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Love and Marriage, Indian Style
May 20, 2000


Mumbai is a bustling city on the coast of the Arabian Sea. With its high-rise buildings and paved roads, it is more developed than other parts of India. It is also the center of India's movie industry. In fact, its nickname is Bollywood! When I first arrived in Mumbai, something I noticed right away was that the women seemed more outspoken here than in many of the countries if the Middle East. At first, I thought this meant that Indian women were treated better than Middle Eastern women. After a little time in this new country, however, I learned that in some ways this isn't true.

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My friend Shasheev, begging at a temple

One day, I was visiting a temple with my friend Myriam, when I saw a women who was sitting outside the building and begging for money. I wondered what happened, so I decided to talk to her. Her name is Shasheev. She is 24 years old and has been living as a beggar for 2 years. She ran away from her husband and his family because they treated her so badly! "I was like a slave," she said.

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Rich or poor, in India a woman's work is never done

Indians have different views about marriage than most Americans. People don't usually marry just because they are in love. Marriage is much more practical. Over 95% of marriages are arranged by people's parents or family members. Often times the young men and women getting married barely know each other! Shasheev
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Arranged marriages seem to work for many, but not for everyone
told me she only met her husband once before they were married. Can you imagine what that would be like?

It might sound very strange to you, but in many cases it works out just fine. Unfortunately, for Shasheev it didn't go as well.


p.s. - Please e-mail me at

Jasmine - Mother, Sister... India

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