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05/18/2014

Elections in India: the BIG change

Though I am not a big fan (or rather I am a complete ignorant) of politics, a small note on the topic seems in order! A MAJOR change happened in India on Friday and that will probably have consequences for a lot of countries!!

I had written quite a bit about the Gandhi family, Nehru’s descendants, which has been ruling the country more or less continuously since 1947 (either by being prime ministers or head of the ruling party, the Congress); see their saga. Lately, the family tried to push forward the son, Rahul, known for his (very) looks, his half-Italian origin (yes, his mum, Sonia, is Italian and has been the Congress leader since 1998) and his inexperience in politics. But what looks man…

The Congress got a huge slap in the face in the elections of 2014 (when I say huge, I mean huge, first time their opponent gets to rule with a majority of seats). According to the media, the Indian people got tired of the corruption scandals that blew up in the past decade and felt like getting some change (almost 70 years of Gandhis, you may get tired to see their faces!).

So, the big winner is this guy, Narendra Modi, who is known as a Hindu nationalist (Muslims are trembling), an alleged terrorist (he has been till date forbidden visa to the US and UE – I guess that may change) and as a good businessman (based on the economic situation of his state, Gujarat). He also happens to rule a state where alcohol is banned, which is an inheritance of Gandhi (the Mahatma this time), and to have left his wife within 24 hours of marrying her.

God help us (them??)!!

What I can tell you right away is that after one year of craziness the rupee is finally behaving itself – a normal trend when elections happen. For the rest, let’s wait and see!!

 

 

04/26/2014

The Indian Wedding for Dummies - 7.In a nutshell

Here are all my notes on the Hindu wedding topic: pdf

And long live the newlyweds!

India, marriage, wedding, arranged marriage, forced marriage, love marriage, rites, ceremonies, rituals, divorce, sheet, mehndi, henna, baraat, sex, incompatibility, contract, Classifieds, matrimonials, matchmaker, nayan, astrologers, horoscope, marry a tree, marry a pot, auspicious, date, joint family, Kama Sutra

04/24/2014

The Indian Wedding for Dummies - 6. When things go wrong

The "Indian wedding" (I should say the Hindu wedding to be exact) has made the subject of numerous books, movies, visits to India. In short it’s an institution. I will try here to understand something to it!

With hardly 1 per cent of divorces, do Indians have the “keys” to successful marriages? Could it be arranged marriages?

To finish with the topic of marriage, the divorce! Yes yes!

Indeed, the figures are ridiculously low: 1.1% (source)

Firstly it is only since 1955 that divorce for Hindus is legal in India – which is 86 years after Christians, which was even 15 years before the legislation restored divorce in France in 1884! (In India, the divorce rules depend on the religion and there even was even a law, in 1969, specially for Indians who married a non-Indian.)

Secondly divorcing in India is not an easy task. (Hindu) spouses may divorce by mutual consent (for very specific reasons, such as adultery, cruelty, desertion for two years, religious conversion, mental disorder, venereal disease and leprosy) and only after living separated for one year. In addition, there is a mandatory six-month period of reflection after the case is filed. At the end of which the judge must estimate that the spouses have made all what was in their power to solve their problems (source).

Thirdly, one should not believe that all problems are solved once the divorce is granted: there is no regime of community property in India, everything returns to its owner (often the man).

And as for the pension, already quite low in general, the woman must prove the income of her husband and the tax authorities estimate that only 3% of the population declare their income! (source)

Quite a few women must regret, as some point of time, not having born in Kerala (in the Nairs, Ezhavas and Warriers communities) or in a tribe of Meghalaya: they are matrilineal societies where descent and inheritance is by women – in Meghalaya, it is the youngest daughter who inherits property and the burden of caring for her aging parents and unmarried siblings! (source 1; source 2)

Beyond (very frequent) violence and adultery, “incompatibility” is more and more frequently the cause of separation. And that generally refers to a not-getting-along with the in-laws or the spouses’ egos that seem to take more and more space as the West’s influence grows (source) and/or some sexual incompatibility.

I can almost only hear stories of marriages without sex around me (in India), and most often the man is the culprit, forcing my girl friends to do a lot of other activities to get rid of their frustration!

Already that sex with someone you love needs to be worked on, I can only imagine what it is like with someone you are not particularly attracted to... Especially when it's a taboo, so there is no way you can share it with your girl friends and get reassured, because somehow, women always tend to believe that everything is their fault... While sometimes it is not!

I am quite convinced that a lot of Indian men cheat on their wives (I could take the example of my ex-boss, my landlord, his father-in-law, my sales representatives) and who would they do it with if not with married women?? Well not so many single girls would allow it… It is like if there was a natural rebalancing of life: you get a sexless marriage but you can get sex outside without commitment and it is good for physical and mental health!!

A funny thing is that Westerners associate India with Kama Sutra and think of the country as a sex paradise! While in fact it is nothing like that. The Kama Sutra was written 1,500 years ago and since then the Muslims and then the British invaded the place and Indians became a little ass-tight on the subject... * The 10 most popular jobs in 2008 did not exist in 2004. Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-9FaJPhFxQ