Dear Dr. Ajay Gupta, Founder of IITIIMshaadi.com
Dr., eh? That too from Delhi School of Economics? Pretty impressive! Just a quick question, did they also teach you something called mutual respect and equality? Oh wait..
I stumbled upon a Facebook post which said now men from IIT and IIM have a place to find their “soul mates”. I clicked on it and whoa, was I fumbled? Your extremely fresh idea to build a matrimonial website based on educational qualifications than evils like caste, class, race etc is damn progressive, I must say. Even trivialities like common interests and hobbies and compatibility didn’t find a meager mention because as the tagline of your website goes Alma Mater Matters. Well, I must congratulate you, Sir. You have solved that mystery which even Chetan Bhagat with six books down couldn’t.
You see, Sir, I have recently turned 25 and your website has come like a blessing in disguise to me. Like every dutiful, middle-class, educated Indian girl, it’s time for me to stop and smell the rose in my journey called marriage. After all, what good is my education when I can’t garner a good husband? You see, Sir, just like you, even I’m a PhD student at Jawaharlal Nehru University. And after three degrees down and on the way to the fourth one, I think I have realized the true meaning of my education, all thanks to you! However, Sir, when I with utter joy tried to log in to your site to search for that true soul mate, I found out to my dismay that I do not “qualify” to register on your prestigious site iitiimshaadi.com. Why, Sir if I may ask, why? Am I not good enough? Is it my qualifications, double major in German Studies that didn’t find any parent group it could attach to? Is it because Humanities is as it is a disrespected field? Or is it because my university is largely a leftist one? Even the poor university couldn’t get enlisted in your élite group of institutions.
Or is it so because your pretty boys from the IITs and the IIMs might get intimidated by a highly educated woman like me? Is it why the eligibility criteria for women on your website and I quote is “Country-wide reputed graduation institutions on wards“. If I may ask, why Sir, would you need women from even “country-wide reputed graduation institutions“? If I’m not mistaken didn’t you mention the site has lower entry requirements for women to give “a larger pool of choice to the men“. I mean, as you rightly mentioned “some highly educated men, in terms of practicality, like women who also consider taking care of the home a task as good as a job.” Weren’t you the one who said, “They were looking for intellectual compatibility, but at the same time wanted women who would understand their hectic lives and dedicate more time to the house—while doing some part-time work, someone with a half-day job would have also worked.” After all, that is the true meaning of a woman’s life to serve as a domestic worker and a fuck-buddy for her man, isn’t it, Sir? To be highly educated and intellectually compatible but dissolve herself in-house and part-time work. My parents would be so proud of me today, after all, this is why they brought me up and provided me the best education. They owe you, Sir, they owe you.
But I haven’t even come to the best part of your excellent website, Sir, if you may allow. The homepage of your site has a slide show of a few images with the header “Preview of things to come“. What a stroke of brilliance, Sir, what a stroke! The image starts from a marriage ceremony being culminated to a fancy car with the tag “IITIIM shaadi“. The message behind the images is loud and clear: Enroll in IIT or IIM and get a bride and a car FREE FREE FREE! Voila! After all, this is a “gift” and not dowry. You Sir, win hands down.
I’m grateful to you for making me realise the true meaning of my existence. Now, I’m just waiting for some IIT/IIM boy of yours to pity on me with my useless humanities degrees from an even useless university, marry me and end my misery. However, if you or any of your pretty boys somehow didn’t like my earnest appreciation of your venture, they are welcome to shoot questions at me. I do hope your pretty boys will come up with some quality arguments. The whole point is to have a dialogue, right Sir?
Update (as on 29.08.2014): I emailed the above letter to the Founder, Dr. Ajay Gupta on 26.08.2014 and received a response within less than an hour. Like the website, Mr. Gupta’s words were big and hollow. He mentioned he “respects”others’ opinions and expects the same. Very politely and smartly he has tried to explain his “philosophy” behind the site and conveniently ignored all my questions. However, fearing such angry letters, I assume, a few changes has been made to the website. The changes are following:
- The image with the car has been removed and replaced with an image showing the wedding venue. Mr Gupta surely feared dowry accusations, but how much his mentality has changed, if he or his relatives will demand dowry for future weddings can only be speculated.
- The introduction of the site has been changed. It no longer says that women must be from “reputed institutions” while men from “élite”. The current introduction is a more general one without any gender bias. However, if this bias is carried out in further steps, one can’t be assured.
- More options have been added to the “Am I eligible” list including PhD and Masters, however Humanities still didn’t find a mention. According to the site, the list of institutions are also being updated.
The post will be updated if any other changes occur. Although, Mr. Gupta is trying to cover up his sexist remarks and patriarchal attitude towards women, how much will be put into practice cannot be said. Let there be hope!
Update on 12.09.2014: I and the open letter were recently quoted in an article in Deccan Chronicle, Banglore. Check out below:
Dear “Wedding God of all highly educated”
Here I am. Just a PhD from a University which you do include in your list of eligible institutions. Need I say, I am very thankful that you considered me ‘eligible’ to marry one of the highly highly highly educated guys from the prestigious and so genius-ly institutes of this country. I feel obliged and I thought it was important to thank you for including me, my college, my degrees in your “Voila! You are eligible” criteria. Though every one should marry the one they consider as good for them, here is why i think you should shove this website up your over qualified arse:
1. Education is not a criteria for goodness. In a country where men from IITs have told me that I am a woman worth being raped because I speak against patriarchy, I don’t agree with you. In a country where men from IIMs have told me how under qualified I am because I am not an MBA, I don’t agree with you. In a country where men from Ivy leagues have told me that I better follow rituals of Hinduism for a happy marriage, I don’t agree with you. Marriage is a bond of minds and thanks to you, you are merely bloating ego’s of these IIT IIM grads who think there is nothing else matters. Who think that their degrees are the values that will help them get a educated-homely-trophy wife. I feel sorry for you!
2. You need to get real. Not only are you promoting dowry and money-minded culture in the country, you are promoting the men to go out and have the power to reject any girl. While it is indeed a personal choice, feeding patriarchal mindsets is not a good thing. We, sadly have been working our ass out on changing those while people like you are feeding these monsters. Such, such patriarchal chauvinist. (Looking at the qualifications needed to apply for I am disgusted at your regressive approach to life where you think a male should be superior and more qualified than the female).
Thank you but I will better not marry than marry a guy who believes in this attitude. I will better not marry than marry a guy who thinks his education is his ‘blank cheque’ to a life. I will better not marry than marry an IIT IIM grad who thinks his degrees his “all zones pass” to every patriarchal bullshit in this world.
There are good men out their. Please don’t spoil there name. Please don’t pollute mindsets. We are trying to create a better society.
(NOT) yours eligibly
Japleen, well expressed. I think its an extremely ridiculous initiative and a disgrace to the values of education, marriage & equality alike.
Hats off 🙂
Dear Ajay Gupta,
First of all thank you. We feminists having been living in fantasy world where everything is equal. Equal opportunities, equal means of works and justice. There is virtually no difference between a man and woman if he/she is trained in IIT or IIM. But you, with this website bought us back to reality that we are still living in Patriarchy, Misogyny and Sexist society.
Thank you for waking us up.
Yes, it’s a good post, raises valid questions but fails to take into account that people who fallback on matrimony websites are not there to find “love” but just someone they feel is “suitable”. How each person defines “suitable” may vary. Please forgive me for being a little (too) verbose:
I’ve been lucky-then-unlucky in love and I’m out searching for a bride (via arguably the easiest medium – matrimony sites. No, not the one that is being bashed up here (yet)). We, probably, all agree (more or less) that the site in question objectifies a certain gender and the feminists amongst us are deeply hurt. Sometimes, to the extent of wanting the website to be shoved up Dr. Gupta’s posterior.
I’d urge these feminists to go visit one of other matrimony sites and you’ll find that it’s almost always the bride who would want the groom to be earning more than she. “Why?” One may ask. The women probably want a “secure” future and probably feel that if the guy earns more, they would get one automagically. On the flip side, the groom armed with this knowledge (and an above-average salary) now feels he can too run through his wishlist (not checklist) of things he desires in his partner. More often than not, a guy like this would want a good IQ, aptitude among other such things. Not because these ensure a genuinely, good person/bride but certainly ensures someone this guy has hung out with in his past (something to the tune of “birds of a feather flock together” or something). Now, where else (but Mr. Gupta’s website) would this guy get such a bride for himself. And, where else (but Mr. Gupta’s website) would a bride like this get a guy of her “dreams”. Mr. Gupta’s website is out to address a need and is here to stay. You may like it or not but it really is a transaction that happens on such sites already (the groom buys services the bride offers with his salary) and Mr. Gupta’s website is probably highlighting it a bit more than what is digestible by our conscience. If anything, I’d say the website UI (and language) is not done too well but otherwise it’s a smart business model.
I’ve tried not to seem crass with my words. I hope others feel the same.
Valid points I must say. Even though we don’t like this and hate to admit this is the reality in society. Marriage search brings anxiety and people would like something that chooses partner for them.
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