INTRODUCTION India defines diversity, thusdiversity is seen in every aspect of Indian life starting from food & clothingto customs & traditions. It is reflected in Indian marriages as well. InIndian society marriage is a highly sacred Instituiton. Marriage has been a very important part of theIndian Society. 1Marriageis a legalised union between man and woman, it is a socially recognised andapproved relationship. Marriage does not take place only between two people butit is a union of two families and astrong bond is created between them. Over the time different rituals have evolvedaccording to different religions and culture.
WEDDING CUSTOMS IN ANCIENT INDIA In ancient times polyandry and polygynytypes of marriage prevailed and it is still evident in some of the religions.It was believed that marriage bought two half distinct lives together and aftermarriage husband and wife were not considered different entities but they wereconsidered to be one soul. The main function of Marriage was the continuity ofthe race by bearing children and to impart cultural heritage. There are severalfactors for selecting a bridegroom such as intelligent , wealth, goodcharacter, etc. There are some factors on the basis of which brides wereselected such as girl should be endowed with beauty, intelligent, good family,absence of disease and girl should have a brother. Inter caste Marriages werepermitted during the ancient times. Marriage can take place between women of lowercaste with the men of higher caste but vice versa was not allowed. Custom ofdowry did not prevail during ancient time as the groom takes away the briderealizing that she would be deprived of her family.
Hence he could not think ofdemanding dowry or donation. On the contarary, it was the duty of the bridegroomto provide some gifts to bride and her parents. After marriage girl has to giveup her father’s gotra and she had to adopt her husband’s gotra. A boy wasallowed to marry only when he had finished his Vedic studies. Minimum age of marriagefor boy was 20 and minimum age for girl was 15.
The society was Patriarchal butthe status of women was better than the later ages as women were giveneducation, freedom of movement, 2Niyogaand widow remarriage, prevailed and chid marriage and sati system were absent.Divorce were allowed under very special condition, it was rarely seen in thepractice WEDDING CUSTOMS IN MEDIEVAL INDIA InMedieval period, position of women deteriorated. In Medieval times Marriage was not based onlove, most of the marriages were a form of political arrangement. Women werenot allowed to choose her life partner; most of the time women didn’t even knowwhom she is going to wed.
The decision was in the hands of bride’s parents asto whom she will marry. The arrangement of such marriages wasbased on monetary worth. The family of the girl who was to be married wouldgive dowry, or donation, to the boy to whom she was marrying.
The dowry wouldbe presented to the groom at the time of the marriage. It was during the medieval period that thepractice of dowry started. The Inter caste Marriages were forbidden, and polygamyprevailed in the royal classes.
Also, childMarriages known as ‘Bal Vivah’ began during this period. Girls were married offat the age of 8-10. They did not have easyaccess to education due to which they were not able to work without the consentof there husband and in laws so they were depended on there husband. This madethe status of women very regressive as they were confined to work within theboundaries of their houses. This creates inequality between men and women andmany detrimental practices have also evolved in this period such as Sati System,Restriction on Widow Marriage, Jauhar, Purdah System and widow were regarded asinauspicious on the occasions of festival. Women were bought and sold,abducted, forcibly married and forced into slavery or prostitution.
WEDDING CUSTOMS IN MODERN INDIA1 https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/social-alteration-in-the-institution-of-marriage-in-india/ 2 Niyoga(a form of widow remarriage)