Saturday, November 15, 2008

Animosity at the Aisle

In weddings in Bengal, it is customary for the mother of the groom to be absent.I have often questioned members of the family about the origin of this custom,but sadly enough there aren't any convincing answers for posterity.I am thus left to contemplate its origin and come up with cynical interpretations of it.

I would like to remind my readers that this custom isn't generally 'Indian', it is more peculiarly 'Bengali'.In the heyday of the arranged marriage,matches were made more for convenience than for love (I don't wish to give the impression that arranged marriages are passe in India,it's just that the marrying parties are entitled to an opinion in a lot of cases.)It was common for the fathers (or other male relatives) to strike what was literally a business deal.The bride and groom never saw each other before the wedding and the groom's mother was usually denied the pleasure of glaring at her future daughter-in-law.Perhaps the custom was a move to abate the effect of the impending hostility for the benefit of the bride. Or perhaps it was meant as an indirect reminder to each woman that in laws are required to treat each other like outlaws even though they are now part of the same family!

2 comments:

Devadutta D Ghat said...

A less cynical interpretation would be that the groom's mother has to accept the bride for what she is, which she will know when the bride walks into her home after marrying her son.

And, I dont see how love is not a form of convenience.. People generally hang out with others who share similar interests so that they dont end up fighting all the time. It is "convenient" for them. arranged marriages are less convenient and more of a compromise on the conveneience scale.

Just my two (insert a small amount of your favorite currency here)..

Dreamcatcher said...

It's strange no doubt. And the mother of the bride in most cases also does not get to see her daughter's wedding.
Though, I've seen variations of this custom, but that could just be a bangal/ghoti thing or an indication of changing times.