In the era of dating sites and apps where a lot of young people have been finding their match, a “groom market” where women can search for a potential spouse remains active somewhere in India since the tradition began seven centuries back.
In a report by Ismat Ara of AlJazeera, it was disclosed that in the unique tradition in eastern India’s Bihar state, the aspiring husbands stand in public display and the male guardians of girls, who can be the father or a brother, will be the ones to select the groom. Unlike in dating apps, the bride has no say in the process of choosing the husband.
“It is as if the bride’s family can just shop for a groom they like if they can pay the required dowry. It is like a groom market,” a man living in the adjoining village told Al Jazeera.
This event, on the other hand, is more than just choosing a partner who can stay with the woman up to the very end. For the people there, what happens at Saurath, the village famous for its “sabha” or annual “groom market”, is sacred.
Meanwhile, some of those who joined the recent gathering said they still choose the traditional way and the ease of online matchmaking does not really appeal to them. Like Muktinath Pathak, father of an aspiring groom, who said he still believes that finding a bride at the Saurath Sabha will be safer for his son, Amarjeet, than looking for someone through online platforms.
“When the marriage is done online, there is a risk of divorce and separation, but not when traditions are followed,” he maintained.
For more stories and to see the actual photos from the annual traditional groom market in India, one may go through the full report at aljazeera.com.