"Marriage, love, and religion among young Muslim women in Mumbai"

Religious Diversity Colloquium Winter 2017/18

  • Date: Nov 28, 2017
  • Time: 14:00 - 15:30
  • Speaker: Sana Ghazi (MPI-MMG)
  • Sana Ghazi is a PhD student in the Religious Diversity depart­ment. She studied for a BA degree in Sociology at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai and an MA in International Relations from the University of Warwick, UK.
  • Location: MPI-MMG, Hermann-Föge-Weg 12, Göttingen
  • Room: Conference Room
"Marriage, love, and religion among young Muslim women in Mumbai"

For more details please contact vdvoffice(at)mmg.mpg.de.

This lecture examines the notions of individual choice, freedom and agency by ethnographically examining religious traditions in matrimonial and romantic contexts in Mumbai. The aim is to analyse current Muslim matrimonial understandings as having their own particularities of, and implications for, freedom and unfreedom. The popular notion of arranged marriage in South Asia is often juxtaposed against “love marriage”, regarded as a Western import into “Indian culture”. Drawing on structured and unstructured interviews, participant observation, case studies, and mass media, Sana argues that what is called “love marriage” cannot be ethnographically understood in terms of rational choice and freedom alone, but in terms of locally-situated categories such as marzī (will), pasand-nāpasand (to like or dislike an object), and khushī (happiness; joyousness). In Mumbai, these categories are used not just by young women but also by the interested elders who respect the young women’s own desires when they are usually discouraged from being expressed openly and directly. Engaging with the existing literature, Sana discusses that while freedom is found in many societies and religious communities, why the notion that women are singularly oppressed and particularly vulnerable as victims in marriage, is widespread vis-à-vis Muslims.

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