The Newlyweds: Rearranging Marriage in Modern India

Atria. Aug. 2022. 272p. ISBN 9781982134440. $27. SOC SCI
In this book, Dubai-based journalist Choksi examines India as a society in transition through the lens of contemporary marriage. Choksi writes that marriages in India are traditionally arranged according to intricate rules by the couple’s families; however, some couples choose to defy tradition and marry for love. She follows three Indian couples as they navigate marriage: Neetu and Dawinder, who are forbidden to marry based on traditional rules of their community; Monika and Arif, who belong to different religions; and Reshma and Preethi, who are lesbians. For each couple, Choksi shows how they met and made the decision to get married. Additionally, she focuses on the reactions and responses from their families which range from acceptance to violence; since these couples are breaching cultural taboos, they run the risk of punishment or even murder by their families and communities. Finally, Choksi chronicles the highs and lows of the marriages, as the couples navigate stress points such as jobs, children, estrangement, unscrupulous actors and domestic violence. The book includes background information regarding Indian laws around arranged marriages, religious conflict, honor killings, and same-sex marriages to inform unfamiliar readers.
VERDICT An interesting and highly readable examination of the complexities and intersections of love, marriage, and tradition in India.
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