Bollywood Weddings: Dating, Engagement, and Marriage in Hindu America

Overview

Bollywood Weddings examines how second-generation Indian-American Hindus of the middle and upper classes negotiate courtship and wedding rituals. Kavita Ramdya integrates the stories of twenty couples, showing the ways and means by which a subcommunity falls in love and expresses their identity. She provides readers with a window into these Indian-American couples who are navigating identities through a major rite of passage in their lives-marriage. She affirms that this community flaunts all things Indian as a ...

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Bollywood Weddings: Dating, Engagement, and Marriage in Hindu America

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Overview

Bollywood Weddings examines how second-generation Indian-American Hindus of the middle and upper classes negotiate courtship and wedding rituals. Kavita Ramdya integrates the stories of twenty couples, showing the ways and means by which a subcommunity falls in love and expresses their identity. She provides readers with a window into these Indian-American couples who are navigating identities through a major rite of passage in their lives-marriage. She affirms that this community flaunts all things Indian as a way to assert their American identity. Many of these couples are "occasional Hindus", displaying their Hindu religious background only on important occasions. Instead of choosing either India or America, or arriving at a compromise between the two, this community embraces both cultures simultaneously.

Kavita Ramdya's ethnographic fieldwork includes in-depth interviews of engaged couples observation at their wedding ceremonies, wedding videography and photography, and material culture such as the clothing the participants wore on their wedding-day. She explores pre-wedding day topics such as America's Indian-Hindu marriage market and bridal industry, then goes on to describe pre-wedding and wedding-day customs including the engagement party. kanyadan, and baraat. Bollywood emerges as the key mediating third culture around which the community can reinforce their identity as Indian and American, confirming that success in America need not be bought at the expense of religious background and cultural heritage.

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Editorial Reviews

Khabar Magazine
Well- researched....The book speaks to those who are searching for their life partner, or are seeking answers to what marriage means to second-generation Indian Americans who want to balance their Indian and American identities.
Bibi Magazine
Ramdya approaches the subject of love vs arranged marriages in a thoughtful and modern way....Bollywood Weddings provides matter-of-fact insight supported by data, methodology, a glossary and real-life examples of Hindu-American relationships in the context of marriage. An interesting book, no doubt, and recommended to all South Asian readers.
Hinduism Today
The writer openly, quizzically, and honestly peers into the depths and subtleties of the marital patterns of Indian-American Hindus from the latter half of the twentieth century to today. Ramdya's research and findings are enhanced by wedding couples' personal thoughts and interviews. It is a fascinating interplay, mingling contrasting insights in an exposé on the symbiotic rapport of Indian and American marriage customs, from the first meeting to the reception party. Bollywood Weddings also goes beyond marital culture into what it's like to be a second generation Hindu in the US. It's a rich commentary on American sociology and the Indian-American experience as a whole.
Journal Of Intercultural Studies
An ethnographic study of Indian Americans in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It is an experiential account of second-generation negotiation between the tradition of the parental generation and the norms of love and courtship in a Western or rather global world....The book is an interesting read and will appeal to American as well as Indian audiences beyond academia. Ramdya’s style is typically second generation, engaging and confident.
Asian Voice
The book gives a very clear insight not only into the minds of Hindu Americans but the present generation of Non Resident Indians who might have never been to India but still try to maintain a balance between the two cultures.... All I can say is that it is a very engaging book that hooks you once you have started.
Donna Frietas
Kavita Ramdya has given readers an excellent, empathetic window into second generation Indian-American Hindu couples who are navigating multiple ethnicities through this major life rite of passage, marriage. She argues that second generation weddings are not simply about negotiating two cultures, but three—the third being modern-day Bollywood culture. It is a brilliant observation and a sign of a new generation of scholar who knows how important consideration of the popular is in terms of one's research and findings among contemporary topics and when doing ethnographic work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739138540
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 12/16/2009
  • Pages: 136
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Kavita Ramdya is an independent researcher in American Studies. For more information on Kavita and Bollywood Weddings check out her website at http://www.bollywood-weddings.com/Home.html.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction ix

1 The Marriage Market: Choosing a Suitable Boy 1

2 The Engagement Proposal: To Dower or To Diamond? 25

3 Wearing Ethnicity: The Indian-American Hindu Bridal Industry 37

4 Pre-Wedding Rituals: The Both/And Model 57

5 The Wedding Day: Improvising on Hindu and American Traditions 67

Glossary 87

Bibliography 93

Index 97

About the Author 99

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