Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a (Hindu)
Megan Sweas| Religion News Service
Published: April 20
LOS ANGELES — Kamna Mittal and her husband moved to the Bay Area soon after they
were married in India in 2000. In addition to being in a new country, the couple were new to
each other. Their marriage had been arranged.
“When you go for an arranged marriage,” she said, “it’s a total gamble.”
Now a mother of two, Mittal counts herself lucky that it worked out, but 12 years later, she
wants to help Indian-American singles in the Bay Area meet directly.
Turns out even love can use a little help every now and then, and the age-old practice of
arranged Hindu marriages is getting a 21st-century makeover.
Sapna Thakur, 34, recently moved to the Bay Area and attended Mittal’s first mixer in
February, a Valentine’s Day-themed singles party. “Why not? Give it a shot,” she thought
before going.
“It was a bit awkward in the beginning but then it was fine because there were a lot of games
and people were mingling. I had a nice time.”
The marriage process is in flux in Indian-American culture, opening the door to new
avenues for matchmaking. Even as singles’ attitudes on dating change, Hindu tradition still
holds sway through mixers, matrimony websites and matchmakers.
Within Indian culture (which is predominantly Hindu), marriage is as much about families
coming together as it is about couples coming together. Hinduism orders families into four
major castes and thousands of sub-castes, each with their own particular ritual role or
profession. Ideally, a couple must be in the same sub-caste, region and religion. Priests also
compare their horoscopes to ensure compatibility.
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