School in Orissa, India
In villages, children are pampered when they are babies. They are breast-fed whenever they demand, sometimes until they are two or three. They run around without pants, peeing whenever and wherever they feel like it. There is generally no pressure for them to be potty trained at an early age and they ar bathed and dressed even when they are primary school age and sometimes sleep with their parents until they are teenagers. Formal instruction is minimal; they are expected to learn by watching. Children are taken everywhere: to parties, to classical dance performances; occasional outbursts by them are no cause for embarrassment. [Source: “Encyclopedia of World Cultures: South Asia”, edited by Paul Hockings, C.K. Hall & Company, 1992]

Children often begin working at an early age. Boys take care of animals and work in the fields. Girls collect water and grind and thresh grain and work around the house. Boys are raised permissively while girls are raised more strictly. Girls are often recruited to take care of younger siblings and cousins. There is an emphasis on education and clean living.

In their children, Indian parents see the future of the lineage and wider kin group, helpers in daily tasks, and providers of security in the parents' old age. These delightful ideals are articulated and enacted over and over again; yet, a coexisting harsher reality emerges from a close examination of events and statistics. Many children lead lives of striking hardship, and many die premature deaths. In general, conditions are significantly worse for girls than for boys. [Source: Library of Congress]

In the old days, life for an Indian child could be very harsh. Describing a horrible Bengali custom in 1650, Jean Baptiste Tavernier wrote: "When a woman is delivered, and the infants, as often happens, is unwilling to take its mother's breast it is carried outside the village and placed in a cloth, which is tied by four corners to the branches of a tree, and is thus left from morning to evening. In this way the poor infant is exposed to the crows, which torment it, and some have been found whose eyes have been torn out of their heads, which is one reason why many idolaters are seen in Bengal who have but one eye, and others who have both injured or altogether gone." If the infant refuses the breast the second day, the whole process is repeated. "This done for three days in succession, after which, if the is unwilling to take the breasts, in the belief that it is a demon, they cast it into the Ganges [Source: “Eyewitness to History”, edited by John Carey, Avon, 1987]


Infants and Birth of a Child in India

Throughout much of India, a baby's birth is celebrated with rites of welcome and blessing — songs, drums, happy distribution of sweets, auspicious unguents, gifts for infant and mother, preparation of horoscopes, and inscriptions in the genealogist's record books. In general, children are deeply desired and welcomed, their presence regarded as a blessing on the household. Babies are often treated like small deities, pampered and coddled, adorned with makeup and trinkets, and carried about and fed with the finest foods available to the family. Young girls are worshiped as personifications of Hindu goddesses, and little boys are adulated as scions of the clan. [Source: Library of Congress *]

More than 80 percent of deliveries in India, especially in rural and tribal areas, are conducted by the traditional birth attendants, locally called “Dais.” In the absence of a formal health care system within their reach in times of need, people in general depend on these indigenous people for their deliveries. These older women generally have very high credibility and act as good change agents in the community. [Source: Jayaji Krishna Nath, M.D., and Vishwarath R. Nayar, Encyclopedia of Sexuality*/]

Life cycle events are often celebrated with great fanfare in India. In the old days there were between 12 and 16 such events but now birth, the first hair cutting, marriage and death are the main ones that are commemorated. Ceremonies and rituals vary greatly depending on region and caste. The first life-cycle event takes place when a woman is seven months pregnant when she is honored as the Mother Earth Goddess, with family members placing flowers in her hair and giving her bangles to symbolize fertility. Traditionally, a women was secluded for six to ten days after a birth and the first clothes given to the child were not new, a custom believed to have been tied to the high mortality rate.

On around the tenth day after birth a priest is summoned for a naming ceremony. The name is often selected in accordance with the child’s horoscope, with the priest “blowing” the name into the child’s ear and writing it on unpolished rice. Some families still hold a small celebration when a child eats solid food for the time. A bigger deal is made when children get his first haircut. A special barber is brought in for the task. Sanskrit verses are chanted as the hair is cut or shaved and the first hair is offered to the gods asa kind of sacrifice.

There are a number of superstitions linked with pregnancy and having a child. In some parts of India, women wanting a child hold their saris in front of a passing train in the belief it will make them pregnant. The latticed marble of the small tomb of Shaikh Salim Chishti near the great mosque in Datehpur Silkri is filled with knotted threads from followers wishing for a son. According to a study in Tamil Nabu, pregnant women are forbidden from eating more than a hundred kinds of food, including meat and eggs, and many kinds of fruits grains and beans.

Treatment of Boys and Girls in India

After Hindu children reach puberty, the sexes are separated so there is little interaction between teenage girls and boys. Boy are indulged and pampered. Mothers are expected to dot on them and in some case followed their orders. Some there is tensions in house when the boy get older between him and his father who both been conditioned to think they are king of the household.

Birth celebrations for baby daughters are more muted than for sons and are sometimes absent altogether. Although India was once led by a woman prime minister, Indira Gandhi, and Indian women currently hold a wide range of powerful positions in every walk of life, there is a strong cultural bias toward males.

Preference for Boys in India

Village children going to school in Madurai, India

Parents favor boys for various reasons. In the north, a boy's value in agricultural endeavors is higher than a girl's, and after marriage a boy continues to live with his parents, ideally supporting them in their old age. Political scientist Philip Oldenburg notes that in some violence-prone regions of the north, having sons may enhance families' capacity to defend themselves and to exercise power. [Source: Library of Congress, 1995]

The strong preference for sons is a deeply held cultural ideal based on economic roots. Sons not only assist with farm labor as they are growing up (as do daughters) but they provide labor in times of illness and unemployment and serve as their parents' only security in old age. Surveys done by the New Delhi Operations Research Group in 1991 indicated that as many as 72 percent of rural parents continue to have children until at least two sons are born; the preference for more than one son among urban parents was tabulated at 53 percent. Once these goals have been achieved, birth control may be used or, especially in agricultural areas, it may not if additional child labor, later adult labor for the family, is deemed desirable. *

In India, where there is no universal, government-sponsored social security, having boys is regarded as a kind “insurance policy, unemployment policy, sickness policy and old-age pension all rolled into one." Sons are expected to live with parents, earn an income, look after property, inherits land and care for parents in their old age. They are also needed to light the funeral pyres after death to ensure a smooth trip to the afterlife. One of the primary reasons that Hindus wish for a son is that only sons can carry out funeral rites. Some Hindus believe they can not have positive things occur in the afterlife unless they are cremated by a son after they die.

When asked, two out of three Indian women say they want a boy more than a girl. There is a saying that women are blessed to have a hundred sons. Many Indian families want to have two sons, and women will often not stop bearing children until this goal is met. Because the infant mortality has traditionally been high in India many parents want two son in case one of them dies.

This contrasts with sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, where sons and daughters both care for aging parents—and sex ratios are fairly normal. Sex ratios that favor boys have been high elsewhere in Asia. In South Korea, the ratio of boys to girls peaked in 1990 at 119 to 100 and declined to 110 to 100 in 2000. Demographers attribute the change to weakening of the patriarchal family as people have become more urbanized, Westernized and independent. These changes haven't occurred in India, which remain largely agrarian.

Burden of Girls in India

In contrast to boys, Indian girls are seen as burdens because their family must raise money for their dowry and then they leave to take care of their husband's family. A daughter’s responsibility to her family ends when she gets married. She moves in with her husband and becomes part of her husband's family, and help care of them. This is an added bonus for parents with sons. Dowries are expensive. Sometimes dowries leave the family in debt. There is a great deal of stress for parents to find a good husband for their daughter. A lot of time and energy goes into this effort. In the state of Haryana, the is an expression: raising a daughter is like watering someone else's fields."

In the late twentieth century, the values of dowries have been increasing, and, furthermore, groups that never gave dowries in the past are being pressured to do so. Thus, a girl child can represent a significant economic liability to her parents. In rice-growing areas, especially in the south, girls receive better treatment, and there is some evidence that the better treatment is related to the value of women as field workers in wet-rice cultivation. Throughout most of India, for Hindus it is important to have a son conduct funeral rites for his parents; a daughter, as a member of her husband's lineage, has not traditionally been able to do so.*

Neglect of Girls in India

In a 1993 survey conducted by the National Foundation of India, a private group working on child welfare issues, it was estimated that 300,000 newborn girls die annually from what it called “gender discrimination”.

Girls are frequently victims of underfeeding, medical neglect, sex-selective abortion, and outright infanticide. According to the 1991 census final population totals, there were 927 females per 1,000 males in India — a figure that has gradually declined from 972 females per 1,000 males in 1901 and from 934 just since 1981. Much of this imbalance is attained through neglecting the nutritional and health needs of female children, and much is also the result of inadequate health care for women of childbearing years. The sex ratio is even more imbalanced in urban areas (894 per 1,000 in 1991) than in rural areas (938 per 1,000 in 1991), partially because a large number of village men go to work in cities, leaving their wives and children behind in their rural homes. [Source: Library of Congress]

In an effort to increase the number of female births, the Indian government has offered poor families 500 rupees ($14 dollars) for the birth of a girl. In attempt to curb the practice of aborting female fetuses, the Indian Parliament passed a law with penalties of three years in jail and a fine of about $320 (half a year's salary for average Indian) for anyone found guilty of taking an ultrasound or amniocentesis pre-natal test solely to determine the sex of the fetus. Enforcing the no dowry law better would probably save many girls.

Young Children in India

20120514-lunch Free_School Rajasthan.jpg
Free lunch at a school in Rajasthan
The young child learns early about hierarchy within the family, as he watches affectionate and respectful relationships between seniors and juniors, males and females. A young child is often carried about by an older sibling, and strong and close sibling bonds usually develop. Bickering among siblings is not as common as it is in the West; rather, most siblings learn to think of themselves as part of a family unit that must work together as it meets the challenges of the outside world. [Source: Library of Congress *]

Young children are encouraged to participate in the numerous rituals that emphasize family ties. The power of sibling relationships is recognized, for example, when a brother touches his sister's feet, honoring in her the principle of feminine divinity, which, if treated appropriately, can bring him prosperity. In calendrical and life-cycle rituals in both the north and the south, sisters bless their brothers and also symbolically request their protection throughout life.*

After about four or five years of indulgence, children typically experience greater demands from family members. In villages, children learn the rudiments of agricultural labor, and young children often help with weeding, harvesting, threshing, and the like. Girls learn domestic chores, and boys are encouraged to take cattle for grazing, learn plowing, and begin to drive bullock carts and ride bicycles. City children also learn household duties, and children of poor families often work as servants in the homes of the prosperous. Some even pick through garbage piles to find shreds of food and fuel.*

See Education

Growing Up in India

In India, the ideal stages of life have been most clearly articulated by Hindus. The ancient Hindu ideal rests on childhood, followed by four stages: undergoing religious initiation and becoming a celibate student of religious texts, getting married and becoming a householder, leaving home to become a forest hermit after becoming a grandparent, and becoming a homeless wanderer free of desire for all material things. Although few actually follow this scheme, it serves as a guide for those attempting to live according to valued standards. For Hindus, dharma (a divinely ordained code of proper conduct), karma (the sum of one's deeds in this life and in past lives), and kismat (fate) are considered relevant to the course of life. Crucial transitions from one phase of life to another are marked by sometimes elaborate rites of passage. [Source: Library of Congress, 1995 *]

The majority of children grow up as valued members of a family, treasured by their parents and encouraged to participate in appropriate activities. Although relative ages of children are always known and reflected in linguistic and deference behavior, there is little age-grading in daily life. Children of all ages associate with each other and with adults, unlike the situation in the West, where age-grading is common.*

Studies of Indian psychology by Sudhir Kakar, Alan Roland, and others stress that the young Indian child grows up in intimate emotional contact with the mother and other mothering persons. Because conjugal marital relationships are deemphasized in the joint household, a woman looks to her children to satisfy some of her intimacy needs. Her bond to her children, especially her sons but also her daughters, becomes enormously strong and lasting. A child is suckled on demand, sometimes for years, sleeps with a parent or grandparent, is bathed by doting relatives, and is rarely left alone. Massaged with oil, carried about, gently toilet-trained, and gratified with treats, the young child develops an inner core of well-being and a profound sense of expectation of protection from others. Such indulgent and close relationships produce a symbiotic mode of relating to others and effect the development of a person with a deeply held sense of involvement with relatives, so vital to the Indian family situation.*

Adoptions in India

India has been a leading source of children adopted by Americans. In 2002, 800 Indian children were formally adopted by American and European parents, compared to 1,200 by Indian parents. Many of those who are adopted are girls. Many of them are girls who were abandoned by families who wanted boys.

According to India law only Hindus and Buddhists are allowed to adopt. Christians, Jews and Muslims are only allowed to become guardians. If a child is put up for adoption, he must be offered to Indian parents first. Then to Indians living abroad and then finally to non-Indians living abroad.

There have been accusations of child trafficking and reports of parents selling the babies for as little as $20. One woman who sold her one-month-old baby told the New York Times her husband was opposed to it but she did while he was working in the fields. “We are poor people, we don’t have enough to eat,” she said. “We don’t have fields to cultivate. We have to work in order to eat.”

There have been reports of children being switched in the hospital and sold to childless couples. In Calcutta in the early 2000s, one woman gave birth prematurely to a son. When she when to fetch the child, she was given a girl. DNA tests showed the that the DNA of the girl didn't match that of the mother. Hospital officials blamed the problem on a record-keeping error. Police believe the boy was stolen and sold for $150 to $1,500 to a childless couple.

Child Marriages in India

Some parents in India begin marriage arrangements on the birth of a child, but most wait until later. In the past, the age of marriage was quite young, and in a few small groups, especially in Rajasthan, children under the age of five are still united in marriage. In rural communities, prepuberty marriage for girls traditionally was the rule. In the late twentieth century, the age of marriage is rising in villages, almost to the levels that obtain in cities. Legislation mandating minimum marriage ages has been passed in various forms over the past decades, but such laws have little effect on actual marriage practices. [Source: Library of Congress *]

Laws banning child marriages have been on the books since 1929 that outlaw child marriages and stipulate a bride has to be 18 and a groom 21. Even so hundreds of child marriages—some involving infants but most with children around seven—are held every year in various parts of Indian, particularly Rajasthan, where by some counts 1 percent of girls are married before age 10. The custom is common in. their places too. In Andhara Pradesh half the women are illiterate and married before the age of 15.

Child marriage have traditionally been the norm among some castes. Many Hindus believe a girl should be married at puberty. For some castes it is shameful for a girl to still be at home when she has reached puberty. It is not unusual if they have had children before their thirteenth birthday.

Child marriages were common in the past because the union of the family was regarded as more important than the union of the bride and groom, which in turn was because the young daughter had to live with the husband’s extended family. The arrangement was mutually convenient for both families: the bride's parents didn't have to support their daughter for very long, and the groom's family gained an unpaid, virtual slave and sometimes a dowry. Another advantage was that girls were so young they were virtually guaranteed to be virgins and there were no worries about children being born out of wedlock.

Percentage of women who married before age 18 in the early 2000s: 65 percent among women between 40 and 44; and 50 percent among women between 20 and 24.

See Marriage

Life of Indians Married as Children

A typical child marriage in a remote village features an 11-year-old boy who is betrothed to six-year-old girl. Once they are old enough to make money they get married. A survey in 1951 revealed that were 3 million husbands and 6 million wives between the ages of 5 and 14. Among those who were married or engaged as children where Mahatma Gandhi and the present leader of India Narendra Modi.

During the engagement process, or even during a kind informal marriage ceremony, a child bride of four or five accompanies the groom to the house of his parents where she stays for a few days before returning to her family. In Rajasthan, the groom, who is usually a couple of years older, wears a red turban and has a red streak of paint running down his nose. "In Rajasthan ceremonies, children are pronounced man and wife on the first and second days of the full moon cycle in May, considered an auspicious time by Hindus. [Source: by Robyn Davidson, National Geographic September 1993]

After the bride and groom are united in sacred rites attended by colorful ceremony, the new bride may be carried away to her in-laws' home, or, if she is very young, she may remain with her parents until they deem her old enough to depart. A prepubescent bride usually stays in her natal home until puberty, after which a separate consummation ceremony is held to mark her departure for her conjugal home and married life.

Most child brides are kept at home until they have matured. When the brides reach maturity and go to their husband’s house they are often afraid and in tears. In a ritual which is said to prove who will govern the marriage the groom and bride see who can grab a piece of jewelry irst in a bowl of turmeric water. [Source: Doranne Wilson Jacobson, National Geographic August 1977]

In some child marriages the groom returns home, leaving his wife behind until she reaches puberty. Sometimes she comes over to visit and the children play. Over time the bride and groom get to know each other and the bride gradually becomes accepted and becomes comfortable with the groom’s family. When a bride leaves at around 15 to consummate the marriage with her husband the bride and groom's shawls are tied together and the brother of the bride touches her foot to bid her farewell.

Child Labor

In some areas, children work as exploited laborers in factories, where they weave carpets for the export market and make matches, glass bangles, and other products. At Sivakasi, in Tamil Nadu, some 45,000 children work in the match, fireworks, and printing industries, comprising perhaps the largest single concentration of child labor in the world. Children reportedly as young as four years old work long hours each day. [Source: Library of Congress]

Child labor - children ages 5-14: total number: 26,965,074; percentage: 12 percent (2006 est.) [Source: CIA World Factbook]

As many as 115 million children work in India, more than anywhere else in the world. Many of these children work 15 hours a day in dangerous, unhealthy conditions and are physically abused, especially if they try to escape. Others help out on family farms. There are an estimated 5 million child domestic servants in South Asia..

Child labor is used in the silk, textile, sporting equipment and diamond industries, tanning, explosives, fireworks, gem polishing, brassware, match manufacturing, carpet weaving, cloth printing and dying. They also work on plantations and in mines, and as prostitutes and servants.

Some children work 16 hours day in Indian carpet factories. Children as young as six work in the silk industry, dousing their hands in scalding water to unwind silk threads. These children often have "fissures burns and blisters" covering their hands. Other children work in dumps splitting open car batteries and pulling out the acid-covered lead plates with their bare hands.

Child labor is less of a problem than it once was. Aid agencies in Bombay are helping street children set up small businesses by providing them with small low interest loans. Many of them use the loans to set up stands that sell betel nut and snacks. Some have also started profitable incense stick and florist businesses. Without these jobs the children would probably survive by selling illegal liquor or collecting scraps from garbage dumps.

Teenagers in India

For many children, especially boys, an important event of young adolescence is religious initiation. Initiation rituals vary among different regions, religious communities, and castes. In the north, girls reach puberty without public notice and in an atmosphere of shyness, whereas in much of the south, puberty celebrations joyously announce to the family and community that a young girl has grown to maturity.

A coming of age ceremony is still held in some areas for girls when they reach puberty. It traditionally meant that the girl had reached marriageable and was marked with the girl being presented her first sari.

Teenagers like to blast movie show tunes on the radio full blast. In general though the life of a Indian teenager is much more restricted than an American one. Poor ones have to work, Upper and middle class one are expected to be studying hard.

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 10.7 percent, country comparison to the world: 107; male: 10.4 percent; female: 11.6 percent (2012). [Source: CIA World Factbook]

See Hinduism, Sikhs and Muslims

Teenage Pregnancy in India

Jayaji Krishna Nath, M.D. and Vishwarath R. Nayar wrote in the Encyclopedia of Sexuality: “Sexual activity at an early age but within marriage is common in India. The most obvious health risk of teenage sex among the young is pregnancy for girls who are not yet physically matured. Further, if the pregnancy is unwanted or illegitimate, the health hazards are likely to be compounded by the social, psychological, and economic consequences. [Source: Jayaji Krishna Nath, M.D., and Vishwarath R. Nayar, Encyclopedia of Sexuality]

“In their study of infant and childhood mortality, K. Mahadevan et al. (1985) found that the mean age of women at first conception was only 16 years; further, they found that infant mortality was very high for the first, followed by the second birth order, and then tapered down subsequently. The findings reveal that the high incidence of infant mortality among the first two birth orders may be mainly due to teenage pregnancy and childbirth. In traditional societies where mothers marry young, there is family support for the young parents although medical risks remain high. But in today’s transitional society, the family support is gone, and many times the teenage pregnancies lead to abortion and thus have dangerous consequences.”

Beliefs That Shape Affluent Indian Teens

On common beliefs that shape the life of an Indian teenager, one person posted on, “You know you are an Indian if (compiled from various sources): 1) There are only two career options…doctor or engineer. 2) You refer to any elder as "Uncle" or "Auntie". 3) You keep worrying you will get "too dark". You hate the sun!. 4) You knew all major life decisions were made by consulting an astrologer. [Source: Anonymous,, April 2, 2014 /=]

“5) It doesn’t matter how much you scored in your exams, the score of the neighborhood Bunty, Bablu and Pinky is way more important! Comparison is key. 6) For NRI's (Non Resident Indians): While most of your classmates traveled to Florida or the Bahamas during the summer, you were taking long flights to India. 7) You do not take off the plastic seat covers from your new car, furniture, electronic device the whole year and if possible, for the year after that as well. /=\

“7) (for NRI guys) You wore your favorite leather Jacket, t-shirt and sports shoes during your first night out! 8) (for girls) You secretly slick your hair back with coconut after taking a bath and claim its some fancy new branded gel that you bought over the weekend. 9) You aren’t allowed to cut your nails or your hair on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Mondays or after sunset. 10) Your kitchen cupboards have more plastic containers of all possible shapes and sizes than actual groceries. /=\

“11) Your parents try to cure you with Turmeric, Ginger, Honey, Vicks, Vaseline or a warm cup of milk before consulting a doctor. 12) When you are trying to be cool, you swear in English. When we are actually angry, you switch to the dirty, highly effective local ''gali''. 13) Your Mom always asks for an extra shopping bag! She hoards them at home when asked about it she says: "Some day it will come to use." 14) Your parents give us the ‘birds and bees’ talk without ever mentioning the word ‘sex’. Your actual sex education came from the "Titanic" and the English dictionary! /=\

“15) You have a room or corner dedicated to the Gods! 16) You have been forced to believe that those who watch television deserve spectacles! 17) You find nothing wrong with this picture: PS: its the jeans! 18 "Good morning Sir!" You find it difficult to call your boss/professor by his/her name, even when your boss insists, fearing he/she may get offended. 19) You can use the same expression to convey the following emotions: Yes / No / Maybe/ Perhaps / OK / Thanks / Sure / Not sure / Why not / I agree / I disagree. Come on, we do it! 20) You stare at everything. You stare at girls, boys, uncles, aunties, couples, foreigners and other Indians with a gaze that can put Superman's X Ray vision to shame. When confronted about it, you say "Who me? I was looking at that thing behind you!". /=\

“These quirks are special. They make us who we are. They make us embarrassingly, painfully, hilariously, unabashedly, unapologetically and proudly Indian. They may not always define all of us, but more often than not, we take a lot of pride in them. Us Indians, we are an interesting lot. A large part of our vibrancy comes from the fact that we say ‘chak de’ and move on! And we don’t mind taking pot shots at ourselves! We know that taking ourselves too seriously only leads to unwanted trouble. Sure we have our faults, but without these oddities, who are we anyway? We are, and always will be, desi all the way.” /=\

Indian Parents Expectations of Their Teenage Children

On the expectations of Indian parents of their teenage children, Sailesh Muki posted 1) Everything is a competition: Aunty1: "You know, when chotu was a little one, he started walking by 10 months". Aunty2: "Oh that is very nice, but my beta stared walking in 8 months and 22 days". Aunty1: #@^! percent (Not aloud). 2) "Eat ladies finger, it will help you with math". 3) Dad: "How much did you score in your exam?" Son: "49/50" Dad: "What is the first mark?" Son: "49.5/50" Dad: (Advice on how he will disgrace the family if he doesn't study properly) 4) "An ant fell in your soup? No problem, your eyesight will become better", [Source: Sailesh Muki,, April 18 2013 */]

“5) "Study hard now so you can enjoy life later" Later: "Work hard now so your children can enjoy life", And the cycle goes on... 6) "This is not the time for love. There is plenty of time for that after marriage". 7) Girl gives a boy her class notes near canteen in college. Dad sees it. Dad: "Who is that boy and why were you talking to him". Terrified Girl: "My classmate. I was giving him notes". Dad: "How can you talk to boys alone? You will lose your honor!" Dad gets her married in a few months and tells her only a week before the marriage. 8) A girls parents looking for alliances for their daughter see a not good looking but fair guy: "What a handsome boy!" Same people see a good-looking but dark guy: "We don't want a black son in law". 9) Many parents make their daughters study only because the girl will have better chances of getting a better husband. Because the "new trend" is people like educated girls. */

“10) Marriage is like a business transaction. Things taken into account in order of priority: 1) Are they from a powerful family? 2) How much property do they have? 3) How much gold do they have? 4) How much worth of "gifts" will the girl's family give? 5) How much has he/she studied? 6) Is he abroad? (Big plus point) 7) Does the bride/bridegroom look good? 8) They don't care about the character in most cases.

Vijaya Sri posted on “well there is this weird thing in india!! thanks to westernization, our parents wants us to be independent. Here it goes.: 1) though you earn 5digit salary, you still have to listen to ur parents. 2) though you are of age n mature you are treated like child, when you actually act according to ur age, you are expected to act mature!!! 3) best of best is.. you are given freedom, but with's like a bird in zoo, you can fly but only within limits though outside world seems more oppurtinistic.. 4) parents are never ready to accept you are of age. we discus career, plan suhaag rath dates, and still we are consider to be ignorant of anything and everything. [Source: Vijaya Sri,]

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated June 2015

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