First, the notion of “boyfriend/girlfriend” in India does not exist. That is something they know vaguely from Western Culture, people they have met or things they have seen on TV, but in their own traditional society, there is no space for it.
My “Papaji” (Indian Dad) used to ask me, what does it mean and what is the whole story about “boyfriend/girlfriend”? – That is something I never had to explain in my whole life. I found a way but still it was not making any sense to him (he was 74 years old at the time). Then every time he heard from Volunteers about “boyfriend/girlfriend”, he was smiling at me in a way “I still don’t know what it means but yeah…” and it became a kind of joke between us 🙂
Then, Parents choose the husband (pati) or wife (patni) for their children (Arranged marriage). It is perceived like a benevolent intention from the parents, that is how they take good care of their children and choose the best future for them. It is indeed a duty for Parents. And it is commonly accepted by children. Love will not be a criteria. As Indian people say “Love come after marriage”. Economic and social criteria will be taken into account. Social would more specifically refer to the original “Cast system”.
You have 4 main Casts in India (from upper to lower):
– Brahmanas (Religious people)
– Kshatriyas (Worriors)
– Vaishyas (Traders)
– Shudras (Peasantry)
Then at the very bottom you have the “Dalit people” (the Intouchables): other casts should not have any physical contact with them. This is the situation they were born in, and nothing can change it, therefore it is extremely difficult for those people to raise in Society.
Religion is also a criteria: the bigger part of the population in India is Hindu. Other religions on the Indian territory are Jainism, Islamism, or Catholicism (only 2% though).
Love marriages are exceptional and not well accepted by older generations.
After marriage the girl leaves her own family house to live with her husband and his parents. And other couples, in case there are brothers who are also married. In Tradition, the girl cries when she leaves her home and parents and photos will be taken as any other key moment of the ceremony (that lasts several days).
A young person would rarely have lived independently before marriage,
Once the couple is married, the Family (which extend further to just parents, brothers and sisters) can sometimes put a huge pressure on the couple for them to have children. The reason for that is usually a matter of what others families living in the area might think and rumours.