The idea of arranged marriages somehow always sounds repugnant to me. It seems wrong in some basic way which I always try to put into words, but I cannot. Mostly the words that come to my mind are legal prostitution. Every time I get to know about an arranged marriage, something new pops up. If it’s not about the girl being pretty, kum-umer and highly educated, it is about Pakistani, good cook and gharailoo. Actually the higher the bidder, the more complicated and high is the demand. Arranged marriages have ceased being the epitomes of compromise, respect and harmony between two families (which could actually just turn out to be heresy, but lets assume it isn’t). Rather, they have become more business like and professional to the point of barter and legal prostitution.
The only difference seems to be that the women or men are selling themselves (in I guess most cases) to just one person, and the compensation is not just pure hard cash, but things like greencards, foreign visas, work permits, businesses, cars, houses, you name it they have it. Here I would for now divide the thing in two broad sections. One is where a highly qualified Pakistani guy is searching for a perfect match in the form of a green card or any other passport from UK, Canada and Australia, with options ranging from spoilt foreign brats (being forced to marry to avoid a cross race marriage), to divorcees, women looking for doctors who can clear exams in the foreign country and earn daalars and vise versa. The second is where a foreign qualified guy, who has sown his wild oats is now looking for a gharailoo desi larki in Pakistan - who preferably has had no past, no interaction with the male of the species and is a gourmet chef - for breeding a few legal brats. Options are semi educated to averagely educated girls/women looking for a comfortable foreign existence and a good retirement plan with an exchange of ‘pure’ sex and reproduction of a few children. Not bad eh? It does not matter if the guy kicks it at the club once a night per month, as long as the money is rolling in, all’s well.
Those discussed before were mostly high end marriages. Let’s discuss the average or below average arranged marriages these days. Like a good for nothing man, looking for a kamao larki. A girl who can not only manage the day to day expenses from her salary, but also bear him children and do all the house work, while the guy will just work on some odd job, earning barely enough to manage his own expenses. These types of marriages usually end up between women, aged 30 who are considered as left on the shelf, and loser men. Intelligence, education, personality, compatibility are mostly or interchangeably thrown out the window in these arranged marriages.
However, having said all this, I must admit these situations are also visible in un-arranged marriages these days. So, I guess, it is not others who need to realign their thinking rather I have to readjust my ideas about it…. And modernize, by becoming more materialistic?