I, for one, staunchly believe that despite the influx of dating apps, more women wanting to work, becoming independent and subsequently bridging the gender gap, and the profound impact some movies have had on an Indian’s thought process, our country has yet to embrace dating. It is not like Indians are not aware of dating and do not have the nous of what it is all about, but, for various reasons, dating and India are still at polar opposites to each other and far from coming close anytime soon.
Read on as we try to dissect why and how India does not have a dating culture.
1. India has a diverse society
India has a colossal caste system, many a religion, numerous languages spoken in the country, and as many as 29 states dividing the nation, too. Unlike western countries where English is spoken by most, if not all, people, the 22 official languages spoken in India can alone be a major barrier that impedes two people from getting along with each other.
And that is just one of the many differences Indians have. Yes, one can always adapt to certain things because they want to succeed or attain what they seek – which, in this case, is dating – but where and how one person has been raised is too difficult to leave behind. Therefore, no matter how strong the urge is, there are numerous aspects to consider when finding a match from a different background altogether, making the person think twice and often, forcing a change in mindset.
Simply put: It is nearly impossible for all Indians to put themselves out there and then have access to every potential partner, because of the diverse societies and cultures within this vast nation with a population of 1.28 billion people.
2. Prolonged educational careers
As Indians, we also give massive respect to education and leading a disciplined life. Parents, at any cost, are steadfast in providing their children with education in the hope that it gets them better careers. Thus, once a child reaches three years of age, he or she gets admitted into a school to kick-start their educational lives, which, in most cases, last till the individual turns 21 or 22.
While you are a school or college student, there are a myriad of reasons why dating is simply not possible: teachers take advantage of your parents’ support; your peers are not mature enough to understand if at all you are attracted to a girl or boy; and finally, it is certainly not possible to hang out with and get to know your partner because of the responsibilities that come with being a school or college student.
Simply put: In some ways, turning 18 and becoming an ‘adult’ does not necessarily mean that you are free to do the things you wish. Of course, education – with no disrespect, absolutely, to it – dictates why India is bereft of dating culture, as of yet.
3. Indians take too long to become independent
It takes Indians too long, if at all they do get independent at some stage, to support themselves and lead what you call a truly independent life.
This is one of the reasons why Indian men generally get married when they are 27 or above. Parents expect their sons to find a good, well-paying job that can help them develop in life and stand on their own feet. Now, if you want to date someone and with it, be the provider for them, you have to be independent and make sufficient money to meet out your, and their, everyday needs. In India, there is little scope for having such a scenario.
Simpy put: While men are encouraged to be independent, it takes them time to reach a stage where they can fulfill all the responsibilities that come with a romantic relationships. Girls, meanwhile, aren’t expected to be independent and their chances of attracting a potential dating partner dwindle as they are made to become socially backward.
4. Close family ties
When blessed with a boy or girl child, the father, almost all the time, is the provider for the family and continues to be for as long as his son or daughter starts earning and subsequently takes the baton from him.
Apart from the money and independence sides of things, Indians also lay great emphasis on family life and emotionally are closely bonded with people who have raised them and they have known since childhood. It is not easy, therefore, to free yourself from all the emotional bonds and values in an instant. Since sons and daughters from Indian homes rarely prioritize themselves before their families, they also seldom look for partners themselves.
Simply put: Parents care for their children till a certain stage in their lives, and the children repay the attention their parents once showered on them. It is up to the individual to decide what are his or her priorities, but because Indians are so family-oriented, they do tend to put their families above everything else.
5. Why do the hard work?
Predominantly in our culture, parents take pride in finding a match for their son or daughter and have been more than happy to do so for ages now. When you have been afforded that luxury by your parents, there is little necessity to go out and search for a partner on your own, contending with the aspects such as fear of rejection, coming off as desperate and finding yourself mentally out of place.
From another angle, since we tend to have close family circles and hence don’t find ourselves isolated, getting married and finding ourselves a life partner to share the rest of our lives with is the last thing that crosses our minds. In some ways, we are forced to get married at one point in time, rather than us actually wanting to get married and starting a fresh chapter in our lives. Dating, therefore, does not even have a place in most of our heads, let alone it being a priority.
Simply put: It is convenient for Indian kids to let their parents find a spouse for them instead of putting themselves out there and facing rejection. Since Indian kids are hardly ever left alone, finding a partner is the last thing they think of until the day comes when they are pressurized to tie the knot.
Us Indians leading structured and well-planned lives is one of the major reasons why we have tended to not have a dating culture, of note, thus far. Also, because our parents and grandparents have brought us up with the notion that everything, apart from education, can take a backseat for a while, it takes us a while to figure out ourselves first. And more often than not, we tend to realize our personalities and what it is that we need, at a really later stage in life.