Does Hinduism Prohibit Love Marriage?

A Brazilian participant asked me a question while I was attending a conference in Washington DC. “I have heard that there is a unique system of marriage in your country. Can you please explain it to me?”

She had read something in the Western media about arranged marriages with ugly display of wealth, dowry system and filled with superstitious rituals. It is quite normal that the media highlights only the negative factors in Indian culture. “Is it true that Hinduism prohibits love marriages and the society would outcast such couple?” she asked.

I told her: “There have been different kinds of marriages in traditional Indian culture. My ancestors considered the sole purpose of marriage as procreation. The traditional Hindu marriage is a religious sacrament and not a civil contract. It is a sort of holy performance based on religious rites, with conspicuous utterance of Vedic hymns in the presence of the members of the family and society.”

“But I heard a women had no choice in Indian tradition,” she said.
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Udaylal Pai
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