chapter  13
16 Pages

Marriage in India

A web of intimacies
WithRuth Vanita

Since 1980, Indian newspapers have regularly reported cases of same-sex couples eloping and marrying or committing suicide when their families force them to separate. Many families also permit these couples to marry and even help arrange the weddings, generally by Hindu rites. The state does not recognize these marriages but local communities do. Continuing the author’s earlier work on such same-sex unions, this chapter places them in the context of the web of intimacies that constitute most Indians’ social and emotional lives. Most Indians expect emotional satisfaction from relationships with a number of kin (biological, marital and fictive), not necessarily only or even primarily from a spouse. This chapter examines novels and films on co-wifehood, as a site where two women can emotionally and sometimes romantically bond with one another.