In India, parents have traditionally found husbands or wives for their sons and daughters. Today, the parents are using a new technique in their search: advertisements in the Sunday newspapers. Every Sunday morning millions of Indians settle down with a cup of tea and  the special weekend issues of their newspapers, just as Americans do.

But here, with the marriage season approaching, many of them turn quickly to a Sunday feature that is particularly Indian – the columns of marriage advertisements in which young people seek husbands and wives. In addition to helping young people find suitable marriage partners, these advertisements reflect the changes that are occurring in Indian society. The thousands of advertisements published each week increasingly reflect social changes that are coming to this traditional society.

Looking for Husband on newspaper
Looking for a Partner


For example, although women are still usually described in terms of appearance or skills in “the wifely arts”, information about their earning power is entering more and more in the advertisements. This portrays the arrival of the working wife in India. Divorce, which used to be almost unheard of in India, is sometimes now mentioned in the advertisements as in the case of a’woman whose advertisement explained that she had been “the innocent.party” when her marriage broke up.

As a sign of the slight loosening of the rigid caste (social class) system, a number of advertisements promise “caste not important”, or “girl’s abilities will be main consideration”. The majority of them,  however, still require not only caste but also a certain home region or ethnic origin. Because of high unemployment and a generally poor standard of living here, one of the best attractions a marriage advertisement can offer is a permit to live abroad, especially in Canada or the United States.

A person who has one can get what he wants. One recent Sunday in Madras, for example, a Punjabi engineer living in San Francisco advertised for a “beautiful slim bride with lovely features knowing music and dance”. And a man whose advertisement said that he had an American immigration permit was able to say, “Only girls from rich, well-connected families need apply”.

(This makale was written in 90’s)

Marriage in India
Marriage Advertisements in India


Which of the following statements is true?

a) The caste system has become totally unimportant for the Indians.

b) Although caste isn’t required any longer, ethnic origin and home regions are still important in marriage.

c) A girl’s abilities are the major requirements for marriage in India nowadays.

d) Caste, home region and ethnic origin are still important for most Indians.


12. The last paragraph gives an example of .

a) the qualities that a person with an immigration permit can ask for and expect to get

b) the kind of advertisement a Punjabi engineer would give

c) a marriage advertisement from the Madras newspapers

d) the importance Indian men attach to having wives who know music and dance

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