finds its central conflict in the struggle between Jess, our 18-year-old British-Indian protagonist, and her traditional Sikh parents’ ideas of womanhood and marriage.“It’s just culture,” says Jess, who the movie leaves us to assume has never been to India.She later concludes that the only way to deal with Just Culture is to get farther from it, heading, naturally, to America.Call it acclimating to the Indian single life after coming of age in the West, where India is often seen as a country of arranged marriages and impenetrable glass ceilings.If there’s truth to caricature, then call my joining the online matrimony network a modern-day leap onto a bandwagon of millennia-old social custom.“Shaadi” is the Hindi word for wedding; is, intuitively, a wedding arranged via the Internet.For those in the West, it probably isn’t particularly surprising that Internet matrimony is one of India’s most lucrative and omnipresent online industries.A few years back, a media psychologist named Srividya Ramasubramanian examined 24 American and British films about India for the prevalence and portrayal of certain tropes and saw little more than a country “consistently portrayed as backward, uncivilized, savage, and traditional.” The Western notion of “Indian-ness,” Ramasubramanian writes, is predicated upon a sense of Occidental superiority, complicit with a sort of “cultural imperialism…There are 44 million Indians who now have smartphones, giving casual-encounter-driven “hookup apps” like Tinder a huge market.Tinder’s CMO said in September was seeing a 3 to 4 percent daily growth in its Indian user base.
It teaches them to disenfranchise women and to rape them without guilt.
It’s connubial bliss for a 21st-century India, where, by some estimates, 90 percent of marriages still classify as “arranged”—in other words, established on factors other than mutual love and attraction between the bride and groom.
What those factors are, exactly, has changed as the country has, but the crux of the matter remains constant: if you’re an Indian woman, it’s statistically likely that your parents will choose the man with whom you spend the rest of your life.
by establishing Indian peoples as inferior and incompetent who need to be civilized.”Ramasubramanian’s study qualitatively confirms that the India offered to us in the West is an India of “inept subordinates” who deserve either our scorn or sympathy.
It is a caricature consisting of the most cartoonish and visceral stereotypes—child marriage, bride burning, snake charmers, etc.—that reinforces the idea of the country as a pitiably primitive slum, especially when it comes to Indian women.