Learning to Love
154 pages, 6 x 9
1 figure, 1 table
Release Date:19 Mar 2021
Release Date:19 Mar 2021
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Learning to Love

Arranged Marriages and the British Indian Diaspora

Rutgers University Press
Learning to Love moves beyond the media and policy stereotypes that conflate arranged marriages with forced marriages. Using in-depth interviews and participant observations, this book assembles a rich and diverse array of everyday marriage narratives and trajectories and highlights how considerations of romantic love are woven into traditional arranged marriage practices. It shows that far from being a homogeneous tradition, arranged marriages involve a variety of different matchmaking practices where each family tailors its own cut-and-paste version of British-Indian arranged marriages to suit modern identities and ambitions. Pande argues that instead of being wedded to traditions, people in the British-Indian diaspora have skillfully adapted and negotiated arranged marriage cultural norms to carve out an identity narrative that portrays them as "modern and progressive migrants"–ones who are changing with the times and cultivating transnational forms of belonging.
Marriage never went out of fashion, certainly among South Asians, though its forms, culture, and politics were never static. Learning to Love gives us a fine grained narration of fluid, changing practices and negotiations shaping ‘arranged marriage’ and intimacy through the voices of two generations of British Indians. Raksha Pande uncovers their making of culture, tradition, choice, modernity, and claims to citizenship contesting the stereotypes that prevail in the ‘west’. Rajni Palriwala, co-editor of Marrying in South Asia: Shifting Concepts, Changing Practices in a Globalising World
Amidst rising anti-immigrant sentiment, Learning to Love is a welcome intervention into entrenched, nationalist discourses of ‘arranged marriage’ that present it as anachronistic and utterly different from love marriage. Pande highlights the hopes and strategies of British-Indians, young and old, who talk of ‘rishta,’ matchmaking, intergenerational negotiation, modernity, and falling in love with the right person. A breath of fresh air! Meena Khandelwal, author of Women in Ochre Robes
RAKSHA PANDE is a lecturer in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University in the UK.
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