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By examining data from a modern matchmaking website, University of Michigan researchers have found that many Indians—in their native country and the United States—are beginning to change their attitudes about intercaste marriage.
The research by Ashwin Rajadesingan and David Jurgens of the School of Information and Ramaswami Mahalingam of the Department of Psychology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, used data from 313,000 profiles from a major matrimonial website, Shaadi.com.
Platforms - Match - People - Dates - Sites
Unlike platforms like Match.com where people look for dates, matrimonial sites help facilitate, rather than replace, the traditional arranged marriage process, the researchers said. These sites allow individuals and family members to submit a profile in the search for a spouse, replicating online the traditional role of family in matchmaking.
Among the information people fill out on the site is a direct question about whether they are willing to enter into an intercaste marriage.
Lot - Effort - Government - Groups - Caste
"Despite a lot of effort from the government and social groups, caste remains an important part of people's lives. This caste question is actually on the first page on their questionnaire which really emphasizes how important some people consider it," said Rajadesingan, lead author of the study. "People on the site are looking to get married, so their response is a great way to get their honest opinion."
For centuries, Indian marriages have been considered a union of two families, initiated by parents of the bride and groom. In a typical setting, the arranged marriages are formed based on caste (social status based on birth or heredity, often associated with notions of purity), education, affluence, horoscope and other physical characteristics.
Result - Society - Classes - Groups - Dignity
The result has been a society that creates static social classes, resulting in perpetually disadvantaged groups that not only are denied dignity and self-respect but resources, jobs and education.
Governmental incentives and societal movements have attempted to counter caste attitudes...
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