, which is sometimes greater than the person who speaks it” (Chitra 70).
The system of arranged marriage in India has some demerits
Initially in India, child marriage was the custom, and this led to the arranged system of marriage. Children were given in marriage, and they did not have consent. The consent was left to their parents. This prevented marriage between different families, social class, race, and caste. The result is the promotion and development of classism and racism that is not entrenched in any spiritual doctrine. The child marriage is abolished, and partners are free to choose. Conversely, racism and classism have developed in the system, and parents still control marriages. Parents threaten their children with dire consequences if they marry outside their religion, class, caste, and race. The parents want to protect their wealth and class, and this indicates the prevalence of the arranged marriage system among the high class and high caste people. Dowry is a modern blight that is connected with the arranged marriage system. The amount of dowry given by the girl’s family is what is significant in India. This has become a trade in the contemporary Indian culture. Marriage partners do not know their future spouses prior to the marriage. This happens within a short period, and those who work in far places like the Gulf countries come to marry during their short holidays. This is done without any valid consent between the partners in the marriage.
Arranging marriages in the Arabian Gulf countries has some comparisons with the marriages in India. In the Arabian Gulf countries, children are allowed to marry once they reach puberty. This has increased to about 20 years in the recent years. Conventionally, ideal marriage is tribal where related families are encouraged to marry. This is to augment the power of their tribes and the marriage between different tribe is to mend rifts between families. The marriage in some countries was arranged without the prospective groom seeing the body or face of the female partner. The marriage involves the groom discussing and agreeing on the dowry. This should be of considerable value and can include clothing, jewelry, and gold. The next stage after dowry settlement involves the definite marriage contract. The process happens through a religious or legal system where the bride is asked if she agrees to marry the prospective groom. This happens in the absence of the groom who is later also put to the same test. The groom joins the future father in law’s hands plus other two witnesses after the agreement to make the marriage official. The wedding party is arranged before the groom meets his wife (Abbott). The celebration is segregated in nature as the women celebrate in a separate section from the men in the house. The couple meets on the last night of the celebration, and they are accompanied by friends. The couple later leaves for honeymoon, and when they return, they set their home at the groom’s parent’s home.
Muslims are permitted to have four wives according to the Sharia law as long as a man can treat and take care of the women materially. In the modern world, the women are becoming assertive and more independent, and the practice is dying. The wife can sign a contract and retain her name after marriage too. In the Arabian Gulf countries, a man can easily divorce his wife (Salahi). In case the wife wants to divorce, the law allows her to go to court. The latter should maintain the children and the wife after divorce; this is in cases where the wife is unable to support herself. A Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim until he converts to Muslim; conversely, a Muslim man is allowed to get hitched to a non-Muslim. The non-Muslims are pressurized to convert to preserve the local lifestyle and culture. Chitra (90) “But love slips in like a chisel-and suddenly it is an ax, breaking us into pieces from the inside.” This indicates how love can turn out to be between two people.
The arranged marriage is plentiful and unpleasant in some senses. The arranged marriages are advantageous when the children and parents love one another with sincerity and have the freedom to consent and know their partners before marriage. On the other hand, marriage becomes dangerous when the arrangement is done with prejudice and hatred over other castes, races, and religion. In addition, the marriage is disadvantageous when the parents control and overprotect their children by denying them their right and wish to choose their partners. The non-Muslims can marry in the Arabian Gulf countries as long as they meet the religious and civil requirements of their native country.