Marriage; India have different forms of marriage according to their tradition.
Types of marriages in India
For Hindus, marriage is a sacrosanct union. It is also an important social institution. Marriages in India are between two families, rather two individuals, arranged onesand dowry are customary. The society as well as the Indian legislation attempt to protect marriage. Indian society is predominantly patriarchal. There are stringent gender roles, with women having a passive role and husband an active dominating role.
Types of Marriages that exist in India.
- Brahma marriage – The Brahma marriage is the type of which one’s daughter to a man of good conduct learned in the Vedas, and invited by oneself. A Brahma wedding is where a boy is able to get married once he has completed his student hood, or Brahmacharya. Brahma marriage has the most supreme position of the eight types of Hindu matrimony. When the parents of the boy seek for a female, they would consider her family background, but the girl’s father would make sure that the boy that wishes to wed his daughter had the knowledge of Vedas. It is these things that make the basis for Brahma marriage, not a system of dowry. Dowry is considered sin in these kind of marriage.
- Daiva marriage – The type of marriage that is considered inferior because it is degrading to womanhood. This is where the woman’s family will wait for a specific time to get her wed. If she doesn’t get a suitable groom, then she would be married off to places where family choose by matchmaking through priest who duly officiates at a religious ceremony, during the course of its performance. This used to be the practice followed by many Royals in ancient times to forge diplomatic ties with allies and enemies alike.
- Arsha marriage – An Arsha marriage is where the girl is given in marriage to a sage. The bride used to be given in exchange for some cows. Agasthyamarried Lopamudra accordingly. Kings often could not refuse the sages who had such power and standing in society and hence the numerous stories in Mahabharata that portray this practice.
- Prajapatya marriage – Prajapatya is when a girl’s father gives her in to the bridegroom to marry, treating him with respect, and addresses them: ‘May both of you perform together your duties’. Unlike in Brahma , Prajapatya matrimony is where the bride’s father goes in search of a groom, although this isn’t considered as good as the grooms parents searching for the perfect bride. Also, unlike Arsha wedding, monetary transactions are not a part of the Prajapatya marriage.
- Gandharva marriage – The voluntary union of a maiden and her lover on own is called Gandharva wedding. When it comes to ‘love’, it is Gandharva marriage that is the most similar. This is where a groom and his bride could wed without their parents knowledge or sanction. This is how Dushyanta married Shakuntala. Note that this is not same as dating. Here the bride and the groom exchange vows in the presence of some person, creature, tree, plant or deity before any further action.
- Asura marriage – Asura marriage is when the bridegroom receives a maiden, after having given of his own free will as much wealth as he can afford, to the bride and her kinsmen. It is this form that sets itself apart from the other types of marriage. This is a matrimony where the groom may not often be compatible with the bride and may even possess some abnormality but either greed or compulsion on the part of the bride’s father coupled with the groom’s desire and wealth may render it. At all times this type that was considered lowly. In modern times this is unacceptable because it is much like buying a product off the shelf and against common Indian law.
- Rakshasa marriage – Rakshasa wedding is the form of a maiden involving her forcible abduction from her home after her kinsmen have been slain or wounded. The groom will force battles with the bride’s family, overcome them and carry the bride away to convince her to marry him. Because of its use of force this marriage is essentially rape in modern parlance, and it was never considered right – hence the pejorative name rakshasa attached to it. This is condemned in the Manusmriti as a sinful act. In modern times it is a crime.
- Paishacha marriage – When a man by stealth seduces a girl who is sleeping, intoxicated, or mentally challenged, it is called Paishacha wedding . This is condemned in the Manusmriti as a sinful act. In modern times this is called Date Rapeand is a crime in most countries.