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Yasmin Al Buainain Dr. Dan White LBST (Global Connections) 28th November, 12

Relationships between Tradition and Modernity in Indian Culture

As a Muslim female, I fully understand and relate to the main idea of this whole assignment. Although, Indian culture has many differences than the Arabian culture, we still share the same complications in our society. Either religious believes or cultural values, there are many situations where we get caught up in between. In every culture, there are many changes and transitions from one generation to another. This assignment has widened up my knowledge about traditions and modernity in Indian culture. “The Mango Season” by Amulya Malladi, is a novel that narrated a conflictive story that happened in a modern Indian society. Further, the story revolves around a twenty year old girl who left her homeland to the United States. Seven years later, Priya decided to go back home after she fell in love and got engaged with a loving American man called Nick Collin, without her knowing that her family already arranged a groom for her to marry when she returns to India. Thus, reading this book draw my attention to read more about Indian culture in terms of the dissimilarities in traditional and modern way in aspect of marital life. Throughout my research, the articles published on TheHindu.com & HinduWebsite.com (newspapers online) reflected two sides of the Indian culture in marriage. The right side, are the traditional and conservative Indian families who do not consider marriage as a unity between two

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lost souls that found each other. Parents usually arrange their son/daughter’s marriage with a person whom their children barely even know. According to those families, arrange marriages lend a hand in strengthen up family ties and creates stronger relationship between families on both sides of the couple. In other words, you are actually getting committed to the whole family rather than being committed to one person whom you will spend the rest of your life with. Therefore, your duties as a husband or wife multiplies in a sense of making this marriage work out. “In urban India, votaries of the New Indian Marriage view marriage as something that should be seen as distinct from the remaining family unit” Vijay Nagaswami. On the left side of the story, modern Indian families are more open to the idea of their youths choosing their spouses. Indians from all different social casts travel all over the world to pursue their dreams and ambitions; therefore, they have the tendency to meet “out-casts” people and get emotionally attached to them. Both mentioned circumstances are subject to debate, whether to choose arranged marriage or get modernly married with an “out-cast” soul mate. One of the articles that I have read online is “Two religions, One marriage” on DeccanHerald.com by Vimla Patil. This article ended up by Pooja Bedi saying, “If for any reason a young woman or man feels that his/her parents could oppose the marriage, he/she must figure out whether he/she is open to a life without the parents’ blessings and to handling the worst possible scenario after the honey-and-roses romance is over!”. Pooja’s statement seemed biased in my opinion; however, I agree with the idea that she addressed to a certain extent. Not having the parents’ blessings puts a lot of pressure on both sides of the relationship. But, I also believe that successful marriage does not depend on both husband and wife having the same religion, race, social cast or nationality.

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I have witnessed a living example in front of my eyes as I grew up. My beloved father chose to marry my mother after he was “forced” to marry a girl that my grandmother picked for him. After his separation from his previous marriage, he decided to marry someone that he wants, someone who is considered an “out-cast” in our culture. My father and his family were religious Muslims and my mother was and still a Roman Catholic. Moreover, both my parents come from different countries and have opposite cultures. Their relationship as a half Saudi Arabian and half Filipino married couple; has its ups and downs like any other relationship. I do not fully support arranged marriage because I can see how my parents are happily married despite all the conflicts and differences like Priya’s struggle in the novel (The Mango season). Thirty years ago, people pointed out at my dad because he chose to go against everybody’s will and marry his love. But nowadays, the same exact situation would make less fuss compare to the old tradition way. Similarly, Indian culture has changed as the generations become less particular in this matter. Reading the book and online newspapers made me think about how are these choices and changes going to affect the society in terms of religious believes. I interviewed a Hindu girl and asked her this question after our discussion about arranged marriages and “modernized” marriages. Does following traditions and old ways of Indian culture makes them more religious by any means? Lakshmin is a graduate student at UNCC. As a modern Hindu (Chowdary), she explained that she is not comfortable with the thought of getting married against her parent’s will. Although she also mentioned that her parents might accept her future husband if ever she met someone, but there are many rules and restrictions that would make everything complicated in her marital life. she said “religious believes is very important to me, I think marrying someone who is totally different than me and losing my family, traditions and culture would make me lose

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my faith and most importantly lose the essence myself as Hindu Chowdary.” As much as religion plays a major role in many people’s lives, I personally think that every relationship with another being should not be restricted by any religion or culture. it all depends on how strong a person’s faith is and how attached they are to their religion and culture. My father goes to the mosque while my mother prays to God through Jesus. My mother never converted to Islam because of love. She once said “if the day came and I decided to change my religion, it is not because of my love for your father. It is going to be by my personal will and determination.”

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Work Cited Malladi, Amulya. The Mango Season, Ballantine Books (2003). Print The Hindu. Web. http://www.thehindu.com/Topics/?categoryId=1531&pageNo=2 Patil, Vimla. Two religions, One marriage. Jan28,2012. Web. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/222479/two-religions-one-marriage.html V, Jayaram. Hindu Marriages Purpose and Significance. Web. http://www.hinduwebsite.com/marriage.asp