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

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

by Kavita Ramdya
 

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Bollywood Weddings examines how middle to upper class second-generation Indian-American Hindus negotiate wedding rituals, including the dating and engagement processes. Many of these couples are (in Ramdya's neologism) 'occasional Hindus' who display their Hindu religious background only on important occasions such as the rite of passage that is marriage. These

Overview

Bollywood Weddings examines how middle to upper class second-generation Indian-American Hindus negotiate wedding rituals, including the dating and engagement processes. Many of these couples are (in Ramdya's neologism) 'occasional Hindus' who display their Hindu religious background only on important occasions such as the rite of passage that is marriage. These couples (and their extended families) negotiate two vastly different cultures and sets of values inside a community that has itself largely pre-determined how to mix American and Indian/Hindu elements into this ritual. As a rule, the first generation organizes the wedding, which is largely Hindu, and their children coordinate the American-style reception. Instead of choosing either India or America, or arriving at a compromise in between the two, this community takes a 'both/and' approach, embracing both cultures simultaneously. 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 her 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, whose Indian origins grants it authenticity from the Hindu perspective and whose emphasis on romance accommodates American values, emerges as the key mediating third culture around which the community applies the both/and model to wedding rituals. The both/and model uncovered here reinforces the community's identity as ethnic and American even as it confirms that success in America need not be bought at the expense of one's religious background and cultural heritage.

Editorial Reviews

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.
Khabar
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.
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781461671565
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
12/03/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
136
File size:
3 MB

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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