Marriage and Modernity

Marriage and Modernity

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An innovative cultural history of the evolution of modern marriage practices in Bengal, Marriage and Modernity challenges the assumption that arranged marriage is an antiquated practice. Rochona Majumdar demonstrates that in the late colonial period Bengali marriage practices underwent changes that led to a valorization of the larger, intergenerational family as a revered, a€œancienta€ social institution, with arranged marriage as the apotheosis of an a€œIndiana€ tradition. She meticulously documents the ways that these newly embraced a€œtraditionsa€a€”the extended family and arranged marriagea€”entered into competition and conversation with other emerging forms of kinship such as the modern unit of the couple, with both models participating promiscuously in the new a€œmarketplacea€ for marriages, where matrimonial advertisements in the print media and the payment of dowry played central roles. Majumdar argues that together the kinship structures newly asserted as distinctively Indian and the emergence of the marriage market constituted what was and still is modern about marriages in India. Majumdar examines three broad developments related to the modernity of arranged marriage: the growth of a marriage market, concomitant debates about consumption and vulgarity in the conduct of weddings, and the legal regulation of family property and marriages. Drawing on matrimonial advertisements, wedding invitations, poems, photographs, legal debates, and a vast periodical literature, she shows that the modernization of families does not necessarily imply a transition from extended kinship to nuclear family structures, or from matrimonial agreements negotiated between families to marriage contracts between individuals. Colonial Bengal tells a very different story.Thus Ranjana Sheel, documenting how the news of Snehalataa#39;s suicide was reported in Hindi-language magazines in the United ... to Basu, her grandmother told her a€œabout a tragic incident which she personally witnessed at Vikrampur in Dacca, East Bengal, about 1914a€“15. ... 5 A recent essay by Sumit Sarkar gets Snehalataa#39;s age wrong; he claims she was sixteen at the time of her suicide, yet there isanbsp;...

Title:Marriage and Modernity
Author: Rochona Majumdar
Publisher:Duke University Press - 2009-03-23

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