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Arranged marriages are an integral part of Indian Hindu and Muslim culture. Parents, and family members, become involved in the search for a prospective bride or groom through acquaintances, advertisements or marriage brokers. In modern India there has been a move towards flexibility. However, there are still marriages where the bride and groom see each other for the first time at the wedding ceremony. The family will consider several factors such as background, wealth, social status, caste and education. More and more young women in India are university educated and the families are taking that into consideration when choosing a suitable partner.
The custom of arranged marriages in India can be traced back to the 4th century. It began as a means to unite, and maintain, the upper caste system. Eventually it spread to the lower caste as a way of staying within their social status and preventing unsuitable “love” matches. Even today 95 percent of Indian marriages are arranged.