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I joined to explore the “labyrinth of complicated patriarchy,” as Time Magazine recently labeled India that has borne the brunt of global criticism in light of the Delhi gang rape last winter and the string of publicized sexual crimes since.You can blame the inefficient government bureaucracy and you can blame the understaffed Delhi police, but patriarchy, the article said, teaches Indian men to hate Indian women.This is why matrimonial websites attract controversy.They operate at the awkward nexus in modern Indian society between intracultural custom and intercultural connectivity, a conflict-prone junction built by a sudden 20-year economic boom that came without a societal user’s manual.Looking for single Russian women for marriage, love, and romance?
There are 44 million Indians who now have smartphones, giving casual-encounter-driven “hookup apps” like Tinder a huge market.This happened after one night last December, when five men drank whiskey in south Delhi and boarded a local bus, where, joined by the driver, they used iron rods to sexually penetrate and fatally maim a 23-year-old physiotherapy student heading back from a movie with her boyfriend. The collective outcry by the country’s long-silent women amplified and confirmed the clichéd association between India and sexual violence.In December, Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit described her city as a “rape capital;” in June, the New York Times reported that visits by female tourists to India had dropped by 35 percent in the first months of 2013.If there’s truth to caricature, then call my joining the online matrimony network a modern-day leap onto a bandwagon of millennia-old social custom.“Shaadi” is the Hindi word for wedding; is, intuitively, a wedding arranged via the Internet.It’s one of more than 100 Indian websites that comprise the country’s thriving online matrimonial market, where an individual can browse for his or her ideal spouse among a catalog of potential candidates organized by the personal information that apparently matters most: religion, caste, income, fairness of skin, family background, and so on. Unlike online dating services, which at least superficially foster some sort of romantic connection, and which are effectively nonexistent in India, matrimonial websites are predicated on the idea that the first meeting between two paired users will be to chat about their wedding.