IIT-IIM Shaadi Is Emblematic Of The Systemic Elitism In Indian Matrimony

IIT-IIM Shaadi Is Emblematic Of The Systemic Elitism In Indian Matrimony
Economic Times

While the Sima Taparia’s of the world were busy plotting life plans for the lovelorn Indian youth based on their social standing and other superficial factors, we were given a brief glimpse into the systematic discrimination that the Indian marriage institutions continue to instil in our society.

We laughed, we trolled and we even gasped in utter shock at a Netflix series that seemingly tried to expose the world of ‘Indian matchmaking’; a practice that has been in existence for generations. However, deep down we all also collectively felt a tinge of shame and doom for what such shows reveal about the more, deeply ingrained fallacies of the Indian marriage institution.

In a society where labels, titles and power hold the influence to change lives, newer generations of Indians are walking on a tightrope towards a hopeful future where livelihoods determined by social hegemonies aren’t the norm. In choosing who they love and who they choose to spend their lives with, Indian society has for far too long maintained a regressive outlook that has remained unchanged for decades. Even technological and cultural advances seem to be subverted in order to best fit the proliferation of such archaic practices.

A Match Made By Your Social Standing

Indian thinking has had a problematic history of associating love and marriage to social power and standing. Matrimonial sites were originally a product created to provide freedom and agency to young Indians in choosing their own life partners based on their criteria and expectations. As consumer demand for such platforms which adhered to the ideal of the arranged marriage system shot up in the later part of the 2000s, more specific, classist, and community-centric sites began to pop up under the pretext of connecting individuals of similar interests and backgrounds.

The inherent problem with this strategy was that such sites targeting members of just a specific community began to constrict India’s already wavering field of vision when it comes to intermingling and deep-rooted caste system. Not only did it pave way for this division to be more apparent, it also normalised this practice in the process.

In a rather recent development in the Indian matrimonial space, a website intending to connect individuals based on their alma mater seems to have caught public eye. IIT-IIM Shaadi is a matrimonial site created exclusively for premier college graduates who aspire to seek partners who are ‘intellectually compatible’.

The Search For A Trophy Partner

With popular Bollywood stars and notable celebrities endorsing a site that is very evidently promoting segregation and elitism, the backlash on social media comes as a stark reminder of the change that the youth of today demand from the Indian outlook.

While morals, personal philosophies, and outlooks are very valid yet subjective barometers for one to choose their partners, it is imperative to view trends that reduce the very core of marriage and partnership to one’s social standing or educational background. In a nation like India where arranged marriages are already based on social hurdles and constrictions imposed by family and one’s community, the existence of such sites only furthers the thought that marriage and life partnership, like every other aspect of our challenging, fast-paced lives is restricted to a cut-off or eligibility criteria.

A recent ad posted by Bollywood director, Karan Johar received serious backlash for the sentiments and brand philosophies that it displayed. “IITIIM Shaadi puts it well - Alma Mater Matters”, he signs off on a post that was retweeted and re-shared by thousands of netizens who condemned the star for his stance on the subject. In a more ironic and rather embarrassing discovery, the founder of the platform, Taksh Gupta himself is not a graduate from any of the premier institutes on the site, making this piece of news go viral on social media within hours of the Karan Johar ad surfacing.

We continue to witness several curveballs, some of which are utterly shocking and some that are hilarious to be true, but what this reveals is a deep, growing crack in the walls of our social fabric. A crack that gives way to the practices that will and should be questioned and dismantled in the public eye. Luckily to be able to do this, one’s alma mater does not matter.

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